Do Women Need Periods?

do women need periodsThe news that women don’t need pill-bleeds generated the headlines that “women don’t need periods,” which is dead wrong.

It’s true that women don’t need pill-bleeds because pill-bleeds are not periods anyway. But women DO need menstrual cycles, and here’s why.

Read moreDo Women Need Periods?

The 5 Best Types of Natural Birth Control

natural birth controlHad enough of the side effects of hormonal birth control?

You do have other options.

Here are my top 5 picks for the best methods of non-hormonal natural birth control.

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Fertility Awareness Methods

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) works because, as a woman, you are fertile for only six days per cycle. To avoid pregnancy, you must simply determine which days you are fertile and then abstain from vaginal intercourse or use a barrier method. It’s surprisingly easy to do.

FAM is scientific because it uses the objective sign of body temperature, cervical fluid, or cervix changes (or all three). It’s different from the rhythm method which is an old style of FAM that relies solely on dates on a calendar.

The simplest type of fertility awareness method is the Daysy Fertility Monitor, which is a computer that measures your body temperature and does all the calculations for you. It’s a certified medical device that undergoes independent quality testing every year. It has undergone some controversy with regard to the most recent scientific study backing up its efficacy claim.

You can also do FAM manually on paper or with the assistance of an app. To do that, you’ll need to be trained in FAM. For more information, see Toni Weschler’s book Taking Charge of Your Fertility or Fertility Friday’s post 23 Fertility Awareness websites you should know about. (I recently met Lisa from Fertility Friday at our New York Hack Your Cycle event.)

Find a fertility awareness method educator at the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals.

Condoms

Worldwide, male condoms are the most popular form of birth control, and it’s easy to understand why. Condoms are simple, effective, and protect against sexually transmitted disease.

If comfort is an issue, then please ask your partner to visit myONE Perfect Fit and find a condom that fits. You could also look at Hex Condoms which use a new hexagon technology for a more comfortable fit.

Caya diaphragm

Caya is a new one-size-fits-all diaphragm. It’s made of silicone rather than the latex of the old-style diaphragms and does not need to be fitted by your doctor.

You can buy Caya directly online or by prescription from your local pharmacist.

Femcap cervical cap

The cervical cap is similar to a diaphragm but smaller. It shaped like a little sailor’s cap and fits around your cervix.

Femcap comes in three different sizes and is used with a non-toxic gel. It’s available in some countries without a prescription, but in the U.S., it must be fitted and prescribed by a doctor. Visit Femcap.com.

Copper IUD

The good thing about the copper IUD is that it does not suppress ovulation or alter hormones. In that way, it’s different from the hormonal IUD which is not supposed to suppress ovulation but still does.

Some women love the copper IUD, and it has the highest rate of user satisfaction of any method. It’s also effective as emergency contraception.

Unfortunately, the copper IUD does have some downsides which I discuss in the blog post The Pros and Cons of the Copper IUD.

What is your experience with natural birth control?

Dr Lara Briden

The Serious Downside to Contraceptive Implants and Injections

Contraceptive injection

The progestin drugs of implants and injections are not progesterone and so can cause side effects such as depression.

They also cause irregular “breakthrough bleeds” which are not real periods.

Read moreThe Serious Downside to Contraceptive Implants and Injections

The Right Way to Test Progesterone with Your Cycle

testing progesterone

The next time your doctor orders a progesterone test, stop a minute and ask: “When is the right day to do this test?”

If you have a longer cycle, you can expect to have almost no progesterone for the majority of the menstrual cycle–and that’s normal! You could even have no progesterone on day 21.

Here’s what need to know about progesterone testing.

Read moreThe Right Way to Test Progesterone with Your Cycle

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