Groove

Stopping the Pill is a BIG Deal

wrote this on November 5, 2015

The messages are incessant. Our whole lives, we’re bombarded by billboards, commercials, friends, doctors, partners, and society as a whole telling us that the pill and other hormonal contraceptives are the only responsible way to fix period woes and prevent pregnancy.

Got acne? Menstrual cramps? Heavy flow? Irregularity? Mood swings? Anxiety? A hangnail? Take the pill! Okay…so maybe that last one was an exaggeration, but most doctors will prescribe hormonal contraception for just about anything these days.

More and more, we’re seeing women ditch the pill and other hormonal methods. But why?

The Rise of Natural and Organic Products

Most of us have probably done it: you’re at the grocery store reaching for some produce and notice that its organic equivalent costs just a few cents more. So you think “Why not?” and go with the organic option.

For organic farmers and manufacturers, business is booming. In 2012, 81% of American families reported purchasing organic produce and products, and that number has increased since then. A report estimates that between 2013 and 2018, sales of organic goods was expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 percent. CAGR is a fancy business term that I’m not going to get into…all you need to know is that 14 percent is some serious growth!

People are starting to realize that what we put into (and onto) our bodies actually matters, and in my (oh so humble) opinion, opting for non-hormonal birth control is a natural progression of this trend.

Dissatisfaction with hormonal contraception

Many of us have experienced some sort of unpleasant side effect from hormonal birth control…I know I have! My negative experience with the pill’s side effects is what led me to stop taking it, and, according to science, I’m definitely not alone.

In 2007, a team of researchers published a study about discontinuation rates associated with the pill. They found that after just six months, 57 percent of participants had discontinued their oral contraceptive regimen. And nearly 34 percent of those who discontinued cited negative side effects as their reason for stopping.1 Additionally, a recent CDC study showed that 1 in 3 women have discontinued the pill because of dissatisfaction, and that 63 percent of those women blamed side effects.2

And if you follow the news, you’ve probably noticed that serious adverse reactions to hormonal contraceptives have been a common topic of discussion lately—particularly NuvaRing. There are mounting lawsuits questioning the safety of NuvaRing, along with many other hormonal contraceptive options.

So if you’re thinking about stopping because you’re experiencing unpleasant side effects, you’re definitely not the only one. The fact that Groove exists should be proof enough.

Opting for Natural Methods

As more and more of us ditch the hormones&mdahs;whether it’s to watch your health or to get rid of side effects—we’re turning to natural methods. One such method is the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness. That may be a mouthful, but as far as pregnancy prevention, it’s crazy effective! We’re talking 99.6 percent here. (You can read more about that here.)

Even though natural methods are still used by a very small percent of the population, it’s a big enough trend that major media outlets like CNN (For Birth Control, What’s Old is New Again), The Atlantic (Return of the Rhythm Method), and Al Jazeera (For Many, Hormonal Birth Control An Increasingly Bitter Pill to Swallow) are writing about it. Despite the inaccuracies in the CNN and The Atlantic articles, the fact that major media outlets are writing about something like natural birth control is pretty huge.

In addition to natural methods like the sympto-thermal method, women are also increasingly turning to condoms and withdrawal for protection. This just goes to show that the mass exodus from hormonal birth control isn’t just a trend that will fizzle. It’s here to stay.

Stopping the pill is personal

Deciding to stop the pill can be a difficult, deeply personal decision, and I will never claim to know the best method for any individual…only you can possibly know that. But what I will say is that is trends are clear: women are ditching the pill in droves and turning to natural alternatives.

TRUST ME when I say that I know exactly how it feels to be absolutely terrified about stopping any form of hormonal contraception. It literally took me months to feel okay about the idea, and it wasn’t until I learned about how the menstrual cycle actually works that I finally felt confident (but that whole story will be in another post).

Just know that whether you’re still toying with the idea of stopping your hormonal birth control, or whether you’ve vowed never to ingest, inject, or insert one into your body ever again, you are not alone. I repeat: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

References

  1. Oral Contraceptive Discontinuation: Do Side Effects matter? Westhoff et. al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Apr; 196(4): 412.e1–412.e7.

  2. Contraceptive Methods Women Have Ever Used: United States, 1982–2010. Daniels K, Mosher W, Jones J. National Health Statistics Report No. 62. February 2013.

Jennifer Aldoretta is the cofounder and CEO of Groove. She is an entrepreneur, engineer, and biohacker who is obsessed with periods, nutrition, hormones, and the microbiome.