Things Your Doctor May Not Have Told You About Your Birth Control

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A problem exists with the way medicine is currently practiced. One issue is that things really aren't set up so doctors can get to know their patients well, thoroughly answer all questions and concerns, and also adequately inform their patients of all options and the ramifications of each one. A 15 minute office visit just doesn't lend itself to this. This is true in the area of birth control just as anywhere else. Overworked doctors, little rapport, a multi-billion dollar contraceptive industry, and incomplete education for OB/GYNs can make it difficult for patients to really know what happens to their bodies with any given birth control method. I passionately believe that women deserve to know how their bodies naturally work and how each form of contraception interferes with their natural functioning. How can they give informed consent without it?


The Pill


Many women know that the pill can cause blood clots, stroke, heart attack, weight gain, and decreased libido. Less well-known is that it is classified as a group one carcinogen for breast, liver, and cervical cancers,1 which is the same classification as cigarettes and asbestos. This risk is highest for women who have not yet had a full-term pregnancy. While it is true that the pill decreases risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, these are rather rare types which most women have little risk of, while breast cancer is the most common cancer death among women of childbearing age. I hope your doctor has told you of these side effects if you are on the pill.


Here is something that you probably were not informed of: the pill ages the cervix about two years for every one year of use. This is one reason why pill use can lead to infertility later on (and why the contraceptive industry fuels the multi-billion dollar infertility industry). The cervix produces different types of cervical fluid, and each type has a different function. When a woman is in the infertile part of her cycle, her body produces a type of cervical fluid that blocks sperm from entering her cervix and uterus. During the 100 hours of her cycle when a woman is capable of becoming pregnant, her cervix produces types of fluid that protect, nourish, and guide sperm to her possibly waiting egg, as well as filtering out defective sperm. One function of the pill is that it changes her cervix so that it increases the amount of crypts that make the fluid that blocks sperm and decreases the amount of crypts that aid conception. This process happens naturally with age, but it happens twice as fast for pill-users.


The pill also changes her chemistry and cellular function as to make a woman more susceptible to getting HIV/AIDS and other STDs.2 Pill-use increases susceptibility to HIV/AIDS, increases the rate of replication of the HIV virus, and speeds the debilitating effects of the disease. Pill and Depo-Provera use is a likely reason why more women have HIV than men.


The pill causes so many hormonal and physical changes in a woman's body that it seems there are always new discoveries about yet another way the pill affects a woman's body. Several studies have shown that the pill also affects the Major Histo-Compatibility (MHC) complex,3 which plays a role in immune function. Non pill-users are more attracted to a mate that has different MHC genes than her own. Though research is ongoing, it is suspected that this aids the immune function of their offspring, as the children would have a more complete MHC profile. Pill-users, however, are more attracted to MHC-similar mates, which leads some to suspect pill-use as contributing to the growing rate of children now dealing with various immune disorders.




In a healthy woman, the uterus is sterile. When an IUD is inserted, her body recognizes this as a foreign object and tries to expel it. Her uterus will contract, become inflamed, and shed its inner lining in an effort to remove the IUD, sometimes for months. Excessive bleeding can lead to anemia. For IUDs that contain hormones, these will reduce bleeding and cramping, but it has synthetic hormones and carries the same risks as the pill.


IUD makers warn that users are at greater risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can lead to infertility, hysterectomy, and even death. IUD users are at greater risk of developing pelvic infections.4 IUD users are at greater risk of getting yeast infections and Bacterial Vaginosis (BV),5 which is a change in the normal bacteria in the vagina. With BV there is more pathogenic bacteria than healthy bacteria. A BV infection can increase a woman's risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Other risks of IUD use include perforation of the uterus, uterine embedment of the IUD, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. When an IUD fails, the pregnancy is extremely high risk to both baby and mother. Although I was unable to find scholarly articles on this, a suspicious number of women on various forums and other sites seem to have experienced their first seizure after IUD-insertion.


Depo Provera


Depo Provera is an injection of the synthetic hormone progestin. One function of the shot is that it alters a woman's cervical fluid. This ages the cervix and can lead to permanent infertility. (Please see "the pill" section for a more comprehensive explanation.) Women who use the shot are twice as likely to contract HIV/AIDS,6 have increased rate of HIV replication, and have an increased chance of transmitting the virus to others. A 2004 study concluded that the shot interferes with a woman's immune system and puts her at greater risk of contracting gonorrhea and chlamydia.7 Additional risks of the Depo shot include a double risk of breast cancer among recent users8 and bone density loss.


