I doubt I could ever compile a complete list. Maybe after years and years of research, but for today let’s take a look at nine reasons that women go on hormonal birth control:
Avoid pregnancy — Obviously, so let’s just get this one out of the way. But surprisingly nearly half of those on hormonal birth control are on it for non-contraceptive reasons.
Acne — I feel like this one is pretty high on the list for why girls go on the pill. Often they’ll give a dermatologist a chance to prescribe them with some cream or pills, and when that doesn’t work right away they opt for the pill. And on top of that, women are often terrified of what will happen to their skin when they come off of the pill.
Irregular cycles — Many women and girls go on the pill to “regulate” their cycles. When in reality most forms of hormonal birth control cancel out their cycle entirely. They don’t ovulate, and that week of blood you still have to deal with every month? It's essentially a fake period, they added those blank pills at the end of the pack to create a withdrawal bleed to make the pill seem “more natural”.
Menstrual pain/cramps — Ok, let me just say that as I was researching this I stumbled on a kids health site where a 14-year-old girl was asking about ways to help with cramps, and the person answering said to get on birth control pills. Ugh. This was one of the main reasons I went on the pill, and I still had cramps! It wasn't until after I got off the pill and cleaned up my diet that my cramps really calmed down.
Long periods — This was another one of the reasons I went on the pill as an 18-year-old. I had heavy, long, painful periods. Just like with regulating your cycle, the pill keeps you in a very tight 28-day window. I went from having 9 day periods to 5-7 day periods. Not that big of an improvement if you ask me. I now have 3-5 day periods.
Heavy periods — Like I said this was another reason I went on the pill. I’ve ruined plenty of underwear in my day, and blown through many a box of super tampons. And do you know what? That didn’t change when I went on the pill. As you've read on the last two, it didn't get better until I switched my diet.
Endometriosis — Making your period lighter, regular and shorter helps relieve the pain of endometriosis. The most common treatments of Endometriosis are hormones and surgery. I’ve read quite a few stories of women who healed their endometriosis naturally. I know this is wishful thinking from someone who hasn’t suffered from it, but I think there are so many women out there who want options and aren’t given them.
PCOS — The pill works to treat the symptoms of PCOS by regulating and shortening periods, balancing out testosterone levels, which lead to excessive hair, acne and such. It is also supposed to help with cramps. But while the pill may treat these specific symptoms, it can lower your ability to absorb vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals and kill the good bacteria in your gut, which often makes your cycle, period and general health worse.
PMS/PMDD — What I’ve learned in the past few years is that a lot of the negative aspects of having a menstrual cycle are actually pointing towards an imbalance inside the body. You can treat these naturally, and quickly you’ll learn that it’s all connected. Doing my own research was an eye opening experience, and I'm here to share all that I've learned with you.
In the end, many of us would love a quick, easy fix to our problems. But often we have to invest a little bit of time and effort to finding the solution. Honestly, it wasn’t until the age of 20 that I even realized that I could potentially treat my issues naturally.
I’m a big believer in the freedom to make informed choices. I always recommend doing all of the research you can, read from all viewpoints and then make your own decision. If you look into both natural solutions as well as hormonal birth control, and you end up choosing the pill, that’s your choice. But more and more women are looking for an answer outside of the Pill.
My senior year in college I finally hit a wall with my digestion issues, depression, and frequent painful UTI’s (and this is only a few of my problems at the time). I started looking at what I was putting into my body. My journey started by going vegetarian in the fall of 2012, vegan after graduating in 2013, and quitting the pill that same summer. It has been a continuous journey filled with a never ending supply of knowledge, love, acceptance and success.
I want everyone to know that they can take charge of their own health. You are capable and smart enough to find the answers. Approach it with openness, love and the desire to learn. You'll be amazed what you'll get in return.