If you've ever tried researching birth control side effects online, you may have just about lost your mind reading other women's horror stories. Some women report psychotic mood swings, drained energy, dead-in-the-water libidos, while others had -- more terrifyingly -- developed gallstones or blood clots. Before going on the Pill, I convinced myself that these ladies must have been hypochondriacs and I decided to just go for it.
Three years in, I deduced that my own low energy, slipping mental focus and even gallstones could be attributed to the Pill. I had become one of those "hypochondriacs" ... or just a woman who didn't fare well on the synthetic hormones. I quit and haven't looked back. Thankfully, there are various alternatives for birth control neurotics ...
1. The Paragard IUD. This intrauterine device is made of copper, which can kill sperm before the swimmers can complete any kind of Operation: Fertilization.
Why it's good for hypochondriacs: Because there are no synthetic hormones used like the Pill or even the Mirena IUD (which uses a synthetic form of progesterone locally), there are fewer wacky, mood-related side effects for users to worry about.
Just beware ... Paragard users may have to contend with heavier bleeding and longer periods for the first 3-4 months of use.
2. Lady-Comp. It's like Pandora for your menstrual cycle! You keep this gadget snuggled up next to your bedside (don't worry, your BlackBerry or iPhone won't get jealous) and in the a.m., you use it to measure your basal body temperature. Lady-Comp then flashes you with a color-coded light, indicating your level of fertility or infertility for the next 24 hours, so you can plan accordingly. (It also tells you if it thinks you could be pregnant.)
Why it's good for hypochondriacs: Lady-Comp's definitive readings don't leave much room for second guessing. Plus, by having an accurate daily reading on your menstrual cycle, you can fully blame your chocolate craving on ovulation.
Just beware ... Lady-Comp does occasionally blink yellow ... and probably would more often if you have wonky cycles. Yellow means the fertility diagnosis is inconclusive -- which could be a hypochondriac's worst nightmare.
3. The TwoDay Method. A form of fertility awareness, this birth control strategy requires that you start paying ridiculously close attention to your daily discharge. You consider whether of not you've had any today or yesterday, and if you have, you may be fertile. On the other hand, two consecutive days with no secretions means your probability of getting pregnant is very low.
Why it's good for hypochondriacs: Those of us who really worry about our health are checking for crazy symptoms all the time anyway! So we might as well put our anal attention to detail to good use. It also works for those of us who may have erratic, long (over 32 days) or short (shy of 26 days) cycles. Plus, it's totally hormone-free.
Just beware ... When used correctly, there's still about a 4 percent failure rate.
4. Withdrawal. Also known as pulling out.
Why it's good for hypochondriacs: No hormones, no self-analysis, no over-thinking involved, unless it's not executed correctly.
Just beware ... Odds are better than what we learned in sex ed: Of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, 4 will become pregnant each year if it's done correctly. But there's also a slight chance that pre-ejaculate can pick up enough sperm left in the urethra from a previous ejaculation to cause pregnancy. Your guy can urinate before sex to increase effectiveness, but if you're really a worrywart, you might wanna just go with condoms.
Are you a birth control hypochondriac? What method do you prefer?
Image via Nate Grigg/Flickr