No thrill on the pill

The Washington Times Weekly - - Off The Tracks -

Dr. J. Douglas Bremner had an eye-open­ing post on the lib­eral Huff­in­g­ton Post last week that, for a mo­ment at least, frankly ex­posed some in­con­ve­nient health dan­gers to women posed by the latest birth con­trol pill to hit the shelves:

A col­lec­tive howl is go­ing up amongst women over at med­i­ca­ over the birth con­trol pill, Yas­min. Th­ese women are com­plain­ing of de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, loss of sex drive, headaches, and dizzi­ness, and most of them didn't feel like they were ad­e­quately in­formed about th­ese po­ten­tial side ef­fects. In fact, Yas­min is the most [com­plained] about drug on med­i­ca­, with over 4,000 women log­ging in to re­port prob­lems with it. It looks like Yas­min needs to join the blogroll of med­i­ca­tions that if they don't kill you they will drive you crazy.

How can this be? Birth con­trol pills (or oral con­tra­cep­tive pills, or OCPs) are com­bi­na­tions of sex hor­mones re­lated to es­tro­gen and pro­ges­terone. Nor­mally th­ese sex hor- mones cy­cle through­out the month. In ad­di­tion to con­trol­ling re­pro­duc­tion they also have ef­fects on the brain, which is why they can cause anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. Tak­ing the pill ef­fec­tively blunts the nor­mal vari­a­tion in hor­mones; it also elim­i­nates ovu­la­tion, which also af­fects sex­u­al­ity. In fact, one study showed that strip­pers who were ovu­lat­ing made $15 more per hour than strip­pers who were not ovu­lat­ing, and that strip­pers on the pill made sig­nif­i­cantly less than other strip­pers.

[Don’t worry, the doc­tor does as­sure his fe­male read­ers that the pill re­ally isn’t all that bad]:

OK, you say, I can live with a lit­tle mood­i­ness. But is my pill go­ing to kill me? OCPs can in­crease blood clot­ting, which can lead to heart at­tacks or strokes. But for non-smok­ing women age 15-30, there is no in­crease in death rate for a com­pa­ra­ble form of con­tra­cep­tion, the IUD. Be­cause of the health risks of preg­nancy, the death rate amongst women from age 15-34 who are on the pill is ac­tu­ally lower than for women who do not use any form of birth con­trol.

[ Anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, low­ered sex drive and blood clots. But hey, you won’t have to deal with the health threats posed by hav­ing a baby. Then again, those are risks a joy­ful mother doesn’t mind tak­ing.]

— Is Your Birth Con­trol Pill Driv­ing You Ba­nanas?, posted May 2 at huff­in­g­ton­

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