• Fri, Mar 29 2013

10 Reasons I Stopped Birth Control Pills

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I believe that birth control should be cheap and plentiful for all who want access to it. I also believe hormonal birth control pills are the devil.
The pill has been lauded as a turning point of feminist freedom since the 60s. Half a century later, women still pop hormone supplements like candy — despite health risks, expenses, and psychological ramifications. I spent nearly a decade on Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Yasmin, Loestrin, and Seasonale untilI finally walked away from the prescription pad once and for all. Quitting the pill was one of the best choices I could have made, and here are 10 reasons why you should kick the BC habit, too.

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  • http://blisstree.com/ Carrie Murphy

    I just quit the NuvaRing in December after being on hormonal birth control of some type for the past 9 years. It was also the right choice for me; I feel amazing, minus an increase in gross body acne. Condoms suck, but I was ready for my body to get back to its own hormonal rhythm. What I really wish is that there were more nonhormonal options for women, other than condoms or IUDS. Some women still do use diaphragms, cervical caps and sponges, but I think there’s a stigma associated with it, especially for younger women. I had decent sex ed in my high school but I don’t remember ever really being told about any kind of BC options other than condoms and BC pills. That goes throughout my young adulthood; no one I knew used anything other than condoms or pills. It’s all about what works for you, but I do wish there was greater awareness of other methods.

    • Celia

      Fertility Awareness Method! No hormones, pretty easy, and super effective. It’s not for everyone (if you have trouble remembering a pill every day, this isn’t a good option) but if you’re responsible and use conservative rules (condoms or abstinence during fertile phase, ~7-10 days) it works and could be an option for you. Just thought I’d put it out there!

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      Celia–no such thing as an infertile phase. especially since sperm are produced during pre-ejaculation and they can live in the uterus, strong enough to penetrate an egg for 5-6 days. so even if you had sex when you were “infertile”, there’s no telling whether or not you’ll be pregnant if your egg gets “fertile” within the next week. don’t suggest such risky habits.

  • Anonachocolatemousse

    Having been on some form of BC (pills, patch and now NuvaRing) for the past 9 years, your point about the difficulty in getting pregnant, FREAKS ME OUT. I’m married but we’re not completely in the position to welcome a little one into our lives and we abandoned condoms a long time ago. I’ve also been using BC to regulate my periods due to PCOS, which is something else that makes it difficult to have a baby. Oh man….sort of a Catch 22 for me at this point. To Carrie’s point I would love it if there more non hormonal options, that could also regulate my period. Long story short, ugh BC sucks.

    • Tiff

      There is natural family planning as an option. Not the “rhythm method”, this involves temperature charts, tracking your mucus and a lot of other things. To learn to do it 100% correctly you usually have to take several classes to know all the nuances, but, if done correctly it works. One of my friends who’s very into “natural cures” has been doing it for over a decade and they only have two kids (both planned).

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      never forget that it’s not mandatory for you to make a carbon copy of yourself…there are MILLIONS of kids in the US and across the world that are already alive, living in awful conditions, who long for a family.

      trust me. simply go to the adoptuskids.org home page, and you will lose all desire of having a biological kids when you look at the faces of the babies, children, and teens in the system who just want a family. once you look at that, you won’t be able to justify wanting a biological kid.

    • Anonachocolatemousse

      I’ll explore adoption once I know that it’s totally impossible for me to have biological children. I know it’s not mandatory for me to procreate, but it’s something I’ve wanted for a very, very long time and I’ll continue to pursue that dream.

  • http://twitter.com/KathrynDyan Katy Hearne

    I’ve been on some form of BC for 11 years now (gaaaaawd, I literally just realized I’ve been sexually active for 11 years. I’m old) besides a 6 month stint in which I swore off sex. Anyway, I don’t think I have experienced any of these. The only horribly side effect is when I switch BC types (like when I went from the pill to the shot) I break out like crazy for the first 2 months or so.
    True, what’s right for one person isn’t always right for everyone, but some people don’t have the negative stuff. It doesn’t make me crazy or gain weight & I don’t think I want kids in the end, so it’s good for some ladies!
    But if I could just convince the mister to get that damn vasectomy, that would be ideal

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      haha! yes! vasectomies are a great idea. just tell him that its cheap, safe, painless, quick-healing, and you won’t see him as any less than a man, and no one will look at him walking down the street and know he got a vasectomy.

