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Alternatives to hormonal contraception

Alternatives to hormonal contraception

Contraception without hormones… is it really possible? The answer is yes ! Especially since it continues to attract more and more women who want to be more attentive to their bodies. So what are the alternatives to hormonal contraception, and what can be expected?

Hormonal contraception:explanations

70%1 of women are on hormonal contraception. Among them, an estimated 30%[1] use the pill. It is believed to have been prescribed forever, but the pill is still quite recent. It appeared in France in the 1960s and became the symbol of a real revolution. She is not the only one to use hormones to avoid pregnancy. The same is true for other means of contraception such as the patch, the vaginal ring, the hormonal IUD or even the injection of hormones.

All have the same mode of operation:they act on the rules, and therefore on the female cycle, by delivering hormones to the body, then depriving it for a few days. Ovulation is blocked here and bleeding is artificially triggered. They are also often less abundant and of shorter duration than in the absence of hormonal contraception.

Do hormones have an impact on fertility?

Hormones have no influence on fertility once the contraceptive is stopped. From the cycle following the removal of these devices or the absence of taking the pill, the body resumes a normal rhythm and the periods return naturally. However, it may happen that the first cycles after stopping the hormones are irregular, delaying a possible pregnancy by one or more cycles.

Hormones that are no longer always welcome

In recent years, the craze for the contraceptive pill has tended to fade. A whole generation of women are now looking to adopt a more natural method, or at least one that does not involve hormones. The reasons are many. They want to reconnect with their body and their feelings, limit the side effects of this type of contraceptive or go back to something more natural.

Good to know:What are the hormones in birth control?

Pills and other hormonal contraceptives contain progesterone and estrogen. The latter act on the ovarian cycle, blocking ovulation, while progesterone acts on the uterine lining, preventing implantation and thickening the secretions at the entrance to the uterus, thus blocking the passage of sperm. Some pills only contain progesterone. These are called "micro dose pills". These are the so-called "2nd generation" pills. The others all contain estrogen, in different concentrations.

Hormonal birth control is also known to have side effects. Some women report repeated headaches, weight gain, the appearance of skin problems or even a decrease in libido and a feeling of depression. A study[2] has indeed shown a close relationship between the use of hormonal contraceptives and the use of antidepressants, especially among adolescent girls.

Risks of venous thrombosis have also appeared with the use of hormones as a means of contraception. These molecules sometimes promote the formation of a blood clot in a vein or artery. The risk is then that the latter moves through the body and blocks blood circulation, leading to a heart attack or stroke. However, this phenomenon remains rare. In 2012-2013, generations 3 and 4 of the hormonal pill were pointed out precisely for this reason. They are now replaced by 2 e pills generation, which are less dangerous (because they contain little or no estrogen), do not cause venous thrombosis, but which can cause side effects such as the appearance of acne, weight gain, headaches , etc. Do not hesitate to discuss it with your doctor, your gynecologist or your midwife if you are concerned.

Possible alternatives to hormonal contraception

Non-hormonal contraceptives do not artificially trigger menstruation. They act either by preventing possible contact with the spermatozoa, or by having a mechanical action on the endometrium.

The copper IUD

The IUD is a device that acts on the endometrium, the uterine lining, and thus prevents the implantation of an embryo. We then speak of a copper IUD. Used by more than 20%[3] of women, it works by destroying sperm and preventing any nesting due to its presence in the uterus. It stays in place for an average of 5 years, and is very economical and reimbursed by Social Security and your mutual insurance company. However, it can lead to heavier periods and more intense pain as the period approaches. It is also very reliable, since its efficiency rate exceeds 99%.

The condom

The condom, like the following contraceptives, simply prevents the meeting of the egg and the sperm. Female or male, the condom is very popular and offers excellent effectiveness (with a rate of 95%), combined with ease of use. It is also used by more than 20%1 of women aged 15 to 49. However, it remains fragile and must be handled with care so as not to be damaged. Condoms are reimbursed by Social Security.[4]


The diaphragm, a kind of silicone or latex cup, is placed in the bottom of the vagina (against the cervix) before intercourse and also prevents any contact. It blocks the passage of sperm. It must be removed after use with care so as not to destroy its effects. It can be reimbursed when prescribed by a gynecologist or a midwife. It is 94% effective if used correctly and coupled with the use of spermicide.

The cervical cap

There is also the cervical cap. It works like the diaphragm, but offers more possibilities. For example, it can stay in place after intercourse for 8 hours. However, there is a lower contraceptive efficacy than with the diaphragm, with an efficacy rate of 84% for women who have not had children and 68% for those who have already given birth. It is therefore better to combine it with the use of a spermicide and avoid using it if you are prone to urinary tract infections. It cannot be reimbursed by Social Security.


Finally, spermicides show good efficacy (their rate is 82% if they are used correctly). Placed in the vagina, they destroy sperm by their mere presence. They come in the form of pads, sponges or creams. They are also not reimbursed.

More naturalness and freedom, and an absence of constraints:there are many reasons that push women towards contraception without hormones. Do you feel the urge to take an interest in it? Do not hesitate to seek advice from your gynecologist or midwife. This will allow you to calmly consider changing your method of contraception.

Source: Maladies/sexualite-contraception/contraception-feminine.html maladie




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