Birth control has been a popular topic of late! What was once viewed as an empowering pharmaceutical for women and a step forward in the women’s rights movement is now being questioned by the masses. Birth control poses numerous dangerous side effects to women, yet they’re often not discussed when the pills are prescribed or are vastly understated.
Birth control is the most commonly used drug in the world, with over 100 million women currently taking “the pill” and millions of women using alternative methods such as “the patch,” injectables, and implants. In the U.S. alone, pharmaceutical companies generate $2.8 billion in annual sales from the pill.
Medical doctors prescribe birth control to females as young as 12 and fail to mention the potential side effects. Years later, once these children become women and learn about the threats the pill poses to their health, it can be equally as terrifying to come off the pill as it is to continue taking it.
Well, Swedish nuclear physicist Elina Berglund Scherwitzl decided that she wanted a form of contraception that didn’t impact her hormones, so she designed an alternative called Natural Cycles.
Physicist Designs More Natural Alternative to Birth Control Pills
Using a combination of research and advanced mathematics, Scherwitzl created an algorithm that could identify exactly when she ovulates during her cycle. From that, Scherwitzl discovered when she would need to use protection or abstain from sexual intercourse in order to prevent pregnancy. The equation is allegedly more accurate in comparison to other natural birth control methods.
“Like many women I had tried many different contraception options since my teenage years and hadn’t really found a solution that fit me,” Scherwitzl noted.
“It was in my quest for an effective natural alternative that I discovered that you can see when you’re fertile by your temperature, and for me that was really a revelation.”
Scherwitzl founded her company, Natural Cycles, in 2014 and it has grown steadily, as her product is now being used by 300,000 women. Essentially, women measure their temperature and then use that data alongside the app to track their cycle trends.
Natural Cycles is advertised as being just “as effective as the pill,” as a large-scale clinical study showed that only 7% of women who used the app got pregnant, compared to 9% of women who take the pill. Of course, there could be some human error involved, but this is still an excellent statistic.
This process is admittedly more hands on than other birth control pills, as it requires users to be diligent with taking their temperature and using the app. However, it’s still an excellent alternative that doesn’t pose the same health risks as conventional birth control does.
“Just like the pill we need some effort from the user on a daily basis. But we really hope to be the default alternative if you don’t want to use hormonal contraception or IUDs,” Scherwitzl explained.
Natural Cycles isn’t actually the first of its kind, either. The Femtech company Kindara, which was founded in 2011, also sells a similar product/app duo. Kindara’s “Wink” machine will take your temperature, and then you use that in combination with the app to track your fertility.
CE wrote about another more natural alternative to birth control called Lady-Comp, which is one of the safest and effective forms of female birth control. You can read more about that here!
Why Shouldn’t You Take Conventional Birth Control?
If you’re unfamiliar with the dangers of taking the pill, here’s how it can harm your body:
- It depletes your body of essential nutrients
- Suppresses testosterone (and thus your sex drive)
- Doubles your risk of depression
- Heightens your risk of specific cancers (breast, ovarian, and cervical), osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, migraines, and blood clots
- Increases mood swings, discolouration of skin, bleeding and spotting, hair loss, fibroids, fatigue, and cellulite.
To learn more about the physical side effects of birth control, check out the following CE article:
Another issue with birth control is that it literally controls when your period starts and finishes, and so for women taking birth control, their periods very rarely move and they often don’t experience irregularities. Since your cycle cannot freely flow, you can’t learn from it in the same way you could if you weren’t on birth control.
Your period is such a gift; it communicates with your body and can tell you when something is wrong or when something needs to be looked at. When you experience PMS, irregular periods, a shift in start time, or any other symptom regarding your menstruation, that’s your body telling you that your health requires attention.
Women’s periods also hold a deep connection to nature and their emotions, as many women used to experience their periods either on the Full Moon, or more commonly, on the New Moon. My period has always been synced with the New Moon, and the only time it changed since getting off birth control was after my grandmother passed away and during her burial months later, which were two of the more stressful and emotional periods of my life.
I was experiencing other irregular symptoms during my period, forcing me to look inwards. I realized I not only had a health issue affecting my menstruation, but I also had a severe block on my sacral chakra, which was in turn affecting my period. Immediately after I dealt with these issues, my period returned to its regular cycle and started on the New Moon once again.
Everything happens for a reason, especially in our bodies! If you’re experiencing painful menstrual cramps, that’s not just a “regular” symptom of having your period. Whenever we have pain in our bodies, it’s always telling us that we need to look deeper and search for the root cause of the issue. However, if you’re using birth control, you won’t be able to observe your period and learn from it as effectively as if you weren’t taking it.
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You can learn more in our CE article below:
To be clear, I’m not telling you not to take birth control. I believe that every woman should have the right to make that decision herself, and that it should be made from an informed perspective. Research the potential side effects of birth control and develop a greater understanding of how it could affect your body, and then decide whether or not you’d like to take it. Be sure to ask your doctors questions and know that you can always explore other options!
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