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we menstruate too often
September 20, 2005 5:23 AM   Subscribe

What the co-inventor of the Pill didn't know about menstruation can endanger women's health: "The passion and urgency that animated the birth-control debates of the sixties are now a memory. John Rock still matters, though, for the simple reason that in the course of reconciling his church and his work he made an error. It was not a deliberate error. It became manifest only after his death, and through scientific advances he could not have anticipated. But because that mistake shaped the way he thought about the Pill--about what it was, and how it worked, and most of all what it meant--and because John Rock was one of those responsible for the way the Pill came into the world, his error has colored the way people have thought about contraception ever since."
posted by heatherann (54 comments total)

 
Fascinating article--thanks.
posted by Prospero at 5:40 AM on September 20, 2005


wow. thanks for that. just emailed it to my girlfriend. wow.
posted by shmegegge at 5:52 AM on September 20, 2005


We can rebuild her. We have the technology.
posted by Nelson at 5:58 AM on September 20, 2005


I dont have time to read the whole article right now, but for the sake of discussion, oral contraceptive pills may or may not cause an increased risk of breast cancer in women, it's not clear. But they certainly reduce the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers quite significantly. I'm not sure what the perspective of the article is, but I don't see OCP's as a health liability for women.
posted by mert at 5:59 AM on September 20, 2005


Great article, thanks.

Though it doesn't talk at all on the effect that Depo has on cancer prevention - which I would be interested to know about since ideally, Depo cuts out menstruation altogether.

(It also does about the same to one's libido making it extremely effective birth control. *grumble*)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:15 AM on September 20, 2005


Isn't Depo reserved for patients with conditions like endometrioses and such? Or can anyone get that in the US?
I don't see why anyone would want to go through that special kind of hell voluntarily...
posted by dabitch at 6:20 AM on September 20, 2005


I'll tell you something else, having been on Depo myself for a year a while back - Depo contains the same drug given to Californian sexual offenders when they're enrolled in the "chemical castration" program. No, I'm not making that up, and you can Google the same answer yourself. :) (Disclaimer - I'm in Canada, but had no problems getting it prescribed to me here. In fact I had more problems convincing my doctor that it wasn't working with my lifestyle.)
posted by twiki at 6:32 AM on September 20, 2005


As far as I know, anyone can get depo. It was certainly one of the options available to me when I was looking at changing contraceptive types.

I've only read the first chapter so far, but looks interesting. I do fertility research and this may be useful when trying to explain to non scientists my job! Thanks.

btw. his biography is very good.
posted by gaspode at 6:33 AM on September 20, 2005


In the interim, theologians began exposing the holes in Rock's arguments. The rhythm method " 'prevents' conception by abstinence, that is, by the non-performance of the conjugal act during the fertile period," the Catholic journal America concluded in a 1964 editorial. "The pill prevents conception by suppressing ovulation and by thus abolishing the fertile period. No amount of word juggling can make abstinence from sexual relations and the suppression of ovulation one and the same thing."

It all depends on what is is.
posted by three blind mice at 6:33 AM on September 20, 2005


Crap. Adding on.

Forgot to say, with regard to "menstruating too often" I don't think you can lay that on the pill. It's a function of our society now. Even if we were using condoms, most women would be having 28(ish) day cycles. We'd have to revert back to a society where women were pregnant and lactating for a good proportion of our adult lives to get back down to low ovulation rates (and corresponding reduced ovarian epithelial cancers).
posted by gaspode at 6:37 AM on September 20, 2005


Fascinating, indeed. I'm wary of cancer research findings, if only because there seems to be new ways to get or prevent cancer every day. argh.



"Suppose a woman reaches menarche at fifteen and menopause at fifty. That's thirty-five years of stimulating the breast. ..."

hehe, sounds like fun...
posted by jetskiaccidents at 6:39 AM on September 20, 2005


Thanks for reminding us Metafilter is a boyzone.

[this is good]

I knew far too little about this before today. Now I have far too many questions. Thanks for posting it heatherann.

The odd thing is I just realized I have never "known" anyone on the Pill.

gaspode: I understood the same thing from the article. The increased cycle of menstruating seemed to begin with the "improved" diet late 19th century. The example of Japanese women whose cycle increased after adopting American diets seems to validate that theory.
posted by ?! at 7:06 AM on September 20, 2005


Uh, don't women naturaly menstruate, on the pill or off?

