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(DISCLAIMER: Before my rant, thought I'd clarify that I'm very grateful for birth control and how it has freed women to have far more control over her life. I don't want birth control to be gotten rid of, just for the risks to be better understood.)

Many of us will have trusted doctors. We're told that doctors always know best. But experience has taught me that while doctors are very smart, there is just so much they don't know, but they rarely seem to acknowledge this: passing degrees is mostly about regurgitating dogma, not questioning dogma. 'Investigating the science' myself saved me years of torment and pain in regard to my own medical condition.

This attitude is all too clear with trans surgeries. How could doctors even think of doing that to kids, we ask? It's mainly because they're taught to follow The Science they've been told. However, science is not Perfect Knowledge and it constantly evolves. It is also open to bias like any other body of knowledge. It's open to cherry picking and being swayed by big pharma. That skewed Medical Canon is then passed down to doctors and then down to their patients.

If they can give kids untested life altering surgeries based on something as unscientific as a Gender Soul, they sure as hell won't mind putting any number of untested pills into women. It's not even the case that they're necessarily 'experimenting', just that they prioritise male/economic benefit and don't care about women. Women's health is already terribly researched, with endometriosis left undiagnosed for years with male doctors telling women it's 'just cramps'. Why would this be any better?

Trans surgeries is what got me even more worried about birth control. I've tried them all: the mini pill made me depressed and cry all the time and the combined pill made me numb and fat (and they're fairly 'mild' side effects compared to most women's stories!) Is it normal for people to be put on a carousel of different medications just in case one isn't horrendously debilitating, especially when the patient was perfectly healthy in the first place?

I finally went for the copper IUD as I thought that, as long as I didn't have artificial hormones, then I'd be alright. However, the strings fell out and they had no idea why, but didn’t really care and said as long as I wasn't in pain then it was unlikely it had pierced through my womb and stomach??! They were very sure it was all fine somehow, but when I had a scan, it had fallen into my cervix which causes scarring? Luckily this wasn't too bad and I could take it out, but it means the contraception wouldn't have worked and yet this happens in 10% of cases apparently! No one ever said that on the leaflets! Is it really 99% effective as they say?

I got more sceptical about the IUD as after 9 months I continued to have very long heavy periods (14 days compared to my normal 5 days) and felt very tired during it. I started questioning why this actually happens, as surely the copper is just supposed to act as spermicide - what does it have to do with my periods? I asked doctors and gyno nurses yet no one had any idea, or even realised heavy periods were a side effect (despite it being very commonly known) After looking around, it appeared that it is likely that the IUD causes an inflammatory response causing your uterus to thicken in response and bleed far more - lovely! Also not what I was ever told! The IUD is lightly associated with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease even so it would make sense.

I think the main issue I have is that the scientists under research women's health to begin with, but also cannot possibly study every possible side effect or hope to have a controlled experiment. There are just vague correlations drawn. Apparently they don't even know why the IUD causes extra bleeding. They just have to research whether BC kills the woman, causes immediately obvious serious health issues or infertility. Any complaints women have aren't recognised until men have 'studied' it, like with the vaccine changing women's periods or birth control causing depression. It’s like Schrödinger health issue.

The medical argument for birth control is that the pros outweigh the cons, but please let me make that assessment myself and give me the full facts. If you don't actually know the facts even, then how can you make that judgement for me? Especially when there are decent natural alternatives like the sympto-thermal method, being 99.4% effective, I may get to the stage in my life where the slight risk of an accidental pregnancy, and having a baby 2 years earlier than planned is not worth 15 years of being pumped up on who knows what. If I’m a teenager with no money/career, then BC pros probably outweigh cons.

Not sure where I’m going with this but point is, after seeing what doctors are willing to do to trans kids, I really can’t be sure that BC is as safe as they try make us believe.

