I always had the notion, that birth control is a deeply personal issue. Discussing it publicly was never something I would have done, without good reasons. The reasons though, practically fell into my lap when I switched to a plant-based diet and turned my lifestyle upside-down. Of course, it was not long until I had to ask the question: Is birth control vegan? I found the shocking answer – and a simple solution!
It is important to claim at this point, that none of the following information contains a political statement or wants to give medical advice. This article is however influenced by my personal experience. I do not give medical advice (I repeat), so make sure you see a doctor, if you have specific questions or concerns. Websites that come with lists of vegan-friendly docs will be linked at the end of this article!
I don’t personally use hormonal birth control at this very moment and I do not intend to do so in the future.
I have been on both the pill and nuvaring in the past – both for medical reasons and for pregnancy prevention. I was very young when I started hormonal birth control and of course trusted my doctor. After almost a decade of taking a pill every day, I did not give it much thought anymore. Through all this time, I suffered from heavy PMS (premenstrual symptoms). This included both emotional and behavioural symptoms such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and insomnia and physical symptoms such as headache, fatigue and weight gain. You may imagen, that my daily life was negatively affected by this.
Besides all, I continued taking the pill until I left Germany to study abroad. I remembered the hassle I´ve had before with my pill prescription, when I stayed out of the country for longer time. So I decided to simply go off the pill. Not knowing that it wouldn’t be easy at all and that it would take my body over a year to find a routine on its own. But it was well worth it. I felt like a heavy veil was lifted and I was finally myself again. Once that I learned about the shocking effects hormonal birth control had on my body, my research brought me upon other facts, that I, back than about a year into the vegan lifestyle, had yet to face.
Hormonal Birth Control Is Not Vegan!
Damnit. It is true. Hormonal birth control is a no-go for vegans for numerous reasons!
Many pills contain lactose. It is hard to look at all the different products on the market, but most contains milk derived ingredients of some form. Some companies, do produce pills without animal ingredients, but still support and carry out animal testing. Consequent protection of animals starts with deciding where your money goes and what production conditions you support. Being vegan and having so many alternative options for choosing birth control, it should be easy to rule out the pill.
And here are other facts, that you should know about birth control pills:
- The use of birth control pills changes the metabolism of nutrients and vitamins and promotes a vitamin b12 deficiency.
- The degradation products of artificial hormones land with women´s pee in our waters, and harm the aquatic life of our rivers and lakes. It has been documented that the hormones that land in our water, demasculinize male animals and creating intersexed individuals, thus interfering with natural reproduction and population balance. Now imagine what happens to humans, who consume such waters as drinking water?
- Back in the day and perhaps still with some products, some of the hormones in birth control, namely Premarin, were made from dehydrated horse urine. Yes, you heard right. Horse pee.
- In addition to the environmental destruction of hormonal birth control methods, there is your own health to consider. The pill has been linked to serious increased incidences of breast cancers, an increased risks of heart attacks and strokes, high blood pressure, blood clotting, and more.
What about other forms of hormonal birth control?
Intra Uterine Devices or IUDs
IUDs come in two forms, hormonal and non-hormonal. They are small T-shaped objects implanted in the uterus. While the hormonal sources of any birth control aren’t crystal clear, the non-hormonal copper IUD is animal-free.
However, both forms of IUDs have been through animal testing. This might make your decision easy.
Getting an IUD when you’re young and haven’t had children can also be quite difficult. Many doctors will advise against the use and so did mine. I have however a couple of friends in their twenties who are using either copper or hormonal devices and are happy with it.
IUD´s also make it impossible to use tampons as you could accidentally pull out the IUD. The use of menstruation cups is however not a problem.
Check with your doctor before you take a decision as opinions are divided here.
Natural methods of birth control
We could call this one the safest of birth control methods – But only when it comes to being vegan. Unfortunately all natural methods of birth control are also amongst the most unreliable. Using a fertility monitor is probably the best bet if you choose this way. The monitor helps you to use your body’s natural cues to know when you are fertile. Which means that sex is taboo on those days.
Barrier Methods: Condoms, diaphragmas and others
Few people know, that the production of regular condoms involves the use of casein, a milk protein. And like that was not enough, they are also tested on animals. This also includes other barrier methods like dental dams and latex diaphragms. And those can therefore not be considered vegan.
Luckily, there are vegan alternatives.
I can think of several vegan condom brands that are casein and animal-testing free! One of my favourites is “einhorn” from Berlin…einhorn being the German word for Unicorn – appropriate, don´t you think?
VEGAN CONDOMS BY EINHORN or simply F*CK VEGAN!
Yes, I swear on the hipster condoms made by einhorn! The Berlin-based Startup produces the first genuinely fair and sustainable condom. The company launched in 2015 and focuses on promoting fair wages, green packaging and shipping, and biodiverse, chemical-free rubber farming and yessss, their condoms are VEGAN. PETA-certified them as 100% cruelty-free, so Einhorn’s “fairstainable” condoms contain none of the standard animal-based casein protein.
“The rubber in your rubbers: the condom company making sexy time sustainable”, titled The Guardian not so long ago, when introducing einhorn.
What is einhorn doing different? “We worked together with a university in Germany [who are] experts on sustainable rubber production. We’ll go to Malaysia with German scientists and go through our plantations. Then we’ll test the soil and stay over there analysing stuff and make things better. This includes making sure the minimum wage is paid to workers and knowing what’s in the condoms.” told Waldemar, co-founder of Einhorn, the press.
Their condoms are also damn good looking and fun: They come in awesome chip bags designed by artists! Really no problem when one of the little guys falls out of your bag 😉
Check out the einhorn YouTube Channel and watch the einhorn founders dress up as namesake unicorns to promote their condoms. Get to know the faces behind the famous condom brand!
This is where you can order your supply of vegan condoms: The Happy Shop!
Find your vegan friendly doctor:
If you are based in the US (with a couple international recommendations), please check:
If you are based in Germany, see:
In Switzerland, check:
* This is NOT a sponsored post, but a genuine company I support because these guys rock. For all the reason above.