As a young woman growing up in the world the word ‘contraception’ has always been flying about.
It’s true that men are told to wear condoms but from my own experience the responsibility and caution has always fallen on young woman like myself to ensure safety.
When I say this I’m not being critical and I’m not saying that this is the same for everyone. Just that in my own personal experience it’s always been considered my job to ensure that I’m having safe sex.
When I go to my GP I am almost instantaneously bombarded with leaflets asking me, “Are you on the pill?” and repeatedly advised to use a different form on contraception to condoms which are considered more preventive no matter what it is I initially went there about.
I honestly am not opposed to the idea but at the same time it’s terrifying. I mean, you hear so many horror stories and side effects that it makes your shirk away from the idea.
So, I thought that as a young gal who is sexually active I would delve a little deeper and take you on a journey to consider all the pros and cons of today’s contraception together cause damn is it a confusing and tricky decision.
Personally, the only form of contraception I am using at the moment are condoms. Yes, I am being very frank in this blog post because I want to discuss with you what I have been discussing with doctors, parents and friends for a while now.
And that is: What form of contraception is the safest?
Let’s start with ye olde classic- ‘The Pill’. This is the most common I think apart from condoms and one that I’ve actually tried… twice!
Essentially I’m going to outline my own personal experiences whilst on the pill and then take to the web to get some other opinions.
The first thing would be that hormones really do fuck with you. The pill effects everyone differently and for me those effects were awful. The first one I was on caused me to have severe clusters of migraines that lasted for around two weeks. I get them anyway and also have very poor circulation which all attributed to the fact that the pill had been causing my blood to not flow quite as well as was usual and was clotting thus causing the migraines.
My GP therefore decided to take me off of it and put me on a different one.
And this is where it gets interesting…
The next pill they put me on made me extremely depressed, paranoid and essentially just a mess. I still believe it related to my later issues with depression and anxiety that caused me to go on anti-depressants (also awful) and seek help from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapists. It was a very artificial feeling as though I was sucked into a mist of lowness that I knew was chemically induced but at the same time I couldn’t do anything about it.
It’s scary to think that one little pill can alter your body so much! And this is the reason as to why I am so hesitant to try the pill again. Like I said, they’re all different and it may just be a case of finding out that works for me but the experience was so awful that I’m trying to consider all my options before turning my body into a crash test dummy once again.
So let’s see what the interwebs thinks of the pill…
But imagine taking your birth control pill, feeling depressed and then taking an antidepressant to handle your mood swings and hypersensitivity. Adding an antidepressant could then contribute to even lower libido, which would surely be noticed by you and your partner.
The above is via https://bodyecology.com/articles/dangers_birth_control_pill.php and accurately describes what I was trying to explain from my own personal experience.
The article also lists migraines and blood clotting as side effects of using the pill, again, something I experienced with the previous one. I was seventeen at the time and the fact that this seemingly innocent pill was making such drastic changes to my body is honestly terrifying. I am under the impression that the different forms of contraception should be explored in Sex Education in schools more with the pros and cons weighted so that young girls and boys can research it better.
Another blogger also challenged whether the pill was safe or not stating that;
One study looked at healthy Danish women over a 10-year period and found that birth control pill users were twice as likely to experience a blood clot compared to women who did not use birth control pills. While the risk is still statistically small—approximately 6 out of 10,000 women—it’s still a risk, and it’s a life-threatening one.
R.E https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10932/14-things-i-wish-all-women-knew-about-the-pill.html who has clearly done a lot of research on the topic. She too discusses the general consensus that young woman today just assume that because the Pill is on the market and pushed at us that it is therefore completely safe to use. The reality is that the effects could impact our bodies long term with some irreversible consequences.
The Pill was something that was considered revolutionary. This is something that the bloggers above have picked up on that I’m not disputing. It is amazing that we can now get on with our lives and freely do what men have been doing since time began and have sex freely and without the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy (however STD’s are still a thing). It is also highly convenient and can even lower your chances of getting ovarian cancer. Periods can become a thing of the past, no more will they creep up on you or happen at all if you take the type of pill that doesn’t have a break. But it still begs the question of what happens when you mess with your body to that extent?
What’s more is that the female pill is a shocking 57 years old! Whilst the male contraceptive only came out in 2016 and as most of us know was retracted soon after.
Over a year-long trial, the injection was effective in nearly 96 per cent of couples. However, researchers said more work was needed to address the treatment’s reported side effects, which included depression and other mood disorders, muscle pain, acne and increased libido.
New Scientist, ‘https://www.newscientist.com/article/2110729-male-contraceptive-injection-works-but-side-effects-halt-trial/’
Hmmm, unusual that the side effects cited above appear to be exactly the same as the female pill which is still on the market. Despite the male pill being taken off of the market for this reason it’s amazing that progress is being made in this field and as the article states, 75% of the men on the trial would have continued to use it had it been available.
Bottom line, I think the pill is a wobbly subject filled with grey areas and despite it taking a while – it is amazing that more options are becoming available for men so that the responsibility isn’t solely falling on women.
However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s side effects are still extremely terrifying.
I’m not protesting to be an expert and by no means is it my way or the highway. The pill is perfect for some people and maybe I might still find one that works for me.
Despite this, I think the moral is that everyone should do their homework when it comes to contraception and always consult a doctor on what form would is best for them as an individual.
Anyway, I was thinking that this would be a series that I would do on my blog. I’m honestly interested in learning and researching more about the different forms and contraception out there.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional but rather a curious gal looking to research for my own benefit. As I said before please do your own further research and consult a doctor on these matters.
Cheers for now!
The Pill: Woman’s Best Friend?, ‘http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/7728971/The-Pill-womans-best-friend.html’ , 16th May 2010 via The Telegraph
The Male Pill is Coming- and It’s Going to Change Everything, ‘http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/the-male-pill-is-coming—and-its-going-to-change-everything/’, 24th October 2016 via The Telegraph
What is the Male Pill?, ‘http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/male-pill.aspx’ Last Reviewed on the 6th November 2014 (due to be updated)
Featured picture by JT Morrow.