Why we need birth control reform now

One anonymous student offers up a shocking personal account of the damage caused by birth control pills and questions their use.

Anonymous
1st April 2021
Picture: novellamag.com
It's never been a secret that contraceptive pills can have a damaging effect on the daily lives of women. Low mental health, weight gain and mood swings are just a few well-known effects. However, when do we decide that some pills are too dangerous for daily use?

Content warning: this article contains discussions of health issues that may make some uncomfortable.

Europe boldly declaring its discontinuation of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine due to fears of blood clots, it really got me thinking. If they can ban a vaccine due to a small proportion of side effects, how can they not ban the pill?

For years and years women have complained about the pill, and especially at the mass use of Rigevidon. As the most common prescribed pill on the NHS, women are most likely to receive this as birth control or to regulate periods. I was one of those "lucky" women.

If you've experienced migraines, you know how painful they can be. The only reason mine were more worrying, however, was because of the 'aura' effect that came with it. I couldn't see.

My use was fairly normal. I had the usual weight gain and very bad mood swings until eventually I began to develop regular migraines. If you've experienced migraines, you know how painful they can be. The only reason mine were more worrying, however, was because of the 'aura' effect that came with it. I couldn't see.

These migraines went on for about 6 months until I realised it wasn't normal. Around that time, many mainstream news outlets reported on the death of a young woman who died of a blood clot - on the same pill as me.

BPM MEDIA Family supply pic fallan kurek, and mum julia, who died after 25 days on the contraceptive pill called Rigevidon
Fallan Kurek, right, with her mum Julia. Credit: metro.co.uk

Fallan was rushed to hospital in 2016 after developing a blood clot in her lung and died shortly after. She was on Rigevidon for 25 days. Obviously, after being on it for over a year, this caused me to panic. My migraines weren't going away and getting worse by the day.

I decided to take myself off the pill - and to this day I still haven't had a natural period. Obviously after a couple of months without periods (2017) I decided to take my issues back to the doctors to which they assured me 'they'll come back'. Oh, how they were wrong.

Now, after three years of inducing medication and basically being a medical mystery, I've been diagnosed with Polycystic ovaries - to which I blame in part to the damaging effects Rigevidon has had in my life (and sadly puts me at high risk of a handful of cancers and diabetes). I wish I could say this was my only lasting side effect - but there are some too distressing to discuss.

Many women have took to Twitter to express their frustration at the pill's use.

Moving forward, doctors have told me I can never take the pill again as I'm told I could have a stroke - which could have easily happened the first time around. I wish I could say I was the only one who has suffered like this. I'm definitely not.

Popular forum The Lowdown gives users the opportunity to review and recommend different types of pills, and it made me realise I'm not alone. In their data, over 50% of women said they experienced headaches whilst taking the pill, and around 38% complained of negative mood swings.

Women are suffering at the hands of some of these pills, and their lives and futures are being destroyed due to a clear lack of awareness and education.

My question to medical suppliers is: when will it be enough? Women are suffering at the hands of some of these pills, and their lives and futures are being destroyed due to a clear lack of awareness and education.

Five years after Fallan's death, nothing is being done. If society can revoke a vaccine which has one person at risk per 460,000 people, women across the world should have access to safe birth control with no damaging side effects.

I don't get a second chance now, my diagnosis will effect me for my entire life. That is why I will continue to fight for pill reform; no woman should suffer at the hands of medication.

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