If you are in college and are a female, it is very likely that you are on some form of contraceptive. There are a few, like myself, who has never used birth control and/or practiced abstinence, but this post (and by extension the nature of all blogs by SFL UNM) does not discriminate.
For those taking contraceptives it is mainly for the reasoning of NOT getting pregnant. So why would I begin discussing Natural Family Planning (NFP)? In truth, you are already “family planning” by using a contraceptive because, well, you aren’t looking to start a family. So it is important to discuss this topic while briefly discussing implications of these two models of family planning.
Part One of this discussion will evaluate the birth control method of contraceptives. Part Two will discuss Natural Family Planning such as the Creighton Model.
Let us begin.
What surprises me the most is that there is not more of an outcry for the dangers of birth control. We all make fun of medicine/allergy commercials because more than half of the advertisement is dedicated to listing harmful and sometimes deadly side effects, but that joking has undertones of truth, yet it doesn’t seem to translate to birth control. There are also those people that refuse to take pain killers because they don’t like putting “unnecessary” medications in their body because of the chemicals, etc., but for at least the females in that category, take birth control. Organic food items are also beginning to be more popular as we are beginning to wonder what the herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics have on our bodies in a life-span of ingestion. Last but certainly not the least of my examples, I will play on a stereotype: how about those female college students who do yoga, ride their bikes all the time, eat healthy to promote an overall sense of well-being and cleanliness in their life but put artificial ingredients, chemicals or foreign objects in their bodies?
I think by now you get the point. And so now I will provide scientific evidence for my point.
Here are some facts.
In 2000 the National Toxicology Advisory Panel put estrogen on its list of carcinogens. By 2005 (and has been maintained even until 2013 by the American Cancer Society) oral contraception was classified by WHO as Group 1 carcinogens (Group 1 being the most dangerous from Groups I-IV). And the UN’s International Agency on Research of Cancer reported that estrogen-progestin combination drugs (the Pill) was a Group I for breast, cervical and liver cancer. Although the risk for uterine and ovarian cancers were lower on the pill, there is 6 times more breast cancer in women than uterine and ovarian cancer. There are metabolites (defined at the end of this post) of estrogen which directly damage DNA causing mutations and cancer.
In 2006, a meta-analysis (essentially a study) in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed a 44 % increased risk of breast cancer in women who took the pill before having a child.
In 2009, one study showed a 320% increased risk of triple negative breast cancer.
Since 1975, the risk of in-situ breast cancer for premenopausal women has increased 400%.
Furthermore, women who use oral contraceptives for five to nine years have twice the risk of cervical cancer and it’s more than three times that after 10 years.
You are probably thinking, well that’s ok, I’ll just switch to another kind of birth control. Well, these harmful and deadly effects are not just limited to oral contraceptives. The same ingredients found in oral contraceptives are found in IUDs, another popular form of contraceptive.
Extensive documentation of shortcoming and dangerous side effects of the IUD include device expulsion, pregnancy complications, ectopic pregnancies, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine perforations, migration to the abdomen, embedment in the uterus, and potential for behavior as an abortifacient.
As of September 2013, the only two types of IUDs available in the US are Copper T and Mirena. June of last year, ABC news affiliate NewsChannel5 obtained complaint records from the FDA reveals 7,072 complaints about Mirena have been filed since 2000. Many complaints involve serious complications like device dislocation. Dislocation refers to several incidents, such as embedment in the uterus, moving from its initial placement, or migration outside of the uterus. Since 2008, 4,775 women reported device relocation and 1,332 women have reported uterine perforations.
Mirena’s marketing confirms medical studies that have documented the “IUD is not considered safe for women if they have not first given birth to at least one child, have a history of or had breast cancer, or have multiple sexual partners”
What is also concerning and often overlooked is how many contraceptives are abortifacients. This may refer to several things, but generally contraceptives affect the uterine lining i.e. by thinning it which doesn’t allow the fertilized egg (AKA human zygote; human embryo; a whole, distinct human being with its own unique genetic code) and therefore killing the fetus. Ultimately, these contraceptives perform abortions.
I do understand that contraceptives, generally the pill, have some positive side effects but it is hard to consider taking the pill to clear acne, etc when your exposing your body to carcinogens, aborting human beings, and the list may go on. In Part Two, I will discuss NFP, how it may be just as effective as medical contraceptives, and can offer more natural benefits to problems women may experience that draws them to the pill in the first place.
Kahlenborn, C et al Oral contraceptive use as a rsik factor for premenopausal breast cancer: A meta-analysis 2006 Mayo Clinic Proc 2006 81(10): 1290-1302
Dolle,J et al Risk factors for triple negative breast cancer in women under the age of 45 cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Preve 2009; 18(4) 1157-1165
Moreno V et al Effect of oral contraceptives on risk of cervical
Here is a more formal but understandable definition of metabolites, copy and pasted from new-medical.net
Metabolites are the intermediates and products of metabolism. The term ”metabolite” is usually restricted to small molecules.
A primary metabolite is directly involved in normal growth, development, and reproduction. Alcohol is an example of a primary metabolite produced in large-scale by industrial microbiology.
A secondary metabolite is not directly involved in those processes, but usually has an important ecological function. Examples include antibiotics and pigments.
Some antibiotics use primary metabolites as precursors, such as actinomycin which is created from the primary metabolite, tryptophan.
Examples of primary metabolites produced by industrial microbiology:
The metabolome forms a large network of metabolic reactions, where outputs from one enzymatic chemical reaction are inputs to other chemical reactions.
Metabolites from chemical compounds, whether inherent or pharmaceutical, are formed as part of the natural biochemical process of degrading and eliminating the compounds.
The rate of degradation of a compound is an important determinant of the duration and intensity of its action.
Profiling metabolites of pharmaceutical compounds, drug metabolism, is an important part of drug discovery, leading to an understanding of any undesirable side effects.