This post is dedicated to my fellow woman friends who suffer daily with the consequences of being ill-informed and on a contraceptive that has affected their daily lives. #EveryWoman
My first question is; birth control has been around for ages, so why isn't it better?
Ok so let’s get into this; some facts and education, and for the men possibly reading this, keep reading...
Typically, what happens when you on birth control is that oestrogen and progesterone levels are increased and this makes your body think that it is pregnant.
These hormonal changes, however, sometimes lead to unpleasant physical and emotional side-effects. As with all synthetic medications, there are beneficial effects and potential risks that affect everyone differently.
The contraceptive pill was researched and trialled in the 1950’s and not much has changed since. When the first contraceptive was released to the public in the 1960’s it was really to treat menstrual problems. When it became known that it is actually a birth control pill it really started to transform the world; and as you can imagine, many women "suddenly" started to have menstrual problems. Although there was not many human trials done in developed countries.
When you take the pill, you are ingesting synthetic hormones into your body affecting our natural hormones and thus making us "crazy" on our period, and the other contra-indications that come with it can detrimental. (bloating, depression, fatigue, fluid retention, headaches, increased appetite, mood swings, nausea, tenderness or pain in the breasts and spotting)
The first contraceptive pill contained 10 times more synthetic hormone than what is required to prevent pregnancy.
An interesting book, called the “The Doctors Case Against The Pill” by an investigative journalist Barbara Seaman, was released in the late 1970’s. This influenced the US Congress to finally discuss these "health causing issues" - of course only men were a part of the congress.
Contraceptive pills slowly began to evolve, but the question still remains; why were woman in poor countries like Africa, Bangladesh and Puerto Rico, used during human test trials without being informed that there could be detrimental side effects?
In the early 2000’s "Yaz" was one of the top selling contraceptive pills. It was heavily marketed as way more than just birth control and it claimed to treat all the symptoms that are commonly associated while having your period. (Irritability, moodiness, anxiousness, bloating, fatigue, headaches and muscle aches)
Then of course, in the years to come, there were thousands of woman getting sick with life threatening symptoms, like strokes, heart attacks and even organ failure.
Bayer Pharmaceuticals "Yaz" and they have settled over 10 000 cases linked to blood clots alone.
At the time that this was all going on there was a different contraceptive on the rise that we know as the IUD. There are presently 2 known types of IUD's, the "Copper T" (the copper acting as a spermicide and thus kills the sperms) and the "Mirena" (which releases hormones into your uterus) basically turning your uterus into "a no sperm zone."
The DAL-kon Shield (that looks like a Great White Sharks teeth) was taken off the market after woman began dying due to its "manufacturing faults." The amount of law suits caused the company to go bankrupt.
The modern IUD’s are said to be safer, but with my own experience I am totally against IUD’s; purely because I have lived through the traumas after having the "easy go lucky" Mirena inserted. This caused me severe weight gain, hormone changes, and sever cystic adult acne in my early 20’s, it also made my menstruation worse. Today I am 35 years old, and have had 4 operations, and have been medically diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovaries. (Grrrreat)
Interestingly enough, 5% of woman in developed countries said they are not on the pill due to access and 26% said that the reason they don’t take contraception is due to side effects!
Historically, women have been responsible for contraception, and there has been little effort to involve men. After my research of this topic I found that there are many myths and misconceptions about male sterilization, and they are rampant, like the loss of virility and strength. Seriously!
In 1979 China actually founded a male birth control pill, and only in 2018 was it called off – why? Haha, due to the side effects – hello, the ones we as woman have monthly and they can be enhanced when taking any form of contraceptive.
The side effects were...
blood pressure above your usual range
melasma (dark patches on the face)
tenderness or pain in the breasts
"Saheli" an Indian non-hormonal birth control pill is the only contraceptive pill in the world that contains absolutely no hormones. "Phexxi" is one of the newest methods of hormone-free birth control. It is a gel that is inserted into the vagina before having sex. The gel, which doesn’t have any hormones, changes the acidity of the vagina in order to make it difficult for sperm to reach an egg. But what are the side effects? Well - will we ever really know?
Read More: 9 Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options
There is also a non surgical vasectomy available for men, called RISUG, which stands for “reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance,” and it’s effectively an injection behind a mans penis. (As if that sounds like something any man would ever agree to do.) Some researchers are sceptical that it’s safe and effective - but is this not the same with birth control for woman?
At the end of the day, is there a perfect contraceptive method with no side effects?
There are a variety of contraceptive options available and it is extremely important that as woman we know the possible risks involved.
A MUST Watch "Sex Explained: Birth Control" here
Also available on Netflix
Please note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any medical advise please reach out to your Doctor, Dermatologist, Gynaecologist or Psychologist.