*(DISCLAIMER: Before my rant, thought I'd clarify that I'm very grateful for birth control and how it has freed women to have far more control over her life. I don't want birth control to be gotten rid of, just for the risks to be better understood.)* Many of us will have trusted doctors. We're told that doctors always know best. But experience has taught me that while doctors are very smart, there is just so much they don't know, but they rarely seem to acknowledge this: passing degrees is mostly about regurgitating dogma, not questioning dogma. 'Investigating the science' myself saved me years of torment and pain in regard to my own medical condition. This attitude is all too clear with trans surgeries. How could doctors even think of doing that to kids, we ask? It's mainly because they're taught to follow The Science they've been told. However, science is not Perfect Knowledge and it constantly evolves. It is also open to bias like any other body of knowledge. It's open to cherry picking and being swayed by big pharma. That skewed Medical Canon is then passed down to doctors and then down to their patients. **If they can give kids untested life altering surgeries based on something as unscientific as a Gender Soul, they sure as hell won't mind putting any number of untested pills into women.** It's not even the case that they're necessarily 'experimenting', just that they prioritise male/economic benefit and don't care about women. Women's health is already terribly researched, with endometriosis left undiagnosed for years with male doctors telling women it's 'just cramps'. Why would this be any better? Trans surgeries is what got me even more worried about birth control. I've tried them all: the mini pill made me depressed and cry all the time and the combined pill made me numb and fat (and they're fairly 'mild' side effects compared to most women's stories!) Is it normal for people to be put on a carousel of different medications just in case one isn't horrendously debilitating, especially when the patient was perfectly healthy in the first place? I finally went for the copper IUD as I thought that, as long as I didn't have artificial hormones, then I'd be alright. However, the strings fell out and they had no idea why, but didn’t really care and said as long as I wasn't in pain then it was unlikely it had pierced through my womb and stomach??! They were very sure it was all fine somehow, but when I had a scan, it had fallen into my cervix which causes scarring? Luckily this wasn't too bad and I could take it out, but it means the contraception wouldn't have worked and yet this happens in [10% of cases](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8416443/) apparently! No one ever said that on the leaflets! Is it really 99% effective as they say? I got more sceptical about the IUD as after 9 months I continued to have very long heavy periods (14 days compared to my normal 5 days) and felt very tired during it. I started questioning why this actually happens, as surely the copper is just supposed to act as spermicide - what does it have to do with my periods? I asked doctors and gyno nurses yet no one had any idea, or even realised heavy periods were a side effect (despite it being [very commonly known](https://www.nurx.com/faq/can-an-iud-cause-a-heavy-period/)) After looking around, it appeared that it is likely that the IUD causes an inflammatory response causing your uterus to thicken in response and bleed far more - lovely! Also not what I was ever told! The IUD is [lightly associated with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease ](https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13625189609150665?journalCode=iejc20)even so it would make sense. I think the main issue I have is that the scientists under research women's health to begin with, but also cannot possibly study every possible side effect or hope to have a controlled experiment. There are just vague correlations drawn. Apparently they don't even know why the IUD causes extra bleeding. They just have to research whether BC kills the woman, causes immediately obvious serious health issues or infertility. Any complaints women have aren't recognised until men have 'studied' it, like with the vaccine changing women's periods or birth control causing depression. It’s like Schrödinger health issue. The medical argument for birth control is that the pros outweigh the cons, but please let me make that assessment myself and give me the full facts. If you don't actually know the facts even, then how can you make that judgement for me? Especially when there are decent natural alternatives like the sympto-thermal method, [being 99.4% effective](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17314078/), I may get to the stage in my life where the slight risk of an accidental pregnancy, and having a baby 2 years earlier than planned is not worth 15 years of being pumped up on who knows what. If I’m a teenager with no money/career, then BC pros probably outweigh cons. Not sure where I’m going with this but point is, after seeing what doctors are willing to do to trans kids, I really can’t be sure that BC is as safe as they try make us believe.

54 comments

[–] Lipsy i/just/can't 28 points Edited

Birth-control pills absolutely WERE experimental in the 1960s, when Women first began to take them as birth control. (Most Women today tend to think of regulating periods as a 'side' use of bc pills, but historically it was the other way around—the first few FDA-approved bc pills were already-existing meds that had been widely prescribed to Women with severe dysmenorrhea for several years, and that, lo and behold!, just happened to stop those Women from getting pregnant.)