  • Cate

    Hormonal birth control DOES NOT WORK FOR ME.
    I mean, I assume it works, as I never got pregnant, but I’ve tried the patch, the NuvaRing, and two different types of pills. Pills make me gain 15-20 lbs of water, the NuvaRing makes me bleed lightly all month, and the patch does both. Plus, they all make me break down into ugly crying at the smallest things. It is the worst.

    • http://twitter.com/KathrynDyan Katy Hearne

      I’m not a doctor & I don’t know your history, but my first OBGYN told me that it takes about 90 days for your body to adjust to any new medication. Like, I always get horrible acne at first, but then it usually mellows out after a few weeks. Again, I’m not being like “dude, you should totally be on birth control” but I’m just wondering if you let it ride out long enough to see how it works with your body in the long run?

    • Cate

      Unfortunately yes, I’ve been on all of them a minimum of four months (the NuvaRing) and a maximum of almost a year (the pill) and it’s just a miseryfest of blood and bloat and tears.

    • http://twitter.com/KathrynDyan Katy Hearne

      uuugh. I am sorry! Well you are brave getting off of them though! My ghastly fear of motherhood would keep me in miseryfest. Have you tried the hormone free IUD? My boss is on that & she loves it

    • Cate

      Oh god, I’m about to TMI everyone here, but I did try that, sort of, and it turns out my cervix is pretty much too small for an IUD to be inserted unless I opt for surgical installation and just…yikes.
      I swear this is karmic retribution for nearly killing my similarly small-cervixed mother during the 34 hours she was in labor with me.

    • http://twitter.com/KathrynDyan Katy Hearne

      YOU POOR THING! Bless your little heart.

    • Cate

      Yuuup. It’s ridiculous. So basically it’s condoms or spray and pray (I know, super irresponsible, but I only have sex within committed relationships, so yeah, I’ve done it)

    • http://twitter.com/KathrynDyan Katy Hearne

      *in a whispered voice* I don’t know what spray & pray means, but I wish you the absolute best of luck!

    • Cate

      Withdrawal, yo!

    • gradchica

      I hate the idea of pumping artificial hormones into my system–hey, I don’t want them in the milk I drink or the meat I eat, why put them directly into myself??–so I’ve been using a natural method–in my case, sympto-thermal natural family planning. 6.5 years, only pregnancies were those my husband and I planned. And thanks to that method, we got pregnant the first or second month we tried, all 3 times.

    • EuroPax

      Next Stop: NaPro Technology. Finda a local practitioner.

  • saf

    I think this is such an incorrect article. While it may be right for you to rely on other forms of BC, it seems to be discouraging the use of BC which is proven in reducing unwanted pregnancies. This just seems like a very irresponsible article. Maybe they turn you into a psychopath because you are one.

  • Gemma

    The pill is a hormonal medication. There is not a medication on earth that doesn’t have side effects. This article is a scare story based on your own personal experience of this medication, which will not apply to all or even necessarily the majority of women, and to write this article as a basis of not merely sharing your experience but to scare-monger and discourage other women from taking it is not only poor writing, but terrible advice.

    Yes, the pill can cause low libido, mood changes and changes in your breasts. This does not happen for all women, and in some cases is mild enough to be a tolerable downside of very effective birth control. It is true that the pill can cause hypertension. That is why my doctor checks my blood pressure every time I go in to get a prescription. (From my own experience, I have been on the pill for over two years and have had a blood pressure holding steady at 110/70, on the lower end of average). Blood clots and elevated risk of some cancers are other side effects that you should be informed of when starting any new form of hormonal birth control, and if this is a risk that you are not willing to take then by all means there is no one forcing you to. As a sidenote, you did not mention even in passing that although there seems to be an elevated risk of some cancers, such as breast cancer, the pill seems to decrease your risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancers.

    Another point you made, that it may increase the risk of STD transmission, is equally a stretch of the imagination. Of course some people make a poor decision to not use a condom when having sex. However, being on the pill does not necessarily increase this, and until you give an example of a large-scale study that proves that it does then your point is just speculation. I could equally say that women on no form of birth control might not be prepared for sex at all, not use condoms and resort to the morning after pill as well as exposing themselves to STDs, and I would have just as much evidence as you to make that point.

