"Women are seeking to regain control of their bodies by rejecting synthetic hormones as a way to mask symptoms"
By staff writer, Marissa Cohen
It’s an era of matcha lattes in place of espressos, herbal tonics over mixed drinks, and listening to podcasts rather than watching movies. The emphasis on wellness has taken over millennial’s Instagram feeds and real lives. The shifts towards holistic living has caused many modern women to rethink western medicines, including the birth control pill. A recent study by the NHS, showed a 13% decline in pill use by Milennial women in Britain between 2005 – 2015. This was supported by a similar study in the US , showcasing 70% millennials who have used the pill have stopped taking it or thought about stopping in the past three years.
Gaining access to the birth control pill was a victory for the women’s right’s movement. Now, however, women are seeking to regain control of their bodies by rejecting synthetic hormones as a way to mask symptoms, rather than treat the root cause of their problems. Even if doctors agree that the pill may not be the answer in individual cases, economic pressures from pharmaceutical companies incentivize continued prescriptions.
The pill is prescribed for far more than birth control. From personal experience, my doctor recommended that I go on the pill at age 13 when I complained of cramps and acne, which can be natural parts of going through puberty. In more extreme cases, women with thyroid and hormonal imbalances go to their doctors only to be handed the pill, rather than to have conversations about the causes and potential natural cures for their conditions.
But, just as we become conscious of the effect of the foods we put into our bodies, we are no longer willing to settle for the laundry-list of side effects associated with the pill. Experiencing weight gain, depression, decreased libido, and skin breakouts from birth control have all been deemed “normal” by the medical community, but are becoming unacceptable to millennial women.
Alternative birth control methods are also being used in place of the pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Following her decision to stop taking hormonal contraceptives, Dr. Elina Berglund founded Natural Cycles, an app that uses body temperature to track ovulation in order to plan times of intercourse. Additionally, long-acting reversible contractive (LARCs) such as IUDs and implants have gained popularity for being effective and having fewer side effects than the pill.
The internet has arguably been the most empowering resource for women. Through wellness publications, natural medicine practitioners can communicate the adverse effects of the pill and recommend diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, and other actions to take instead.
Taking birth control is a personal choice that each woman should be able to make on her own. Yet, it is important that she is given access to all available information associated with its use and alternative options. As more women realize that these answers often don’t come from their traditional doctor’s appointments, they are taking their health into their own hands.
Using the pill as a “bandaid” for symptoms of other undiagnosed and untreated diseases and suffering through side effects when more natural methods are available is not “in” with the millennial crowd.Tanja Heffner