I would like to discuss three topics in this rant. I would like to discuss birth control, I would like to discuss the FDA and its inherent evil and I would like to discuss a form of birth control I found through research online that is not approved by the FDA. This drug differs in its effect on the female body than hormonal birth control available on the market now.
Okay, so, birth control. Most of the world's population needs it. As a consenting and fertile adult that doesn't yet want to join Jackie's irreverent parents group, I need to find some way to prevent those millions of eager sperm from fertilizing my ovum. For this I have two options: devices or drugs. Â Â
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Before I get into the horror that are the options available to the American woman, I would first like to say that I think it's rotten and wrong that birth control is still mostly a woman's burden. Why isn't more research being done to cull those sperm? Why not a clamp that acts as a temporary vasectomy? Why not a drug for men that renders sperm unable to swim? Why not a little plug inserted into the urethra that prevents the little buggers from exiting the penis at all? That would have the added bonus of less mess! Why are women left inserting a cap or diaphragm at least 1 hour before intended sexual intercourse? Why are women the ones subjected to hormone altering drugs that (just wait until my rant!) have innumerable side affects? Why are women undergoing minor surgery to have devices inserted that can perforate the uterus and cause intense, debilitating pain?Â
The only temporary birth control that a man can take responsibility for is a condom and they usually leave that to the woman as well. Moreover, condoms tend to limit sensation and intimate contact and are less favored by those in long term, monogamous relationships. And for the record, paying for half of the pill prescription just doesn't cut it for me. Sorry. Doctors and researchers out there need to start putting some serious effort into birth control methods for men because we are after all, trying to achieve equality of the sexes, right? Right?Â Â Â Â
Birth control methods available for women today are, in a word: Unacceptable. We Americans like choice, so the drug companies give us choice. We can take birth control as a pill, injection, implant, patch or cervical ring. What the drug companies aren't telling you is that you are choosing between the same drug simply in a different form.
Hormonal birth controls all contain steroids and either estrogen or a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin. They act to make a woman's body think it's already pregnant. The hormone also inhibits the release of an egg. Should an egg be released anyway the hormonal birth control also decreases the lining of the uterus thereby preventing the egg from implanting. Great, fine, wonderful; a pill that prevents pregnancy. When hormonal birth control hit the market it helped empower women and allowed them to take control of their sexuality and further support the sexual revolution, but at what cost to their bodies? Why hasn't birth control options moved forward as society has?
What most gynecologists and Drug companies don't tell you is that these drugs are steroids with all the potential side effects of steroids. All of these drugs, whether as a pill, injection, implant or patch are steroids which have adverse effects on natural hormone levels and brain chemistry. Women aren't getting pregnant but maybe it's because they've grown mustaches, have higher testosterone levels, severe acne, depression, weight gain, random aggression and migraines.
Furthermore, the synthetic hormones used in birth control are powerful and crude and invade every cell in your body. They affect a woman's immune system, sex drive, metabolism and menstrual cycle. Adrenal glands are suppressed which also affect the immune system and the hormonal birth control Depo-Provera has also been proven to decrease bone density.
Â A comprehensive list of side affects of hormonal birth control include: Â loss of interest in sexual activity, infertility, severe headaches, constant bleeding (metrorrhagia), weight gain, panic attacks, muscle pain, heart palpitations, pain during sex, acne, irregular menstrual bleeding, loss of menstruation (Amenorrhea), Â abdominal cramps, dizziness, weakness or fatigue, leg cramps, nausea, vaginal irritation, breast swelling and tenderness, bloating, swelling of the hands or feet, backache, depression, insomnia, pelvic pain, no hair growth or excessive hair loss, rash, hot flashes, joint pain, convulsions, jaundice, urinary tract infections, allergic reactions, fainting, paralysis, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolus. (Thank you Wikipedia)Â
I was on Depo for one year and I found that Depo was, in fact, an effective birth control because for that entire year I didn't want to have sex.
I haven't taken the shot for six years now and I still have lasting side affects from that contraceptive steroid. I am not the only one. There are scores of websites dedicated to helping women recover from hormonal birth control use. They also try to educate women about what they are putting in their bodies when they swallow the lies told by the FDA and drug companies along with that ubiquitous pill. The FDA and Pfizer (along with other big names) seem to gloss over these very real and harmful conditions that result from hormonal contraceptive use. I don't understand why more women aren't aware of it and outraged. I feel that we are passively allowing the drug companies to hurt our sisters, mothers, daughters, friends and ourselves because we are lulled into thinking that there is no other way. We don't demand better research, we don't demand less harmful alternatives (and they are out there) and we don't demand accountability. Â
I hate that these are the only choices given to women in the US. I hate that the FDA only reviews drugs brought to them by drug companies trying to sell a product rather than meet a citizen's need. I hate that employees of the FDA are pressured and lobbied to approve certain drugs that drug companies want to market regardless of potential harm it might inflict on its takers. Don't take my word for it. Read about it yourself, here, here, here, and google it yourself. This poorly run, corrupt and inefficient bureaucratic behemoth is the guardian of my health? Not cool, folks.
Now, in the interest of keeping this article under 1500 words, I will mention briefly a non - steroidal oral contraceptive researched and developed in India. Centrchroman was developed 20 years ago and released to the general public early 1990's. Simply put, it changes the female cycle so that ovulation and uterine readiness are not in conjunction. If an ovum is fertilized it does not find a ready uterus and a ready uterus does not cycle with a released ovum. It does this without introducing estrogen, progestin or steroids into the system. Many women are trying it in the United States and the UK with very positive results. The FDA has not approved or even reviewed this drug because none of the drug companies have brought it forward. Centchroman is also very inexpensive. Laws in India prevent companies from selling drugs at prices in great excess of their cost (what a crazy idea!). A month's supply of Centchroman is only $0.80.
I am not singing Centchroman's praises unreservedly. For one thing it's not as guaranteed as Hormonal birth control with 97% effectiveness rate as opposed to 99.9% for HBC. It is also still a drug that impedes the body's natural functioning and there will always be repercussions with that. By telling you about this product I wanted to demonstrate a promising alternative that has been denied us and has yet to be researched by the FDA.
Alright. If you've lasted this long then maybe you'll contribute a little more. Let me know what you think about the issues I've raised. I know what I think and I mostly talk to women who feel the same way. I'd like to learn some alternative points of view. Men, don't shy away from this, I'd like to hear to what you have to say too.