No thrill on the pill
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 medications.com 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 medications.com, 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 huffingtonpost.com