I’ll Never Go Back On The Pill—Here’s Why

Do you know that the birth control method most used by American women between the ages of 15 to 29 is the pill? I used to be on it myself, but the experience was so terrible that I resolved NEVER to use it again. Here’s why:

  1. There was a side-effect I wasn’t expecting. I knew about the sore breasts, nausea, and acne and I got my fair share of those, but a strange thing started happening after about a year of being on the pill every day. My eyes became really sensitive to light, making me see weird squiggly things in bright sunshine and even fluorescent lighting. WTF? Apparently, birth control pills can affect your vision. Scary AF.
  2. I’m a migraine sufferer. I’ve experienced migraines since childhood. I went off the pill soon after my eyes felt weird, and then when I wanted to go back on it, I spoke to my doctor who said it was a bad idea for me. Birth control pills could cause my migraines to become even more severe. Um, I’ve ended up in the emergency room with migraines when I’ve been off the pill, so how much more severe could they be? I don’t want to find out.
  3. I’m a hypochondriac. I’ve always been scared of getting sick, and being on the pill just heightened this fear. Increased estrogen levels are linked to health problems such as an increased risk of blood clots, which my doctor said he commonly saw women on the pill going in to see him about. WTF?
  4. I hate taking meds. I only take medicine if I really, really need to. I know that birth control is important, but it feels like an unnecessary risk with all the possible side-effects that can happen. I mean hell, I can’t even take a painkiller without thinking long and hard about it!
  5. It’s not environmentally friendly. When those synthetic hormones in birth control get excreted by women, they can end up harming the environment. It sounds crazy, but a French study found that hormones in birth control pills were to blame for 35 to 50 percent of the estrogen that was found in Parisian rivers. WTF?
  6. Iron can be part of birth control. Women lose iron during menstruation, and some birth control pills contain iron supplements in them to make up for the loss of this important nutrient. But iron supplementation isn’t right for all women. It can cause symptoms of its own, such as stomach problems and constipation.
  7. I was worried all the time. When I was on the pill, I was worried about my body all the time. I was so scared of what the pill was doing to me, and since there were so many conflicting studies, such as about breast cancer and the pill, I felt like I couldn’t make peace with being on it. Is it worth sacrificing my mental peace? No.
  8. They are some cancer risks. Research published on the Cancer.gov website states that although ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer are reduced with use of the birth control pill, it can increase the risk of liver, cervical, and breast cancer. Ugh. There’s enough to worry about with cancer when it comes to food and environmental toxins. I don’t want to risk it by putting synthetic hormones into my body.
  9. It affects women in different ways. There are no guarantees about what the pill will do to my health. That’s why I’m choosing to stay off it. After speaking to female friends who were also on the pill and experiencing crazy symptoms of their own—one was moody AF all the time and the other felt intense rage she’d never felt before—I didn’t regret my choice.
  10. I wanted to protect myself against pregnancy, but… It felt like I was compromising my mental peace and possibly even my health by staying on the pill. I didn’t want to get pregnant, but there had to be a better birth control option. I remember thinking I’d rather never have sex again than feel such anxiety about the pill or risk my health.
  11. There were—and are—better options. Luckily, birth control pills aren’t the only way to prevent pregnancies and enjoy sex. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the intrauterine device (IUD) is 20 times more effective at preventing pregnancy than birth control pills, rings, or patches. The reason is that when the IUD gets inserted into the uterus, it stays put and there’s no worry about human error, such as missing a pill.
  12. Being on birth control pills was like being pregnant, just without the baby. I was on birth control pills for a few years and it felt so weird to think that I was getting so many pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea, mood swings, headaches, and weight gain when I wasn’t even pregnant. I might as well have been because without a bun in the oven, what I was going through on the pill was really just as bad, if not worse.
  13. It feels unfair. Male doctors used to tell me I’d get “mild” headaches or a bit of nausea on the pill like it wasn’t a big deal. Yeah right. I couldn’t help but feel that they had no clue what it was really like to put my body through this. It was like being on birth control pills was a “female problem” just like period pains or PMS. But it should be a problem all people and more doctors take seriously because so many women are suffering. If and when male birth control pills hit the market, I’m sure we’ll hear from men about how crappy it is to have to take them, and I doubt many of them will stay on them for long.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.