The pain was unbearable. Migraines are tormented by Zoe *, 26, at least once a week, sometimes twice, leaving it unable to work up to three days at a time.
With the help of the general practitioner he tried different treatments, but nothing worked out.
She felt she was reliant on pain medications.
After all, he decided to leave the contraceptive pill – not at the advice of his doctor, but because he had read the research that linked him to migraines.
* Male contraceptive pill passes the first stage of safety testing
* Beginners in birth control have been hit by the United States for protest against abortion
* Why some of the best birth control options are not popular
* I'm tired of the woman's responsibility for contraception & # 39;
* Family planning is not as easy as women have "refused choice," doctors say
* No, women do not have to pause & # 39; from the pill every few years
* Natural contraception application blamed for unplanned pregnancy
She has downloaded a fertility application at her site.
Every day Zoe's phone would tell her if she could have unprotected sex with her long-time partner based on the place she was in the menstrual cycle.
Almost immediately migraines went twice a week on a monthly basis.
Then, after about six months, they stopped completely. "I can not remember when I last had one last time," she says.
Most doctors say that Fertility Monitoring applications should not rely on birth control, especially if pregnancy would be detrimental to the person because there is too much room for errors.
But while the millennial women who use these apps admit that it is not for everyone, they benefit from the absence of side effects from the pills making it worth taking a leap.
How Fertility Monitoring Applications Work?
Zoe is part of an increasing number of people looking for "natural" contraceptive methods.
Monash University's Survey on Sexually Active Australians in 2017 found that 15% used hormone-free contraceptive methods such as withdrawal and fertility awareness, which is twice as high as in previous studies.
While smartphone technology is new, it is based on awareness of fertility, one of the oldest forms of contraception – and the only one approved by the Catholic Church.
This includes drawing a menstrual cycle on a calendar or observing fertile symptoms such as small changes in body temperature or cervical mucus.
This helps in determining a woman's fertile window – the time in the menstrual cycle when ovulating and most likely will conceive.
During this period, couples have to either give up sex or use condoms. Except for this, they can have sex without protection.
As femtech is expected to be worth $ 50 billion by 2025, fertility applications have grown rapidly.
In the App Store health and fitness category, the number of searchers for the period is the second only after the application starts.
Quick Search brings scores of results, most with sweet names – such as Clue, Flo, Ovia, Dot, Glow, and pink logos that go beyond "get to know your new best friend."
But many of them are primarily sold to assist women in predicting when they are due to menstruation or ovulation, even though women use it as a way to help them avoid pregnancy.
By contrast, the Swedish launch of Natural Cycles is counted as "digital contraception"; It is the first application certified as a contraceptive by the European Union's health authorities and the US FDA.
He calls himself the "birth control app" while claiming it is not intended for that purpose in some areas. But, of course, this can not be controlled.
Zoe pays $ 12 a month for the app, which combines the calendrical and temperature consciousness fertility methods.
Applicants are called a "typical user": she has a regular weekly schedule, aged 25 to 35, and a long-term relationship.
Her tasks are to enter the menstrual dates into the application and use the thermometer every morning before leaving the bed.
The algorithm then crunches its data and predicts where she is in her menstrual cycle.
Every day in her calendar is marked in green, which means she is sure to have unprotected sex or red, meaning that it's time to refrain or use condoms.
She says she gets about 10-12 in each cycle.
"You have one of four chances to get pregnant this year"
Australia's Family Planning Alliance ranked fertility-based contraception as one of the least effective ways to prevent pregnancy.
It is believed that they are about 75% effective with the typical use, but can be up to 99% with perfect use.
This means that every 100 women using the fertility application, anywhere between 1 and 25, could get pregnant this year.
One of the key questions is that these methods rely on women being hypervigilant in terms of observing and recording their symptoms every day, and using condoms when they are in a fertile window.
Dr. Catriona Melville, deputy medical director at Marie Stopes, does not believe that everyone is able to properly apply fertility-based methods properly.
"If you use it perfectly, check your mucus, take a temperature, and mark your calendar, and use it perfectly, it may have a very low breakdown rate, but you have to be absolutely motivated to use it right," she says.
For example, the temperature must be taken before leaving the bed every morning, and at about the same time every day.
If you get sick, have a bumblebee, work late, sleep, get stressed, or just go to the toilet right after waking, the result of that day will be wrong.
Because of such complexities, Melville says, according to her experience, most women only enter their menstrual cycle on the calendar, despite being advised to follow at least two fertility indicators to increase their effectiveness.
"This is Russian roulette for me. You have one of the four possibilities to get pregnant this year."
And there is also the fact that menstrual cycles may vary.
"Some women who feel that they have a fairly reliable cycle may have a lot of confidence in these methods, but occasionally ovulate sooner or later," warns Dr. Suzanne Pearson, a senior medical educator at Victoria Planning for family planning.
Sinkney GP Brad McKay, who is strongly against the idea of so-called " "Digital Contraception," says anyone with an improper cycle should not use apps.
"[Even if] The wind blows in the right direction for you, there will still be plenty of people for it to fail. "
After ten years on a pill, 30-year-old Mary, she was seven months pregnant after using a fertility application.
The first few cycles were very cautious, but then he became "overly self-confident", he says. "I started to be less strict with taking the temperature and I just started to assume that the middle part of my cycle was when I was fruitful."
She says she was "super shocked" when she was pregnant. "I was in a devoted and happy relationship and … we talked about children's possibilities, this happened much earlier than planned."
Today, Mary does not think apps are a form of contraception. "Then I felt that … tracking the cycle to prevent pregnancy is literally something women have been doing forever, there is only a lot more room for mistakes and mistakes compared to other modern forms."