This sounds like a bunch of crack-pottery... dosn't the fact that the article spends more time discussion christianity then sicence send up warning flags?
posted by delmoi at 7:07 AM on September 20, 2005


But he and Rock decided to cut the hormones off after three weeks and trigger a menstrual period because they believed that women would find the continuation of their monthly bleeding reassuring.

I have to say, this is true, at least for me. I had an argument about this several years ago with a bioethicist friend who strongly supported the idea of birth control designed to suppress menstruation. I told him that I would not want that because I seriously need the physical reality and psychological crutch of monthly cycles to convince me that the birth control is, in fact, doing what it's supposed to do.

Without the "red flag," would women be aware of a potential birth control failure in time to do something about it, if that's an option within their moral constructs? I'm pro-choice but certainly wouldn't want to have an abortion beyond the third trimester (well, heck, as with most pro-choice folks, I wouldn't want to have one at all, but I would feel much more conflicted about the decision the later it occurred). Some women, of course, would experience enough physiological change (morning sickness, swelling, etc.) to be able to tell right away, but what about those who think they have a stomach bug, are overweight and wouldn't notice early-pregnancy weight gain/body change, or just don't happen to have a body that reacts strongly to chemical changes? (I'm in the latter two categories, so I have no idea if I would be aware of a potential pregnancy.)

For what it's worth, I took the pill for over fifteen years and never even had a scare, but I still feel the psychological tug strongly enough to desire that little monthly reminder. I've been off for a few months since my husband's vasectomy, and even with the very high success rate of that method, I STILL want to see the blood. Granted, it's slightly more painful and abundant than it was when I was on the pill, though not worth going back to it--and that, too, may affect how I feel about this. I've never had particularly painful periods, so I wonder if women who do would feel very differently about their absence. I also don't know if I have a stronger fear of pregnancy than most women--I may, because it's something I've never wanted and am perfectly comfortable with never having--but that, too, may affect my need for concrete proof, which wouldn't be as big a deal for others. I'd love to hear what women here think about this.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:08 AM on September 20, 2005


beyond the third trimester

Idiote. Beyond the FIRST trimester. Wouldn't need one beyond the third. :)
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:10 AM on September 20, 2005


I, too, am wary about starting a birth control method that would eliminate menstruation. I like to know that I am not pregnant every month.
posted by agregoli at 7:16 AM on September 20, 2005


I thought I'd seen this here before
posted by quiet at 7:26 AM on September 20, 2005


I can't imagine why anyone would want to have a period. It's been 28 years of useless pain, expense and bother as far as I'm concerned.

The argument that women tended to spend a lot more time pregnant or nursing their babies than "modern" women do now, therefore monthly periods are unnatural makes a great deal of sense to me. I just don't if I trust doctors to come up with a solution.
posted by QIbHom at 7:36 AM on September 20, 2005


Haven't they found that HRT is bad news for menopausal women? Regardless, surely taking three hormones instead of one is inherently less natural ?! (The article discusses a female contraceptive treatment that tricks the body into a menopausal state instead of a 'pregnant' state, but this requires HRT if you don't want the women to be menopausal in other ways).

There are lots of interesting points in the article, although I skimmed some stretches - it is pretty long... I don't really see how he can call it Rock's error when the cancer and anthological research cited came 20-30 years after Rock developed the pill, whatever...
posted by Chuckles at 7:52 AM on September 20, 2005


anthological, what? anthropological!
posted by Chuckles at 7:55 AM on September 20, 2005


Uh, don't women naturaly menstruate, on the pill or off?

This sounds like a bunch of crack-pottery... dosn't the fact that the article spends more time discussion christianity then sicence send up warning flags?


Read it again, delmoi, you obviously missed the salient points.

This is fascinating, thanks for posting this. I have passed it along to my wife.
posted by teece at 8:09 AM on September 20, 2005 [1 favorite]


When I was on the pill I gained weight, didn't feel like having sex and got depressed. Effective birth control indeed.

I've read studies indicating that the artificial progesterone in many forms of the pill can act like anti-Prozac for some women depending on the balance of hormones. It had a crowd-pleasing effect on my chest but it's not a panacea.

As for the "we shouldn't menstruate so much" argument, we used to live to 25, live without dental care, die from colds. I don't think having periods is "unnatural" or "not how we're supposed to be." I vastly prefer them to a lifetime of perpetual pregnancy.
posted by Marnie at 8:19 AM on September 20, 2005


Forgot to say, with regard to "menstruating too often" I don't think you can lay that on the pill

He doesn't blame the pill. He is stating that Rock's "error" was in pushing the pill as a natural form of birth control, rather than a potential cancer preventative.
posted by whatnot at 8:23 AM on September 20, 2005


Regardless, surely taking three hormones instead of one is inherently less natural ?!

