There's almost nothing I'm more passionate about than a woman's right to control her reproductive fate. Birth control pills factor in big to that equation. Unfortunately, though, there are quite a few cons associated with the pill that the pharmaceutical companies don't want us to know ... particularly risks and setbacks associated with newer, low-dose versions of the pill, like Yaz, Yasmin and Beyaz (the original plus folate).Thankfully, there's a lot of new research coming out that shines some light on what we should know about these newer pills before going on them ... or continuing to take them. (Yes, even if they clear up your skin, or keep your "periods regular," aka shut down your ovaries, so you don't have an actual period.)
First, there's the study that says newer birth control pills don't increase your risk of gallbladder disease or gallstones any more than old pills! Whew, right? No sigh of relief allowed.
Even though all the headlines blare, "Go on, ladies, keep poppin' those pills made with the progestin (synthetic progesterone) known as drospirenone (like Yaz, Yasmin and Beyaz) - cuz they are a-okay!" -- the truth is that these pills had a 20 percent increased risk of gallbladder disease, while the next highest rate went to norothindrone-based birth control pills, which carried a 10 percent increased risk.
The researchers say this is not “clinically significant,” but I beg to differ! Maybe that's because I was on one of those pills for three years and then, whoops, out of the blue -- I had gallstones! (Coincidence? I think not.)
Then, there's the fact that two new studies recently concluded that women taking contraceptives with drospirenone had a higher risk of blood clots. An analysis of a sample of U.S. insurance claims found that women on drospirenone pills had twice the risk of developing blood clots than those taking contraceptives that used levonorgestrel. And a second British study that looked at drospirenone pills found women who took them had a 2.7 times greater risk for developing a blood clot than women taking "an older progestin."
I personally believe there are problems and risks associated with all synthetic hormones, hormones made in a laboratory. Your body probably isn't going to function 100 percent normally when you're ingesting something completely fake that shuts down many of your body's natural processes. Sure, some women have found a pill that works with their individual chemistry, and that's great! But I think it's become painfully clear that drospirenone-based birth control is risky business for most women.
This is why it pays to listen to our friends, sisters, mothers, colleagues. To trust ourselves and strongly consider thoughts like, "Wow, I don't feel like myself ... my friend developed gallstones ... my sister got a blood clot ... when we were on that pill." Because the companies who manufacture these drugs would rather ring the cash register than look out for us. We have no choice but to look out for ourselves and make sure whatever birth control method we're using -- whether it's a synthetic hormonal pill, a non-hormonal IUD, condoms, or natural family planning -- is what's truly best for our health and well-being.
How do you feel about the risks associated with newer, "lower-dose" birth control pills?
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