I don’t do controversial or vulnerable here very often, but today, I’m going there. If you’re adamantly pro-traditional medicine or easily offended, I recommend clicking away now. The recipes section is full of fantastic stuff that I’m sure you’ll love!
Today, right here – it’s getting personal. I’m talking about periods and I don’t mean the punctuation.
Why, you ask? This is a food blog. Why am I going there? I’ll tell you why. Because food is directly, undeniably, and completely related to hormones. And because I want to start a conversation around a topic I feel very strongly about.
My Experience with The Pill
When I was 15 years old, I had my first gynecologist appointment. At the time, I was concerned because I hadn’t gotten my period. “What’s taking so long?” “What’s wrong with me?” I asked myself. The gyno assured me that everything was normal and that everyone, of course, develops differently. A few months later, it happened. And a few months after that, I went on the Pill.
I could lie to you and say that I wanted to go on the Pill because “My cycles were irregular.” Because, “I had acne.” Because, “My cramps sucked.” All of that was true, but mostly, I just wanted bigger boobs and I wanted to have sex without worrying about – you know – the consequences. 🙅 👶
In hindsight, I know that I made a mistake by going on the Pill when I did. I didn’t give my body a chance to adjust. To balance itself. To acclimate to the new hormones and to establish its own natural rhythm.
Fast forward to college, sophomore year. Bodies have a funny way of talking to you, if you choose to listen. I was lethargic all of the time – I always wanted to sleep and had zero desire to exercise. I still had acne and I often had headaches. My period still sucked – I had cramps that left me curled up on the floor. No amount of ibuprofen helped. I had no control over my emotions – I was either extremely high or I was the lowest of lows. I didn’t like the way I felt AT ALL.
So I stopped taking the Pill.
I had no cycle for 6 months. Then I had irregular cycles for a few more months. And then? Miraculously, everything evened out. It was almost as if my body knew how to deal with its hormones on its own. Shocking, I know.
I started caring for my body from a nourishment standpoint. I cut out junk food and started providing my body with the building blocks it needed to create its own balance. Greens, grains, vegetables, good carbs and protein, nutrient-dense whole foods, and a few supplements. I have had success with Garden of Life Raw Vitamin D and Raw Iron. (Do NOT take synthetic Iron. It causes constipation and liver blockage.) I incorporated exercise into my routine, because I finally had the energy to do so.
I now have a reliable, manageable 31-day cycle and my cramps are almost non-existent. Every. Woman. Is. Different. Your body will tell you when it’s ready to cycle. Listen to your juices. Listen to your boobs. Listen to your appetite. Listen to your emotions (and NEVER apologize for them.) They will tell you.
I stopped getting urinary tract infections. While I was on the Pill, UTIs were a chronic issue for me. The Pill disrupts your natural flora and creates an environment that practically begs bad bacteria to shack up for the long haul. Antibiotic course after antibiotic course couldn’t stop the issue. After I went off the pill, I self-medicated with D-Mannose and the problem resolved itself.
Quite simply, it shuts off your body’s internal hormone production system. The Pill supplies your body with synthetic estrogen and progestin to inhibit natural cyclical hormones. The Pill changes your cervix’ mucus cycles to prevent sperm from traveling upwards. Some forms of the Pill even affect the structure of your uterine lining to make it an unwelcome home for an egg.
Why is the Pill dangerous?
I could go on for days.
It increases your chance of stroke, depression, blood clots, heart attack, and cancer. You are more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, both of which come with their own list of dangerous side effects. You are more likely to gain weight. You are more susceptible to heart disease and osteoporosis. You are more likely to suffer from sleeping disorders and a lack of deep sleep, both of which contribute to higher stress levels.
It doesn’t regulate your cycle. It eliminates it. It literally implants itself in your biology, blocks your body’s natural hormone production, and provides you with a one-size-fits-all hormone solution. Have you ever met a woman with exactly the same skin type as you? Exactly the same hair texture? Exactly the same eyebrow shape? No? Your hormones are yours and yours alone. No one Pill can fix every woman’s hormones.
The Pill separates you from your most intimate, personal, and natural bodily function.
You’re allowing Big Pharma to control your body. A bunch of miserable, rich, suited CEOs are sitting at a long, lacquered wooden table deciding how to market artificial hormones to you. Need I say more?
It decreases your libido. Which makes absolutely ZERO sense. Why take a pill that makes it safe to have sex while simultaneously diminishing your desire to have sex?
Increased risk of yeast, bladder, and urinary tract infections. Nope. No thanks.
What happens when you go off the Pill?
You get to take responsibility for your own reproductive health. YOU and YOU alone are in control of your body. You’re not allowing a bunch of bought-and-paid-for scientists and richer-than-hell CEOs into your lady parts. You’re empowered, woman.
You get to know your own body and become familiar with the way it works. It’s a beautiful, magical experience when you embrace it. Every. Woman. Is. Different. We are affected by the moon, by our stress levels, by what we eat, and by what we don’t eat.
Use condoms. We continued to use condoms even when I was on the pill because, you know, consequences. I know a handful of people who got pregnant while taking the Pill as prescribed and a handful is too many considering the effectiveness that Pill claims to have. I prefer Sir Richards because A) they don’t contain harmful chemicals that disrupt your vagina’s very complex and intuitive natural chemistry B) they offer a wide variety (if you know what I mean.) and C) for every condom that’s purchased, they donate a condom to an in-need community. Side note – if you’re with a dude that says he’s “too big” for condoms or he “can’t feel anything” in a condom, dump that piece of shit. You deserve respect. It’s your temple and you’re being kind enough to invite him to worship. If he can’t respect your decision, he doesn’t deserve to get in the door.
Have you taken it? For how long? How has it affected you – positively or negatively? I’d love to hear from you beautiful, amazing women on this topic. Maybe we’ve had similar experiences or maybe our experiences have been completely different. Either way – this is a subject that isn’t talked about enough. I think the sooner we can openly discuss things like birth control and womanhood, the sooner we can become more comfortable, more honest, and happier in general.
To put things into perspective – just in case you’d forgotten – we have one life to live. If we’re lucky, we have 100 years of laughing, loving, hugging, crying, running, climbing, jumping, and straight up living to do while we inhabit Mother Earth. It’s my opinion that we should treat our earthly bodies with respect and admiration for every single second that we inhabit them.
*DISCLAIMER* I am not a medical doctor. These are my real life experiences. Your body and your experiences are sure to be vastly different from mine. This post is not meant to prescribe a solution to anyone else’s health problems.
ALSO – I am fully aware that some women have to take the Pill for health reasons – endometriosis, migraines, ovarian cysts, etc. I’m fortunate in that I have not had to deal with any such problems. I fully respect and feel sympathy for those women who deal with these chronic, often debilitating issues.
ALSO – I strongly believe that all women should have access to affordable contraception. Whether that be condoms, or female condoms, or the Pill. Being in control of one’s own reproductive system is a fundamental human right.