Delayed periods and heavier periods were reported to the MHRA by over 4,000 women after having the Covid jab (Sunday Times).
Disrupted cycles, ones that are shorter or longer than usual, can happen in response to all kinds of stress, good or bad - life in other words.
This is why the NHS website recommends a double-check, or symptothermal, approach to fertility awareness as contraception.
Camden New Journal recently published some articles imagining how local news might look in 2030 if all the climate goals were reached. I was very pleased to contribute this:
Camden wins NHS sustainability award for green contraception project
NHS contraception used to mean medication or minor surgery. The NHS website listed fertility awareness (natural family planning) and said it was up to 99% effective but most GPs didn’t recommend it and women had to pay for support, or work things out for themselves.
Using fertility awareness as contraception can feel scary if you've ever heard it fails 1 in 4 women with typical use (25%).
That figure is unhelpful as it lumps together all the different fertility awareness methods - some of them are better than others.
The failure rate mentioned in this BMJ update is more helpful because it gives a range of figures, depending on the method used. It ranges from 2% to 34% with typical use.
Feeling prepared for the zombie apocalypse used to be one of the things I liked about the fertility awareness method of contraception (FAM).
And here we are – no zombies, but a pretty apocalyptic situation.
Not a great time for popping to the GP or pharmacy for pill supplies, or getting a contraceptive injection or implant.
So how is FAM holding up? Well if you're an established user you're probably fine.
Like millions of women I used to take the pill, and was lucky enough not to have any unpleasant side effects.
Then in 1995 thousands of women stopped taking it because of reports that it increased the risk of blood clots.
Despite that, I would have continued taking the pill if it wasn't for a friend who suggested using fertility awareness as contraception.
I thought is sounded a bit fringe, not like a
Do you need periods, or are they “God’s design flaw” as a senior health professional said in a recent Guardian article?
If you mean a pill withdrawal bleed, I agree they are pretty pointless. They were originally introduced as a marketing gimmick, to help women feel better about taking the pill. FSRH guidance states there are "no health benefits" to pill withdrawal bleeds.
It's a bit more complicated if you mean a true period, the bleed you get after ovulation.
You might think using fertility awareness as contraception means you only have a few red days a month when you need to use condoms or other precautions.
Unfortunately that's not how it works. Even with loads of data about your cycles, and regular periods, you need buffer days to allow for things changing from month to month.
You need to allow for sperm that hangs around for 7 days, even though 5 days is more likely. And for releasing 2 eggs when you ovulate that
Period pain can seem inevitable, “a common and normal part of your menstrual cycle” as the NHS website says.
I used take a few ibuprofen a month and get on with my life. Then I came across Lara Briden's revolutionary idea that periods are not meant to be painful.
This sounded too good to be true, but I was curious so I bought her book anyway
I was sceptical because Lara is a naturopath
I was nervous about this programme. A doctor, on the BBC, talking about pill safety - it’s bound to dismiss women’s concerns, isn’t it?
So I was pleasantly surprised when there was no lecture telling all women they should use a long acting method like the implant, injection or coil.
Instead Dr Williams simply says most women prefer the pill to long acting
Using fertility awareness as contraception can seem like lots of work.
Record every day of your period, every waking temperature, every scrap of fluid.
Wake up at the same time every single day. Never drink alcohol, or get sick, or travel, or get stressed.
Who can handle that?
A better way to judge fertility awareness and the need for a better app (letter to BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health)
Fertility awareness (natural family planning) practitioner and advocate working in London. Wants to see fertility awareness become a routine contraceptive option, not the only option. read more...
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