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10February 19, 2011Birth control with a side of cancer, weight gain, and decreased libido?

Posted Feb 19 2011 12:00am

If you happened to have read my About page, you’ll see that I planned on writing about difficult topics and issues such as politics, relationships, and sex. With that said, I wanted to talk a little bit about that last one, sex – well kind of.

I have been on the fence now for quite some time – about 5 years – on birth control. I’ve been on the pill since I was about 16 and I really haven’t had any adverse side effects or real serious problems from taking it. However, I have never agreed with taking synthetic hormones for my own pleasure knowing all the health risks and problems caused by oral contraceptives. And so began the research to determine to pill or not to pill.

For those of you who don’t know, birth control pills are made from synthetic, man-made completely unnatural, hormones. These hormones are meant to mimic progesterone and estrogen, but these synthetic forms of hormones are not the same as the ones our bodies produce. Meaning they do not react the same within the body as our own hormones do. However, due the fact that they mimic our hormones, they do prevent pregnancy, or rather ovulation, but this does come at a cost.

Some of the adverse side effects to taking oral contraceptives according to this article and this article are:

  • increased risk of breast cancer
  • severe depression and emotional changes
  • chest pain and heart attack
  • stroke
  • liver damage
  • yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • reduction in libido and sexuality
  • nausea, bloating, and vomiting
  • hypertension
  • deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
  • pulmonary embolism
  • allergic reactions
  • acne
  • headaches

The list really does go on and on, sadly these are just a few. There were some “health benefits” listed to taking the pill, but they seemed to be linked back to studies that were conducted by sponsors of birth control manufacturers, which is a complete conflict of interest.

With this growing list of risk factors, how can I logically put such a thing into my body? Well, let’s all be honest, I’ve been with the Train going on 6 years now and I’m not a firm believer in “waiting until marriage.” More importantly, I’m not ready to be a parent, so I have always been comfortable with taking the measures to prevent such situations from happening. I’m at the point in my life though where I’m not willing to sacrifice my body – and health – in the name of my own sexual enjoyment. But I really do not want to worry about becoming pregnant when the Z man and I are not ready.

So what to do? Part of me thinks if I’m not mature enough to have a baby, then I’m not mature enough to be doing that of which causes a baby, while another part of me thinks it’s now 2011 and why shouldn’t I enjoy sexual freedom. What to do, what to do?

I don’t know whether or not I’ll continue with my birth control regiment, but I do know I’m going to be doing a lot more reading and investigating the topic. For now, how do you all feel about birth control? Were you aware of the many side effects? If not, what do you think of them? What is your opinion on taking oral contraceptives?

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