The differences you're articulating here have less to do with treatments being experimental or not experimental, and more to do with transparency. The U.S. FDA was pretty honest right from day one in communicating that oral hormonal contraception was not only an experiment, but a frontier experiment—literally unprecedented, with nobody having the first clue of any (especially longer-term) prognosis or consequences.

The hormone dosages, especially, in the bc pills of the '60's were pure guesswork—and those guesses were something else entirely. The average '60's dose of combination bc had 5-10 times as much estrogen, and 20-40 times as much progesterone, as today's combination pills. Whoa! Frontier experimentation. Throw shit at the wall, see what sticks, repeat.

For the first five years, in fact, birth control pills in the U.S. were a frontier experiment not only medically, but legally too. The first FDA approved oral bc pills hit shelves in 1960, but it wasn't until 1965 that the Supreme Court (under that shocking icon of actual sanity and non-cruelty, Chief Justice Earl Warren) ruled that birth control pills were legal... for MARRIED Women.

BTW If you're looking for parallels to the growing scandal of medical transgenderism, please have a look at the lobotomy craze of the '40's and '50's—If it's parallels you want, you've got 'em there.

Lobotomy itself was even described as a "surgically induced childhood" that became trendy "in the hope of rendering [patients] more amenable to the social pressures under which [they are] supposed to exist" and that was pioneered on male patients, but at its peak was 75% performed on Girls and Women—and that, in retrospect, left people with "infantile personalities". Well FUCK this all sounds a bit too familiar, doesn't it.

I came here to comment the same and I would even argue that it is still the case that contraceptive hormones are essentially experimental. See the drospirenone debacle. There is a lot of negative stuff out there that you really have to dig to find on implants and hormonal IUDs, too. Not including insertion injuries, which are totally swept under the rug.

Yeah these drugs are important to have as an option, but they get thrown at women like candy when in reality they are serious drugs that you need to use with caution. They made me feel awful, so I never used them much. Thank God for that, because I get horrible menstrual migraines and evidently that's a contraindication due to stroke risk. Literally no one told me that or even asked the 3-4 times I was prescribed OCPs if I had a history of headaches.

[–] Lipsy i/just/can't 2 points Edited

Yeah. But at least the entire landscape of knowledge isn't 100% terra incognita anymore, which is... something?
In other news, from the "things I never thought I'd say unironically" dept., I'm thankful that you had those migraine attacks. 😐

BTW I'm more than a little bothered that there are multiple "not worth it just for condomless sex" hot takes in this thread, versus exactly zero acknowledgments that many Women are so petrifyingly terrified of getting pregnant (including by rape) that they'll jump at the chance to take bc pills that can fuck you right up in any of a whole host of different ways.
i mean. Considering the trajectory of Women's reproductive liberty over the last half year, I expected that to be one of the most common themes in the thread. Jeez louise.

Imagine how much MORE terrified of pregnancy Women must have been in 1960, when bc was random mystery pills and nobody knew a damn thing beyond a year or two of much less frequent (only during dysmenorrheic periods) use—except for the secure knowledge that whatever the hell the effects turned out to be, they're likely a big deal. (remember, the contraceptive effect of this entire family of drugs was an unanticipated side effect of a pill prescribed to make painful periods more bearable. Sweet jesus that's an insanely high risk/return ratio.)

It had to be absolutely terrifying back then, and this is why girls in particular were so closely monitored and hemmed in of course. One single mistake or attack really could ruin your whole life, especially given that there was still an expectation of "virgin purity" upon marriage to some degree back then. Heck even up to the '80s it was still basically expected that being wife material meant being a virgin. Women were wholly dependent on men in the '60s. It would absolutely destroy your whole life to get pregnant before marriage.

You are right that it really does say a lot about how afraid women were of pregnancy to take this risk. I think we are so used to having abortion available that we are still recalibrating our risk tolerance. But a lot of American women are going to stop having so much sex. I assume men are not gonna like that, but somehow I think this will not result in more support for abortion rights.