Barrier Methods


As I was working on this post, 1flesh.org wrote about the risks of condoms, so as they've done a lot of my research for me in this area, I'll sum up their points, and if you want more details you can head over here. What many people don't know is that semen is very healthy for women's health. Semen acts as an anti-depressant and women who use condoms have higher depression rates than women who do not. To quote a 2002 study on the subject, "Not only were females who were having sex without condoms less depressed, but depressive symptoms and suicide attempts among females who used condoms were proportional to the consistency of condom use."9 Other studies have suggested that semen can regulate a woman's menstrual cycle, prevent preeclampsia in pregnancy, and reduce breast cancer risk.


Spermicides irritate vaginal walls which makes women more susceptible to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.10


Female Sterilization


Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure. As such it carries all the risks of an invasive surgery such as risk of infection, pain, blood clots, and death. Other risks include ectopic pregnancy and for younger patients, higher risk of hysterectomy later.11 Many women regret having the procedure and may become depressed. Women who have used the birth control pill prior to surgery may experience symptoms of Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome.12


Male Sterilization


In normal male function, sperm are produced in the testes, stored in the epididymis above the testes, and during ejaculation are expelled directly out of the body. Sperm and semen never interact with any other part of a man's body and do not enter the bloodstream. Normal men produce approximately 200 million sperm per day.


Risks of sterilization include pain and swelling at the site. Some may acquire an infection. Some men will experience chronic pain and tenderness or may need to have a surgical removal of a sperm granuloma (a mass of sperm and immune cells).


A vasectomy does not inhibit sperm production. Instead of traveling through a tube to the outside of the body, after a vasectomy the millions of sperm spill into the male's body cavity and are recognized as foreign cells and are attacked by his immune system. After 6-9 months after a vasectomy, 90% of men had antisperm antibodies in their blood13 though the effects of these antigens has not been well studied. Some believe this may contribute to autoimmune disorders. Perhaps due to these antigens, it appears vasectomy is a risk factor for developing Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)14 later on. PPA is a form of dementia which impairs a person's ability to form words in speech, and as it progresses, it can lead to other symptoms of dementia like strange behavior, lack of judgement, and personality changes. In men who have developed PPA, those who had a vasectomy had an earlier age of onset of the disorder than men who have not had a vasectomy.15 Depression and regretted sterilization is also a risk.


What’s a Woman To Do?

The belief that we have no choice but to bear with the side effects and expense of artificial methods of birth control if we do not wish to have a child at the moment is false. Natural Family Planning is a method in which women learn to observe the changes in their bodies so they know when they are fertile. In India, one study included over 16,000 poor Hindu, Muslim, and Christian women using NFP. They had an effectiveness rate of over 99%.16 Likewise, in China the effectiveness rates of NFP have remained at about 99%.17 Furthermore, couples who try NFP tend to like it and continue using it. NFP has a higher continuation rate than all reversible methods of birth control.


Though Natural Family Planning is often mistaken for the old rhythm method, modern methods are based on science. One thing that many people do not know is that a woman is fertile about 100 hours a cycle. During the time when a woman is capable of conceiving, her body secretes a particular type of cervical fluid. This fluid is produced as a result of hormonal changes that stimulate egg maturation in preparation for ovulation. In fact, Drs. Billings, Brown, and Burger studied how women's observations of their fluid correlated with their hormonal changes, and in 1972 published their findings that women can know through simple observation where they are in their fertility cycle just as accurately as doctors and medical personnel in laboratories with fancy lab equipment.


It might be misleading, however, to say that there are no side-effects of using NFP. There are some: NFP couples report increased respect for self and spouse; they almost never divorce; they report an increase in communication with each other and an increase in the quantity and quality of intercourse. For me, I think women deserve to have these side effects.





Chinese study comparing an NFP method with IUD


Information about the different NFP methods, including a quiz to find the one right for you.

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one of the comments...

Mines still there luckily! I'm dreading getting it removed in April but also looking forward to it. Though it has prevented pregnancy (through the 100% complete lack of sex drive in any form!) back on the pill next year for me.


