Learning More About Your Lady Parts
I decided to write a blog post about periods. Most of my following consists of women so I feel its my duty to share what I've learned and resources I have found helpful for learning more about periods. Not just periods really the whole female reproductive system and the effects of birth control. The reason I wanted to learn more about menstrual periods is because personally I feel like I didn't know enough about them which now come to think of it feels INSANE to not know what's going on with your own body. Learning more just led me down a path which leaded to asking more questions.
A bit of personal back story: I got my first period when I was 13 I think. In my teens I had regular enough periods but the pain was excruciating I remember leaving school early multiple times because of the pain. At the time I was also suffering from cysts on my ovaries which were discovered when I got my appendix removed. I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) after that. My skin was horrendous too I had really bad acne in my teens which is a common sign of PCOS along with excess hair (I had to get laser hair removal on my face when I was 17). I had visited a dermatologist about my skin they put me on an intense skin care regime which included antibiotics for my skin. At some point someone mentioned birth control as a cure all solution for the problems I was having. I thought wow this is great my periods won't hurt as much my hormones will regulate so my acne will go away and best of all I can have sex and not get pregnant! My General Practitioner (GP) suggested Yasmin as it suited most people. I began taking Yasmin birth control when I was 16. My skin did clear up, the period pain did lessen and I sure as hell did not get pregnant. I did however develop a dairy intolerance, gained a lot of weight, had low libido and became easily depressed. My GP then prescribed me anti depressants to help me cope. I am now 23 years old and decided to come off birth control. I never considered it until this year. I began to question being on the birth control pill because of the lockdown situation 2020 brought about. Being locked inside with no boyfriend or f*ck buddy for "cuddles" made me think why am I still taking this when there is no risk of pregnancy. My skin hasn't been bad in years but surely the teen acne phase is gone when you're 23 with or without the pill. What I thought were my periods during my break between pill packets were bearable. I thought screw this there's no point in taking it for the sake of taking it.
I then began to ask my instagram followers what their experiences were in relation to coming off birth control. I was stunned by what these women were telling me. 90% of the feedback I was getting from these women aged 17-45 was all positive about coming off hormonal birth control. A common sentiment expressed by these women who had stopped taking the pill was that they felt more like themselves than they had in years!!! They had felt less depressed, their libido had returned, they felt the were less fatigued, more energetic, and that they felt in touch with their body functioning naturally. I was forewarned that coming off the pill could make me very emotional, I could get post pill acne and it could take months for my periods to return and hormones to regulate. Learning all of this I had already made up my mind. No more birth control. Its been around 3 weeks since I've been off the pill. I definitely feel less tired, I have started to get a bit of acne but that's okay and mentally like a fog has been lifted. The biggest difference I've noticed is for sure mentally I am coping with things better and feel like I'm rediscovering my old self.
Since coming off the pill I have not had sex lol *sighs*... but its probably for the best. I want to get a grasp of my natural cycle and know when naturally I'm not at risk of getting pregnant then I'll make some booty calls. I'm going to start tracking my cycle with an app and use the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) as natural contraception. I've learned there are actually only 6 days per cycle that a woman can actually get pregnant the fertile days are the 5 days before ovulation and the 24 hours after the egg is released.
I am still shocked by the things I did not know about my own body and the hormonal contraceptive I was taking for 7 years. The period you get on the pill isn't your natural period it is your uterus experiencing the hormonal withdrawal of the pill. Also the most basic thing that never seemed to cross my mind when taking the pill was that I was literally taking in hormones to alter the natural functions of my body. Like HOW did this not enter my mind? I was too busy being happy about not getting pregnant. This prompts the other thought why don't men take hormonal contraception? Because they don't want to put hormones into their body that could give them the side effects that we as women who have taken birth control have experienced. Low Libido for a man so he won't get women pregnant? Oh no. Depression for a man so he won't get women pregnant? No thanks. Stopping sperm production in the male body so that he won't get women pregnant? Nope not for men. SO why did women think yeah sure we will take one for the team. Ladies lets take a pill so with all the shitty side effects and altering our natural body functions with a hormonal pill. It takes two to tango and it should not solely be the woman's responsibility to not get pregnant and provide the only form of birth control. Another thing that came to mind was my great grandmother Annie who was pregnant 16 times and had never seen a condom or birth control in her life. Could her fertility have to do with the LACK of hormonal birth control altering her natural cycle. Think about it people had bigger families back in the day sure they were under the catholic churches oppression and pressured to breed more catholics but they had to have a certain fertility to do so. In present days the rate of infertility is extremely high. Much more couples are adopting, going through surrogacy, IVF treatment and other routes in order to have a child. Could the increased infertility rate be because of more women taking hormonal birth control? These are all things that went through my mind. Things I had never questioned before. Its crazy still to me that I never questioned why things were done and why I was also doing them to my own body.
Remember there are lots of other barrier methods male and female condoms and the pull out method. Condoms are also important for protection against STI' and STD's. Anyways I'm getting off track and I'd like to conclude this post with links to resources for women (and men too if you'd like) to learn more about the female reproductive cycle, hormonal birth control and the female reproductive organs. I'm not trying to persuade people against the pill or birth control I just wanted to share my experience, thoughts and new found knowledge. Do what is best for you and your body!
Lots of Love,
MARK GROVES PODCAST:
HOLLY GRIGG-SPALL- SWEETENING THE PILL
THE PERIOD REPAIR MANUAL BY LARA BRIDEN