Monday, June 4, 2007

Birth Control Pills

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

At my new job, I have a lot of access to medical journals. My boss encourages me to do whatever reading of papers I feel is necessary to better myself as a person. I've made one or two astounding discoveries that I already had a few suspicions about from personal experience.

The birth control pill was an integral part of the sexual revolution. It was liberating for women in so many ways and had a pervasive effect on our culture and society. The FDA has recently approved a version of the pill that will allow women to suppress menstruation indefinitely. I used to think that this was a good thing, based on the evidence that women are not supposed to menstruate any where near as much as we do. We are designed to be pregnant or nursing a lot of the time, with high infant mortality rates, and thus would have menstruated a few times a year instead of a few times a month.

My own experience with birth control pills led me to some doubts about the safety of using birth control pills, given that they are synthetic hormones. I was highly sensitive, no matter what the dosage, trying 3 different kinds before I just gave up. I had severe anxiety, nausea, hot flashes and general discomfort. This led me, through a coworker who had a similar interest, to studies done by Dr. Ellen C. Grant, who was involved with the initial birth control studies done in the 60's.

It turns out, and I'll have more on this later (I've only done very preliminary research and I don't have a lot of time right now), that not only does the Pill come with potential acute side effects that we all know about such as thromboembelism (blood clots), stroke and heart attacks, but the Pill puts women at greater risk for long term heart and circulatory damage. This affects all women, not just those who are in the "at-risk" category.

There's a whole lot more to this story, with the almost certain damage to the circulatory system aside, but I urge all of you to learn as much as you can about drugs that your doctor might put you on or ones that you choose to take on your own.

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