“I am not ready for a child right now…” We all would assume that this is a statement for the unmarried sexually active people. Or newly weds who are still trying to figure out their dreams and where a child/children fits in all those dreams. But if the sad reality portrayed sometimes back by the abortion survey, whether real or imagined, is true, then this is a statement most human beings tend to make every once in a while; every sexually active human being, both male and female. Due to this fact, the contemporary world has tried to come up with solutions to ensure that this statement is realized and the baby doesn’t come to the picture for as long as the statement shall remain true. One of the greatest inventions of this contemporary world is the hormonal pill.
The hormonal pills were first marketed in the USA in 1990 and have thereafter spread throughout the world as a highly recommended birth control mechanism. It is a drug that that uses artificial hormones to keep woman from getting pregnant by interfering with normal fertility cycle. There are two major groups of these pills namely the combination pills and the progestin-only “minipill”. The combination pills contains 2 artificial steroids which when taken mimic effects of natural hormones i.e. estrogen & progesterone. It ideally interferes with several normal functions of fertility for instance suppression of ovulation, inhibit implantation and impede sperm migration hence stopping pregnancy. Stoppage of pregnancy is either through inhibition of conception or implantation. When they inhibit conception then they are contraceptives, when they inhibit implantation, they are arbotifacients.
In as much as over sixty million women worldwide uses the hormonal pills, 50% of women taking the Pill discontinue it within the first year because of the side effects. Through the mainstream media hormonal contraceptives are presented as a boon for women. The serious side effects reported in mainstream scientific literature tends to be overlooked. Regularly taking powerful steroids, which are what hormonal contraceptives from the pill to injectable Depo-Provera are, has powerful varied effects on the human body. The general ones include, tiredness, digestive system problems, menopausal symptoms (hot flushes and sweating), hair thinning, effects on your muscles and bones, weight gain, headaches, memory problems, a loss of sexual desire, breast tenderness, mood swings and depression. Other are increased risk of thrombosis, migraine, strokes, hypertension, heart attacks, sore breasts, breast lumps, sore legs, leg cramps, pulmonary emboli, irregular vaginal bleeding (some increased risk of unplanned pregnancy) or no periods, post-pill infertility (sometimes increasing use of In vitro Fertilization (IVF) for pregnancy), miscarriages of subsequent pregnancies and bleeding which may be heavy (menorrhagia).
All the above side effects are physiological and, well, for most women manageable. One of the most serious side effects of the pill is the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots that can potentially become fatal. According to the Guardian (March 6, 2009), Britain’s most prominent left-wing newspaper, some versions of the pill increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis by 5 times, as reported by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. The pill further doubles the risk of having a stroke.
Hormonal Contraceptives such as the pill have been labeled as class A carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO). The pill increases the risk of cancer in women of childbearing age. “Teenagers and young women are especially vulnerable to breast cancer risk because their breasts are growing,” says the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. However, the risk level goes back to normal 10 years or more after discontinuing oral contraceptive use. Oral contraceptive use is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer and liver tumours. This is according to National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health in USA. In a research done to establish the co relationship of the contraceptives with brain cancer, the researchers establish the background for their study by pointing out that use of hormonal contraceptives “increases” the risk of several types of cancer, including cervical cancer, breast cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The findings indicated that “Long-term use of hormonal contraceptives was associated with an increased risk of brain glioma that increased with duration of use.” This was printed in British Journal of Pharmacology in October 26, 2014.
Pill steroid hormones also change immunity resulting in increases in infections – viral, bacterial and fungal infections (e.g. thrush), sexually transmitted diseases like HPV (associated with cervix cancer) and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). A recent study in Kenya linked use of the hormonal Depo Provera to an increase in the rate of HIV infection. The findings of the research done by Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) revealed that Depo Provera, a contraceptive used by many women risks them being infected by HIV and AIDS. The pill was found to have more chemicals suspected to make women more prone to HIV infection. Other diseases one becomes prone to are endometriosis, fibroids and ovarian cysts (including polycystic ovaries), autoimmune diseases and a variety of other conditions. In children there is an increased risk of behavioral and developmental abnormalities including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism (Dr. Ellen CG Grant research done between 1988 and 1998). This is linked to toxic metals and the zinc and magnesium deficiencies associated with these hormones.
This may not be all that comes with the pills. There could be more. The side effects highlighted above applies to all hormonal intra uterine devices and injectibles. I believe that there is a far bigger risk in using the hormonal pills than getting pregnant and bringing forth a child.
Spacing of births is possible without the use of hormonal pills. There are scientifically proven methods that allow couples to work with their fertility cycle to allow them to postpone or achieve pregnancy. It calls for discipline, a lot of discipline, and active involvement of the parties involved. (This is a story for another day).