By Nicole Murphy

Hormonal birth control is often marketed as a tool to regulate a woman’s cycle when in fact it stops ovulation from happening completely. This can cause problems with a female’s mood, physical development and overall health.

Chloe Skerlak, a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner & Fertility Awareness Educator, has treated clients that were considering surgically removing their uterus to treat severe cramps, irregular cycles and serious endometriosis.

Skerlak was able to treat these women with simple lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. She recognizes it is not always that easy but insists the importance of considering environmental factors.

“Your period is not the problem, it is revealing the problem,” said Sherlak.

She explains that women are only able to become pregnant six days out of a month.

She teaches women how to tell when they are fertile by mapping their cycle, and examining their cervix mucus. This information can help women choose other methods of birth control that do not include synthetic hormones, when they are within that six-day window.

“Don’t be fooled, [birth control] is not like taking a supplement or multivitamin…They are similar enough to block the receptors to prevent us from making our own hormones but they are not the same thing. That’s why we get some of these awful side effects,” Skerlak said.

Skerlak became passionate about helping women understand ovulation and their menstrual cycle when she went on hormonal birth control as a young woman and experienced negative changes in her own body.

“Some of the smaller things that we deal with on a day to day basis like our depressed mood, lots of women describe it as living in a fog, the IBS or bowel problems you might have, your hair falling out,” said Skerlak.

“All these little things have women walking around thinking that’s just me, this is just how I am, but no actually, the hormonal birth control is affecting how you show up in the world,” said Skerlak.

Hormonal birth control came out in the 1960s and was promoted as a female empowerment pill. Fertility awareness practitioners have been called anti-feminist for questioning the drug, even having protestors throw fruit at them for talking about the effects of the pill and teaching natural birth control methods.

Skerlak also has people questioning her about STI education.

“People say, ‘you can’t be talking about fertility awareness with youth because they could get STIs!’ when of course you cannot rely on hormonal birth control to protect against STIs anyway. Condoms have their place,” said Skerlak.

Registered Nurse for 32 years and NAIT Supervisor for Health Services Christine Bannerman talks about the importance of self-education.

“Physicians should not just go to hormonal [birth control] right away. They have to get the full scope from A to Z, so it’s not so much I’m in agreement with (Sherlak) as much as I think the patient needs to educate themselves with all sources,” said Bannerman.

She confirms that hormonal birth control options can have adverse consequences.

“If you choose just hormonal birth control, it is not the be all end all. You could end up with an STI if only using that, you could end up with a bleeding disorder, you could end up with clotting disorders, there’s all kinds of information and it has to be a 360 degree education,” said Bannerman.

“It can’t be just, okay, here’s the pill. And unfortunately some doctors appointments are short and quick,” said Bannerman.

For more information about fertility awareness visit chloeskerlak.com.