Ahh the pill. Female contraception. Fun, fun…fun. I’m sure I’m right in saying that most women reading this post will have had some experience with contraception. Whether thats the pill, the implant, coil etc. On a surface level, it seems great doesn’t it? A little pill that prevents an unplanned pregnancy? Amazing! But there is so much more to it than we care to imagine. Saying this, I think more women are becoming educated on the effects hormonal contraception can have on our bodies, which is great. As someone who has tried multiple contraceptives over the years, this book was very interesting to me and I’ve been desperate to share my thoughts – so here we are.
the pill really does change everything.
The overall point – the book ain’t lying. The pill (and most hormonal contraceptives) changes the balance of your sex hormones. So, if you’re a ‘naturally cycling’ woman (ie. taking no hormonal contraception), then your oestrogen and progesterone (sex hormones) levels will vary across your cycle. Oestrogen presents itself more so when you’re ovulating, giving you more of a sex drive as your body is like ‘baby, let’s have a baby’ (lol). Whereas progesterone comes along nearer the end of your cycle and makes you somewhat relaxed, a little more hungry, tired etc. However, when you’re on the pill, your hormones don’t go up and down. It’s levelled out.
Now this is brilliant if you’re someone who experiences really bad PMS or mood swings; it’s helpful. If you’re not someone who particularly struggles then it may not be so great. When your sex hormones aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, then life can become a bit…flat. A lot of women find that things they enjoyed when not on the pill, become ‘meh’. They’re impartial. I know I’ve certainly found this. I feel very impartial about a lot of things. Things that should get me excited or even upset, I just don’t get those feelings as much as I did before.
This also includes sex drive. Which of course, can affect a lot of relationships. Lots of women mistake their lack of sex drive with not loving their partner anymore – it can become really confusing. But because your hormones are levelled out, that oestrogen increase doesn’t happen like it would if you were a ‘naturally cycling’. You don’t ovulate so your body doesn’t feel the need to push up that sex drive because there’s no hope of a baby being made.
So yes, when Dr. Sarah E Hill says the pill changes everything, she means it. You are your hormones, your hormones are you so of course you’re going to feel different when they’re tampered with. Now, saying all of this, I don’t mean to suggest that the pill is bad and neither does this book. At the end of the day its your choice, if you’ve never had any issues with the pill then thats amazing. If you have, there are many other pills and options to try. As this book says, its just important to understand whats going on with body because then you can make more informed choices.
what i have taken away from this book.
There is much more to this book than what I’ve explained above, however I feel as though thats the main crux. The change in hormones, makes a change in you. This is how I feel anyway. Shortly after starting the pill at 16, I started experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks. Now this may have been coincidental, but I’m sure the pill I was on has something to answer for. Over the years, I have learnt to manage my anxiety and have moved onto different contraceptives and I’m currently using one that I feel works best for me and thats the NuvaRing. I think this works well as it has a smaller level of hormone release compared to the pill. Although its much better, it definitely isn’t perfect. I still feel a lack of emotion to a lot of things, I feel unbothered when I should really be bothered. This is something I’m thinking deeply about and whether I want to give myself a period of time away from hormonal contraception and see how I feel.
This book has furthered my knowledge immensely and made me realise there isn’t enough research going into the effects of hormonal contraception on women. It’s also made me realise that we, as women, have choice. There are a handful of contraceptives out there to try and I definitely think its worth giving them all a go until you find something that suits you. We are lucky we have this available to us, as women in the past had to cut careers short due to unplanned pregnancies etc. What we have isn’t perfect, but it also allows us to extend our careers and pursue things we may not have been able to in the past. So, swings and roundabouts really. Its tough, the decision is ultimately yours and I think you have to look at the pro’s and con’s. We need to keep the conversation going about this because I believe there will be change in the future, whether thats a better contraceptive for us or maybe even one for men.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and your experience on the pill/hormonal contraception.
Buy How The Pill Changes Everything here.