There is little research on these applications and what is there is mixed results. In 2016, Columbia University studies 1116 fertility monitoring applications and found only 20 accurately predicted ovulation.
Research from Georgetown University in 2015 looked at 30 applications that provided a fruitful window and found that only six were accurate.
But the team of men and women who created Natural Cycles is working hard to prove the effectiveness of your application.
Clinical studies published in reviewed journals claim that 93% are effective in preventing pregnancy with a typical use – similar to the incomplete use of an oral contraceptive pill (perfect use of the pill is usually referred to as 99%, the same number that refers to Natural Cycles).
Co-founder Dr. Raoul Scherwitzl says there is an unsatisfied need for effective hormone-free contraception and that this should not be neglected.
"By increasing the selection in the non-standard space, we shift users to less effective methods such as retraction [and] just a condom, "he says.
Dr. Scherwitzl acknowledges that there are more effective hormonal methods, such as implants or IUDs, and recommends women where the rate of effectiveness is the most deciding factor for choosing a birth control method.
What's not for some people.
Kayleigh *, 29, replaced the Clue contraceptive tablet 15 months ago and while she feels "fairly protected," she says is one of the key reasons she uses the application because "random pregnancy would not be an end [her] world".
"I have a brilliant job, paid maternity leave, and I'm in a stable, devoted relationship. I'm not sure I could stop using hormonal control of birth completely unless I'm in the position I am in."
"I would cry for a hat hat"
The popularity of fertility applications is indeed reduced to the most popular alternative: the size of pepper pills that have been pounding every day over the last six decades.
The pill may have a severity of side effects. Kayleigh has been in the pills for 12 years but has finally started to suffer from acne, no libido, pain after sex and depressive episodes. "I would cry for hat and I knew I was irrational, but I could not stop," he recalls.
Now, Kayleigh monitors its period, temperature, and cervical mucus and no side effects.
"I feel more than I ever had, actually I have a sexual urge now, I feel much more in line with my body, I'm lucky I do not have more days for days, I do not remember the time when I left the pills where I had an irrational emotional outbreak. "
Nina * has a generalized anxiety disorder. He says his departure from the pill caused a sudden drop in symptoms. "When I was on the pills I had less control over my emotions, I was easily crying, I had more panic attacks, and I also experienced a pretty weakening migraine," she says.
The 25-year-old woman in Melbourne also uses the Clue application and says she is now feeling privileged – a sensation that resembled most of the women interviewed for this story. "I like to understand my cycle and … feel in line with my body, and now I feel more under control."
For others, the incentive to stop the pill may be as simple as the desire to better understand how it may or does not have to affect them.
"I decided to stop the tablet because I hated not knowing what my body was doing under its own conditions," says Katie.
Now she says she feels "much more content".
There seems to be a shift: women begin to doubt the very pill that marks the beginning of their sexual liberation, giving them control over the reproductive future, which has led to increased participation of women's labor force, better childcare and equal pay for equal work.
Now, women want to know how revolutionary drugs change their bodies and minds – no matter how big or small.
Dr. Melville says that over the last few years has seen a rise in the number of women expressing anxiety about hormones in contraception.
This can partly be attributed to today's obsession with all the good and the organ. "It's like leaving this desire for a clean life, for which I am a full advocate, we do not want to fill our bodies with things we do not have," says Dr. Melville.
There is a fear that this is partly due to the general distrust of modern medicine – skepticism that has created a dangerous anti-vaxxer movement.
But it seems unfair to compare these women with the anti-vaxxer community; not only because contraception is a profoundly personal issue, but also because maintaining the immunity of flock has wider implications.
Women have been responsible for contraception since the beginning of the pill, and now they have a full range of incomplete options, ranging from implants to injections, IUDs to diaphragms.
Meanwhile, a male contraceptive pill has not yet arrived on the market.
The pill has been shown to cause side effects of varying degrees including depression, anxiety, flatulence, nausea, migraine, decreased libido, increased body weight and blood clotting.
Of course, all women do not feel uncomfortable side effects.
Most not. But that's the thing with hormones; people react differently.
The question of choice
Women are now more clever for their physical and mental health than ever before.
Professor Sarah Hill, who wrote a book, at Texas's Christian University It's your brain about birth control, it is a positive step for women to examine the drug that has been foolishly consumed for years.
"The pill is an amazing force in women's lives, but we are now in a point where we should start thinking about the ways our pills change," says Hill, who felt "more alive and more alive" after giving birth to the pill.
"This does not mean that we have to stop taking the pill, it just means we should know about the psychological compromises that we bring when we are on it."
Melville agrees that choice is important, as women are aware of the risk of selecting hormone-monitoring applications.
"It can be part of the movement of women who take control of their body and fight a little bit against them," he says, "they are taking these hormones for years and wanting to try something else." I understand that completely, but you do not want to end up with unplanned pregnancy or SPI, .
"I'm a great believer in choice for women and women to use the method they will deal with and feel comfortable, but it is important that they know that with this typical use, these methods are less effective."
Pearson says there is a lot of sympathy for women who feel the side effects of the pill, but unwanted pregnancy can be very disturbing.
She says there are many other contraceptive options, including hormone inserts or implants that release lower-dose hormones or IUD-free hormones.
Each of them is 99% efficient.
"Do not put all hormonal contraceptives in a single carton because there are significant differences not only in hormones but in doses and administration, which can significantly affect the side effects," she says.
Finally, some women will decide to use fertility monitoring applications as their contraceptive means; what works for a woman will not necessarily work for another.
"The Fertility Control Plan does not exist as one" all fits "… We have to support each other and have an open dialogue on fights related to fertility regulation. This is the first step in looking for something better." Hill says.
* Name rejected on request