    There are many methods of birth control available. Yes, the pill has downsides, but in my case it has prevented me from getting pregnant. The effectiveness of the pill (when taken correctly) at preventing pregnancy is the sole reason I take it. If the pill does not work for you in any way, be that the way you have to take it regularly, the side effects you experience or the risks you aren’t prepared to take concerning your own health, then that is entirely your right. However, what I do object to is the way you have framed this article as some kind of one size fits all attack on the pill, which has changed the lives of millions of women around the world. Frankly, I find the publishing of it irresponsible.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      i totally agree with you! i posted above, and i believe she is an extreme outlier, as is her friend. i also wonder if she has an emotional instability, considering she has quite outrageous emotions during her period.

    • rachel

      yes but it reduces ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer because of less ovulation and by a mere 1-3% but increases breast cancers by 300% pharmaceutical agencies cover this up by separating breast cancers in to many categories to make the numbers appear much smaller. there is no one article i can link you to to prove this you literally need research each cancer thats been associated with the pill and do a mathematical calculation….remember drug companies are here to make money and downplaying risks of medications is the name of the game. the drug companies fund a lot of money to the America medical association and Doctors are trained to hand a pill for everything. The important thing to remember is that medicine the way its practice today is in its infancy compared with other knowledge of this world. it takes a person a lot of deep research to make the connection and find the subtleties in the manipulation. most people are no truly informed when they make a choice. Also most people will speak from personal experience and it up to the reader to discriminate…does everyone in the world need to do hundreds of hours of research to post something these days? Really i could write you a 60 page lit review that discusses risk of birth control with many peer reviewed articles. would you people actually spend two hours reading it? Frankly people are hypocrites.

  • Amanda

    You couldn’t pay me enough to quit my birth control. It didnt kill my sex drive, didnt make my boobs bigger, and my insurance completely completely covers it. It makes my periods way shorter and lighter than my usual 8-10 day soak-through-super-plus-tampons-in-an-hour cycle, relieves my horrible, vomit-inducing cramps & best of all, I’m not pregnant.

    • Amanda

      Also, I’m in a committed relationship of 5 years & HATE condoms, so I’m not worried about STD’s

  • Maggie

    The pill does not make it harder to become pregnant once you’re off it. Aging might, not the pill. This article is out of control irresponsible and misleading.

    The pill also doesn’t lead to unsafe sex. It just makes sure you don’t end up with a baby after unsafe sex. Give me a break. Please tell me another one of your editors is going to write a counterpoint to this.

    • Teresa of A Caring Place

      Not only can you end up with an unexpected baby due to the pill failing as it can do (and the reasons why it fails are immaterial in this discussion), but you could, in every likelihood, experience an unwanted abortion. Yes, that’s right, abortion. One of the functions of the birth control pill is to reduce the lining of the womb down so that a new baby can’t implant. “So what’s the prob?” I hear you ask. Well, due to the proliferation of undifferentiated cells created in the breast even when pregnant for a short time, these cells can become cancerous as they only mature in the last 8 weeks of pregnancy. Hence, it is no surprise the stats for breast cancer are rising and rising.
      I am not stating that all who have breast cancer have had an abortion, but I certainly am stating that all who have had an abortion (“chosen” or without their knowledge due to the pill) have a seriously increased risk of breast cancer.

    • ProofPlease

      So, can I get a peer reviewed article proving this? I’d love to see the source from which you are getting your information.

      Also, a spontaneous abortion can occur for anyone, any. one. Whether they’ve taken birth control or not.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      that’s not really too factual–and you especially can’t blame birth control. like ProofPlease said, spontaneous abortion happens all the time, and in some women, multiple times, and they don’t have breast cancer. its a scare tactic used by anti-choicers and anti-contraceptionists and they “conveniently” leave out the fact that some women are predisposed to breast cancer and that miscarriages (spontaneous abortions) are very common (considering 25% or more women have 1 or more miscarriages in their life).

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      i agree with you maggie. i believe she might have fertility problems in general. i’m assuming she was never pregnant before, and never got her fertility checked, so she might be slightly infertile.

      and i agree with your second point, mostly. i’m sure that some people engage in unsafe-ish sex because all they’re worried about is a pregnancy (the stereotypical drunk college girl probably isn’t thinking about STDs anyway. and speaking of the guy saying he’s clean, well thats something the male population needs to work on, not us).