Chuckles, there are many hormones involved in menstrual cycle regulation, not just estradiol.

Moreover, the HRT studies (particularly the womens health initiative one that got all the press a couple of years ago) have a number of flaws in them* that means you can't really generalise to "HRT is bad".

*one example: emerging evidence indicates that time of beginning HRT therapy is important for benefits - essentially, one needs to start on it asap. A significant proportion of subjects in WHI study had delays of up to years between onset of menopause and therapy commencement.
posted by gaspode at 8:23 AM on September 20, 2005


we used to live to 25

Not really true. For quite awhile, the average life expectancy was in the early 20s, but that was mainly due to high infant mortality rates throwing off the numbers. People who made it to adulthood had a pretty good chance of seeing their 60s.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:33 AM on September 20, 2005


Regardless of the supposed side effects of the Pill (cancer, infertility, etc., which haven't been effectively proven or disproven yet), detractors of Rock's theories in this thread should pay particular attention to Straussmann's studies of the Dogon tribe. She determined that these women lived longer, healthier lives because they menstruated a fraction of the time Western women do. Certainly, more studies are needed, but I don't understand the argument that menstruation is necessary to be "in touch" with one's body. There are plenty of biological processes within my body that I'm not in touch with that seem to go by just fine without my involvement. I also especially despise the idea that it's somehow misogynistic to be anti-menstruation. It should be considered a choice, and a well-informed one at that.
posted by veronica sawyer at 8:38 AM on September 20, 2005


First, I've never heard of this Rock guy and he isn't mentioned in any history of the Pill's invention I can find.

I've heard of Gregory Pincus and Carl Djerassi, but not of John Rock. It seems he was an assistant of Gregory Pincus.

Nice article however, with some nice, and new to me, facts and viewpoints.
posted by kika at 8:39 AM on September 20, 2005


(I'm not inferring that anyone in this thread is arguing the misogynist angle; I meant in my own tedious, tiresome experience.)
posted by veronica sawyer at 8:40 AM on September 20, 2005


Chucles, please explain what Hormone Replacement Therapy has to do with this article, and its proposed new hormone method, and why this method would matter for menopausal women, when the method is obviously being proposed for pre-menopausal women. WTF RTFA.

The article proposes three hormones instead of two, but those three hormones would come in much smaller doses.

And yes, Rock's errors were essentializing 'nature,' not looking at the issue more scientifically, and/or not presenting the Pill as a cancer-prevention treatment. We're all constantly making mistakes.

Does anyone have an update on this subject since 2000?
posted by eustatic at 8:43 AM on September 20, 2005


Quoted from my original comment:
(The article discusses a female contraceptive treatment that tricks the body into a menopausal state instead of a 'pregnant' state, but this requires HRT if you don't want the women to be menopausal in other ways).

People like making fools of themselves don't they... Oh well...
posted by Chuckles at 8:48 AM on September 20, 2005


It's not that not having a period would put me "out of touch" per se with my body - I'd love to not have a period. But it makes me very nervous to not know whether I'm pregnant or not - where's the assurance you're not?

I guess I'm hyper-nervous about it, as I do not want to be pregnant - ever.
posted by agregoli at 8:51 AM on September 20, 2005


There are already pills out there that reduce your periods to four a year (Seasonale) and I'm personally all for it. 7 of 90 days in pain and being crabby beats the hell out of 21 days out of 90.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:56 AM on September 20, 2005


Or if you prefer, from the article:
If the conventional Pill works by convincing the body that it is, well, a little bit pregnant, Pike's pill would work by convincing the body that it was menopausal.

...
Menopause, of course, has its risks. Women need estrogen to keep their hearts and bones strong. They also need progestin to keep the uterus healthy. So Pike intends to add back just enough of each hormone to solve these problems, but much less than women now receive on the Pill.


Alas, I am not convinced by "but much less than" arguments. It just doesn't mean very much... Also, I admit that the progesterone only pill doesn't seem to be mentioned in the article, but it does exist...

You know, as far as I'm concerned WTF and RTFA are just as insulting as 'what the fuck', and 'read the fucking article'.
posted by Chuckles at 9:00 AM on September 20, 2005


I can't imagine why anyone would want to have a period. It's been 28 years of useless pain, expense and bother as far as I'm concerned.

