By Tamara El-Rahi
Organic produce. Free-range eggs. Essential oils. We’re all about the natural and non-processed these days for anything that goes into, on, or in the vicinity of our bodies. That is, with the gaping exception of birth control.
I know so many intelligent women who are concerned with their health, but will take a prescription for the Pill from the doctor without a moment’s thought. To be honest, from my conversations with other women, I think a lot of them don’t even realise that hormonal birth control deceives their bodies with the use of yes, actual hormones. Birth control, in particular the Pill, has become such a rite of passage for young women that they don’t quite know how their reproductive system works; not to mention that they don’t realise what their bodies go through as a result of contraception such as the Pill.
In the last week or so a number of articles have emerged about the effect of the Pill on a woman’s libido. “The Pill shrinks the part of the brain that controls your sex drive, according to new research,” says a news.com.au article. “Even though roughly 100 million women use the oral contraceptive Pill worldwide, remarkably few studies have looked at how these synthetic hormones affect brain structure and function,” – from a website called Science Alert. The honest truth is that the Pill has been linked to a long list of side effects for many years now. Depression, unhealthy stress processing, cancers, difficulty in falling pregnant – these and more are all things that have been connected to long-term use of the Pill.
I think part of the issue is that it’s taken so long for mainstream media to speak the facts. As pointed out in a Women’s Health article last week, quoting natural fertility educator and author Jane Bennett, “’We have such an issue around the potential of unwanted pregnancy that we like to skip over many issues with the pill,’ she says. ‘It’s definitely been either ignored or under-appreciated.’”
If we as a society really cared about women and their well-being, facts like these wouldn’t be glossed over. Sadly, we get more stressed over food that can cause a pimple than medication that is altering how the inside of our bodies work. Even in all these articles describing the negative side effects of the Pill, they generally end with something in the way of “but don’t freak out, because we can’t know for sure.”
This is just not good enough. Women deserve the truth – from their doctors, and from the media. They deserve to learn about how their bodies work and the natural ways of conceiving or delaying pregnancy. Sure, these might require a bit more work than popping a pill, but they also have greater benefits and come without a long list of negative health risks.
Tamara El-Rahi is a full-time mother of two and freelance writer from Sydney.
Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.
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