Contraception; trying to stop sperm reaching an egg. Contraception has allowed us to have more control over our life and family planning. We’ve been earning more, getting a higher education and can have sex when we want without the fear of unplanned pregnancy, we can also become a mobile home for a fetus, If we want. That’s what it’s all about. Giving us more control over our life. Power to the pussy (sorry we couldn’t resist).
No Right or wrong educate yourself
Just like finding the perfect pair of jeans that make your legs look like fire and your bum look AHH-MAZING, finding the perfect contraception for you depends on what you want (short term & long-term goals), your lifestyle, hormone & medical history as well as in part, genetics.
We’re not here to tell you what form of contraception you should or shouldn’t be on, nor should any doctor or health professional. We’re here just to simply help guide you to have a more informed decision when it comes to your health, and that definitely includes the synthetic hormones you do or don’t chose to take.
Unlike the absolute smash hit ‘The Sister of the Travelling Pants’ you and your besties might not fit into the same pair of jeans (contraceptive choice). What works for Blake Lively (You), might not work for America Ferrara (Your Bestie), and that’s ok. Plus I’m sure if there was a new sequel (over time), the jeans would be different again. You catching our drift?
Where to Start...
There are many options to fit whatever your current lifestyle choice and wants when it comes to your reproductive health AND most importantly your overall health as a woman. Remember hormones affect EVERYTHING in your body! From your moods, appetite, choices in sexual partner, energy levels, sleep, skin, the whole sha-bang!
It’s important to know how each form affects your body and how you can still get your desired outcome. That’s science Biatch.
Remember this form has one thing in common, the mechanism; Give us synthetic hormones to trick our body into thinking it’s already pregnant. Yes we are modern women now! Power to the Coochie.
Keep in mind, these hormones maybe stop our ability to fall pregnant, but they look different to our body too! The positive affects of our natural hormones AREN’T mimic’d in the ones we get from our contraception.
Just as the name suggests, these hormones come in the form of a little coloured pill (the colour depends on the brand- Note It’s not a ‘Matrix’ pick the red or the blue pill situation). Although because different pills contain different hormones, there are different repercussions of each pill, and these can change depending on your genetic makeup. This explains why two of your friends can start taking the same pill and one can be ‘feelin herself’ type of vibe and the other can be having you ask ‘Is she a legit demon?’
Typical Success Rate: 93%
Implant in your 'Coochie' (IUD) ie. 'Mirena'
So these guys actually get inserted up into your uterus, hence the term IUD (Intra Uterine Device) and live there for up to 3 – 5 years. They contain only synthetic progesterone, by the name of levonorgestral.
Note: the risk of ectopic is higher amongst women with IUDs (Ectopic pregnancy’s account for approximately 1% of all pregnancies.
Typical Success Rate: 99.6-99.9%
Also commonly known as the Implanon or Nexplanon, it contains progestin AKA a type of synthetic progesterone and is inserted under the skin of your upper arm and releases into the body for up to 3 years.
Typical Success Rate: 99.9%
Hormone Injection eg. Depovera
This is a high dose of synthetic progesterone you get injected once every 3 months. As this is injected into your blood stream, there is argument to suggest that the synthetic hormone affects the rest of your body more than a hormonal IUD, the jury is still out on that. What we do know is that both of these forms contain synthetic progesterone that is tightly linked to increased depression rates.
Typical Success Rate: 96%
Think of this like a ‘pill’ you don’t have to remember to take. It contains synthetic oestrogen and progesterone and lives up in your vagina for 3 weeks, you then take it out for a week, then replace it with a new one. If you experience vaginismus or find it hard to use a tampon or menstrual cup, this method might be further down your list.
Typical Success Rate: 93%
This is much like a nicotine patch that is commonly placed on your backside or stomach and releases both synthetic oestrogen and progesterone into your system. The patches need to be changed every week and the directions say to rest for a week, this will in su a withdrawal bleed.
Typical Success Rate: 93%
Morning After Pill (Plan B)
So you think you might be at risk of pregnancy. You tried to time it right, or pull out, or you ran out of condoms or the condom broke, or you’re just really really worried even though nothing went wrong. This is where the morning after pill comes in. Keep in mind this doesn’t replace condoms because it doesn’t protect you against STDs, however it does have 3 months worth of synthetic progesterone in one pill. The closer to sex you take it the more reliable it is, pharmacists usually say no longer than 3-4 days afterwards. You may notice some mood changes and your future periods to be mixed up because of this sudden high dose of hormone.
