Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My journey towards achieving contraception naturally

I am interested in sharing the knowledge of natural fertility management to those interested in learning, thereby imparting with them a better understanding of what is happening within their bodies each month.

Women are naturally more intuitive than their male counterparts. It is in a woman’s nature to be observant of their bodies and that of the changing world around them.

Using easy to learn techniques such as cervical mucus observation and daily basal body temperature recording, every female can begin to chart their fertile times and their infertile times.

A woman is only fertile for a couple days every month!

Achieving contraception using the sympto-thermal method is between 97% and 99.8%. This is just as effective as many of the other common forms of contraception such as “the pill”. Personally I think that it is remarkable that this is not common knowledge in female circles!

The only reason I learnt this is because I am a curious, open-minded person who doesn’t easily take no for an answer! I would like to share with you my story…

When I was 14 and 9 months (so my Mum tells me, I did not take so much notice back then!) I got my first period. My heritage is Indian on my mother’s side and in her culture this was a special moment, becoming a woman, it was something to celebrate. I was given beautiful Indian gold jewellery from my Mum and my Grandma. Tears were shed. I felt special.

The next time I went to the doctor (I didn’t go often as I usually saw my Chinese medicine practitioner for everyday sicknesses) he asked if I had gotten my period and I said I had but only a couple times and quite irregularly. I wasn’t worried about this; my Chinese medicine practitioner had already told me that it would take a few years to regulate. Contrary to this my doctor said that I should go on the pill to regulate it. I said no, I couldn’t see the point.

Years passed and every time I went to the doctor they would ask me if I was on the pill, I would say no, so they would offer to write me a prescription. Even after my periods had regulated they would still recommend it, they didn’t seem to mind whether I was sexually active or not.

Many times I went home with prescriptions that I never filled because I couldn’t make them understand that I didn’t want to go on it (and it was the only way to shut them up!).

In my mid-twenties my partner and I, very much in love, decided that we were taking to many risks and leaving too much to chance. We hated the physical feeling of condoms as well as the psychological feeling of a barrier between us. We were certain that now was not a good time for children; both of us had just started our own businesses and I was still studying full time. With much deliberation I decided I would go on the pill.

To best describe myself after just one month of taking a combined oral contraceptive pill I would say I was “crazy”!

I went back to the doctor and she said that the dose must have been too strong for me and told me to try a different pill. This one came in a novel little Pez-like dispenser that had an in built alarm that went off each morning at the same time and wouldn’t stop until you took it!

The next month was not so bad, I thought, “Hey, this might actually be OK!”

By the third month however, shit began to hit the fan! I was experiencing bloating and digestive issues, thrush, sore breasts, poor concentration and insomnia. I was anxious, crying at the drop of a hat, depressed with no motivation and had restless legs at night on top of the insomnia. Every morning when the Pez-dispenser alarm went go off I would start crying. I stopped taking the pills half way through that 3rd month after finally throwing the thing at the wall so hard it broke.

I spoke to my doctor, I spoke to another doctor, I went to a fertility control clinic and spoke to a specialist in the field who knew of every single type of little pill that existed in Australia (and even displayed them in blister packs on a pin board behind her!). I asked them all the same question, “I don’t want to take any form of synthetic hormone, I don’t like using condoms all the time, isn’t there some kind of natural option?”

“No!” They all said, “No”.

Well I told you what I’m like, I didn’t like that answer so I wouldn’t accept it. Deep down inside me I knew that that couldn’t be right. I had previously read “The Pill – Are You Sure It’s For You?” by Jane Bennett, this is a terrific book that I believe every girl should read. I started my search with “Jane Bennett”.

Bull’s eye! Here was a woman, living in Australia whose goal it was to educate and empower women in menstrual wellbeing and holistic contraception! Please check out her website below.

I followed my intuition and turned away from what I knew was not true, I stayed focused and determined and filled my life with knowledge where I could see it was lacking. My partner and I practice the sympto-thermal method of natural contraception and it has not only brought us closer together but it has given me a sense of freedom through heightened awareness of what my awesome body is capable of.

I have been unburdened of the monthly worry of an unwanted pregnancy, but I also know that should we ever decide to change that decision I would know exactly when and how to fall pregnant and wouldn’t be surprised if it happened after just one cycle.

Dr Shirley Rigoni is a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, she works at:
Melbourne Natural Wellness
Level 4, 178 Collins St, Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9662 1311

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

So how well did you all know your cycles? Survey results...

Last month I put together a quick questionnaire to find out how well the average menstruating female knows their cycle...

Well, the results are in and they have been both extremely enlightening and inspirational. First of all I would just like to thank those of you who took part in the survey and secondly for being so honest.

So it seems that approximately half of you use synthetic hormones (such as the pill) and the other half use either nothing at all or natural techniques or barrier methods (such as condoms). Not surprisingly only 66% of you were happy with this current form of contraception. Many of the comments left centred around side effects and worries about how safe their chosen method was. I read angst, confusion and a sense of not feeling in control. I believe every female should feel in control of their own fertility, for it is part of who we are at our core.

It was pleasing to see how many people are interested in learning more about how to achieve contraception naturally! This is something I can teach you. Did you know that you are only fertile for a few days each month? Studies show that success rates for this method of contraception are between 97% and 99.8% when used correctly. It’s not difficult, there are no side effects (except increased awareness of your own cycles) and it gives you back your freedom. Please email me if you would like to hear more on this topic, as I am going to organize some free information evenings in Melbourne CBD on how to achieve fertility naturally later this year.

So did you get your days right? Many of you, yes! 60% to be exact marked that the first day of your cycle was the first day you started bleeding! And 66% knew that ovulation usually occurs around day 14!

As many as 70% of you could not tell when you personally ovulated however and only 28% thought you knew what your changes in cervical mucus meant.
These are imperative pieces of knowledge to have in your arsenal ladies! 

Knowledge is power! Knowing where you are in your cycle can give you valuable information on your own personal fertility, contraception, emotions, physical energy and mental focus just to name a few.

Sadly, and I truly feel sad when I tell you this, 94% of you experience some form of discomfort associated with your menstrual cycle. Whether its mild PMS and cramps or severe discomforts such as cysts, pain and heavy bleeding they all cause disruptions to your life and wellbeing. And I have news for you ladies; no level of pain is normal! Periods should be completely pain free and I can help you achieve this!

This monthly discomfort and a lack of connection with what our bodies are telling us is all too common in today’s lifestyles. Whether we like it or not our minds are bombarded with constant simulation, we find it difficult to turn down the mundane circular thought patterns. What is your body telling you? Do you take the time to listen? Maybe you don't know how?

My aim is to help women with that process of reconnection through the use of acupuncture and herbal medicines you can restore balance to your cycle.

Why? Because it is so important to feel connected to your inner rhythm, your natural menstrual cycle, it helps you to relax, to deal with stressful situations better and this in turn reduces discomforts you may have associated with your menstrual cycle. From stillness, just like that at the centre of a whorl-wind you will find health and wellness. 

Take the time to look inside and you will be amazed at what you discover about yourself and the world.

Share this with ones you love, and I’ll share with you the secrets of how to reconnect with your cycle!

Shirley Rigoni - Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Melbourne Natural Wellness
Level 4, 178 Collins St, Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9662 1311