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Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Learn all about the different methods and approaches to preventing pregnancy naturally. Gain information about the ovulation cycle of women and how it is affected by different methods such as the rhythm method, barrier method which includes use of condoms, cervical cap, IUD, and the chemical method which is by use of the birth control pill. Find out about the pros and cons of each and combination of approaches and determine which one works for you.
Hey there, it’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani. It’s been awhile. Glad to be back. Today’s video is gonna be on natural birth control methods. I have lots of female patients that are inquiring about this. Also their male counterparts who is trying to figure out ways that they can prevent pregnancy without having a whole bunch of synthetic hormones in the body. So we have the conventional approach which will talk about today and we’ll also compare that some of the natural approaches and figure out what works best for you. At least give you the options that you can make a better decision. So let’s begin. Off the bat we get three major methods we’re gonna talk about. We have the
Three Methods to Prevent Pregnancy:
- Rhythm method which is more time-based
- Barrier methods which we’ll talk about including condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms and IUDs
- Chemical methods which include birth control pills
Whether they’re a synthetic estrogen or progesterone based. So we’re gonna go through this one by one, alright. So off the bat we have the rhythm method. So firstly with the rhythm method is you have to know what your cycle is like. So off the bat here’s a typical female cycle. I’ll make that a little bit clean here so you can see.
A typical cycle is gonna be about 28 days long, on average. So if we draw this out, 28 to 0, that gives you a good frame of reference. And were gonna use the red for the estrogen. So the first half of the cycle you’re gonna see estrogen kinda pop-up a bit. And then it drops off the last half of the cycle, like so. Progesterone is gonna be blue here. And you’re gonna see progesterone comes up- right about here in the middle of the cycle. And then falls off here at the end. So you can see here, first part of the cycle right here- the start, this part here is gonna be the follicular phase-put an f and x to it. And this part over here will be the luteal phase, alright. Estrogen predominates in the first half. Progesterone predominates in the second half- really important. Now ovulation, the primary in which pregnancy can occur, is gonna happen right here. Right in the middle. This is the money right here. That’s the money shot, alright. That’s where the sperm and the egg have to meet at the same time. And that’s gonna be where that happens. So knowing that, what we do based on that information? So if we have about 2 to 3 day window here, so about 2-3 days here, and we know sperm can live about 5 days- 5 to 7, essentially. We have a 5 to 7 +3-day window here. So essentially got about 10 days a month a woman could potentially be fertile if sex happens beforehand. Because if ovulation’s already happen it wouldn’t matter if sperm came in here because the-the hormonal timing is now passed. But If we have sperm in here ahead of time, they could easily get in, fertilize that egg. And a baby would be on its way, so to speak. So just kinda keep that in mind. We have about 10 days off fertility a month. 10 days and really it takes someone knowing their cycle. So I recommend a female having at least six cycles, whether within at least a day or two. So they kinda know where that ovulation is.
Three things to note when using the rhythm method:
- Drop in temperature
- Increase in temperature following the drop
- Increase in cervical mucus production
A couple things you can do to figure that out is a great app called Kindara on the iPhone. And the first thing that you can do is you can track your temperatures first thing in the morning. The first thing you’re gonna notice- Number one is a drop. A drop in temp. And second thing you’re gonna know that you’re already into ovulation is you’re gonna notice an increase in temp, following the drop. So it’s the drop first. The increase, second. And this kinda mean you’re already in the middle of ovulation here, okay. We’re already ovulating here. And the last thing would be also noticing some cervical mucus, kinda like an egg yolk kind of consistency. So those will be the one, two, three categories that you would use while you’re in your cycle to kinda confirm that you’re moving along in the right direction. And you can also do an ovulation test which measures the luteineizing hormone. It’s part of the brain signaling that-that increases progesterone which is part of that increase in temperate there. Those are couple of ways you can.
When to use the rhythm method
You can do the rhythm method, and used to avoid sex during this time frame here to here. The big thing is you have to make sure you don’t come in too soon after. So typically, day 10 to day 20 or day 8-18 is pretty safe. And if you’re on the fence, you can use a condom and/or various barrier methods if you’re within a day or two and you’re kinda uncertain about it. Barrier methods or as we said the rhythm method works about 88% of the time. So just be very mindful. It’s not perfect. If your cycle is inconsistent or you’re more on the unhealthy size from a hormone perspective, you may want to look at combining a condom or barrier method along with that. That’s the rhythm method there.
