Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I was reading in the July Issue of ELLE Magazine that there are (and have been) documented studies that prove that oral contraceptives (the pill) are really not so good for women.

To quote:
"While researchers know that oral contraceptives (OCs) can cause depression and loss of libido in some women, as with SSRIs, they're still not exactly sure why. The best guess is that it has something to do with testosterone. OCs work by supplying the body with enough synthetic estrogen and progesterone to mimic pregnancy, overriding a woman's own reproductive hormones and shutting down the ovaries. As a result, testosterone levels, which are mostly maintained by the ovaries, dip. I n a normally ovulating woman, only about 2 percent of testosterone is active,with the rest neutralized by sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a protein the liver produces in response to estrogen levels. This gives women enough testosterone for a healthy sex drive but not so much that they develop male characteristics like facial hair. But the estrogen boost from the Pill creates even more SHBG than normal, binding up nearly all of a woman's active testosterone. Also, there's a testosterone surge before ovulation, which probably accounts for the upswing in libido many women experience midcycle (and it makes evolutionary sense for you to be most into it when you're most fertile). Women on the Pill miss out on that surge.

Some experts say clinicians don't tell patients about the possible emotional and sexual side effects of OCs for fear of creating the effect by mentioning it. Others, such as John Bancroft, the director of the Kinsey Institute and a coauthor of the above study, believe the mum's-the-word attitude about depression and the Pill is a blind spot borne out of admiration for the drug's many benefits. I think there's a mind-set that doesn't want to recognize the negative effects of OCs, Bancroft says. But it seems very sexist. There's no question that when anyone tests an OC for men, they ask, 'Will it affect men's sexuality?

...for single women on the Pill or for women who met their partner while on it, there's an even darker caveat: Emerging science suggests that OCs might actually change who we're attracted to and interfere with our evolutionary ability to choose an optimal genetic mate to reproduce with. It seems the natural ebb and flow of our hormones plays a role in the mating dance, and messing with Mother Nature could lead not only to an increased risk of infertility but also to women finding, when they go off the Pill, that they aren't as attracted to their mate as they once were.

Can you almost hear the collective scream of 10.4 million Pill users?"

Read the Entire Article Here