27 for me, but yeah, come on menopause!

What the co-inventor of the Pill didn't know about menstruation can endanger women's health
Am I the only one that read that as masturbation? Yes? Oh well...

posted by deborah at 9:07 AM on September 20, 2005


dlugoczaj, to partially answer your question about how women who experience insane amounts of pain and discomfort would feel about having less periods - hell, yeah! Ahem. I've passed out, gotten into car accidents, been essentially useless for days at a time, been able to do nothing other than lie on the floor utterly still, making ungodly noises in agony. It's not fun. There is nothing medically wrong with me that can be fixed to make my periods any easier, they just are what they are.

That said, I went on the Pill at the suggestion of my doctor to try to reduce some of this, because really, it's kind of debilitating, and I hated being on the Pill. Sure, it wiped out cramps and made everything very predictable, but meh. I wasn't me. I didn't feel any strong emotions at all, my libido went the same way as the cramps, and I gained weight. It seems like there has to be a better way to deal with this.

This article was fascinating, and those of you who haven't read it all (understandable, it's quite long) really ought to go finish it when you can. I want to say this without pissing too many people off, but really - those of you who bitched it was too long, obviously didn't read it and have no intention of doing so, but made dumb points here that were covered in the article? Jeez.
posted by jennaratrix at 9:11 AM on September 20, 2005


Chuckles: The NIH Women's Health Initiative studies showed that hormones should not be used as a long-term treatment for heart disease, osteoporosis, or symptoms of menopause. Short treatments using estrogen or estrogen+progestin seem to be okay for those symptoms. gaspode's right on about the confounders in these studies. Hormones aren't straightforward!)

Everybody else: We've had tons of discussions over in the green about birth control options (for women and men), including here, here, here and here.

I'm of the opinion that more birth control choices is always better. One thing this article doesn't talk about is depression-- one of the side effects of just about any birth control. Lower hormone levels seem to decrease depression, so I think the three-hormone option, if in fact it can be lower than the old bcps, might be an interesting option. However, searching PubMed for "GnRHA contraceptive" as mentioned in the article brings up a review that says they were investigated in the 70s and 80s and abandoned, as they had no advantage over traditional bcps. They are mostly studying them to prevent breast cancer and specifically to reduce pain with endometriosis, but the side effects outweight the benefits.
posted by sarahnade at 9:21 AM on September 20, 2005


Hmm. I'm surprised so many people hadn't heard of this yet. Seasonale, etc.

All of the anti-menstruaters I know are women, so it's hard to picture them as misogynistic.

You know, as far as I'm concerned WTF and RTFA are just as insulting as 'what the fuck', and 'read the fucking article'

As they are likely intended to be. Just shorter.

we used to live to 25

foureasypayments beat me to it. Life expectancy and longevity are two different things. While life expectancy has significantly increased, longevity has not.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:43 AM on September 20, 2005


we used to live to 25

Yes, your collective nitpicking has swayed me.

I agree with others that more options are always better and everyone should have their own choice.

I'm just saying, medicate your women up with synthetic hormones until they're as natural as you want - maybe some of us are naturally depressed, fat and non-sex-wanting as well. Can't wait.

My grandma didn't have periods for 9 years - she had 12 kids and died of cancer anyway at a ripe old age. Who says what's natural and why should I take a pill to achieve it?
posted by Marnie at 11:00 AM on September 20, 2005


I think you sort of missed the point of the article, gaspode. One of the big points of the article was that the Pill [or perhaps other, newer medications] can help women restore their menstrual cycles to a more reasonable number [a handful a year] without being pregnant/lactating most of their lives.

You may want to try reading the full article, delmoi. Yeah, women menstruate on the Pill... but only if they take a week of sugar pills. If you've ever seen a pack of standard birth control pills, there's a week's worth that's a different color. Those pills don't contain hormones, which allows the female body to do the whole menstruation thing. Women who skip the week of placebo pills don't get their period. The parts of the article regarding Catholicism are simply explaining the assumptions about what's "natural" that led the first formulation of the pill to include sugar pills for a monthly period. The rest of it is focused on research that's pretty well known [and that is actually sort of self-evident when you think about it - pregnancy and lactation surpress menstruation, so it's not a surprise that in primitive societies where women spend much of their time pregnant or breastfeeding, the average woman has far fewer periods.]

