The oral contraceptives Yaz and Yasmin are the top-selling pharmaceutical line for Bayer HealthCare, largely as a result of marketing that presents them as much more than mere pregnancy prevention.(Hmmm. Pro-choice fanatics vs. the tort bar. Kind of like Freddy vs. Jason there.)
Yaz, in particular, the top-selling birth control pill in the United States, owes much of its popularity to multimillion-dollar ad campaigns that have promoted the drug as a quality-of-life treatment to combat acne and severe premenstrual depression. . . .
But recently, the Yaz line’s image has been clouded by concerns from some researchers, health advocates and plaintiffs’ lawyers. They say that the drugs put women at higher risk for blood clots, strokes and other health problems than some other birth control pills do. . . .
Bayer said that the company had been served with 74 lawsuits brought by women who charge that they developed health problems after taking Yaz or Yasmin. . . .What good is "choice," if you're dead? The very idea that women would voluntarily dose themselves with synthetic hormones, which have the effect of preventing their bodies from doing what nature meant their bodies to do . . .?
Birth control pills work by altering a woman’s hormone levels. Researchers have long known that taking a combination hormone birth control pill -- which contains estrogen and a progestin hormone -- can increase the risk of stroke and blood clots in the legs and lungs. . . .
Look, when I was in college, I had a buddy who was into weightlifting. He scored some Dynabol (a popular steroid) and asked me to read through the enclosed warning -- an 11-by-14-inch sheet filled with tiny print on both side -- about the side effects. (He was good at weightlifting. Reading scientific literature? Not so much.)
When I got to the part about testicular atrophy -- hey, that was all I needed to read to know that I was never going to use that stuff. (Whatever happened to my weightlifting buddy? I don't know. But if he kept shooting that Dynabol . . . raisins.)
Putting fake hormones into your body is a bad idea, to be avoided except as a medical necessity. If a woman is bound and determined not to have babies -- well, tell your husband to start a blog, which tends to lower your risk of having sex. (To my wife: That was a joke, honey.)
When the Pill was first introduced, a lot of people didn't think about the potential for long-term side effects. It was Science, after all, and Science is never wrong.
Lots of girls in the Baby Boom generation started on the Pill when they were still teenagers and stayed on it year after year until, finally, they got married and said, "OK, I'm ready to have babies now."
Shockah! Science had figured out a cheap and easy way to turn fertility off, but turning it back on? Not so much.
Lots of 50-something women out there with no kids, thanks to Science. Although they didn't expect it when they started taking the Pill, birth control ended up being permanent for them. Turns out "choice" meant not really having a choice.
And then there those other side effects -- well, we don't know for certain that they were actually side effects, because determining direct causation can be difficult when you're talking long term consequences. It's kind of weird, as you get to be in your 40s, you start hearing about these girls you knew from high school dying from weird cancers, or developing strange, lingering ailments that doctors can't really find a way to treat effectively.
My wife and I have six kids, and maybe you don't want to have that many. Fine. But don't think you can fool Mother Nature forever.
Sometimes, Mother Nature is a bitch.