Lifestyle & Human Interest

Doctor Offers Alternative Method to Hormonal Contraception: Women Deserve to Make 'Empowered' Bodily Decisions


Birth control is often marketed as a form of women’s health care that enables them to control their reproductive lives.

The hormonal contraceptives promoted by advertisers and some health care providers, however, can come with side effects, and women should have access to reliable information before deciding to use them.

Instead of encouraging women to use contraceptives that force them to work against their body’s natural cycles, more women should know about the Fertility Awareness Method. It is a birth control option that does not rely on artificial hormones, and it treats women’s bodies with the dignity they deserve.

According to Dr. Jolene Brighten, a functional medicine naturopathic physician, some of the benefits of FAM include its status as a “non-hormonal and non-invasive approach to birth control.”

FAM teaches women who are trying to prevent pregnancy or become pregnant how to track their natural cycles. In the process, they may learn more about their body’s basal temperature and the significance behind the varying states of their cervical fluids.

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Most hormonal birth control methods, however, usually cannot grant women the same insight about their bodies.

As the American Pregnancy Association reported, women can take hormonal birth control orally or insert it into their bodies. The hormonal medications can come in various forms, like the pill, a shot or an implant, and each option typically contains manufactured estrogen or progesterone hormones.

Instead of allowing women to learn more about their unique reproductive system as FAM does, hormonal contraceptives can prevent pregnancy by interfering with women’s cycles. Hormone-laced birth control may stop the ovaries from releasing an egg or prevent conception by thickening women’s cervical mucus.

But these methods typically do not help women understand the meaning behind certain bodily signals and how to pay attention to what their natural cycles might be telling them about their health.

Is the Fertility Awareness Method a good alternative to traditional forms of birth control?

While some women use birth control to alleviate acne or uncomfortable periods, Brighten pointed out how such hormonal contraceptives undermine women’s reproductive systems.

“Doctors typically go straight to the pill because, yes, it can induce a monthly bleed and will suppress symptoms,” Brighten wrote in an Evie magazine Op-Ed. “But here’s the thing, birth control works by shutting down your menstrual cycle and stopping your ovaries from producing hormones.”

“A medication that shuts down your reproductive system isn’t fixing the underlying issues,” she added. “Rather, it’s a tool for symptom management, and what is often left out is why a woman is experiencing those symptoms in the first place.”

The women’s medicine doctor also highlighted other side effects associated with hormonal birth control, such as fertility problems and an increased risk of depression brought on by the use of synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy.

According to Brighten, some women continue to have issues after they stop using hormonal birth control methods like the pill. Referring to the condition as “Post-Birth Control Syndrome,” Brighten warned that women who stop taking the pill may see a return of the symptoms it repressed or experience signs they have never seen before.

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“When women understand their natural cycle and how it works they are more empowered to make [a] decision about their body and can identify issues that would warrant a discussion with their doctor,” Brighten told The Western Journal.

Even though FAM can inspire women to take the time to learn what may be right or wrong with their cycles, Brighten noted the lack of education about it.

“Many doctors are hesitant to recommend FAM because they have been taught it is not effective, they confuse it with the rhythm method, or they haven’t received any sufficient education about it at all.”

“Women need to understand that the primary way most birth control prevents pregnancy is by stopping brain-ovarian communication,” she added. “I think it is also important for women to understand that these hormones affect every system in your body and are not specific to the ovaries alone.”

“This means that both positive and negative effects can show up in any system of the body ranging from mood issues to digestive symptoms.”

The use of artificial hormones can come with potential consequences, and women deserve to know there are options like FAM that allow them to appreciate their body’s unique functions as a woman.

If society wants to uplift and empower women, it should stop teaching them to undervalue their reproductive system.

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Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.
Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.