My leaning has always been towards the natural, whether that pertains to household, or beauty products, or in this case, means of contraception. So when an invite on women empowerment through making better choices: contraception + wellness, I had to take a step back and think twice. This is also why, with my current breast nodules monitoring, I have opted for the safter thermography over mammography. But then again, that’s me. I’m not blind to the fact that there are a handful of women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrom (PCOS) who have benefited greatly on using the pills to keep their hormones stable. I attended anyway, and resolved that I was going to listen not just for myself, but for other women who have other reproductive issues that might as well have benefited or continues to benefit from taking the pill.
Listen to Via’s story she authentically told during the said talk.
Via Antonio talked about her own experiences in pursuit of better reproductive and physical health, “In this day and age, reproductive health remains to be a taboo topic, even among women. Many are using contraception for various reasons yet no one is openly talking about it. The stigma on birth control is alive.”
If you’d watch through the whole FB live clip, each and every woman reading I’m sure will agree with me that if our OB-Gyn would be Dr. Amity Casurao-Trono, we definitely won’t find excuses to not have a regular pap smear! She was so entertaining in her way of educating her very captive audience. Considering it might as well be siesta time, and dozing off will come naturally with delightful stuffing we have had at Romulo Cafe that afternoon. Dr. Casurao-Trono is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center Q.C and Rizal Medical Center, shed light on the myths and misconceptions about modern contraceptives during her “Pillowtalk” session held in Makati City. I left that talk promising myself I’m going to google her clinic hours.
The Gist on the Talk on The Pill:
Oral contraceptives or the pill remains to be one of the most effective and preferred form of modern contraception among Filipinas because they are convenient, non-invasive and reversible. It comes in two types — the combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill, which contains both progestin and estrogen hormones and the Mini Pill or progestin-only pill (POP).
Progestin is the main contraceptive ingredient that prevents ovulation, thins out the uterine lining and thickens cervical mucus such that sperm cannot pass through. Ethinyl estradiol, the synthetic female hormone, stabilizes the endometrium and enhances the action of progestin.
Dr. Casurao-Trono clarified and put sense into the most prevalent myths about the use of COCs.
Pills do not cause birth defects: No adverse effects were observed when COCs were accidentally taken during early pregnancy. Past COC use is not associated with an increase in spontaneous abortions.[iii]
Pills do not increase cancer risk: Studies have not established strong and direct links between breast cancer and pill usage. In fact, the risk of cancer lowered with COC use. It reduces risks for certain cancers such as ovarian cancer (~40% lower), endometrial cancer (~50% lower) and colorectal cancer (~20% lower)[iv]. However, it does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases.
Pills do not make you infertile: 21% of women get pregnant after one month of stopping taking COCs and 79% get pregnant after one year of stopping.[v]
Pills, depending on the formulation and indication, also treat a variety of hormone-related conditions and imbalances such as hyperandrogenism, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe and debilitating form of PMS. Over 88% of women receiving COCs report no adverse effects.
Some contraindications to taking the pills are presence or history of Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism, Myocardial Infarction, Ischemic stroke, Transient ischemic attack, angina, Severe liver disease, DM with vascular disease, Migraine with aura, Breast cancer, Undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, known or suspected pregnancy, smokers > 35 y/o, severe lipid disease and uncontrolled hypertension.
While the close monitoring of my breast nodules does not bring me to the breast cancer category exactly, I am still considered high risk. So taking the pill is not an option altogether for me. The talk does not exactly make me a total believer of The Pill. As I have mentioned in a blog post I wrote in 2013 on The Pill causing not just for the endometrium to appear hostile, a study made by Reproductive Endocrinologists have shown on MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that the endometrial lining of pill-users is consistently thinner than non-pill users, even up to 58% thinner. That said, the pill may have undergone innovations that make it friendlier to the endometrial lining since then. Everything considered, I still cannot discount the fact that The Pill has benefits for women who have reproductive issues that can be addressed by taking it.
It was noteworthy that Dr. Casurao-Trono emphasized the need for regular checking in with one’s OB-GYN. It is part of being responsible with the only one body we are gifted with. As what I have mentioned with my posts on health issues. It is always best to do your homework. While we might not have a medical degree, it is only but wise to read on, weigh your options, and find a medical practitioner who will entertain your questions and who will indulge your thoughts, apprehensions and educate you on how to go about with your health. Someone who will walk alongside you, and not just dictate you with prescription upon prescriptions you have no idea of.
To learn more about contraception and reproductive health, visit www.Your-Life.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/wcdphilippines/