July 10, 2010
The birth control pill was first introduced to the American public for contraceptive use in 1960. By 2002, 11.6 million US women were on “the Pill” according to CDC statistics, making it the nation’s leading method of contraception.
Eighty percent of American women have used oral contraceptives at some point in their lives, according to a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
In my opinion, this is a tragedy as the Pills’ benefit of convenience is largely outweighed by their very serious health risks.
In fact, long-term use of oral contraceptives (OCs) will invariably increase a woman’s risk of developing a serious chronic illness. Yet they are passed out like expensive candy at most physicians’ offices, with little regard for the known dangers.
The decision about which method of contraception to use can be overwhelming, and it seems that most women are not adequately informed of their options.
It is my intention to provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice.
First, I’ll review the general categories of birth control methods, then move on to the relative risks of each, and finally I’ll make suggestions about what I consider to be the safest and healthiest options.
Overview of Birth Control Methods
The most importantpoint to remember about birth control pills, as well as hormone patches or injections, is that they are potent synthetic hormones, whose adverse health effects have been well documented over the past 30 years.
For instance, most doctors who see women about contraceptive concerns underestimate the effectiveness of natural family planning options and rarely or never mention them. Many women turn to birth control pills because they are not aware that there are safer options available.