We all know about western medicine, right? Of course there are a multitude of things that it absolutely excels at. Honestly, I am glad that I have it at my disposal. For example, If I have a life threatening emergency. I like being alive, so I am glad that I can prolong my life if I get into an accident or something.
Overall, though, if we want great health it doesn’t really have a lot to offer you or me. We could even go in for annual check ups for preventative measures, and if nothing was glaringly obvious we would be deemed in good health and skirted out the door. When there is something that threatens our quality of life we are often given a band aid rather than a real cure.
This is hugely the case with women and hormonal contraceptives. Yes, they are a contraceptive, but let’s set that mechanism of action aside for a while and focus on the other things that it does for women of reproductive age.
Makes the bleed come regularly
Relief of symptoms from endometriosis and polycystic ovaries
Lightens heavy periods
Less periods (for those on some types of pills or long acting hormonal contraception)
How many people do you know struggling with any of these things? I’m guessing a lot! The thing is, what all of these have in common is that they are a result of imbalanced hormones. A non-regular period can happen due to some other things that are not pathological, such as short term stress or illness, but everything else is going to be better addressed another way.
So long as doctors have a tool to eliminate symptoms, those pesky messages from our body telling us something isn’t right, there isn’t as much desire to get to the root of the problem. Either on the doctor’s or patient’s end.
From a patient’s perspective, unless they are very proactive about their health, they are going to listen to their doctors. When their doctors offer them relief of whatever symptom they originally came in with they feel that whatever they took or did “worked.” And it did work in that it alleviated a symptom. What we experience as a symptom is just one facet of a larger problem. Typical doctors are very good at eliminating that symptom, the problem is, many of them don’t have the first idea of how to go about treating the underlying problem.
So, how does this relate to women’s health, in particular their hormonal health? Since women are able to cover up symptoms, they are often unmotivated to get to the root of their problems. I would say that, for most, that lack of motivation does not come from lack of care for their health, but from the fact that they just truly don’t realize that the symptom is just a message telling them about a larger problem in the first place. What they are using as that “band aid” isn’t actually fixing that problem. Just look at this author talking about her experience with period suppressing pills.
Hormonal contraceptives are an extremely easy “fix,” which is one of the reasons they are so prevalent. But here is where the real issue comes in: Not only are those who have a hormonal imbalance in the first place ignoring the underlying problem in favor of symptom relief, but they have their own side effects associated with their use, like any other drug. So when we take the drug to suppress a symptom, not only do we have an imbalance that we don’t deal with, we also add hormonal imbalance on top of that. What a doozy, right?
Listen, I don’t judge anyone for making a decision that is right for them, but I want to help people make an informed decision so that they really know that it is the right choice and they can feel confident in it. If you aren’t ready to deal with a lot of health stuff, which often even delves into the emotional, maybe those hormones are your best bet right now. But, if you want the best health you can get let me assure you that artificial hormones are not a piece of that equation. I should say, there may be exceptions to that statement, like for those that have had an early total hysterectomy, though I don’t think we have enough data to really know.
One of the reasons this can get so out of hand with hormonal contraception is because of their double purpose. Women find it convenient that what helps them be symptom-free also helps them not get pregnant.
One of the great things about the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness is that it’s kind of like hormonal contraceptives, but the opposite. You get the whole birth control thing, but you also get a window into what is going on with your hormones so you get an idea of how to fix them (since your typical doctor isn’t going to be much help in fixing the underlying issues).
I invite anyone taking hormonal contraceptives to examine your motives for doing so, and think about whether you might be able to get more feedback about any of your health problems if you got off the hormones and experienced your body as is.
Hannah Ransom is a Fertility Awareness instructor. She teaches a live, online course on how to properly use the symptothermal method of fertility awareness as both a contraceptive method as well as a fertility-enhancing tool. There are still a handful of slots open for her next class on Saturday, August 31st. Click HERE to read more and to register for the class.