- jayne , derbyshire, 07/9/2012 09:55


Implanon has several side effects but relatively no more than any other hormonal birth control method. These types range from common side effects such as:


Gaining weight, unpopular with most patients
Breakthrough bleeding (spotting) or other menstrual complaints and problems
Increase in mood swings or depression problems, some patients have also reported anxiety
Headaches, some patients has noted an increase in severe headaches
Breast tenderness
Some cases of abdominal and menstrual pain have been noted
Some increase in viral infections such as sore throats and colds
Some cases of dizziness and nausea have been noted, extreme nausea has been noted in some cases
Back pain
Decrease in sexual interest

Rare side effects include:

Increase in facial hair growth or body hair
Visual problems or an increase in eye irritations for contact wearers
Darkening skin spots (mainly facial in nature)

Implanon does have some side effects on removal also, which can include:

Tenderness and redness
Swelling and bruising
Some cases of scarring or formation of scar tissue around the implant have been noted
Some cases of infection
Some extreme cases require surgical removal of the implant, however this is rare
Some implants have broken and been damaged resulting in the rod migrating slightly.

Implanon has been known to cause an increase in your risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Implanon can also cause an increase in blood pressure.

Certain medications like barbiturates, as well as some herbal treatments can interfere with the effectiveness of Implanon. If you are prescribed any medications or herbal remedies be sure to discuss this with your physician, if you are using or planning on using Implanon.

The risks and side effects mentioned may not be all associated with Implanon, and anyone considering this type of birth control method should ask their physician for more information on possible risks and side effects associated with this type of hormonal birth control method.

When deciding to use Implanon, (like any other birth control method) it must be thoroughly discussed with your medical doctor along with all the benefits, risks and alternatives. Most all birth control methods carry risks and side effects your physician will talk over these side effects and risks with you and help you make an informed decision on which type of birth control is right for you.

References for this article include: WebMD, Implanon.usa.com and Contraception.about.com


Edited by White Wolf Running On Air

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(NaturalNews) Parents in the UK were said to be furious that girls as young as 13 were given contraceptive implants, without parental consent it has been reported. In an incentive by the Solent NHS Trust, nine schools and three colleges allowed the scheme which was initiated in 2009.

The implant used in the scheme is Nexplanon, this is the only contraceptive implant available in the UK, and it consists of a plastic tube under the skin which releases progestogen. This works for three years and is claimed to be 99% effective, however side effects are, that it can disrupt periods, a raised risk of breast cancer, premenstrual syndrome, headaches, thromboembolism, depression and nausea.

While the NHS trust claims that the scheme had cut teenage pregnancies, campaigners for the Family Education Trust explained that this would give a licence for teenage girls to have sexual intercourse without protection. This of course would lead to greater risk of sexually transmitted infections such as HPV which is needed to be vaccinated against causing even more biologically active pollutants in our teenage population.

Norman Wells, Director of the FET commented in the 'Daily mail' that 'parents send their children to school to get a good education, not to be undermined by health workers who give their children contraceptives behind their backs'. He continued 'If health authorities are really interested in reducing teenage pregnancy rates, they should be looking for ways to discourage underage people from engaging in sexual activity in the first place'.

Guidance for best practice from the Department for Health states that 'Doctors and health professionals have a duty of care and a duty of confidentiality to all patients including those under-16s. The Solent NHS Trust said in a statement that 'NHS Southampton is committed to ensuring local young people are able to access clinically appropriate sexual health support, advice and treatment to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections'.

Could this scheme be unlawful?

For any surgical procedure (meaning the use of instruments to insert, remove or change damaged tissue,implant or foreign body) Consent must be sought from the parent of a minor unless in an emergency. The case law for contraceptive treatment and advice is known as the Gillick case.

In 1982 parent of a minor, Victoria Gillick, challenged the department for health and her local health authority that under 16s should need consent to be given advice and treatment for contraceptives and sexual health. She was successful after an appeal, but the appeal was overturned in the house of lords. However in the judgment from the House of Lords, there were guidelines. These were..

"...a doctor could proceed to give advice and treatment provided he is satisfied in the following criteria:

1) that the girl (although under the age of 16 years of age) will understand his advice;

2) that he cannot persuade her to inform her parents or to allow him to inform the parents that she is seeking contraceptive advice;

3) that she is very likely to continue having sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive treatment;

4) that unless she receives contraceptive advice or treatment her physical or mental health or both are likely to suffer;

5) that her best interests require him to give her contraceptive advice, treatment or both without the parental consent."

However in this case the health professionals have not been approached by the patient, or sought the consent of the patient to tell their parents, surely they have therefore carried out and illegal procedure?

Edited by White Wolf Running On Air
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Risks and benefits, advantages and disadvantages of levonorgestrel-releasing contraceptive implants.



Population Council, Center for Biomedical Research, New York, New York 10021, USA.

