Sex ... Do I Have Your Attention?

Let's face it... sex is a fabulous, enjoyable experience.  But contraception may not be, particularly when you are trying to keep spontaneity part of the fun.  There are also the typical men's complaints about barrier methods of contraception like condoms, diaphragms, etc.  Then there are contraception methods that are given out to women like candy, just to make their periods less of an issue or even eliminate their periods altogether.  So what's a girl to do? The first thing that is important is to really make your partner aware that there are significant risks and side effects with oral contraception and procedure-driven methods such as the IUD.  Whereas barrier methods present little to no risk to either of your bodies, you are facing a great deal more uncertainty once you move into presciption methods, just as you do with any prescription.  Another misconception is that barrier methods interrupt sex, when the truth is that they actually are used before sex.  Stopping to put on a condom takes moments, while a diaphragm can be put in even before your partner gets home from work and is left in generally until the next morning before removal.  Many men claim they can feel a diaphragm (which I always wondered if it might be simply a boasting claim), an issue that can be reduced simply by changing positions.  And if you are choosing to take oral contraception to reduce PMS or period symptoms, you have to realize that there are long-term consequences facing you.  Often a guy will give his immediate reaction a second thought and be more understanding and flexible about your contraception choices.

Oral contraception are hormones that are artificially cycling your system and controlling many functions that rely on this delicate and essential cycle.  Things like mental focus and clarity, bone health, heart health and liver function.  Even your immune system at a cellular level interacts with your hormonal cycle.  To alter that cycle is to alter the function of the interrelated systems, and can come back to bite you in the proverbial ass later.  I am seeing more and more women experiencing infertility and conception difficulties, and 90% of them were on oral contraceptives.  It can take months for the body to settle back into a normal cycle after stopping oral contraception and often that cycle wreaks havoc with the other systems that now have no clue about what normal even is any more.  Then there are the women who have developed chronic immune issues, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, breathing difficulties and even lost their job because they couldn't focus... and yes, they were all taking oral contraception.  Once the oral contraception was stopped and we supported the normal function of their systems, the symptoms stopped.

Then there is the IUD which comes in a version with hormones and one without.  Either way, it is a structural foreign substance lodged in the uterus and it is often made of copper.  High levels of copper can create really substantial PMS symptoms in women, so the use of an IUD can make your PMS time worse.  The IUD can not only create bleeding issues, appearing as spotting, but it can lead to scarring of the uterine wall which was the problem behind one woman having multiple miscarriages once she had it removed.  The embryo couldn't implant in the wall of the uterus because the most common site for implantation was scarred from the IUD.  It can create malformation of the uterus as the immune system attempts to handle the intrusion.  Remember your body is designed to fight against anything that is not natural to the body.  Just because something does not require the use of immunosuppresive drugs, does not mean it isn't challenging your immune system.  Even chronic allergies can be the result of the immune system combating an IUD.

Another problem with any intrauterine device is that the process of the insertion can carry any sexually transmitted disease that is already present (even without your knowledge) into the uterus which can create the really debilitating Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and eventually infertility.  PID is a condition that is little understood and can be triggered by any immune issue in the uterus.

Longer-term methods such as the patch, the subdermal implant or the hormonal injection are all still artificial hormonal methods, and again, can create scar tissue in the case of implant or injection, or can bring on many uncomfortable symptoms because there are higher levels of hormones circulating through your system every day.  Your normal cycle creates a surge of hormones just before your period, but the rest of the month are at significantly lower levels.  This is not the case with most hormonal methods of contraception.  And consider this... it is a scientific fact that the introduction of hormones into your body, whether natural or synthetic, will cause your glands that make those hormones to make less or even none, setting the stage for real problems later on.

I know that everyone bangs on about condoms and the need for preventing the spread of disease, but the real advantage to condoms is that it also prevents a challenge to the woman's immune system each time you have sex.  One of the most common reasons for chronic colds, flus, skin breakouts and fatigue in women is frequent unprotected sex, or even using a lubricant that is just kept in the medicine chest where bacteria can flourish.  Anything that you are going to insert in the vaginal tract (or elsewhere for that matter) should be refrigerated until use.... well, maybe not your partner.  You can warm any lubricant by placing the bottle in a pan of steaming water off the stove for just a few minutes, and there are even warmers that are sold specifically for lotions and lubricants that can plug in quite conveniently right next to the bed.   Each time you have sex, you are creating some inflammation and microtears in the vaginal wall, which can be irritated by the cleansing effects of your period... a leading reason for uncomfortable symptoms or immune reactions during menstruation.  A lubricated condom, or the use of a lubricant can prevent some of this microdamage from occuring.

So just trying condoms may actually change a lot of your body symptoms immediately.  But what if you are taking birth control primarily to reduce period symptoms, or to eliminate your period altogether?  Then we need to sit down for a chat.  First, it is my experience and philosophy that your period is yet another way that your body eliminates toxic material, cleanses your reproductive organs and maintains the balance of your uterus and vaginal tract.  That means that it is an essential function that you need in order to be healthy.  If you experience symptoms with the onset of blood flow, then it means your body is elminating something toxic.  This can be candida-related, an undetected sexually transmitted disease, chronic immune issues in the uterus or too high an estrogen level compared to progesterone.  All of these things can be handled by natural options that can make your period a healthy experience.

If you experience symptoms before your period, then it generally points to a problem with the liver or a problem with the cycling levels of estrogen and progesterone.  The day that you begin symptoms can often pinpoint what the issue is, since estrogen will surge during the first half of your cycle, while the second half is more progesterone oriented.  If pain is a predominant symptoms, then you may have a tipped uterus, a condition that doctors assure us is completely natural.  A million years ago, a very elderly Swedish Massage teacher I had very nonchalantly taught me about the positioning of the uterus and some methods to restore its normal place.  This technique was miraculous at eliminating period pain for many women and it is something we still do at the clinic on a regular basis.  Or, there may be an underlying immune problem that makes the time before your period enough to volunteer for WWF just to kick somebody's butt.

Whatever your period problems, they can be resolved without the Pill, the patch, the injection or the IUD.  For information on natural options, read the article "Women... Period" at our on-line magazine.

So support your body's most unique system, instead of suppressing it.  It can make a lot more difference for your health than you think.  And when you tell your partner that you have to have lots of sex in order to test out your choices, I don't think you'll get any complaints.