Ooh, what's the drospirenone debacle? I know it was linked to an increased risk of blood clots some years back, but if there's something more recent I want the dirt.

It was linked to a pretty significant (and predictable) increased risk. I can't believe the stuff is still on the market. The main advantage is that it causes less acne. How is that worth potentially deadly blood clots? If a face cream worked great at stopping acne but caused cancer, we would not allow it to be sold... how is this different?

Drospirenone is a more estrogenic for of progestin. All hormonal BC uses progestins not actual progesterone, bc progesterone clears too fast to be effective as exogenous bc hormone. So instead we use chemicals that sort of act like progesterone in the body, but aren't actually progesterone. This is what you are ingesting when you use hormonal contraceptives. Anyway, because it isn't real progesterone, it is also active on other hormone receptors to different degrees that real progesterone is. All hormones have some amount of cross-reactivity, it's just a matter of proportions. So drospirenone is made from estrogenic chemicals and reacts more on estrogen receptors than real progesterone does. Older progestins tend to be more reactive than progesterone on testosterone receptors, which is why they can be associated with acne and bloating. I think also mood issues too although I don't think the androgenicity aspect has ever been studied.

Anyway, what makes oral contraceptives bad for clots and stroke is the estrogen added to it. We have learned to be very careful not to give too much of that component, and you can even get hormonal contraceptives without estrogen if you are at high risk but need a hormonal contraceptive. Then they make drospirenone, and combine it with estrogen, so it's all extra estrogenic. OF COURSE there were blood clots and strokes. Women died and were disabled because of this completely foreseeable issue. But we steamed ahead anyway for fewer zits and less water retention. 🙄

Yeah, gynecology is so fucked up. I still can't wrap my mind around why they can't give pain killer for IUD insertions, it's just torture.

Is it normal for people to be put on a carousel of different medications just in case one isn't horrendously debilitating,

This is honestly true for all of medicine though, not just women's healthcare. They do the same thing with depression meds, sleeping pills, etc. Docs have no way of predicting in most cases how a patient will handle a certain med, it's really trial and error. Also, they don't really know how most meds work at all. Like it still isn't really known why anesthetics work, they just seem to, so they go with it. If you wanted to wait until the science was 100% worked out, you'd basically have to stop accepting medical care.

[–] Peppermint 13 points Edited

I'm totally in agreement you. Women's health is in the dark ages and remains there. All while they try to figure out how to take women's bodies and make them serve men. I'm also an endometriosis sufferer. I also suffered PCOS... and from my lifelong experiences I absolutely hate the medical profession as it is now. Right now I mostly self heal/medicate by going as natural as possible. It's not a 100% cure but it has helped a great deal. I'm in 90% less pain.

I agree with you on the experiment part. The pill was never right for me. I noticed that right away. I tried other things like diabetes drugs which made me sick and in pain. We have things like uterine mesh that are being inserted in women and causing major problems and lawsuits. There's a new endo drug that just came out as a matter of fact but if you read the side effects it sounds a lot like the ones you get from puberty blockers. No thank you.

Before I peaked, women's health was a major focus of mine but I realize it can never go anywhere as long as women's biology isn't taken seriously.

[–] Hera 13 points

One of my friends is dead from hormonal birth control causing a pulmonary embolism.

She was never made aware of this danger, or how her lifestyle could heighten the risk (gamer during the height of WoW's populariry) of an embolism.

I have another friend who had a stroke from the same thing, only she was lucky enough to survive. Again, they never made her aware of the risk.

I will never forgive them.

One of mine suffered a permanently disabling stroke from one of the implantable hormonal methods.

So yeah.

I'm sorry about your friend.

Ahh I’m so sorry that’s awful!! The menstrual cycle is just so intrinsic to women’s bodies that messing with it will have so many consequences we don’t realise! My 27 yo friend just had a stroke actually - maybe it could be a similar cause :/

[–] ShieldMaiden 5 points Edited

Hormonal birth control can weaken your vascular system, which is why strokes and blood clots are a risk. This is also why you shouldn’t smoke when using hormonal birth control, because smoking can cause your blood vessels to narrow and constrict and exacerbates the vascular issues. A good doctor will explain these vascular health risks and side effects to anyone who uses hormonal BC.