[email protected].rockefeller.edu


Levonorgestrel-releasing implants are long acting contraceptives, approved for 5 years of continuous use. Two marketed systems, the six capsule Norplant use of tradenames is for product identification purposes only and does not imply endorsement. and the two rod Jadelle, have essentially equal rates of drug release, pregnancy and adverse events over 5 years of use. Randomised clinical trials and controlled cohort observations indicate that for the first 3 years, when pregnancy rates are at or almost zero, no other contraceptive system is more effective, although etonogestrel implants provide equal effectiveness. Annual pregnancy rates rise in the fifth year of continuous use but remain below 1 per 100 women. Annual pregnancy rates of Norplant users remain below 1 per 100 throughout 7 years of continuous use. Levonorgestrel implants provide low progestogen doses; 40-50 microg/day at 1 year of use, decreasing to 25-30 microg/day in the fifth year. Serum levels of levonorgestrel at 5 years are 60-65% of those levels measured at 1 month of use. Adverse effects with levonorgestrel implants are similar to those observed with progestogen only and combined oral contraceptives. Risks of ectopic pregnancy, other pregnancy complications and pelvic inflammatory disease are reduced in comparison with those of women using copper or non-medicated intrauterine devices. Risks of developing gallbladder disease and hypertension or borderline hypertension, although small, are about 1.5 and 1.8 times greater, respectively, in women using levonorgestrel implants than in women not using hormonal contraception. Other serious diseases have not been found to occur significantly more frequently in levonorgestrel implant users than in women not using hormonal contraception. The great majority of levonorgestrel implant users experience menstrual problems, but serious bleeding problems are not more frequent than in controls. Other health problems reported more frequently by levonogestrel implant users than by women not using hormonal contraception in a study of 16000 women included skin conditions, headache, upper limb neuropathies, dizziness, nervousness, malaise, minor visual disturbances, respiratory conditions, arthropathies, weight change, anxiety and non-clinical depression. Clinical depression is not more frequent in women using implants compared with those not using hormonal contraception (i.e. using intrauterine devices, sterilisation). Removal problems occur less frequently with Jadelle than with Norplant. The mean removal time for Jadelle is half that of Norplant. Levonorgestrel implants in nationally representative scientific samples, in randomised trials, and in controlled cohort studies have continuation rates as high as or higher than any other reversible contraceptive over a duration of 5 years. This would imply that the satisfaction women derive from the contraceptive effectiveness of levonorgestrel implants greatly outweighs the dissatisfaction that may accompany menstrual disturbances and other adverse effects associated with implants.


Edited by White Wolf Running On Air
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Seems like a good resource... another option... seems Nature (Divine) is the best answer... how odd? HA



"I use Natural Family Planning" (NFP)


iuseNFP July 6, 2012

We’re so excited to offer you this fresh, comprehensive, and thorough website dedicated to every woman, everywhere. We took a look around the web and concluded that the world needed and women deserved a new NFP website, one for women coming to NFP for all reasons. It is by women and for women (though we’ve included stuff for men too) so you will see many styles of writing, reasons for choosing NFP, and ways that real couples use NFP.


We know that starting to learn about NFP can be a little scary and a little overwhelming, so we tried to make our site as easy to use as possible. About NFP will tell you a little about how the modern methods of NFP were established and what ideologies NFP espouses. Directly underneath it is “The Science of NFP” which is a must read for any woman – what they taught you in your high school health class was not enough! Why NFP offers a great explanation for why our very own Katie is already sure that she will not be prescribing hormonal contraceptives in her medical practice. Under Links you’ll be able to find lots of great resources, websites, and products to help you in your NFP journey. We also list some great apps there that you can use to help you chart NFP with some reviews to come. If you’re looking for an NFP teacher or are interested in an NFP-only physician, you can find that link there too. Last but not least, we are always happy to share our favorite NFP-related items. When you buy through our store, we receive 4% of the proceeds (without affecting the price you pay!) so that we can continue to offer give-aways and other awesome iuseNFP gear.


So take a look around, click all over. We hope you find what you’re looking for and if you still have any questions or concerns, send us an email at: [email protected]. We’re always happy to read fan-letters too! iuseNFP is an on-going collaboration so stop back often for new deals, articles, and resources.

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Ofcourse you have to realize side effects don't hit all users. In most cases its small sometimes infinitesimally small but are listed to protect the manufacturer. Sometimes when you break down the numbers and get statistics like chance of x cancer is 6 per 10,000 users over life time and on the pill is 9 in 10,000 users so its 50% greater chance of cancer x. To put risk in perspective, its best to know the numerical odds in human terms. I.E overweight, smoking, not wearing seat belts or say flossing could put you potentially at several times greater risk.


Personally I'd be afraid to have sex with only counting on Mother Nature style method. Cause she can be a bitch.

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