THE BARRIER METHOD
- Cervical Cap
Let’s begin and go to the barrier. So with the barrier method, we have a couple standard ones here. You have your condom which will protect you from STD’s as well. That’s kind of a female counterpart of the male counterpart, right there. The others will be all female counterparts. There’s a pill that we’re using. It’s not quite out yet but it’s uh- it’s decreasing FSH for men which then creates spermatogenesis downstream. Uh, I’m not sure how much I feel about, about that yet. Not an update on it but uh, it’s something. It’s coming out –the male version of the pill.
So condoms are gonna be the first one. Again, this will actually protect against STDs which is good. The others won’t. Okay, you’re gonna have your cervical cap /diaphragm, kinda similar. And that’s just the barrier. Basically, it’s a block-it’s blocking the cervix where the sperm would come in from the cervix into the uterine lining or to the uterus. It basically caps that off and blocks it. So you have the cervical cap and the diaphragm. And the next you have the IUD. And the IUD basically sits in the uterus here and prevents the egg from implanting. That’s how the idea works. It is effective of disrupting implantation of the egg. So the egg can’t come in there and stick. So barriers: condom, cervical cap, diaphragm, IUD. So couple things here. This is gonna be something the guy can use. Also protects the STD’s there, too.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the barrier method
Cervical cap and diaphragm are great because they can be combined with the condoms. So you have a barrier method on the male side. On the female side, which provides really good uhm, extra coverage. The only thing is you gotta put all these things in, right. You can’t let these things stick. You gotta put them on before uh, before sexual intercourse or foreplay. You gonna know to do that ahead of time. 1-2-3. IUD is nice coz it’s always there. So you don’t have to plan it ahead of time. The main one that we recommend would be the Paragard. That’s gonna be a copper based IUD. You have to worry about some copper issue with that. But, I mean it’s not gonna Marina which is the progesterone, synthetic progesterone IUD. So it’ll be a copper IUD and it’s always gonna be there. Some women, it can create bleeding issues You gotta figure out if it’s right for you or not. You may want to tryi it and see if it works well from a symptomatic sampling but that’s always gonna be in there. So a lot of times you can do an IUD, you can combine with condoms or if you don’t wanna do the IUD because of side effects or you’re worried about the copper issues, you can combine the barrier method with the condom method and then you got a really good shot. And you can also just do the condom method. That’s still the good 90%+ of the time. Uhm, if you combine them, obviously you get even better coverage. That gives you the barrier method there. So you have the rhythm and again you can use all these and combine them with the rhythm method during that 10-day time frame at your hormonally sensitive for ovulation and for fertility and pregnancy. So these can be combined with the rhythm method. Alright, let’s take in the chemical.
THE CHEMICAL METHOD
So with the chemical method, let’s talk about the birth control pill. So the birth control pill, in general, works by inhibiting ovulation by decreasing feedback loops in the brain So real quick, we have our brain, okay. And we have from the brain, we have our hypothalamus and our pituitary and that produces a compound down here. We have FSH on one side and LH on the other side and that talks to the gonads. This case, that’s the ovaries. The males-it’s that the testes. So these various feedback loops here And LH and FSH are really important.
Luteineizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
The LH in a female helps to increase progesterone levels which are responsible for cervical mucus. And FSH helps grows the follicle and also helps thicken the endometrial lining so the egg can implant, alright. And so does LH as well. So when we decrease these, we decrease them by taking the birth control pill. That’s a few things. It’s gonna increase more cervical mucus uh, before ovulation so it makes it harder for the egg to get in there. That’s gonna be the synthetic progesterones. And then the FSH is going to make the endometrial lining thinner. I think, uh before, I may have said thicker. The endometrial lining will get thinner with the FSH being lower and the cervical mucus will get thicker with the LH being lower. So synthetic progesterone will increase cervical mucus. These synthetic estrogen will actually thin out the uterine lining. So number one, harder for the egg to get into the uterus-number one. Number two, it will be harder for the egg to implant into the uterine lining because deep lining will be thinner. And that’s the general idea that- and for the most part, a woman’s gonna be be taking 21days of pills. Typically, its gonna- it may be a combo of estrogens and progesterone and synthetic ones. So not estrogen but synthetic estrogens and not just progesterone but synthetic progesterone. Maybe a combo a lot of times, it’s gonna be a ethanyl estradiol like a Yasmine kinda of thing. Or it may be a combo that has synthetic estrogen and progesterone. Sometimes if there’s side effects, though, give women progestins throughout the month as well those gotta be taken exactly at the exact time everyday. Less flexibility with those than the regular ones. But again, 21 days typically of pills followed by seven days of reminder pills which are basically just dummy pills so your hormone levels can drop. Coz it’s the drop in hormones that signals the uterine lining to shed and does it all again. So again, birthcontrol pills- what’ts it doing,high amount of estrogen and progesterone, the high amount of estrogen and progesterone drops the LH and the FSH, okay. And when that’s dropped, what happens is thicker cervical mucus cap, sperm can get up there- that’s from the LH. And we have a thinner uterine lining from the FSH and the estrogen’s behind which makes it hard for the egg to stick. Again, some of the side effects here, you’re gonna have- I’m gonna do a whole other video, probably in a few days on just the birth control pill.
