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Choosing Birth Control Without Side Effects: Aimée's Story

Before I used Natural Cycles, I gave a lot of different forms of birth control a good go. I started on the pill, at age fifteen, it was given to me mainly because I had acne…

Disclaimer: This is one Natural Cycles user’s experience. Everyone's experience is different and we encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider when considering switching birth control

The acne went away for a while to my delight, but then it slowly crept back across my cheeks again and was joined by other additional symptoms such as breast tenderness. It then became routine that my doctor would prescribe me a new brand of pill to avoid the new symptoms that were occurring and to help my acne. 

I didn’t like all of the symptoms I was experiencing, and I could tell by the way I was feeling, that clearly, my body didn’t like it either. I had become very, very depressed. I didn’t realize until later that hormonal birth control can contribute to mood changes. 

But what solution did my doctor offer? The arm implant. And then things got even worse: I began to have a continuous “period” for months, with no sign of it stopping. I was pale with a lack of iron and so tired. I felt terrible. After seeing that the bleeding wasn’t letting up, after 6 months a nurse took it out of my arm, clumsily. I still have a weird-looking scar from it.

So next they suggested I try the copper IUD. I was hopeful about this one, I thought, “great! A birth control option, without hormones! This will be better.” I was wrong.

I started to have severe pain randomly, and during sex. I also experienced severe cramping and spotting. I gave it nearly a year, as the doctors told me I needed to “give it time to settle”. But it just wasn’t getting any better, I felt terrible, sex was painful and traumatic, and my hair had started to fall out! I was having hot sweats at night, and I could just feel that my body was so unhappy.

That was when I knew enough was enough. I decided that I wanted to learn the natural rhythms of my body, and work with it, not against it.

Finding a natural birth control

When I started to learn about the real side effects of hormonal birth control, I was so shocked that my doctor never mentioned any of them to me. I was only 22. But I felt like I had already aged so much on this journey.

First hand, I learned what the side effects of hormonal birth control can do to you. But then I also learned something new. I learned that there is only a small window in each cycle when you can actually get pregnant. 

After this revelation, it then seemed so strange to me that all the solutions I was being prescribed to prevent pregnancy worked by suppressing my natural cycle. Couldn’t I just find my fertile window instead? 

I wanted to feel and love all parts of my body and its cycle, AND I didn’t want to get pregnant. So I started using Natural Cycles, hormone-free birth control.

What it’s like using Natural Cycles

The first few months using Natural Cycles were exciting, and a bit scary too. I had been off hormonal birth control for about half a year by this point. My health was all over the place, so my temperature variation was really high when I would take it each morning in the beginning. 

Just having something that was on my side, empowering me to connect with my body, and notice and log what was going on, was really helpful. I soon got into a routine of taking my temperature every morning, and felt excited to see the first time I ovulated.

I am now actually in tune with my body. It feels funny to say, but I smell different. I have more energy and my mood is much more stable - though that took time! My fertility has become an indicator of how I am doing; I know the symptoms and the pattern of my cycle. If I need to rest more or reduce stress, using Natural Cycles helps me to check in every day. 

It affirms what I am feeling: when I am ovulating, when I am about to start my period. I feel much sharper, and colors are honestly brighter. I plan my life around my cycle a lot now because for me that comes with knowing when I’m going to be better at different things. It’s very empowering. I’m not scared of my own anatomy anymore.

When it comes to using Natural Cycles in the day-to-day, I really like to have my thermometer under my pillow at the moment, so I don’t have to reach out and try and find it when I wake up. I have also found that putting it on top of my alarm, whether it be my phone or alarm clock, makes it easier to remember too.

I love that there are little notifications in the app, telling you useful information about our bodies, I have learned a lot! It even tells you things like when to check your breasts for possible changes, which could save lives.

I also love that my husband can use Partner View to see where I’m at in my cycle. That’s really fun! He likes to tell me when it’s a green day, he gets very excited! 

There have definitely been times when I would find myself forgetting to take my temperature - making me feel a little worried about my ovulation window, because the less info the app has, the harder it is for the algorithm to predict ovulation. Now I know that the algorithm adjusts for that. Basically, it makes your fertility window bigger, acting as a buffer until it has more data.

If you’re thinking about going hormone-free, like me…

For those of you who are thinking about switching birth control methods, know that you have options! You can learn about your own body, and listen to its needs. After using Natural Cycles for several years now, I can say that I have found this app so empowering and helpful on this journey. 

It has been an ally in becoming my best, juiciest and happy self. Ready to give it a try for yourself? You can use my discount code: AIMEE for 20% off your annual subscription. I am very confident that you will be really glad that you did!

I will be using Natural Cycles for a long, long time. My partner and I do not want to have children, and if we did it wouldn’t be for a long time. If you do want to get pregnant, you can actually plan pregnancy with Natural Cycles too - I’ve heard a lot of success stories with that. 

I love that I now have the option to sync the Oura Ring with my Natural Cycles app after the ring measures for you, I will be investing in that! I love a gadget. 

Huge thanks to Aimée for sharing her personal story of battling with birth control side effects before finding Natural Cycles! Thinking of going hormone-free? Why not find out if Natural Cycles could work for you?

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Written By

Aimée

Aimée is an artist, fashion designer, and climate activist. She loves creating beautiful things, spending her time with plants, and learning about herbalism.

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