  • JordanBaker

    “The pill can lead to irresponsible behavior.” Oh, come ON.

    • gradchica

      what, you’ve never heard someone say exactly what this author’s friends say? I certainly have.

    • JennyWren

      That’s not because of the pill. If people are irresponsible with the pill they’ll be irresponsible without it because they are irresponsible people.

    • JB

      So you mean to tell me that a woman and/or man would be just as likely to have sex without birth control than they would with it? Really? Think about that for a moment.

  • Nancy

    Well I thank you for this article! I have some friends who told me they were a monster on the pill and felt so much better when they got off. I think I will get of soon, too. I’ve been on it or 10 years, since I was 15, and I feel crazy emotionally so I really want to try this. I’d love to want sex more, too! So thank you, I really like hearing about other people’s experience with this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      WAIT. BEFORE YOU GET OFF YOUR BC. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU JUST SAID. “I’d love to want sex more, too!”. Do you also want a baby with that? unless you want a kid, i would recommend staying on a pill that prevents your body from producing an egg. that way, if the condom breaks, you’re still protected.

  • JennyWren

    No. Just…no.
    Yes, the pill can have some scary and/or annoying side-effects, because it is a medication, but these side effects do not affect everybody and for many people who are affected by them it’s as simple as switching to a different formula. The pill gives a slightly elevated risk of some cancers but has also been shown to protect against others, such as pancreatic cancer. No-one will force you to stay on BC if it doesn’t work for you, but telling other women they shouldn’t use it because you, personally, can’t remember to take it on time every day or because it makes your individual breasts hurt is incredibly thoughtless. The pill HAS had a tremendous impact on the emancipation of women throughout Western society, and it works brilliantly for millions of women every year. Use what works for you, but armchair doctoring is the height of irresponsibility.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      yea! risk: breast cancer. ok. well, prevents: ovarian, endometrial, uterine, pancreatic, and more. :raiseshand: i choose birth control.

  • a

    wow way to take what SHOULD have been an opinion piece and treat it like fact. Yes women can experience side effects when taking the pill(as with ANY OTHER MEDICATION). Every woman is different thus to advocate against a method of managing fertility based SOLELY on your own experience and a quick scan of the internet is hugely irresponsible. Quite frankly I am disappointed in the Gloss for publishing an article so clearly biased without any ownership of this bias.

  • Phoebe

    Hormonal contraception is not for everyone, and all medications come with risks and benefits which you should take into consideration when you are making an informed decision to take them. If you are not tolerating the side effects or are at high risk of complications then by all means you should speak to your doctor about other contraceptive options. That being said, one person’s individual experience with the pill is never going to be reflective of the thousands of women who find the pill a very effective and tolerable medication.

    After the slew of articles that The Gloss has published criticising xoJane’s decision to let Cat Marnell write about her personal opposition to the oral contraceptive pill (founded on fact or otherwise), I find it incredibly irresponsible and hypocritical that you have put this on your website without any sort of disclaimer that this is one individual’s personal opinion and is not necessarily based on fact or applicable to everyone. Really disappointed, guys.

  • Jenny

    Thanks for writing this article. There are so many women out there who want so badly to have such an easy solution like the pill, but just can’t take it for one, or a combinstion of the reasony you listed. It sucks so badly, and these women who are angry (?) at you for your choice to stop trying to force your body to accept it are insane.

    • Gemma

      I don’t think anyone is angry at her for not wanting to take a form of birth control that doesn’t work for her. The negativity directed at this piece comes from the irresponsibility of publishing an article based entirely on one woman’s personal experience to discourage all women from taking a very effective and well-tested method of birth control. If she had framed it as the reasons why she personally did not want to take it instead of including all these ‘facts’ about the side-effects (which are, incidentally, found in any instruction booklet that comes with the pill) as scare tactics, this could have been a very interesting piece, especially for those women that you mention find it hard to take the pill.

    • Eileen

      It’s true that we SHOULD know all of these side effects – as the author points out, every commercial for hormones, magazine ad for hormones, or prescription inserts lists the possibility of raised blood pressure, blood clots, migraines, depression, sexual side effects, and potentially breast or cervical cancer. But judging by the five bazillion lawsuits that get brought against every kind of hormonal birth control method for exactly these reasons, an awful lot of women aren’t aware of the side effects. My ex was shocked when I mentioned once that women on birth control pills aren’t supposed to smoke, because he knew a lot of heavy smokers who thought nothing of BC pills. A reflection on them and their doctors? Sure. But I’m not going to fault a women’s blog for reminding people of the risks.