Typical Success Rate: 87% (It is more effective the closer you take it to unprotected sex)
The other side of Hormonal Contraceptives
- Researchers in Denmark have found powerful evidence demonstrating the link between hormonal contraceptives and depression.
- Women between the age of 15-34 were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with depression 6 months after starting hormonal contraception, then women who weren’t on hormonal contraception.
- IUD (hormonal ‘levonorgestral) 40% increase in all women, 220% increase in women aged 15-19, for depression
- IUDs (hormonal and non hormonal) increase the risk of Ectopic pregnancy. You also have an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy if; you’re undergoing fertility treatment, have a history of ectopic pregnancy, past history of tubal disease or pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Women between 15-34 yrs were 40% more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants than women not on hormonal contraceptives
- Long term contraceptive use can cause your body to be depleted in important minerals like magnesium, omega 3’s, and calcium.
- Women between the ages of 15-19 are the hardest hit by contraceptive use risks
Note: These stats compare women of the same age who use a type of hormonal contraception as compared to women of the same age, who are naturally cycling, and their increased risk of developing depression. (Sourced from Dr. Sara E. Hill- ‘How the pill changes everything’) Reference: Danish Register on Health and Social issues.
All success rate stats are taken from here
With the pill women bleed but don’t cycle
With the hormonal IUD Women Cycle but don’t bleed
Dr. Lara Briden (Author of Period Repair Manual)
Just as there are methods that use synthetic chemicals that mimic hormones, there are also methods that don’t alter your hormones and body systems, but instead use barriers or timing.
The Trusty Condom
These bad boys have the double whammy of protecting you against those pesky diseases that can put a real dampener on your sex life and also help prevent pregnancy. They are also probably the only thing you remember from ‘Sex Ed’ at school, that plastic banana is burnt into my 13 year old brain. If you’re not wanting to be on any hormonal or permanent contraception these are great. Also if you’re having fun with multiple sexual partners -no shame here, if you want it (and it’s consensual) go get it girl, be safe though, condoms protect you against more than unwanted pregnancies.
Typical Success Rate: 87%
‘So wait… You’re going to stick that thing… up there?!’. IUD stands for Intra Uterine Device. Think of it like a UFO, it’s a foreign thingy-ma-bob that is whacked up in your Coochie. This is kind of like the Mirena but instead of working by releasing hormones, it works by making it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg, and for the ovum to like where it’s living. Imagine a door thats slightly a-jar with cob-webs into a haunted house… No one wants to really live there, and neither do your partners little swimmers. (If you’re using a copper IUD, you can become deficient of zinc, so supplementing can be a good idea.)
Typical Success Rate: 99.2%
No this isn’t set the oven timer type of deal. It’s all about your partner knowing when to, for lack of a better phrase… ‘Pull out’. This method isn’t as effective as the above methods, however when paired with timing of your cycles, this can improve your contraception. As far as your timing goes it’s important to be in tune with what’s going on with your cycle. Basically you want to be really safe, around the 2-3 days before and after ovulation. *keep in mind each woman can ovulate at different times, so if you’re cycles are notoriously irregular or have recently changed, this is a much more difficult option to navigate safely and effectively. The easiest way to know when you’re ovulating is mucous changes paired with temperature changes, check out more deets here.
Typical Success Rate: 77-98% (Note: this is usually due to not knowing when you’re ovulating)
Not sure you're on the right contraceptive? Ask yourself these questions...
Note: ‘The Pill’ refers to any form of contraceptive you’re on.
Q1. Do I feel like myself on the pill?
Q2. Have my behaviours changed since going on the pill?
Q3. Has my mood changed since going on the pill?
Q4. Have my relationships (both sexual & nonsexual) changed since going on the pill?
Q5. Has my performance at school or work changed since going on the pill?
Q6. Have my interests changed since going on the pill? (Or do you want to focus on your fertility?)
Q7. Have my motivations changed since going on the pill? Am I more or less motivated to do things that I used to like to do before going on it?
Finally… How do I feel about these answers?
Questions sourced from Dr. Sarah E. Hill (How the Pill Changed Everything).
Not All Hormones Are Created Equal
B.Hsci. b.app.hsci (Chiro). Founder of TSOM
When you’re on the pill and get your period, it’s not really your period, you haven’t ovulated. It’s a withdrawal bleed. We bleed when both our oestrogen and progesterone are low. You’ve skipped to the end of your cycle and missed everything in-between…Like growing an egg, ovulating and creating natural progesterone, these things help make your body more resilient for the future.
Fritz, M. and Speroff, L., 2010. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology And Infertility. 8th ed. Lipponcott Wilkins & Williams.