If you have had a bad reaction to hormonal birth control, if you are concerned about the side effects of birth control or if you choose not to take hormonal birth control for personal reasons, you can still take charge of your fertility.
Winston-Salem obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Lewis D. Lipscomb works to educate his patients at Novant Health Triad Obstetrics and Gynecology on the alternatives to hormonal birth control. “Birth control pills, injections, implants, IUDs and vaginal rings are all common forms of hormonal birth control,” Lipscomb explained. “These work by ‘overriding’ the normal, naturally occurring function of the female reproductive system.”
The exact way hormonal birth control works depends on the type. “Hormonal birth control methods interfere with ovulation, thicken cervical mucus to block sperm transport or interfere with the implantation of the embryo,” Lipscomb said. “Every form alters the way your body naturally works.”
Lipscomb says patients have many reasons for avoiding hormonal birth control. “Some patients want to avoid unnatural hormones, while others have an intolerance to contraceptives due to side effects,” he said. “Others have moral or religious objections. And some patients are concerned about conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol that can be complicated with hormonal birth control.”
Despite these reasons, Lipscomb knows his patients still want to manage their fertility. “In my professional opinion,” he said, “the best alternative to hormonal birth control is fertility awareness. Modern fertility awareness methods are as effective as hormonal birth control when used to avoid pregnancy.”
Lipscomb suggests learning about various methods of modern fertility awareness such as the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, the symptothermal method, the Marquette Model or the Billings Ovulation Method.
“Explore them on your own, but then seek formal instruction,” Lipscomb advised. “Everyone in our office is happy to discuss different methods with you and point you in the right direction for reliable information.”
Lipscomb says understanding fertility has other benefits. “Many couples say embracing fertility awareness leads to stronger communication,” he shared. “As long as you are in a supportive relationship and have a willingness to learn, fertility awareness can work for you.”
Call Novant Health Triad Obstetrics & Gynecology at 336-277-0340 to make an appointment to learn more about alternatives to hormonal birth control.