Since there are some serious risks involved, I do not agree with the recent push to make hormonal BC an over the counter drug — I think it should require a prescription and that anyone who takes it should be under the regular care of a doctor. But it’s true that doctors don’t know everything and play a guessing game much of the time.

Example: I had the Mirena IUD inserted years ago after my daughter was born, and it caused chronic stomachaches and urinary tract infections. At that time, Mirena was a brand new drug and there were no lawsuits against it. My doctor at the time insisted that the IUD would not cause my stomach pain or UTIs and that there had to be some other cause. Well I had not been sexually active for months, so I knew that wasn’t the cause! Finally I paid an exorbitant amount out of pocket to have the IUD removed and my health problems stopped. That was over a decade ago and I still think Mirena was the cause.

You are not crazy. Mirena is a horrible product. There have been lots of lawsuits over it.

I do think the pill is getting pushed more by big pharma - it's kinda expected that all women will be on it

That's crazy! I just can't believe doctors can say so assuredly to people there are NO risks and that any medical complaints you have absolutely CANNOT be linked to the birth control. It's just so irresponsible and dumb?

I took BC pills from the late 80s until the mid 2000s. I was well aware of the risk of stroke or high blood pressure, and other family members who'd been on the pill years earlier had to go off it because of how high the dosage was at the time. I didn't feel well on BC pills for the first couple of years, but it was always worth it to me because I couldn't stand the idea of ever being pregnant or having kids.

Hormonal birth control is probably as safe now as it's ever been. It won't be without risk, and someone who isn't hell bent on never getting pregnant might do better with other options. Anyone who's serious about never being pregnant/never giving birth shouldn't rely on just the temperature method/"natural family planning".

Yeh it depends on your life stage/goals - I have financial stability, don’t wanna get pregnant yet but do in about 3 years

Temperature method is bad - sympto thermal method is pretty good and 99% effective.

You can combine that with pulling out too, if your partner is trustworthy. Always worked for me. Only pregnant when I meant to be.

Ooh really, that’s interesting. I’m not sure I could trust it bc of pre cum too so would probably stick to condoms when fertile but have heard a lot of women say similar to you!

[–] KissMyOvaries 11 points Edited

The copper IUD info doesn’t cover copper toxicity, and yes, it DOES happen. I found a really old school website on copper toxicity that looks like it was created back in the mid 90s so this knowledge has been around awhile, but nobody really talks about it. Moronic doctors do NOT understand that the copper IUD does not contain hormones but this does NOT mean that copper can’t fuck up your hormones. I had it in for only 3 months and went copper toxic. I was in SO much pain. My doc just regurgitated some bullshit and that’s when I knew that she didn’t care about actual knowledge but spouted off the bullshit she learned in school like it was the absolute truth. Fuck, a few minute Google search will tell you that copper levels affect hormones. Now they just want you to believe that putting copper in your body won’t cause you to go copper toxic, which is just false. Copper toxicity is serious and I have a feeling many women with the copper iud have high copper levels in the body and just don’t know it.

spouted off the bullshit she learned in school like it was the absolute truth

Even worse, she probably learned these talking points either directly from the company that makes Paragard, or her med school taught her from the talking points the Paragard people gave them. Doctors literally don't know anything unless the drug companies tell them. I have no faith in medicine anymore I swear to God. I am a data person and I love science. Medicine can be downright unscientific much of the time.

I found my experiences with IUDs so frustrating. I had a couple of Paragard/copper IUDs. The doctors insisted it was impossible that I could feel it in my uterus but I had light to moderate cramps for months and would once a day have a lightning strike of pain that shot through my cervix. I tried a hormonal IUD where doctors said the dose was so light and local I wouldn't notice it. But after two weeks, I had migraines and was throwing up all the time. Pain from insertion was unreal and treated like nbd.