    • Gemma

      Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in my original post or this comment, but my problem with this article wasn’t in the fact that she made readers aware of some of the side effects and risks of taking the pill. It can be all too easy to brush those things aside, as the author herself describes. However, to compare birth control to smoking cigarettes, and use an example of the one case she’d seen of someone having a blood clot while on the pill to illustrate the possible risks? Not ok. Making readers aware of their contraceptive options, and letting them know about the possible side effects they hadn’t given much thought to, seems completely reasonable. Telling women they shouldn’t take the pill because it will probably give them cancer, high blood pressure, cancer, depression, blood clots and STDs is an entirely different matter.

  • Becca

    I see my wonderful fellow commenters have beat me to it, but yes, this is an incredibly irresponsible post, and several slides are completely inaccurate. If hormonal birth control doesn’t work for you and you want to explain why, that’s one thing. Adding the line “10 reasons why you should kick the BC habit, too” takes this over the line. Granted, I assume most of The Gloss’ readers do not come here for medical advice, but I also wouldn’t presume to know the demographics of the readers (i.e. age, access to a primary care doctor or gynecologist, quality of health insurance, etc.).

    I personally have had a decent experience with hormonal birth control and could probably write a few slides about why–starting with the fact that in the ten years I’ve taken it, I’ve never gotten pregnant, despite some really stupid sexual decisions, so I’m assuming it works. But I recognize my experience is not universal.

    Also, for your readers who have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act requires plans from most employers (non-religious, basically, ongoing court battles notwithstanding) to cover contraception and an annual gyno visit at no cost-sharing to the insured, which you should have factored into your slide on the cost of birth control.

  • meteor_echo

    And yet there’s one reason for me to never quit taking the pill – I’d rather deal with all the things you listed than have children. Yes, if I had to choose between breast cancer and pregnancy, I’d turn to the cancer and say “Come at me, motherfucker”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      love it. i loled in my bedroom all alone when i read that. i agree. at this point, id rather die than be pregnant.

  • Natalie

    I agree this article is irresponsible. This is your and some friends personal experiences, but not truths for everyone. I think it’s fine to post this article as “This is why I don’t take birth control pills” but to tell other people not to take them? Too far. That’s something that should be discussed with their doctor. Or even, “These are birth control side effects, if you have them, maybe consider another form of birth control”.
    I think I remember this website calling out xoJane for having an inaccurate story about birth control side affects, while this article is a little more grounded in truth, it’s still the same concept.

  • Cathy

    The pill is very unhealthy & unnatural. All the aforementioned side effects & health risks are well documented and 100% accurate. There are studies that show women on BC change their pheromones & can actually become less attracted, less in love with their partner b/c that undetectable smell isn’t right anymore (this happened to me, and was one major reason I got off the pill. It was ruining my relationship!).

    I completely support this post & think women should awaken to their denial & figure out another way of dealing w/ fertility and hormones.

  • Eileen

    I don’t think these side effects apply completely to everyone, but I also don’t think that this article is a bad idea, because it SUCKS that women these days basically get told that birth control = hormones. It’s cool to hate on condoms (despite the fact that personally, I actually like them, but they’re kind of wasteful), cool to hate on IUDs (which are my favorite thing in the world…slight exaggeration), cool to hate on diaphragms/cervical caps (do women even remember they exist, or is that just something your mother used?), but if you DARE hate on the pill, American women are going to tear you apart. And the thing is, hormones do suck for an awful lot of women, yet I’ve seen posts on this website that say, “If you’re not on birth control pills, I can’t be friends with you” or “Just get a different pill!” There are not a lot of options, but there are some good ones that don’t involve hormones, and that’s definitely something that needs to get said more.

