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New Contraceptive Pill

So there's a lot in the news today about a new contraceptive pill that also stops women's periods. It's probably very easy for me to criticise this as I don't have to go through it once a month.

However, surely periods are just natural?

They may be unpleasant, but they're not an illness, why do we need to cure them?

I suppose it's the natural development of a society that reachs for the paracetamol every time they get a minor ache.

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
mair_aw
28th Mar, 2006 09:13 (UTC)
I missed the news, but there have been the injection and the implant thing for a while that are supposed to stop your periods.

Personally, I think the monthly reassurance that your contraception is working is rather nice...
atreic
28th Mar, 2006 09:15 (UTC)
Sheesh, UK sex education is so terribly poor.

The current contraceptive pill, the combined pill, stops women's periods. All it leaves you with is a fake-period, a withdrawal bleed, that happens when you come off the pill for a week. As medical research developes, they've decided this is completely pointless, and are more prone to telling people to take the pills continuously and not have this fake-period.

Likewise, the depo injection, the implanon implant, and the mirana coil all often stop womens periods.

The is because contraception works by making your body think that you're pregnant. When you're pregnant, it's very hard to get pregnant again, your body stops releasing eggs, etc etc. Also, when you're pregnant your periods stop. This is Natural. It is Really Bad for the baby if the entire womb lining goes walkabouts every month.

Sheesh. You can decide the whole idea of contraception is unnatural if you like.
mair_aw
28th Mar, 2006 10:12 (UTC)
You can decide the whole idea of contraception is unnatural if you like.

IMLE men are uncomfortable with the idea of fucking around with hormones and "natural" rhythms, until a condom breaks...

*waits to be smited for making evil generalisations*
hmmm_tea
28th Mar, 2006 18:16 (UTC)
You can decide the whole idea of contraception is unnatural if you like.

Maybe I didn't phrase that very well. Have nothing against contraception.

It was just that the news this morning mentioned the new pill and then developed into a full discussion on how it stopped the womans period without any real mention of use for contraception.
(no subject) - chess - 30th Mar, 2006 12:43 (UTC) - Expand
atreic
28th Mar, 2006 09:25 (UTC)
However, surely periods are just natural?

Well, if we're talking about what's "natural" for women In The Wild, as it were, they tended to be pregnant for about 9 months of every year, and breastfeeding for a while after then. Periods don't come back the second the baby pops out, for obvious biological reasons. So if it's "natural" you want, then a woman would only have one or two periods in her life, and spend the rest of it pregnant.

I'll pass on natural, but the point is, it's not natural for a woman to have a period every month between the ages of 11 and 40.

They may be unpleasant, but they're not an illness, why do we need to cure them?

First of all, as I've just explained, we're not trying to cure them, it's just a side effect of contraception. But even if we were... If your metric isn't trying to improve the quality of life for people what are you trying to do with your medicine? If people are spending two days every month unable to work, should we stand by and say "well, it's natural"? I can see we might not want to Tamper With Forces Beyond Our Control, but we have a fairly good understanding of how a womans reproductive system works nowadays, and I don't think she should be forced to suffer monthly pain and unhappiness just because it's natural (which it isn't). It's natural for men to grow beards, hmmm_tea, where's your facial hair?
naath
28th Mar, 2006 14:15 (UTC)
I'm sure I've seen research somewhere that suggests that having a period every month for between 30 and 40 years is Bad For Women. Because 'naturally' they would be pregnant for much of that time. Not to mention that for many women periods are incredably painfull to the point where Usefull Work becomes impossible.

There is also research that says that spending 30 to 40 years taking fake hormones is Bad For Women.

So I guess that for me (given that I don't want to ever be pregnant) there as a choice between to Bad Things - hormones or periods for the rest of my life; given the NHS's refusal to sterlise young women I guess that I'll probably end up about half and half.
hmmm_tea
28th Mar, 2006 18:19 (UTC)
That's a good point, hadn't thought about it like that.

Still not sure about this filling ourselves full of drugs to solve the problem, but as it's not an issue I face it's really none of my business what you all do.
hmmm_tea
28th Mar, 2006 18:36 (UTC)
*grows beard*
(no subject) - mair_aw - 29th Mar, 2006 13:25 (UTC) - Expand
fluffle
28th Mar, 2006 11:44 (UTC)
we don't *need* to cure them. But I have friends, for instance, that regularly spend a couple of days a month curled up in pain in bed because it hurts too much to do anything else.

Natural, maybe. Debilitating, sometimes. That's why people want to do something about them. Not to mention the cost we women go through of sanitary products..
mair_aw
28th Mar, 2006 11:49 (UTC)
. o 0 { mooncup }
chainmailmaiden
28th Mar, 2006 13:09 (UTC)
Ha ha, you can so tell you're a man! ;-)

I can't think I've ever encountered a woman who wouldn't happily dispense with the monthly annoyance that is her period if she could. It's especially annoying for those of us who don't want children, as it ceases to have any relevance at all to our lives.

Lots of things occur naturally, cancer, macular degeneration, psoriasis, hernias... I could go on, but my point is natural doesn't always = good.
hmmm_tea
28th Mar, 2006 18:36 (UTC)
I'm not questioning the fact that you'd want to dispense with it.

What I'm questioning is why we think the solution to all of life's little problems is to throw drugs at them?
(no subject) - chainmailmaiden - 29th Mar, 2006 13:26 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Dave Holland [org.uk] - 31st Mar, 2006 11:26 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chainmailmaiden - 31st Mar, 2006 11:58 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hmmm_tea - 2nd Apr, 2006 20:37 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chainmailmaiden - 3rd Apr, 2006 12:37 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sonicdrift - 29th Mar, 2006 22:05 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hmmm_tea - 29th Mar, 2006 22:15 (UTC) - Expand
mobbsy
28th Mar, 2006 15:52 (UTC)
I've never quite got this "natural" thing. Either humans and human endevour is part of nature, or all activity unique to humans is unnatural. I don't think that's a false dichotomy, it seems entirely arbitrary to make distinctions about what things count as "natural" or "unnatural" beyond that.

My view is that using tools to improve their environment is what people do, or "natural" if you must. Which is to say using technology to stop periods is just as natural a thing for people to do as using technology to stay warm or keep food fresh.
hmmm_tea
28th Mar, 2006 18:38 (UTC)
Yes, vegetarianism could also be classed as "unnatural" and that doesn't stop me being one. Possibly a bad choice of words there...
(no subject) - yellowrocket - 28th Mar, 2006 19:59 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atreic - 30th Mar, 2006 10:04 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ex_robhu - 30th Mar, 2006 19:46 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atreic - 30th Mar, 2006 19:51 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yellowrocket - 1st Apr, 2006 07:37 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atreic - 2nd Apr, 2006 18:23 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yellowrocket - 2nd Apr, 2006 19:42 (UTC) - Expand
cartesiandaemon
28th Mar, 2006 23:20 (UTC)
Exactly. Natural is not "good". Though it's a decent first approximation default; if you don't know whether hormones or no hormones are good, you probably want to try no hormones first :) You can't experiment with all possible unnatural things just to see.

But if there's a reason (eg. not having pain once a month) and it happens to be reasonably tested, that's plenty of reason why it's great.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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