The hormone levels on that stuff is not studied that well. I completely believe that for you or with the particular IUD that you got, the levels were sky high. Clearly they were too high or you would not have felt sick. I am so sorry they did not believe you. They had proof right in front of them that the thing does not work as advertised all the time... Very unscientific not to consider the possibility, and to believe advertising puffery over the suffering woman right in front of them

Yeh that’s what I find bizarre - like surely the scientific method is all about studying the effects in REAL LIFE so what an actual patient says??

The way that doctor just dismissed your concerns leaves me dumbfounded and makes me question what standards medical schools have in place. Being a heavy metal, it's a no-brainer that copper poses serious toxicological risks if not handled properly, and it's a well-known potential allergen. Additionally, every doctor should be aware that while all people share the same basic biology, everyone's exact biological makeup is unique and that a treatment that causes no adverse health effects in one patient, or even most patients, may cause them in another.

Yeh the issue is the pure arrogance and intellectual laziness doctors have. I don’t expect them to know everything but they shouldn’t tell patients that they do and that anything a patient says is 100% wrong bc they didn’t read it in their little medical book in the 80s

I'm with you on this. The purpose of the IUD is to so irritate the lining of the womb that a conceptus can't implant. Why is introducing chronic inflammation a good thing to do to anyone? What sense does that make, unless women don't matter?

No, a copper IUD kills sperm and a hormonal IUD makes mucus inhospitable to sperm

"IUDs cause irritation of the endometrial lining." That is how it makes things inhospitable . . . "makes it harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus."

Medical professionals had show again and again that they really don't have evidence for most of the things they promote, they just try it. If it works: good for you! if it doesn't: well, it was your fault that you belived us.

[–] Eava 6 points Edited

I think you are confusing what some doctors and medical professionals know about various birth control methods, and the full knowledge that there actually is about each method. Everything you described are known risks and side effects, and easily found with a Google search. I have never believed "doctors know best" to the point where I don't do my own research on their recommendations. I don't know what you mean by "as safe as they try to make us believe." Birth control has known side effects, including blood clots and stroke from the pill. So does pregnancy. I know more women who died or nearly died due to pregnancy/childbirth than from any method of birth control. Each woman has to figure out the balance of risks for herself. I've never had a doctor deny those risks. It sounds more like you need to find a better OB/GYN.

And if you think natural family planning will work for you, go for it. For women who are trying to delay an otherwise wanted pregnancy and could handle getting pregnant at a less than perfect time, or would have no issue having an abortion, it is a fine option. But many women aren't in a position to handle an unwanted or poorly timed pregnancy and would prefer not to have an abortion. When I see people tout near 100% effectiveness for "natural family planning" while listing a parade of horror stories from various methods of birth control, I have to wonder what their agenda is.

And condoms are a great option, no hormones, no devices, it is pretty obvious if it failed. Condoms+Plan B for back up is an option that should be more heavily promoted.

This has been my experience with all doctors

We’re talking about different things. Yes it’s easy to find the very obvious and well known side effects like blood clots but not research into the mechanisms or the side effects widely reported by women. Many women’s complaints are dismissed and not listed unless scientists can be bothered to do a study on them. A lot of research is obscured too, like a commenter said below about copper toxicity, probs due to big pharma who knows

[–] ovaryacting Dilatemadaboutit 5 points

Men don't like wearing condoms so it isn't pushed as much as hormonal birth control.

Yeah, we need to teach our daughters to dump those men. Female Dating Standards.

Don't forget that giving children the agency to make adult decisions about one area means that you'll be widening what they can be expected to consent to.

Like sex with adults.

Welcome to hell.

I haven't seen anyone in RL saying I'm so horny I won't fuck no one like this, I mean it can happen but that's why the temp method fails. User implementation. Pls just use condoms. Horny and fertile times coincide.

If you can find the info on a simple google search and just choose not to is it just blind obedience the problem?

You use condoms when you’re fertile

Yeh I think people are taught to just ‘believe the science’ and doctors also just tell you they know best always and doubt patients constantly

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