  • gradchica

    Hey people, did you miss the headline? “10 Reasons I Stopped BC”–not “why you should” or “why everyone should”, but why this author did. Deal with the airing of the pill’s negative side effects–they are legion and not as unheard-of as many pro-Pill people want us to believe. I ditched the pill years ago–and noticed I stopped getting sunburned after 10 minutes outside, stopped feeling bloated all the time, and stopped having breast tenderness. A friend found out when after a decade or so on the pill that she had PCOS–she never knew bc the pill masked the symptoms but let it go on unchecked until she wanted to get pregnant and couldn’t. Another friend had a blood clot in her thigh, to which dr’s could find no other risk factor/explanation. Oh, and 2 friends got pregnant. When I ditched it, I actually figured out how my cycle worked, what was normal and what wasn’t. The more women talk about the side effects, the more women will either 1) give up the pill for other options or 2) flock to pills that have fewer side effects. Can’t say either of those are bad options.

    • JennyWren

      Did you read the actual article? “Here are 10 reasons why you should kick the BC habit, too.” No-one should use a method of contraception that doesn’t work for them. But millions of women take the pill with minimal or no side effects every year, and scare-mongering or shaming them for their choice with unscientific reporting and anecdotal evidence is irresponsible.

  • Jeannette

    One caveat: you might not want to use the clinic’s condoms. I read an interview with a former clinic owner, and she said she used to get “seconds/rejects” from condom companies because she made more money from abortions. Granted, this was from an anti-abortion site (the woman had gone pro-life) so you might take it with a grain of salt.

    Another thing to consider is the environment. It’s starting to look like all those hormones we’ve been peeing into our water systems, are have an effect on fish. It just isn’t a plus when male trout are outnumbered by “other”. (Yeah, if you wouldn’t DREAM of eating hormone-fed beef, but you’ve been on the pill for the past 20 years, people are laughing at your hypocrisy. Sorry)

    • JennyWren

      There have been recent studies performed by the American Chemical Society that have shown hormonal birth control accounts for some 1% of the estrogen in our water systems. The greatest culprit by far is thought to be untreated animal manure used as fertilizer. Natural estrogens from soy and dairy products are also a big contributor.

      I would also question whether or not the increased consumption of condoms that this article seems to be advocating for would be any better for the environment.

    • I’mALittleTeapot

      haha consumption of condoms–yummy!

  • Eliza

    Just because the pill did not work for you does not mean that it won’t work for anybody. That thought process is incredibly presumptuous and the “facts” included in this article are irresponsible and misleading. Take a step back and realize that, ultimately, you only truly represent yourself and no one else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=544611419 Holly Grigg-Spall

    Thank you for this post. I have been writing on this topic for some years. Coming off the pill was a positive life-changing experience for me. http://www.sweeteningthepill.blogspot.com

  • Avery

    I think some people need to stop criticizing every little detail about this post. It is a personal decision, and like all medication it’s different for all of us.

    Personally I stopped the pill because of the weight it made me gain. It sounds like a really stupid reason, but it was horrible for me mentally. I would obsess about the inches and numbers. I think it’s easy to prioritize some pros and cons in our head. Like as the article says “it’s an annoying responsibility”…well so it a baby. However it’s hard to imagine what that lack of freedom is for some people.

    • JennyWren

      I don’t think stopping the pill because of weight gain is stupid at all. I took the pill for years because it was the only thing that would prevent my horrific cystic acne from flaring up every other day.

      There are however major problems with this article. No-one would object to someone offering a personal take on why they decided BC wasn’t right for them, but this is a terribly generalized, blase and frequently unscientific approach to a very personal and subjective issue. The health concerns associated with the pill are too complex to be adequately dealt with in such a manner; it really calls either for a longer article, or preferably a series of articles tackling individual concerns with input from medical professionals.

  • ab

    There isn’t just one kind of birth control pill. There are dozens of different combinations of hormones. I had a ton of bad side effects with my old medication, so I spoke with my doctor and switched to something new and I’ve had zero side effects since then. Also, while the pill does increase the risk for certain kinds of cancer, it decreases the risk of other types. I’d advise anyone who’s wondering about these things to check out the specific drug facts before making a decision… knowledge is power :)

  • JSReX

    Okay, so what did you switch to instead? The pull out method? An IUD? Condoms? Abstinence??

    You don’t write an article like this without offering – without so much as mentioning – an alternative!

  • Isabelle

    This is an unbelievably irresponsible and misinformed article based on a subjective experience and not facts. Really disgusted with The Gloss for publishing this nonsense, as a woman who has used the pill for a long time, and as a medical student who has completed her gynae training. Comparing prescribing the pill to handing out coupons for cigarettes?! You clearly have not got the required knowledge to make claims like these.

