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Birth Control / Contraceptive pill – Yeah/Nay?

Celebrated annually in the United states the month of September is Gynecologic cancer awareness month. Evidence-based research from the British Medical Journal, says A woman more than doubles her risk of breast cancer even 20 years after she has stopped taking the pill, and women who have taken the pill for more than eight years also dramatically increase their risk for all cancers. (British Medical Journal, 2008; 336: 59-60).

While in Nigeria, thousands of young daughters and women die annually because of unsafe abortions, by incompetent doctors while abortion-related deaths contribute significantly to the high rates of maternal mortality in the country

As a teen going into womanhood, myself included, would get over-the-counter or prescribed contraceptives, birth pills, or drugs that we would take as an emergency or daily for years. This I believe is a choice to love ourselves freely or to prevent unintended pregnancies.

Now I know that we are just f-bombing’ around with our hormones. It’s incredible what contraceptive does, as most times we are just aware of the parts/things that we can see: like weight gain, repeated candida infection, and mood swings. All these could be symptoms of hormone imbalance.

Sadly, when a woman settles down into marriage and keeps having a repeated miscarriage, 5 out of 10miscarriage are linked to using contraceptive pills whether the use of the emergency/ daily pill in the past.

You might be wondering what key ingredients make up most Birth Control Pills? As you may already know, I am committed to knowing exactly what I am putting in and on my body. I like to know and understand the ingredients of things. So, let me share with you some of the ingredients found in the pill, for instance, binding agent, lubricant cocktail, and definitely contains synthetic hormones. Where do these synthetic hormones come from? Or what are they made from? These are the questions we should think about beforehand.

Did you know some herbs are used to make these synthetic hormones? It has been reported in Nigeria, some young women prefer alternative means of birth control such as using herbs or orthodox means because of the unwanted side effects of using artificial contraceptives and doing abortions.

One herb used a lot for abortion is the unripe pawpaw leaves and roots. Fresh leaves & roots from the male pawpaw tree are ground, together and inserted into the private part or ingested.

Another herb is the Neem leaves/ fruit used as contraceptive means. The seed is grounded, molded, and inserted into the vagina. Another herb is the hibiscus flower, roots which are used in the Northern part of Nigeria as a form of contraceptive. PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS BY YOURSELF!!

Now, these herbs mentioned presented in herbal teas SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN BY A PREGNANT WOMAN. Herbal medicine can, therefore, provide a valuable and safe alternative to currently available methods of family planning. This is one of the reasons why I love to share information like this and sincerely hope that one day more pharmaceutical clinical trial studies will be done on medicinal plants like this.

To all our young girls, daughters unmarried, and even married women interested in family planning, please speak to a licensed herbal practitioner. If you need additional advice or resources. Please remember to know the consequence or weigh your option first before deciding to take the conventional contraceptive/birth control pills because your journey into womanhood could be complex, interesting, dynamic, and troublesome if you choose unwisely.

Written By Rashidat. O.Raji. MSc Pharm, BSc, Occupational Health advisor, and Lagos state Licensed Herbal General Practitioner