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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. 🙄