  • womenshealth

    Mmmm I wouldn’t take an increased risk of breast cancer over preventing others to a degree. You only have to look at the introduction of the Pill and sky rocketing rates in abortion to acknowledge The Pill does lead to more sex in non-commited realtionships. Oh and yes, it does dry out your cervix, leading to aging of the cervix… not a good thing for conceiving later on.
    If someone is having super heavy bleeding or other reproductive problems, taking the pill is a bandaid affect and doesn’t address the root of the problem. FertilityCare is a better option.
    It’s much more empowering to know your fertility and use your brain to manage it rather than be told your healthy fertility should be sterilized by pumping yourself with artificial hormones to distort it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

      yea, except that is highly unreliable. (why do you think most catholic families are so huge?). especially the one where you take your temp? countless things can mess with that–energy level, time of day, how warm/cold you are (are you in long/short clothes in a warm/cold house/warm/cold outdoors) activity level, outdoor temperature, food eaten, drinks drunk, stress level, health (if you have a fever, if your body is in preparation to fight off a flu that you aren’t even aware of yet), if you just got a vaccine… and checking cervical fluid is 1. uncomfortable and 2. unreliable. it can be affected by arousal, orgasm, menstruation, and mood as well as ovulation.

      it is not empowering to check your fertility yourself. it’s binding and a humongous gamble. its seriously russian roulette with an egg as a head and the penis as the pistol.

  • csong

    Hey! here’s a pretty good review conducted in 2012 regarding the effects
    of hormonal birth control on female libido.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22788250

    From the text:
    “There appears to be mixed effects on libido, with a small percentage of
    women experiencing an increase or a decrease, and the majority being
    unaffected”.

    In contrast, here’s a scientifically irresponsible “N of 1″ article based on anecdotes, hyperbolic claims, and authorial bias:
    http://www.thegloss.com/2013/03/29/sex-and-dating/stop-birth-control-pills/

  • Holly

    Thanks for this excellent post. I’ve documented my transition off the pill for the last four years at http://www.sweeteningthepill.blogspot.com and just finished a book based on my research – http://www.facebook.com/sweeteningthepill

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.strakele Anna Strakele

    lol. yea….no. 1. my libido is GREAT!!! maybe slightly harder for me to orgasm, but not to the point where i would give up my protection. 2. my birth control is FREE FREE FREE with my insurance!!! And, in the grand scheme of things, i would TOTALLY give up $600 a year for protection from pregnancy! what’s $600 a year compared to $15000 for a dumb kid? 3. not only have i not gotten any blood clots, but i am not even considered “at risk”. her friend was unlucky. 4. i’ve been on my birth control for a few years now. my blood pressure is fine. it has never been higher than normal. 5. sucks to suck. my boobs don’t bother me. sure, they are tender during my period, but that is common in all menstruating females and they have hurt the same amount ever since i got my period til now. 6. such a small percentage of people have breast cancer that was suspected of developing from bc that its basically pointless to mention it. kinda like the mythical link between abortion and breast cancer–it’s a ploy used by religious nuts and politicians in hopes of outlawing it and gaining support for that by frightening people. 7. OH BOO FUCKING HOO. YOU HAVE TO TAKE A TEENY PILL ONCE A DAY. are you really so ADD that you can’t remember to take a pill when you brush your teeth at night? try setting an alarm on your phone. you think a pill is big responsibility? try taking care of a kid for the rest of your life. and maybe you should get your cramps checked out. mine are minor. 8. i would have to disagree. birth control or no birth control, people are gonna have sex. at least don’t get pregnant. P.S. did you know that a virgin can have multiple STDs? yep. a newborn baby can have herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, AIDS, and all sorts of STDs if they came in contact with the mother’s blood or her vaginal fluids. so sex in marriage is not risk free either. 9. i would have to argue that that’s a good thing…its birth control’s purpose to not let you get pregnant…maybe you didn’t read that on the instructions… but within six months of stopping the pill, your cycle and fertility should be back to normal. if you’re not, you might wanna get that checked out. im guessing that you were never pregnant before you went on the pill, so you may have a fertility problem that went undiagnosed. 10. you need a psychiatrist. i don’t know anyone who has PMS as bad as you.

