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Tue Aug 31, 2021, 12:52 PM

The dark side of the pill, as revealed by new research

In the 1960s, the FDA's approval of the birth control pill was seen as a catalyst for the sexual revolution. Women celebrated what seemed to be a newfound freedom to have sex, and children, on their own terms.

Six decades later, the pill and other forms of birth control provide the same freedom for many. We're learning, however, that the revolution came with a hidden dark side. From mental fog to pelvic pain, the pill can cause damaging physical and mental effects. What's worse, pressure from partners, family, friends, and society itself any time women are told they "should" be on birth control has socialized everyone to believe it's a woman's responsibility to prevent pregnancy.

In her ironically-titled book Just Get on the Pill, out this month, University of Oregon sociology professor Krystale E. Littlejohn shows how birth control hasn't been as empowering as society first hailed it to be, especially for marginalized populations.

Littlejohn's team interviewed 103 women in the San Francisco area between 2009 and 2011. All were unmarried (as unmarried women are the most likely to have an unintended pregnancy) and from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Some gave birth, others didn't. Some had undergone abortions. This research, affiliated with Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley makes Just Get on the Pill an even more powerful read.

https://mashable.com/article/birth-control-just-get-on-the-pill
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While I do think her sample is laughably small, this is an interesting article and makes very valid points about BC being pushed as solely a "women's issue" when it clearly is NOT. Disclaimer: I was on the pill in the 1960s with absolutely no side effects at all, so I can't complain. Other methods? Not so much.....

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Aug 31, 2021, 01:00 PM

1. Birth control was also a near miraculous treatment for girls/women with hormone associated migraine-

something US OB/GYNs fought, despite European studies documenting its effectiveness for decades.

One can argue about the societal issues. However, the validity of the blanket suggestion of adverse health effects referred to in this article are not unlike the anti-vaxxers pointing to VAERS to document vaccine risk (i.e., all anecdotal and unverified accounts).

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 31, 2021, 02:52 PM

4. The BCP gave my daughter horrible migraines

She's opted for an IUD (NuvaRing, or something). I couldn't do IUDs because of pain and awful bleeding, which I learned later were due to fibroids. I didn't do real well on the mini-pill either so we used other methods. One (foam) was effective until it wasn't and we had our last child and long-hoped-for daughter, who we secretly called the Dalkon Kid.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 31, 2021, 03:04 PM

5. Its use in treating hormonally-induced migraines is the regulating impact on girls/women

whose estrogen/progesterone/FSH levels are so wildly diverging from normal pre-menstrual levels that migraines are triggered.

It would make sense that in some women whose hormones are more closely regulated, that the impact of even low dose BC could trigger similar migraines. That was not typical, obviously, but it does occur.

A similar thing for women with certain autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, Hashimoto's where pregnancy (and the inherent hormonal shifts as well as similar substances produced by the placenta) can actually down-regulate their immune system, giving tremendous, albeit temporary relief. Many of these women actually find the relief so dramatic that they seek to return to pregnancy as early and frequently as possible (!)

It is all about a very precarious balance, it would seem.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Aug 31, 2021, 01:15 PM

2. As a man, I was always thankful for birth control. I've been willing to get a

vasectomy for a couple decades but haven't needed to. Now I'm single and odds are a new lady wouldn't need me to either, but if I did end up with a fertile woman, I would rather take care of it than ask her to.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Aug 31, 2021, 02:06 PM

3. Pelvic pain and fogginess are a small price to pay for freedom from unwanted pregnancies.

Should the pill be improved so those do not happen? Absolutely.

But if the author is saying birth control hasn't been revolutionary in it's empowerment of women, really all that author is saying is that she was not alive and doesn't remember the time when women had no protection against unwanted pregnancies.

PS: If a woman doesn't want to get pregnant, she is foolish if she doesn't take responsibility for her birth control.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun Sep 5, 2021, 09:43 AM

6. An interesting article, even if the sample was small. Birth control is the responsibility

of both partners, ideally. But I always told women to make sure they protected themselves. (Anybody here remember fake vasectomy scars?)

Despite having migraines from a very young age, I took the Pill for any years with no side effects.

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