This title sounds like I’ve become a full-blown hippie. Fear not, I still shave, I just had cosmetic surgery (had to remove a mole that was annoying me), I eat meat, and I use airplanes. After 15 years of taking the Pill though, I have decided to quit. I did it once before, and it felt good. Somehow I started again, but now it’s definitely time to quit once and for all.
I’m just gonna put it out there: hormones suck. Chemically altered hormones, that is. The type you find in regular birth control methods such as the Pill, or the NuvaRing. They produce all kinds of nasty side-effects (see below).
A while ago, a friend wrote about her experience with the ‘Lady-Comp’; a small computer, designed by ze Germans (Dr Hubertus Rechberg), that basically tells you when it’s safe to have sex without getting pregnant.
Firstly, I applaud her for being so honest and open, and sharing her experience with the world. The more women get educated on this still sensitive subject, the better.
Secondly, her story got me interested in buying the thing myself and try out natural birth control. And I did. I can’t say anything yet about my experience with it, because I’ve only been using it for the last 2 days. Two months from now, I will be able to tell you how it works for me. But today I just want to explain why I made this (o so radical) decision.
Why I quit hormones
Like I said, regular birth control methods do have serious side-effects. Some of the most important (in my opinion) are:
- Mood changes / depression,
- Decreased libido,
- Weight gain,
There are many, many more. You can find them all on the leaflet accompanying the Pill. Of course, every body is different and every body reacts differently. But did you know that 1-10 in every 100 women suffers from depression, caused by the Pill?!* I think that’s a huge number, and reason enough to consider quitting. Even if it’s just for a little while (6 months) to see what you feel like without it.
My own experience is that without the Pill, I feel freer, in my head, and in my body. It’s like a veil has been lifted from my mind. My libido has increased significantly, I’m never nauseous again, and I’m just overall happier.
Recently, a friend told me to not worry so much about it. He said that “the Pill is just made up of hormones, and so is your body, there isn’t any difference, so why are you so much against it?!”.
For a couple of days I thought, yeah, maybe he has a point. Why am I worrying so much about something that is part of my own body? And I almost…almost went back on it again.
But, then I realised that I know how my body feels like without it. Even if he’s right, that was worth more to me.
Turns out, he’s wrong. I did a bit more research. Medical, chemically altered hormones are designed by pharmacists. They have a different moleculair structure than our own hormones, making them have a stronger and longer lasting effect on our body**.
To pharmaceuticals, these hormones are awesome. Seeing that they altered or ‘improved’ the things, they’re allowed to patent them and make lots and lots, and lots, of money from them. And they promote them with your doctor / GP.
Knowing that, I am 100% sure that I have made the right decision.
How does the Lady-Comp work?
The first time I saw this little round device, it reminded me of those Tamagotchi things for children. Instead of a digital pet as my best e-friend, I now have my Lady-Comp that I need to feed every day. With my temperature.
How it works; every morning when you wake up, you stick the sensor in your mouth under your tongue for 60 seconds, and it measures your temperature.
Basically, a low temperature means you are about to ovulate, and a high temperature means you’re close to menstruation.
It uses the signals red, yellow and green to let you know what’s up. Red means a no-go (unless you want to get pregnant), yellow is there’s not enough info (you might get pregnant), and green means ‘GO’.
In an average month you might get 12 green days and around 8 to 10 red days. The longer you use the computer, the better it gets to know you, and the more green days you will get (party time!).
The Lady-Comp has a Pearl-index of 0,7 (or 99,3%). The Pearl-index is a way of indicating the reliability of a birth control method. It means that if 100 women use birth control for a year, and one of them gets pregnant, the Pearl-index would be 1,0.
Consider this: the Pill has a Pearl-index of less than 0,5 (or 99%). This is according to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.
And did you know that you’re only fertile for 1-2 days in a month?! Why would we put stuff in our body for a whole month, if we’re only fertile for 2 days?? Crazy.
The Lady-Comp is extra careful; it also considers the days sperm can survive in your body (5 days). So, it uses a big margin for safety, and that’s why you still get around 10 red days.
How to use it properly
- Set the built-in alarm clock (e.g. 7.30AM)
- You need to lie in bed (sleeping or not, doesn’t matter, as long as you are not active) for at least 5 hours before measuring
- If you want to postpone measuring or measure earlier than the day before, you can do so within 3 hours after the measure time of the last day (when postponing), or within 3 hours before the measure time of the last day (when measuring earlier).
So: it has a flexible measuring period of 6 hours in total (3 hours before, and 3 hours after the measure time of the last day).
This means you can still party hard, or surf a dawn session, without worrying you need to wake up every day at the same time.
Price & where to get it
The Lady-Comp is not super expensive, considering the life-span of the device (can be 15 years to a lifetime). But it’s not cheap either: you can get the Basic Lady-Comp for €395,00. Though, when you do the math, it’s still cheaper than the Pill. (15 years times €60 = €900).
You also have 2 other ‘deluxe’ versions, but they are more expensive. I bought the Basic version from Lilian Bonnema (distributor for Lady-Comp in The Netherlands). She now offers a discount of 5% on her website.
I am currently on Bali, testing it, and will let you know in 2 months how it works for me.
PS I think it goes without saying (although I’m pointing it out anyways, I don’t want people to think I’m reckless, which I am totally not of course), a basic rule for safety is to use extra precautions (condoms) in the first 2-3 months. And definitely when your Lady-Comp gives a red or yellow light.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you asap.
*This info can be found on the leaflet accompanying the Pill.
**See “De Hormoon-Factor” written by health coach Ir. Ralph Moorman (University of Wageningen, The Netherlands).