How to Choose the Right Birth Control Methods for Your Body

There are many birth control methods available whether modern or traditional. Find the best option for you in this article.

A woman taking a daily birth control pill

There are plenty of birth control methods in the market, and each one functions differently. There isn’t one that suits everyone, and you will still need to find one or two that work well for you. Most types contain synthetic hormones that stop ovulation, while some prevent the sperm from meeting the egg. 

Birth control pills are only 99% effective, and there is still a chance of pregnancy even when you take them consistently daily. Apart from preventing pregnancies, doctors sometimes prescribe these pills to aid acne, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and menstrual cramps.

If you prefer not to take hormones, there are herbal and traditional methods that you might want to try. They might work well for you if taken consistently. 

Learn all about birth control methods, their traditional counterparts as well as their side effects, and how TCM can help alleviate them effectively.

The Different Types of Birth Control Methods

1. Sterilisation 

This method is suitable for both men and women. However, it is a permanent method, where both sexes will need to go for a surgical procedure. For women, doctors will recommend tubal ligation or occlusion (tubectomy), and for men, a male vasectomy. 

2. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC)  

You will have to undergo a procedure where your doctor will insert an intrauterine device or a hormonal implant inside your cervix. It can last from three to 10 years and you will not have to be on other forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy. 

3. Short-acting hormonal methods 

This is where regular birth control pills come in, as well as mini pills, patches, injections, and vaginal rings. Depending on the type of pills, you take them daily or monthly and for contraceptive shots, your doctor will administer them every three months.

4. Barrier methods 

Whenever you have sex, make a point to always use a condom. This is one barrier method which is used just before sexual intercourse with your partner. Other barrier methods include diaphragms, sponges, and cervical caps. These prevent sperm from entering the reproductive system when inserted into the cervix.

5. Natural rhythm method 

If you are all about natural methods, you should monitor your fertile periods. This method of birth control involves planning and monitoring the dates when you are fertile using an ovulation home test kit or a fertility monitor. On fertile days, avoid sexual activity, or use other forms of birth control. 

Bowls and jars of medicinal herbs placed on a wooden table
You can opt for natural, herbal birth control methods, under the supervision of your physician.

Herbal Birth Control 

Herbs are one of natural birth control methods if you don’t want to take man-made birth control pills, synthetic hormones, or monitor your cycle. Some doctors and herbalists believe that natural herbs can provide protection against pregnancy when combined with a barrier method such as male or female condoms.

1. Sterility promoters 

Women in the Dakota tribe used Stoneseed root (Collinsonia canadensis) to promote sterility. The root is ingested for six months daily after being is steeped in cold water. 

Another root called Jack-in-the-pulpit root was taken by women in the Hopi tribe. It can be consumed after being mixed with cold water, though it’s not as potent. 

Thistle plants, which were consumed by women in the Quinault tribe, are meant to promote temporary sterility if you can get your hands on them. They are usually boiled in water and made into tea.

2. Implantation preventers 

In India, Queen Anne’s Lace – also known as wild carrot seed – was used as birth control. Women took the seeds for seven days after sex, especially when they were fertile, to prevent any fertilised eggs from attaching to the uterus. 

According to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, some women in rural North Carolina are known to consume Queen Anne’s Lace seeds, by mixing them into water to prevent pregnancy. One similar study also found that chewing the seeds produced the most effective results. 

Another plant called Smartweed has leaves that contain substances like rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid which are said to prevent fertilised egg implantation. 

Rutin can also be purchased on its own for a similar purpose. It may be taken after unprotected sex until the start of menstruation. 

3. Menstruation starters 

To promote menstruation, some women take ginger root. It is available in powder form, and usually taken with boiling water several times a day for five days. Do note that because ginger is warm in nature, individuals with a heaty body constitution should avoid it.

Vitamin C may have a similar effect but higher doses are needed. However, taking high doses of vitamin C in synthetic form may result in loose bowels. 

Birth Control as Treatment for Other Conditions 

Some doctors prescribe birth control pills to treat conditions such as acne, endometriosis, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and menstrual cramps. Physician Lim Sock Ling states that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), imbalances of the Kidney, Liver and Spleen cause these conditions.

In this case, TCM is used to treat and nourish the Liver and Kidney. The treatments can also strengthen the Spleen, remove Dampness and phlegm, as well as remove Blood Stasis. Nourishing the Liver and Kidney will also correct hormonal imbalance, which is a common cause of all these conditions mentioned. 

Physician Lim prescribes Gui zhi fu ling pills (桂枝茯苓丸) to treat endometriosis, which is classified under blood stagnation syndrome. She elaborates that Cassia twig (Gui zhi, 桂枝), commonly paired with Poria cocos (Fu ling, 茯苓) to promote blood circulation and dredging collaterals. When used with peach kernel (Tao ren, 桃仁), the anticoagulant effect is stronger than Cassia twig alone.

Physician Lim also recommends red peony root (Chi shao, 赤芍) in treatment. It has an analgesic effect and the ability to promote blood circulation. Cortex moutan (Mu dan pi, 牡丹皮), on the other hand, contains chemical components that have an anti-inflammatory effect. A series of studies proved that Gui zhi fu ling pills (桂枝茯苓丸) along or in combination with Western medicine to treat endometriosis has achieved a satisfactory curative effect, and is considered an alternative medicine to treat endometriosis. 

While herbs are natural, some can have different effects and are not 100% effective. Keep in mind that these herbal birth control methods are rarely discussed, promoted, or researched by Western medicine. If you still want to explore herbs as an option for birth control, consult a physician or a professional herbalist, especially one who regularly deals with herbs and traditional medicine. 

References

  1. Healthline. 2019. Are There Options for Herbal Birth Control?  [Accessed 27 April 2022] 
  2. OASH. 2019. Birth Control Methods. [Accessed 27 April 2022] 
  3. International Journal of Medical Sciences. 2021. Traditional Chinese medicine prescription Guizhi Fuling Pills in the treatment of endometriosis. [Accessed 27 April 2022] 

Related Articles

The contents of the All Things Health website are for informational and educational purposes only.
Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.