There are certain subjects that seem to defy clear thinking. We hear certain assumptions over and over again until we accept them as truths. Then we assume that we know everything there is to know about the subject. But do we?
In her excellent article “Hormonal Contraceptives: Do We Really Know What We Think We Know?”, Doctor Chandler Marrs appeals to us to pierce through the assumptions about contraception that we’ve accepted as truths. Dr. Marrs presents strong scientific evidence that hormonal contraception is not the safe, convenient solution to “woman’s health” that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology claim them to be. She shows that the long list of “possible side effects” are much more common than the public is led to believe.
With hormonal contraceptives now being widely prescribed as a cure-all for anything from painful menstrual cramps to acne, having an accurate knowledge of their effects on the body is incredibly important. Yet, deep, honest studies are seriously lacking. Dr. Marrs says,
Only now, our increased familiarity with these drugs has fostered a deeply ingrained but false sense of safety. Phrases suggesting that after 50 years on the market these are among ‘the most studied medications’ pepper the literature. When in fact, these medications were never studied properly before their release:
“Evidently, for whatever reasons, there is no sound body of scientific studies concerning these possible effects available today, a situation which I regard as scandalous. If we proceed in the future as we have in the past, we will continue to stumble from one tentative and inadequately supported conclusion to another, always relying on data which come to hand, and which were not designed for the purpose (Dr. Paul Meier, NPH pages 6548-6560).”
And they have not been studied conclusively since. For all intents and purposes, safety issues associated with hormonal birth control remain largely under-investigated and unrecognized. What research exists generally favors commercial interests, and if we’re honest, our interests as women. We want easy, safe and effective birth. We need it and so we ignore the side effects and ignore any research that confirms our suspicions. We allow ourselves to accept the risks. Maybe it’s time we didn’t. Maybe it’s time we dig in and find out what is really going on and then fix the problems.
We cannot afford to let our health be based on assumptions. No matter how loudly those assumptions are asserted by medical authorities, we need to look at the science – and insist that our doctors do the same. Begin by reading the full article at the Hormones Matter website.