I'm A Woman Who Refuses To Go On Birth Control And That's OK
Raise your hand if:
1. You're a female, and 2. have ever purchased the value box of 36 condoms for 15 dollars at Target.
Anyone? No? Just me? OK.
No, I don't keep an absurd amount of condoms in my bedroom because I'm slutting it up at the bar every weekend. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I'm in a happy, committed relationship, with what I would say is a healthy sex life. But, in order to have a healthy sex life I need to use condoms.
I refuse to go on birth control.
As someone who was raised in a holistic household with literally everything organic, I'm very conscious of the things I put into my body. I avoid products that use parabens and phthalates, I avoid medication by opting for more natural methods and I pay attention to the ingredients in my food.
Now that you have this knowledge of me, you can understand how taking a pill every single day, at around the same exact time, to alter something that naturally happens in the body, is a bit unnerving.
However, I'm aware the pill isn't the only method. Shots, intrauterine devices (IUD), implants, rings, patches -- the options are never-ending.
The results of each may slightly differ, but all types of hormonal birth control work in generally the same way.
They contain man-made estrogen and progestin hormones which, according to WebMD, “inhibit the body's natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy.” These hormones stop the body from ovulating, change the cervix mucus (ew) and change the lining of the womb.
Ironically, my period is awful. I'm down for the count the first two days almost dead from cramps, back pain and the loss of (what definitely seems like too much) blood. Sorry for the TMI.
And the week before? Be warned, because on one occasion (recently) I cried at The Cheesecake Factory because they gave me the wrong cheesecake. I wish I was making that up. My boyfriend really is the MVP for dealing with me.
When I talk about this to people, it seems like the whole female population gives me the same solution: "Go on birth control!"
I won't lie, I've thought about it.
It does have its benefits: stopping unwanted pregnancies, controlling acne and controlling PMS and periods. I must be crazy not to be on it.
But, I also don't think it's that simple. Birth control, more specifically the pill, has been linked to cancer. In 1996, an analysis of data, from more than 50 worldwide studies, found that women on the pill had a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who weren't.
Interestingly enough, this study also found that women who were on the pill had a decreased risk of developing endometrial and ovarian cancer. The risk of not only breast cancer was increased, but also the risk of cervical and liver cancer.
Another study published in 2014 by Cancer Research linked breast cancer to oral contraception. The result of this study stated that progestin, and high-dose estrogen birth control pills, more than doubled the risk of breast cancer, but low-dose estrogen pills weren't linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.
So, clearly the linkage is a bit of a gray area, but for me personally, it's not worth the risk right now.
Women everywhere need to be aware that, yes birth control does have its benefits, but being on the pill shouldn't be an excuse to have unprotected sex. Too many women use birth control as something to fall back on. This is your only body, and you need to protect it.
It's OK to be on the pill, and it's OK not to be. But please, always be safe.