    maam, you are obviously an outlier in many of these aspects. none of these reasons are even worth quitting birth control. 1. get on a different prescription/get toys to help you climax. 2. quit being cheap or get health insurance, and then your pills will be free along with any x-rays or other injuries you may incur. 3. there are many types of birth control that don’t have the potential to cause blood clots. i’d advise you to look into it and check with your doctor to determine if you’re even at risk. 4. if you have blood pressure problems/predisposed, then its something you wanna watch out for. but if you don’t eat salty fried crap all the time, you should be fine. 5. maybe you just have boob problems. thats a personal problem. and your boobs are gonna hurt way more when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding. 6. if you’re worried, then use a different method. but studies are highly biased and inconclusive. 7. if you aren’t responsible enough to remember to take one pill a day with a meal or not leave it some place, then you certainly aren’t responsible enough to have sex or raise a kid. i could take daily pills when i was six. give me a fucking break. that’s pure laziness on your part. 8. birth control doesn’t encourage promiscuity. and most people are smart enough to know that birth control doesn’t protect against STDs. and men are stupid and whoreish, but that’s not a woman’s fault. and if you can’t trust a woman to handle herself responsibly, then how can you expect her to raise a child responsibly? 9. you probably never got the shot that most girls are getting nowadays, guardasil? its supposed to make you not have fertility problems as you get older. and you really should get yourself checked out. you may have had a problem all your life and never knew. 10. yea. you still need a psychiatrist. i don’t know anyone who has problems worse than minor short-temperedness and slightly uncomfortable cramps. you sound like you have minor depression. you should talk to a doctor about it.

    i really don’t like that you put this out online, obviously trying to discourage people from using it. just because you have some really weird problems doesn’t mean anyone else has. and if you think that we shouldn’t use birth control because 1% of users have negative reactions, then i don’t think you should take any kind of medication ever. no pain killers for headaches or pain if you break your leg, because 1% of the users might have negative reactions to that. and you shouldn’t eat anything like nuts or meat or veggies or sugary things because some people have negative reactions to that stuff.

    embrace the fact that you are not representative of the population on birth control and don’t try to discourage people from making responsible decisions.

  • Roj

    I feel like ypu described my birth control experience spot on. Minus the irresponsible sex part. I don’t think it’s for everyone, people are wired differently. I envy the women that are fit and on the pill and happy and not miserable every single day and not on the verge of homicide! If it’s for you, congratuflippinglations, because for the rest of us, it’s hell. There are other methods that world very well for me, I wish more doctors would understand that instead of trying to shove the pill down my throat. Ugh. Thanks for poposting this!

  • Moriah

    I have been using pills for 1 month…then my boyfriend and i broke up and i had decided to stop taking the pills now..what must i do, what month preferred to stop taking pills..?

  • The Pharmacist

    Birth Control Pills (Hormones) as any medication effect everyone differently. I appreciate this post for the relevance it had to me. I don’t understand the ignorance of some individuals who believe this post is intending to discourage everyone from using birth control pills. This post helps individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms to understand birth control pills can be a possible cause. If birth control works for you, great! Take them and be happy. Good for you that you found birth control pills beneficial. I don’t understand why you read and responded to this post as it has absolutely no relevance to you. Shame on you for not realizing that everyone reacts to medications differently and that birth control pills are not for everyone. I read some of these responses and found them to be useless and ignorant. If you are having side effects than try stopping them to see if the adverse reactions subside. Yes, birth control pills DO CAUSE SIDE EFFECTS to some people. It is important for others to share side effect experiences to help other with similar problems. There are multiple types of birth control available, the key is to find the right one for you and your partner. There is no best method, its an individual choice.

  • Ashley

    I HATE pills too.. I was on the pill for 3 years, tried different types and I HATED each one of them. It made me be another person. I left it and changed my mood, my sex drive, everything. I decided to quit all hormone treatment and is the best desition ever! Now I use a monitor (lady comp). It’s easy, secure and natural. My body is greatful. It’s strange, all that “freedom” speach on being on the pill… and I feel way more free now that I’m in a natural method.

    If anyone pressed this web site hoping to find the solution to the “I hate the pill” problem you should try it. It’s easy, fast, secure and the best of all.. I’m not trying to put into my bodie hormones that are not mine. I’m more myself and natural.

    Natural birth control methods should be more known, organic food and sustainability are so fashionable this days… and what about your body? You can’t imagine how strong is what hormones do on you.