Natural Birth Control Methods Just as Effective, Much Safer Than Hormones

This interesting guide lists a number of birth control techniques that can be used instead of pills or patches. The article recommends practicing two or more natural birth control methods at the same time, and lists such methods as:

Withdrawal: The man withdraws his penis from the woman's vagina before he ejaculates. This doesn't always work; even before ejaculation, the penis releases small amounts of semen that can contain sperm, so this is only 60 to 80 percent successful at preventing pregnancy.

Calendar Method: Abstention from sex during the week the woman is ovulating. This technique works best when a woman's menstrual cycle is very regular. The calendar method doesn't work very well for couples who use it by itself (about a 75 percent success rate), but it can be effective when combined with the temperature and mucus methods described below.

The temperature method: This is a way to pinpoint the day of ovulation so that sex can be avoided for a few days before and after. It involves taking the basal body temperature (your temperature upon first waking) each morning with an accurate "basal" thermometer, and noting the rise in temperature that occurs after ovulation.

Illness or lack of sleep can change body temperature and make this method unreliable by itself, but when it is combined with the mucus method, it can be an accurate way of assessing fertility. The two methods combined can have a success rate as high as 98 percent.

The mucus method: This involves tracking changes in the amount and texture of vaginal discharge, which reflect rising levels of estrogen in the body. For the first few days after your period, there is often no discharge, but there will be a cloudy, tacky mucus as estrogen starts to rise. When the discharge starts to increase in volume and becomes clear and stringy, ovulation is near. A return to the tacky, cloudy mucus or no discharge means that ovulation has passed.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM): Some experts believe that exclusively breastfeeding  protects a woman from pregnancy by curbing hormones that trigger ovulation. However, every woman's body responds differently to the hormonal influences of breastfeeding, so this is an unreliable method.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Although birth control pills are amazingly effective and highly convenient, there is simply no way you or the one you love should be using this dangerous form of birth control. There are clear risks that will invariably negatively affect the health of the woman using them.

My advice: Avoid birth control pills like the plague.

Considering recent news about mounting lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for its dangerous and sometimes toxic Ortho Evra patch, it's important to remind you about the natural and more safer options, always at your disposal.

None of the methods listed in the article involve using a prophylactic or spermicide, but there are a number of safe birth control alternatives that do use such devices, including:

Male condoms: Condoms have a 98 percent effectiveness rate when used correctly. A water-based lubricant will increase the effectiveness; do not use an oil-based lubricant, however, as they break the latex.

Female condoms: These thin, soft polyurethane pouches fitted inside the vagina before sex are 95 percent effective. Female condoms are less likely to tear than male condoms.

Diaphragm: Diaphragms, which must be fitted by a doctor, act as a barrier to sperm. When used correctly with spermicidal jellies, they are 92 to 98 percent effective.

Cervical cap: This heavy rubber cap fits tightly against the cervix and can be left in place for 48 hours. Like the diaphragm, a doctor must fit the cap. Proper fitting enhances the effectiveness above 91 percent.

Spermicides: Creams, jellies and suppositories contain chemicals that kill sperm. While they can increase the effectiveness of other forms of contraception listed here, I don't recommend using them alone.

And there are also some other natural methods to scientifically check your fertility not listed in the article.

It is true that natural family planning, in which the woman checks both her basal temperature each morning, and her cervical mucous for appearance and "ferning" patterns, has an effectiveness that approaches that of birth control pills, so it's a good method for those of you who wish to avoid artificial devices of any kind.

Certainly you should avoid synthetic hormones, which have dangerous side effects, and risky surgically implantable devices.



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