Marnie, the point isn't so much that fewer periods would be better 'because it's natural', but rather that fewer periods would be better because that's what female body was built to handle, and having a monthly period may be causing a huge increase in the amount of ovarian and breast cancer [not to mention anemia, fibroids, endometriosis, and whatever painful side effects menstruation may have in a given woman.] An analogy - eating. Our bodies evolved to take in a certain amount and variety of nutrients, and they store extra fat in the body as insurance against future lean times. However, people in first world countries don't have to deal with that kind of scarcity, and these changed conditions result in obesity and obesity-related diseases. Now, no one is saying that we should go back to being hunter-gatherers who spend a fair amount of time close to starving, but to be healthy, modern humans do have to watch their diet and make sure they're taking in stuff that their body can handle. The scientists mentioned in the article are suggesting that birth control medication be used to reduce menstruation to a level closer to that which the female body has historically had to deal with, in order to minimize the negative effects of today's low birthrate.

Finally, sarahnade, depression is _not_ a side effect that occurs in all women who take birth control. It's not uncommon, true, but it is certainly not the inevitable result of all birth control pills/shots/etc, and women are often [though not always] able to try a few different formulations and find one that works for them.
posted by ubersturm at 11:04 AM on September 20, 2005


I read this fascinating article when it came out. It reminds me a bit of some discussions around the Atkins diet; people who complain that being in semi-starvation mode is "unnatural" are truly deluded.

Even though it's a derail, I was grateful to Gladwell for including this:
Once, one of her neighbors and best friends in the tribe roasted her a rat as a special treat. "I told him that white people aren't allowed to eat rat because rat is our totem," Strassmann says.
posted by Aknaton at 11:06 AM on September 20, 2005


If you [or your wife] are fine having monthly periods, and they're not heavy or painful enough to cause anemia and debilitate you, and you're fine with the increased risk of ovarian and possibly breast cancer, no one's going to force you to take birth control pills, Marnie. Obviously, taking birth control pills will not guarantee that you [or your grandma, or any woman] won't get ovarian or breast cancer. It's pretty much impossible to make any bulletproof guarantees in medicine - there are so many variables. On average, however, the research mentioned in the article suggests that women with less frequent menstruation would be at a lower risk for several sorts of widespread cancer [ovarian and perhaps breast], and also for a range of other health problems. Looking at the stats on the Wikipedia page on cancer, breast and ovarian cancer together [ignoring even other female reproductive cancers] cause 21% of all cancer deaths, and an even greater percentage of all cancers detected. Seems to me like anything that minimizes that would be a good thing...

Note also that the hormones used are natural hormones... but would it really be so bad if they were synthetic? I'm glad I have access to antibiotics and other things which aren't 'naturally' found in my body, as long as they do what they're supposed to do with minimal side effects. Speaking of side effects, birth control pills do not make every single woman who takes them fat, depressed, and uninterested in sex. Those are possible side-effects, true, but they very definitely do not happen in every woman who takes birth control, and when they occur, they are often milder than you imply. Furthermore, there are quite a few formulations of birth control on the market today. Many women are able to find a different formulation that works better with their biochemistry [although a few women cannot.] Implying that birth control makes most women into fat, unlibidinous, depressed zombies is downright wrong; odds are that you actually interact with many perfectly healthy women who, unbeknownst to you, take birth control.
posted by ubersturm at 11:25 AM on September 20, 2005


www.noperiod.com
posted by tristeza at 11:29 AM on September 20, 2005


My female body was not built to handle evolutionary determinism.
posted by Marnie at 11:35 AM on September 20, 2005


We'd have to revert back to a society where women were pregnant and lactating for a good proportion of our adult lives to get back down to low ovulation rates (and corresponding reduced ovarian epithelial cancers).

No we wouldn't. Women would simply not skip a week of The Pill.

My wife has been on The Pill (Ortho 7/7/7, IIRC) for nearly twenty years. In that time, she has rarely had a period. Previous to going on The Pill, she had debilitating menses.

Being slightly paranoid, I have insisted she check with doctors time and again that this no-periods situation is not unhealthy. The response from the doctors has consistently been that there is nothing to worry about. Having been clued-in this past year re: that previous to the modern era, women seldom had periods (because they were pregnant or lactating most of the time), I have to conclude that the doctors are right: this situation is closer to being normal, than having a monthly period is.

