Cycling Through Your Options

In my past visit to the doctor, I asked for advice on what birth control method to use. My doctor suggested all hormonal based birth control and didn’t even mention the basal temperature and fertility awareness based methods that I looked into. When I asked her about it she said it was almost unusable and brushed it off completely.
This response stalled me for six months in deciding what to do next, what to research and how to make a decision that was best for me. I became incredibly skeptical of this doctor’s advice, but even then I could not understand. Did she receive negative feedback from others using this method? Does she not like the basal temperature method because it’s based on an algorithm instead of hormones? Was she unwilling to accept that I could look to solutions outside of that doctor’s office that are just as medically backed? And a last option, what if she actually had the best intentions and was just trying to help?
I found that fertility awareness based methods work by tracking your cycle through basal temperature patterns corresponding to hormone changes, cervical fluid, your period, and hormone tests (like an LH, luteinizing hormone test). There are about six days per month that a person who menstruates shouldn’t have unprotected sex (if using this method as birth control), based on the survival of sperm and the day you ovulate.
The method that I found works with an app called NaturalCycles, which works 93% of the time with typical use and 99% with perfect use (as compared to the pill, which is 91% effective with typical use and 99% with perfect use). The app is a certified medical device under an international ISO standard. As a brief explanation, this app is based on an algorithm that tracks information about your basal temperature, your period and LH tests. With this information, it can pinpoint the day you ovulate and basically tell you when to avoid unprotected sex. I have also talked to someone who tracks their cervical fluid and position as another way of understanding their cycle. I would suggest looking into all of this and any other method you are thinking about pursuing.
Hormonal birth control has been the default since the pill was popularized and to me, the fact that this is a default can be oppressive considering new technologies. Instead of trying to understand how a menstrual cycle works, the first solution is to alter hormones to stop the cycle altogether, and therefore increasing the possibility of depression. While I understand hormonal birth control has medical uses and benefits, I think some people might be more empowered through a furthered understanding of their hormonal cycle to prevent pregnancy. And I don’t think young people should immediately be given the advice to use hormonal options, without knowing the ways it can affect their life and well-being.
I’m not trying to tell people not to use hormonal birth control and I know those methods work really well for people who choose to use them. But I do want to remind everyone to be just a bit skeptical of people in positions of power, especially when it’s about your health and personal choices in systems that have long been used to oppress women and minorities in society.
I thought my experiences were important to share because I think birth control isn’t widely talked about, but it can drastically impact a person’s life. I want everyone to be able to make their own educated choices that are best for them.
If anyone wants to talk to me about my choices or this article, feel free to email me at or just come and talk to me sometime.