Something to think about

On the weekend I attended 7 Sisters Festival. It was a workshop-filled weekend. I learned a lot.

My decision to go off the pill about two years ago was reaffirmed. Again and again.

While it’s a very personal decision, that of managing one’s own fertility, it seems most, maybe just many, women make that decision very much uninformed.

It’s strange isn’t it? Something so important to a woman’s body and so vital to her fertility, is managed with so little knowledge.

I went off the pill because it didn’t make me feel right. It wasn’t a decision based on information, just a dislike of feeling that way. Off the pill I’m a better person; I’m a less bloated person, with a smaller chest and containing far less of the crazy.

 Jane Bennett, a leading Australian voice on managing female fertility, shared a lot of valuable information I want to share with you.  She labelled all hormonal contraception (IUD, implanon, oral contraceptive) under the hat of ‘the pill’.

Read on.

How does the pill work?

  • The pill induces a state similar to pregnancy so that you don’t get pregnant; it stops ovulation, makes cervical mucus impenetrable and the lining of the uterus unreceptive to implantation by an embryo
  • That’s why the side-effects of taking the pill are very similar to pregnancy
  • The chemicals of the pill are synthetic and four times stronger than natural hormone levels – no wonder I was irrational, over-sensitive and could at times be very hard on myself
  • Chemicals are distributed via your bloodstream and therefore impact the functioning ability of all organs and processes

Side effects of the pill:

  • Most commonly mood swings, depression, appetite change, weight gain and loss of libido
  • Weight gain is one of the most common side effects of the pill, across all forms of the pill – even the mini-pill
  • Synthetic oestrogen (one of the chemicals in the pill) is fed to beef cattle to make them gain weight
  • Women on the pill who weigh more than 70kg are more were 60pc more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy
  • A psychiatrist at The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Melbourne said “depression is one of the most prevalent and debilitating illnesses affecting the female population today”
  • She said women taking the pill were almost twice as likely to be depressed, compared to those not on the pill
  • The women in the study had no clinical history of depression and none had been on antidepressants in the previous 12 months
  • Other studies on women taking the pill have found high rates of anxiety, mood swings, weight gain, headaches, migraines, fatigue, neurotic symptoms, compulsion, anger and negative menstrual effects

The pill and sex

  • The pill can affect your capacity for sexual pleasure
  • The pill dramatically reduces the level of testosterone which is vital to female libido
  • A study of 125 women looked at 62 women on the pill, 40 who had taken it and 23 who had never taken it.
  • The women were tested every three months for a year, measuring levels of sex hormone binding globulin, a protein which binds with testosterone and takes it out of circulation
  • They found levels of this hormone binding globulin were seven times higher in pill users than in those who had never taken it
  • In those who had taken it in the past but not currently, levels were still 3 to 4 times higher

The pill and your “period”

  • The pill can lead to increased period pain

Effectiveness of the pill

  • Effectiveness of the pill is generally quoted at 98%, in actual fact, the effectiveness rate for typical use of the pill (ie how it’s used in real life) is about 94%

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