Leslie Carol Botha: A question asked in 2009 – is as relevant today as it was then. Does the pill affect women’s fertility? The article notes that in 2009, 100 million women were on the pill. I recently posted an article by Catherine Pearson in the Huff Post that by 2015 – 2o0 million women will be on birth control. That is double the number in just 4 years.
We can safely assume that the majority of women will be prescribed synthetic hormone contraception – whether or not they are sexually active. There are many menstrual advocates who agree – birth control is the largest uncontrolled medical experiment in history.
Is it time to stop taking the Pill? A new book asks whether the tide of risks has gone too far
By Sophie Morris
UPDATED: 02:46 EST, 24 August 2009
By the mid-Nineties, however, fears about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections were in full flow.
At school we were advised to use condoms in all circumstances. I don’t remember a single discussion about the contraceptive pill. I suppose it was assumed that, as teenagers, we were too young to consider using it.
So why is it that around 3.7 million women in the UK are currently taking ‘the Pill’, and around 100 million worldwide? The keenest uptake is among the young. An incredible 64 per cent of women aged between 20 and 24 are on the Pill, more than in any other age group.
The reason is the readiness with which it is prescribed by GPs, who often fail to offer alternatives. The Pill is widely accepted as the most effective form of contraceptive but it is also prescribed for a number of other complaints such as acne, irregular or heavy periods, period pain and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
In short the benefit of having sex without the fear of pregnancy (or the hassle of romance-killing condoms) is sold as a fair trade off to any of the many side-effects shared by various brands of Pill – weight gain, irritability-depression, anxiety, anger, loss of sex drive, migraines not to mention rumoured links to breast cancer and fatal blood clots.
But is it a fair trade off? The Pill: Are You Sure It’s For You?, a new book out next month, queries why the Pill is so readily prescribed across the developed world when its negative side- effects are so frequent and sometimes fatal, and its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy less than perfect.
The authors, Jane Bennett and Alexandra Pope, interviewed thousands of women to illustrate the Pill’s many downsides, showing that most women take the Pill unquestioningly because we believe that suppressing our bodies’ natural hormones – our fertility – with synthetic hormones, is actually the natural thing to do.
‘For young women exploring their contraceptive choices today, the Pill is often presented as the only responsible way to manage their fertility,’ they write. ‘The Pill, by its hormonal action, impacts profoundly on all our organs and bodily systems in order to have its effect on our fertility.’
Certainly had I known that taking the Pill for four to five years would result in a five-year wait to get my menstrual cycle back to normal, I never would have taken it in the first place.