Holy Hormones Journal: Ok – if I tell you to take a look at Rachel’s “pill-sized nunga nungas, age 19” I will lose you and you will not come back. So I better make this quick.
This article is an exceptional story of a young woman who understood she was a ‘fully functional woman’ when she started menstruating at age 16… however her journey was cut off at the pass with the medicalization of menstruation at age 19.
The misnomer is that pill provides a ‘regular’ period when in actuality the pill provides a chemical bleed on a regular basis. And yes, of course, this young woman would be protected against pregnancy – if she remembers to take the pill right? Like reading the package insert the after having sex and finding out you have to use a back up method for a week until the pill takes effect in the body. (I am sure in my day, we had to use a back up method for 3 weeks or a month). Anyway, that scenario has happened to so many women. Say what? I was not protected and now I have to add more hormones to my body with emergency contraception?
Long story short – one can see how a young woman’s endocrine system trying to develop its own rhythm gets thrown off track right at the get-go. And we wonder why women develop more hormone imbalance like PCOS, or infertility or depression and anxiety?
Ok – you can go and look at her pill induced nunga-jungas now.
Rachel – in case you read this blog post – thank you for sharing your story. It is important. And thank you for interviewing Dr. Jerilynn Prior. She shared powerful words below:
“I totally agree that the pill changed power and changed the way women control reproduction. But we’re beyond that now,” Dr. Jerilynn Prior, Scientific Director of The Centre for Menstruation and Ovulation Research, told me. “We now not only have the power to control our own reproduction — but also to affirm our own natural physiology. Once you realize the menstrual cycle serves not just a reproductive purpose, but also an extremely important physiologic purpose, then you start to look at controlling reproduction in a less cavalier way.”
Why It’s Time For Women To Question The Pill
February 2, 2015By Rachel Krantz
I didn’t get my period until I was 16-and-a-half years old. I was the last girl I knew who hadn’t gotten it, and I was downright ecstatic when I finally saw my stained underwear. Here, finally, was the proof: I was a fully functional woman.
I don’t remember when I got my second period, but it was probably at least five months later. The next period came four or five months after that. I never saw any problem with it — until I went to see my doctor for a checkup.
She said she was concerned about what she called “my irregularity.” Are you thinking about having sex? I remember her asking me, almost offhand. I answered that I had a regular boyfriend, but was still a virgin… for now. I had just turned 18. Her swift prescription for the birth control pill killed two reproductive birds with one stone: I would be protected against pregnancy, and I would get a regular period.
Though I was already thinking about having sex soon (and as much as it feels like a progressive taboo to admit it), the pill did feel like a mandate to expedite the process. Though I absolutely would have lost my virginity that summer anyway, I decided to have sex the next night.
The only problem was my doctor didn’t warn me that the pill took a week to become effective — and I was too naive to consider otherwise. It wasn’t until I read the prescription liner notes the morning after (hey, I was a teenager) that I realized I had to call my doctor. I needed a prescription for Plan B. I spent the next 48 hours feeling more nauseous than I had in my entire life. This is so unfair, I remember moaning over the toilet, cursing my boyfriend.
In the end, though, I did well on the pill: I experienced minimal side effects — perhaps some decreased libido, a little bloating. My skin was radiant, and to my own delight, my breasts went from modest b-cups to the c-cups I’d always wanted. Perhaps, best of all, I finally felt like I was getting a “normal” period. Every month, right on time.
But I never quite took to the idea of being on artificial hormones for my entire reproductive life. Perhaps because I could count the number of natural periods I’d had on one hand, I was still eager for my body to learn how to do things the old-fashioned way. So every year and a half or so (usually when I was in between relationships) I’d decide to stop taking the pill for awhile.