The Pill: Is it for you?

Most women can appre­ci­ate that their men­stru­al cycle is not the cycle of their dreams, and could use some assist­ance in being more bal­anced. Apparently the most tumul­tu­ous times of a women’s life are gen­er­ally when our hor­mones are ramp­ing up in order for us to repro­duce at puberty and decreas­ing at men­o­pause, but truly… very few women exper­i­ence bliss in the years between!

As women we are all sup­posed to feel lucky that we have the abil­ity to con­ceive a child. Most of us do, how­ever there is always a time and place where we feel ready for that respons­ib­il­ity. The birth con­trol pill has allowed women to have more per­son­al con­trol and choice over when par­ent­hood occurs as well as hav­ing intim­ate rela­tion­ships in a more har­mo­ni­ous fashion.

In theory…

If our hor­mones behaved as they are sup­posed to, then the pill would be a won­der­ful thing. In fact, if you are a women who exper­i­ences imbal­ances in her hor­mone cycle then it really can be a bless­ing as giv­ing con­trolled hor­mone can instill the prop­er rhythm to estro­gen and pro­ges­ter­one phases of the cycle (which can often have their own mind or are not released or sup­por­ted prop­erly by brain hor­mone centres like hypo­thal­am­us and pitu­it­ary or coördin­a­tion from the adren­al glands, ovar­ies and uter­us). Additionally, the pos­sib­il­ity of preg­nancy when tak­ing the birth con­trol prop­erly is quite small and it is more con­veni­ent com­pared with many preg­nancy interventions.

The reality…

As with most inter­ven­tions, it depends on the woman, their body, their cir­cum­stances, and some genet­ic factors also wheth­er the birth con­trol pill is right for you. Some neg­at­ive out­comes to excess­ive use of the birth con­trol pill are not only high­er risk of ser­i­ous car­di­ovas­cu­lar epis­odes such as blood clots (also known as deep vein throm­bos­is) and increased expres­sion of cer­tain estro­gen-related can­cers, but some women exper­i­ence adverse side effects like weight gain, vagin­al yeast infec­tions, increased emo­tion­al­ity and sus­cept­ib­il­ity to depres­sion (cry­ing or anger out­bursts) which ser­i­ously impact qual­ity of life.

Environmental impact…

With so many women using the birth con­trol pill for con­tra­cep­tion, we are find­ing increased levels of estro­gen in the water in gen­er­al. There is some pre­lim­in­ary research to sug­gest that not only humans are being affected by increased estro­gen with high­er can­cer risks includ­ing some risks , but also our food chain.

The Verdict?

Ultimately, it is your decision what is right for you and your body. Recently I par­ti­cip­ated in an art­icle in YYZ magazine, The Little Pill’s Small Print, in which a good review of the cur­rent stand­ings were dis­cussed by a num­ber of pro­fes­sion­als. We all acknow­ledge there are risks, and we know that they are not always good ones to take. Alexandra Pope and Jane Bennett are authors of this debate in the book The Pill: Are you sure it’s for you? Ultimately, it will be your decision. Get informed, ask your doc­tor, and read up on the literature.

If you have decided to take the birth con­trol pill to reg­u­late your hor­mones and not for birth con­trol, you should know that herb­al medi­cine can be very effect­ive to reg­u­late hor­mones as well as diet­ary inter­ven­tions and acu­punc­ture. Additionally, there are many ways to pre­vent preg­nancy in addi­tion to the birth con­trol pill.

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