Some side effects of the pill
But issues with it is, it can increase sex hormone binding globulin which can actually decrease your testosterone levels. So common side effect is a lower testosterone, so lower libido. It can also increase thyro-binding globulin which can lower your free fraction of thyroid hormone which can cause weight gain, right. Common side effects of the pill is, what-decreased energy, decreased libido, and waking- the side effects there. Not to mention nutritional deficiencies ranging from B vitamins to folate to methylate, the calcium, magnesium and zinc.
So the whole bunch of other things going on. So we always try to go with the most natural route possible. And always try to suggest these things above, the barrier rhythm methods because or a combo because of their safety record.
Again, the pill- not a fan of the synthetic hormones. Just not a fan of it. I mean, the pill has been shown to help reduce uterine cancer and ovarian cancer and thyroid cancer, but it’s been shown to increase breast cancer. And breast cancer is a far bigger killer than the first three. So you gotta keep that in mind. Plus, we have –we’re bombarded with estrogens-synthetic estrogens in our environment all the time and we’re in this-most females are in a constant state in testing with their—with the various testings we do. They’re in a constant sate of estrogen dominance whether estrogen is so high in relationship to the natural estrogen-progesterone balance. And are predisposed to fibrocystic breast conditions endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts. Mainly because of the hormones being out of balance. Now a lot of people are being prescribed birth control pills off label. So they’re being prescribed there of hirsutism or hair issues on their face or excessive bleeding or migraine headaches or mood issues or PMS. And a lot of times, the pill is not really getting to the root cause. So our cycle is supposed to be like this. Let me draw it out here so it’s super clear. If your cycle is supposed to be like here, okay. Here’s your estrogen levels-here. And here’s your progesterone here. Now imagine this is a textbook cycle, right. This is textbook. Now let’s draw this up here. Let’s say it goes like this-Let’s say your hormones will go like this. And they go high and they go low and high low and high and low and drop out soon. These perturbations, these up-and-down fluctuations are gonna create symptoms-mood issues, migraine, headaches. If it falls out early and you have 5-7 day gap, this can drive PMS, backpain, cramping, breast tenderness, moodiness, depression. So again, is it really fixing the underlying issue? Coz all it’s doing is taking your ass again and doing this. It’s raising a flat line then you hit your reminder pills and then basically goes right down. So you’re just basically raising your estrogen levels super, super high and then you’re taking your 7-days reminder pills and it drops. So all it’s doing is instead of the up-and-downs here, it’s covering all the deficiencies up by giving you a flat line hormone. So I hope that makes sense.
Next video will be on the pill in depth. We’ll go into the mechanisms, we’ll break it all down like we did before here, kinda go into the nitty-gritty. But I hope anyone watching this that’s kinda tryin’ figure out what’s the best method for you, hopefully I drew out some of the pros and cons. Again, birth control pill’s been around for 50 years or so. Now a lot of, you know, some side effects there. Pretty easy, easier than most above, so you gotta figure out what works best for you. Whether you rather have a little bit more inconvenience but less synthetic hormones or a little more convenience for potential side effects. So you gotta wait out pros and cons. But if you’re trying to deal with hormonal issues, PNS issues and/or your hormone’s back on track, click on screen. Reach out to myself. So you can get more info on how you can get your hormones back in action. Again, this is Dr. J here. Click on screen, subscribe for more videos coming your way. Thanks a lot. Have a great night.