My wife has never missed having periods: like several women in this thread have said, periods are a messy and sometimes painful ordeal that they'd rather do without. And my wife has never been worried that she might be pregnant simply because she lacks a period: there are plenty of other signs of pregnancy, like morning sickness, mood changes, tenderness, and all that jazz. In short, there is simply no benefits to having a period, and many benefits to not having them.

My wife remains on The Pill, even though I've had a vasectomy. For her, The Pill has far less to do with contraception, and far more to do with a healthy, happy life free of menses cramps, emotional rollercoasters, and mess.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:45 AM on September 20, 2005


Natural is a bad word that should be avoided because it's almost always used as part of a normative argument. And as far as I'm concerned, that's a fallacy.

Healthy is a better word and it's what we're really aiming for here. Evolutionary medicine is mentioned in passing in the article (interestingly, it's Strassman's field) but that new discipline allows us to look at the evolutionary context—what is "natural"—as a tool to identify what is healthy. Note that this is different from the naturalistic argument, because the naturalistic argument assumes what is "natural" is what is best (and most healthy), which isn't necessarily true.

To understand why this isn't true, you only have to realize that the enviornments for which animals are adapted often change over time. There is no true, pristine, "natural" and the assumption that there is such a thing is more a function of our cultural myth of a Garden of Eden than anything else. So what is "natural" isn't the royal road to the truth of pure health, but it is a valuable clue when interpreted in the correct context.

What is being identified here as "unhealthy" is cancer, and correctly so. With ovarian and breast cancer, there is an obvious possible connection between women having more of these hormonal changes than they are adapted for and the cancers.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:50 AM on September 20, 2005


No we wouldn't. Women would simply not skip a week of The Pill.

Yeah, I know. I misread that bit of the article, and a couple of the comments. I was referring to what would happen if we _didn't_ take the pill. Brain out of sorts at the moment.
posted by gaspode at 11:52 AM on September 20, 2005


As for the availability of Depo mentioned upthread, I thought it would be rather amusing to point out that I had a hell of a time getting it in Iceland. In the US, my primary care physician prescribed it to me without blinking an eye, but in Iceland...

The last patient before me that my Icelandic doctor had prescibed Depo to, he had done so because she was severely brain damaged and couldn't be trusted to take the pill everyday. Apparently, I can't be trusted either since he gave it to me after some grumbling about it being too strong a contraceptive for someone my age. His only concern about my not menstruating was that I get a yearly PAP (not routine in Iceland, weirdly enough) to make sure I didn't start developing cysts or something. Not really sure what his concern really was, it didn't translate well.

(I have since gone off Depo because I started a cycle of breakthrough bleeding and started going a bit off my rocker. I was on it for six years without major incident after discovering that I can't take the Pill because it makes me pyschotic.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:43 PM on September 20, 2005


I've heard incidences of some cancers are higher, but some are lower on the Pill.

One quick example.

And

Estrogen-progestin birth control pills have some anti-cancer benefits in addition to birth control. They may reduce ovarian cancer risk, as well as uterine and colon cancer risk. However, combination pills are not recommended for women who have had breast cancer or who have a family history of breast cancer.
posted by agregoli at 1:36 PM on September 20, 2005


Yes, read the article.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:53 PM on September 20, 2005


Yes, I did. Other people apparantly did not.
posted by agregoli at 1:53 PM on September 20, 2005


No one has mentioned the ring. I'm on my second month and trying to determine if it's making my outlook on life more bleak than normal... I'm also bipolar, and bcp's of any sort make me suicidal. In theory I could keep it in for four weeks and forego the whole period thing. Thinking about it.

Having a kid and nursing her gave me around two years period-free. And lo, there was much rejoicing.
posted by beth at 3:40 PM on September 20, 2005


(I've only noticed that I'm happier and less crampy. My libido has decreased to the point where I can live life without wanting to have sex with every convex object.)
posted by sian at 7:55 PM on September 20, 2005


"Yes, I did. Other people apparantly did not."

Yeah. Well, just to be clear, while the pill as it's normally used may decrease some gynecological cancers and increase others (and while there is probably a general problem with having too many periods), one big point of the article was that there's good reason to believe that the pill is contributing quite a bit to breast cancer because the progestin causes cell division in breasts on a much more regular/often basis than usual. That's the whole point of the feigning pregnancy/feigning menopause distinction where the latter is probably a better solution.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:25 AM on September 21, 2005


Shrug. I don't agree with that. I'm on the side that feigning pregnancy is better.
posted by agregoli at 7:07 AM on September 21, 2005


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