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The 7 best hormone-free birth control methods

Is it possible without the pill? Sure, of course! These 7 methods of contraception work without hormones. That’s how they work, that’s how safe they are.

The pill is usually a reliable contraceptive, no question about it. Its introduction in the 1960s was hailed as a milestone in the history of women’s self-determination. But the pill has many downsides.

Quite a few women also feel impaired health from the hormone intake: headaches up to migraines, depressive moods, loss of libido and weight gain are not all that uncommon side effects.

Those who suffer from this often experience a completely new, positive body feeling when they switch to hormone-free contraception. That’s why we’ve put together the best methods of hormone-free contraception for you here.

Why should you use hormone-free contraception?

If you suffer from any of the above mentioned physical ailments, hormone-free contraception is worth a try to feel more comfortable in your skin again. Even if you don’t have any specific complaints, but the potential side effects of the pill put you off, it’s worth looking at the alternatives. According to a study, for example, the risk of developing a thrombosis, i.e. a life-threatening blood clot, when taking the pill is significantly increased.

For women who travel a lot and are on the move in different time zones, hormone-free contraceptives also offer more security: If regular, precise pill intake becomes a problem, the risk of becoming pregnant unintentionally increases significantly.

Even and especially if you take the pill mainly because men say they can “not do that well with a condom” you should think twice about whether you just want to expose your body to this constant hormonal fire for this reason.

How safe is hormone-free contraception?

Let’s say: a high level of security is possible. Safe contraception without hormones sounds unimaginable to many and some hormone-free contraceptives are rightly considered unsafe. But that doesn’t apply to everyone.

The Pearl Index reveals how safe a contraceptive is. The value indicates how many out of 100 women became pregnant in a period of 12 months despite using a certain method of contraception. The following applies: the lower the value, the better. For comparison: the Pearl Index of common anti-baby pills is around 0.1 to 3.0, depending on the preparation. Some of the hormone-free strategies can definitely compete:

Every woman should know these 7 hormone-free contraception methods:

1. The copper spiral

The T-shaped plastic body wrapped in copper is inserted into the uterus, where it changes the mucus and inhibits the mobility of the sperm. If an egg is fertilized anyway, the mechanical action of the coil prevents it from implanting in the uterus.

Advantage: With the IUD, you don’t have to worry about contraception for 3 to 7 years because it stays in the uterus as long as it is.

Disadvantage: The coil is a foreign body and causes inflammation in the lining of the uterus. The IUD can also increase menstrual bleeding and menstrual pain.

Cost: 120 to 200 euros.

Pearl index: 0.3 to 0.8

Does he think the pill is better than a condom? Then he may not know what it can do in your body.

2. The calendar method

With hormone-free contraception using the calendar method, the period is documented and the fertile days are calculated based on this.

Advantage: It does not interfere with the natural cycle and is free of charge.

Disadvantage: Since every cycle can fluctuate and ovulation cannot be precisely calculated, it is rightly considered unsafe and is not recommended as the sole method of contraception.

Pearl index: 9

3. The contraceptive computer

It measures the estrogen and LH concentration in the morning urine and thus determines your fertile days.

Advantage: Does not interfere with the hormonal balance and is easy to use.

Disadvantage: Relatively expensive and additional contraception must be used on fertile days.

Cost : 125 to 600 euros

Pearl index: 6

4. The temperature measurement

The basal temperature is measured in the morning before getting up. Because after ovulation this increases by 0.2 to 0.5 degrees.

Advantage: You do not intervene in the natural cycle. The morning mass ritual can also make you more aware of how you are feeling.

Disadvantage: Safe contraception with the thermometer requires a lot of experience and discipline. In addition, alcohol, medication, poor sleep or stress can falsify the measurement results.

Cost : 2 to 20 euros

Pearl index : 0.8 to 3

5. The Billings Method

The mucus on the cervix (cervical mucus) changes over the course of the cycle. Just before ovulation, it becomes clear and spinnable. This indicates that ovulation is about to occur.

Advantage: Like temperature measurement, the billing method is also a form of natural contraception that does not affect the hormonal balance.

Disadvantage: only works with a stable cycle and regular living conditions. The cervical mucus can be strongly influenced by external influences and the method is therefore unsafe.

Pearl index: 15

The contraception method of your choice should be safe, but not affect your body image either.

6. The Symptothermal Method

Combination of calendar, temperature and billings method. When used correctly, it is just as reliable as the pill and, next to the copper IUD, the safest hormone-free contraception.

Advantage: No hormones involved – and you become an expert on your own body. The great thing is that the method can also be used specifically for the desire to have children, which is why it is also referred to as “natural family planning”. Tip: cycle apps like Ovy help to document the symptoms and keep everything in view.

Disadvantage: The method has to be learned and applied very disciplined. During the fertile days, you must either avoid sex or use additional contraception.

Cost: 2 to 20 euros for a thermometer

Pearl index: 0.4

7. The condom

Yes, the classic is still in the running and should not be missing from this list of hormone-free contraceptives. “But it can tear!” – Yes, that can happen. As with any method of contraception, the more practiced it is, the safer it is. Compared to the diaphragm , the condom is still relatively easy to use.

Advantage: Also protects against sexually transmitted diseases and is the only solution for protected sex on fertile days.

Disadvantage: Condoms are not exactly popular and regularly spark an argument about who is responsible for contraception. Tip: Don’t get involved in discussions and just have one with you. Better safe than sorry.

Cost: about 60 cents

Pearl index: 2 to 12

Some hormone-free contraception methods are as safe as the pill and therefore worth considering, especially because of the physical impairment caused by the hormone administration. Discuss with your gynecologist which method is best for you. Get your partner involved – after all, they should also take responsibility.

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