Amy M. Spagnola


The Horrors of Birth Control

While I could compose a dissertation on my thoughts on chemical and hormonal-laced birth control, I will resist the urge to write an ultra-lengthy, frenzied and indignant post about the horrendous side effects and the accompanying health issues, relationship strife and career difficulties that may result from taking birth control; I will instead write a short summary about the potential side effects, my own experience and the hardship of having no 'good choice' for birth control as a woman.  

Many years ago, my mom popped a little daily pill that prevented her from getting pregnant and today, the same options are available for women. While the hormones might be "reduced," the side effects are the same. Modern technology has made incredible advances--supercharged photosynthesis, nano-architecture and liquid biopsies--yet, reversible male birth control or any real non-permenant birth control for men is light years away.

Little did I know when I started birth control at 23, that I would be setting myself up for major future health consequences and emotional disturbances. While my boyfriends went on their merry way, with fertile and strong bodies, I suffered dramatic health woes and was unknowingly destroying the good bacteria in my gut (which regulates mood and immune function), killing my libido and messing with my emotional wellbeing.

I had breast tenderness, unexplained itching, stomaches, leg pain, hand pain, joint pain, stinging and burning while going to the bathroom, depression and mood swings. I also felt a general sense of malaise. For more side effects read HERE

I tried at least 7 different pill types and once had a reaction so bad to a new pill that my body broke out in hives; I had to call Planned Parenthood in a panic and was told I was having a reaction NOT to the hormones but rather, the fillers in the pill. (Meanwhile I've never had this reaction to any other OTC drug or medicine...i.e. my filler allergy is very specific).

The side effects of birth control cannot be understated, read another horror story HERE and HERE and HERE.

My friend group which includes a lot of different women with different lifestyles and bodies (sizes 6'3 to 5'2)--ALL have stopped birth control and now use the pullout method, rely on condoms or natural family planning. Woman after woman in my group either suffered blood clot scares or "felt crazy" while on the pill.

I decided to write this post after a friend of mine expressed that she's been suicidal after having had the Mirena put in a few months ago. I sent her information on how many people have reported serious side effects with the IUD (and pill) and how studies reveal it can make women twice as likely to experience depression. My friend brushed me off.

The doctors say with the IUD, the hormones are localized and don't circulate throughout the body. Not true!
The doctors say the IUD has much less hormones than the pill so it's not harmful.
Not true!
The doctors say that the IUD can't possibly cause XYZABDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVOPMNFGC symptoms.
Not true!

My friend doesn't want to hear that her nifty birth control method will eventually cause her emotional agony, marital issues and health problems. Her family is complete and the hubby isn't going in for the snip, so she will march on with her little, tiny and "innocuous" intra-uterine device. After all, the issues she's having more likely have to do with her marriage, kids, mother-in-law or this or that. She told me she's going to do more therapy (twice a week) and is on Lexapro and a few other mood modulating drugs. The last drug she tried to help calm emotional state gave her a terrible and scary rash...oh goody! More drugs = more side effects.

I was tired of the dreadful pill and bought into all the propaganda. I also went for an IUD, the Skyla, two years ago. The Skyla is the Mirena's baby sister and I thought it would finally end my never-ending birth control battle.

I had it taken out within 10 days because of crippling side effects--feeling ill, becoming pale, weak, tired and having severe leg pain while being incredibly irritable. Like the flu on steroids. My OB/GYN doc said the IUD couldn't possibly be causing my health problems and totally dismissed me and made me feel akin to a drunken Gary Busey, i.e. deranged idiot.

After the IUD, my body hit a wall. It was sick from all the fake hormones and trying to alter a natural and normal state of being. I developed constant leg soreness, aches, tons of abdominal pain, bladder and urinary issues and itching. I later self-diagonesd and have since fought an epic battle against candida and leaky gut. (Candida is a yeast in the body which is under control when gut bacteria is balanced...birth control, antibiotics and stress alter and change the ratio of good and bad bugs and many problems arise when the ratio is disturbed---more on that in a future post...).

I have gone to many holistic and alternative health practitioners and they have helped my body return to a better place, although, I still have to fight itching, a reappearing face rash (perioral dermatitis--caused by yeast), UTIs, immune issues, fatigue and some joint pain.

I still find it incredibly troubling that women don't demand more options for their health, bodies, lives and fertility. Birth control keeps pharmaceutical companies rich so there's no way they will develop healthier options unless there's outrage and uprising. Women suffer all the burden of staying un-pregnant.

And it's baffling and crazy to me how many families I know wherein the baby making is no longer on the agenda and the women STILL alter their physiology in order to stop the child creation process by means of IUD, tubal ligation, shots, rings and arm implants. (Most recently, I ran into a woman who had gotten the implanon and was suffering terrible acne--take a look at the bruising/scarring that can result from this hellish BC method).

Men can go in for a simple, easy, quick, affordable and side effect free outpatient procedure, vasectomy(!) but few do. Instead, women continue to bathe their bodies in cancer causing, debilitating and poisonous excess hormones or undergo invasive procedures. WTF?!?!?!?!

And many women I know have gone the other route and put an end to the insanity with BC and have 'winged it' which in two cases I know offhand, has resulted in accidental or unplanned pregnancies. Even one of my holistic doctors was on the baby train after a few weeks of dating a new guy, and was about 8 months pregnant and huge for her shotgun "dream wedding." Not ideal.

I still have no answer to the birth control conundrum. Condoms suck. Family planning is arduous. Pullout is risky.

Birth control pills and the IUD (briefly) kept me from getting pregnant and having babies with the wrong people. It did a good job on that front, but it cost me dearly.

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