Hi guys, how are we all? Thank you once again for stopping by. Today’s post is a tad different, it’s something I’ve never talked about or covered on the blog before, yet something that for sure needs to be discussed. I’d like to turn this ‘Body Talk’ post into a little series, not as often as the Weekly Roundup but definitely something that I come back to every once in a while to talk about the more intimate topics that don’t get discussed often enough In my opinion. So here we are, it’s Wednesday the sun is (somewhat) shining and I’ve finally got a moment to sit down and write this post. It’s a subject I’ve wanted to write about for some time now and I know I can’t be the only one that has SO much to say on matter!
The subject – contraception.
*At this point I would just like to point out that I am in no way, shape or form a medical professional BUT I do have a womb and therefore entitled to have an opinion, which is exactly what this post is, simply my personal thoughts, experiences and opinions.*
So… let’s get into it shall we. I thought I should start by giving the actual definition of contraception, defined as – ‘The deliberate use of artificial methods or other techniques to
prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse.’ These methods fall into several different categories, the most well known and commonly used being –
Barrier contraception: such as condoms,
Hormonal contraception: such as the pill or injection,
Long-acting reversible contraception: such as the implant or IUD.
Now, at the grand old age of 28 I feel like I’ve finally sussed my body out (some what) in the way of what works for me and what doesn’t in regards to the world of contraception. It goes without saying that every single person and body is different and so what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. I think contraception is very much a personal journey and one that continually changes depending on your age, lifestyle and sexual activity.
I was 19 when I first went on the pill, I was originally put on it by my GP because randomly 5 years after they started, my periods suddenly became the demon! Severe cramps, dizzy spells, days were I literally couldn’t get out of bed. So after speaking with the doctor, the pill seemed to be the best solution to control them. Before this the only contraception I’d used previously had been condoms which up to that point had worked fine for me. I came off my original prescription of the pill after around 6-7 months, the type of pill I had been put on didn’t agree with me and was giving me headaches and making me feel sluggish. At this point in my life I hadn’t really given any thought to the implant, IUD or any other form of contraception. The pill was what all of my friends were on and so seemed the easiest option. I wish now I had taken it upon myself to research more into it however I did not and just went with whatever the doctor suggested. The second pill I went on was Rigevidon and although I stayed on this (on and off) for around three years, I was very aware of how the side effects from taking hormonal contraception were effecting me. Weight gain and mood swings were my biggest tell tale signs. I kept trying to see if anything would change if I stayed on it and allowed my body to get used to it but no. After three years I came off it and I can honestly say the difference I feel when I’m not taking hormonal contraception is amazing. I feel lighter, both physically and mentally and personally just feel more in control of my body. I know that hormonal
contraception works fantastically for some people, and it’s great that
the option exists, but for me, it’s not a match.
Recently (about 4 months ago) I made the switch to natural contraception. It’s something that for my current lifestyle works perfectly for me. Of course I’m not against hormonal contraception, I may even find myself back on it at some point but for now I’m removing that method from my life and focusing on new techniques.
It’s also important for me to point out that knowing what works for you takes time. You sometimes like me have to try different methods before finding the one that fits best. If there are any younger women reading this then be sure to research all the different kinds of contraception available. Venturing into the world of contraception for the first time can be overwhelming, there’s no need to rush and remember if you want some professional advice then make an appointment with your local family planning clinic or GP. Talk to friends and family about their experiences and collect as much knowledge as possible.
As I mentioned, I recently started my journey with a new, hormone free method of contraception – Natural Cycles.
In a nutshell, Natural Cycles involves an app and a digital medical thermometer which is used to measure your body temperature every morning before you get out of bed. You place the thermometer under your tongue, your temperature varies depending on the hormone levels in your body, and where you are in your cycle. You then enter the reading into the app where you’ll then be given a notification of either a green day (safe to have sex) or red day (possibility of getting pregnant and need to use protection.) Of course as with all other contraception (apart from condoms) Natural Cycles doesn’t protect against STI’s so if you’re having casual sex or sex with a new partner always wear a condom.
I will say that using the app and getting into the routine of taking your temperature each morning does take time to get used to. For this method to work effectively you do have to be quite disciplined in order to measure at the same time everyday after the same amount of sleep (within two hours each way) so again, lifestyle does come into play here. If you’re a student or someone with an irregular sleeping pattern it might not be for you just yet. With that said I do think it’s a great alternative for those (aged 18+) that either don’t want to ingest additional hormones (like me) or don’t get on with other forms of contraception. I feel really strongly about making informed choices when it comes to sexual health, we shouldn’t treat it flippantly. When looking into Natural Cycles and seeing if it was something I wanted to try, I did a lot of research into the method itself – as have Natural Cycles themselves, there’s a whole science section on their website here.
For me Natural cycles has not only allowed me to remove additional hormones from my body but also has allowed me to truly understand my cycle and how it works. I’ve never felt more in tune with my body, I find the results fascinating and I’m looking forward to the next few months and seeing how it goes. I’ll be writing a follow up post in a couple of months to discuss any likes/dislikes etc as well as answering any questions you guys might have either about Natural Cycles or any other contraceptive methods I’ve used in the past. Again, I am not a doctor so this is only my personal experience but I think the best way to talk about these things is to be open and honest from the get go.
So with that said, I encourage questions and feedback in the comments below, tell me about your journey and what you’ve found works for you. If you’ve used Natural Cycles yourself or if it’s something you could be interested in. I want to here your thoughts!
*This post was kindly sponsored by Natural Cycles however all thoughts, experiences and opinions are my own*