Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Pill and my period, full stop, Part 2

Interestingly enough, after my first blog post where I talked about my lack of period, I had a couple of people come forward and talk to me about their own experiences. It seems like, because this has to do with things of a womanly nature the natural instinct is to kept it private. Yet, because no one likes to talk about periods, no one realizes others have gone through the same things.

Here are a couple of the things I heard:

The first person to talk to me, told me that after going off the pill she didn't have a period for over a year. Cripes! There were perhaps some confounding factors in her case but still, not menstruating--the quintessential function that makes a woman and woman--for such a long time, it must have been frustrating, if not stressful.

Another friend sent me a message and described some of the negative affects she experienced while on the pill. That friend developed lumps in her breast, which appeared to be due to her use of oral contraceptives. Can it get more frightening for a woman? I can only imagine the first through of someone upon finding breast lumps and it must be terrifying.

I can think of a third instance where a cousin of mine suffered a stroke in her late 20s/early 30s, most likely due to her extended use of birth control. Strokes are usually a threat to the elderly, or people with cardiovascular conditions. Not young woman taking birth control.

Now, I don't mean to scare anyone off birth control pills. If I've learned anything from my job about medical research, it's that a few anecdotes of unconnected people doesn't amount to evidence. Of course, safety data on medication is difficult to collect as it often requires long time frames and most drug trials are of short duration. Overall, oral contraceptives are effective, but it's important to know the risks you take when you take any kind of medication.

Next week I'll provide some information on how the birth control pill works.



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