Friday, March 23, 2012

Get the Facts Before you Judge

As a biologist, I am an advocate for increasing the knowledge about women's health issues. In the wake of the very controversial Obama birth control mandate (which states that all employers must provide insurance that covers birth control), I've decided to write about the use of birth control. And guys, don't turn off on me here, because you need to know about these facts as well! Chances are the woman in your life would like you to be informed of this issue.
To begin, the birth control that is being talked about is "the Pill". If you are not a biologist or someone familiar with how birth control works, please visit the Discovery Health news link provided here: Birth Control Overview.  It is ignorant to have an opinion on something without knowing how it works/what it does, and birth control is no exception. Discovery Health News does a wonderful job at explaining in simple terms the biology behind the pill. Here is just a quick summery: the pill works by mimicking the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which prevents the follicles from releasing an egg into the ovary. Essentially, the body "thinks" it's already released an egg. Thus, they have been long used to prevent pregnancy.

However, pregnancy prevention isn't the only use of birth control. I am saddened to see how many people are ignorant of the many medicinal application of "the Pill". The fact is that doctor's are now prescribing birth control to treat a variety of women's health issues. I am going to list and explain just a few conditions which can be treated with birth control:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: this is a condition in which (as the name suggests) cysts form on the ovaries. It is often associated with excess androgen and irregular menstrual cycles. Birth control helps balance hormones to normal levels so that the menstrual cycle is stabilized.
  • Endometriosis: This condition occurs when the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows in other places in the body, such as the pelvic lining, ovaries, and rectum. It often results in infertility. Birth control is often used to stop periods in women who have this condition. 
  • Menstrual Cramps, PMS, and Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods): These are all unpleasant side affects of the menstrual cycle. Sometimes, they can become so severe that they become debilitating. Birth control works by thinning the uterine lining, which in the long run decreases uterine contractions associated with cramping and pain. 
  • Acne: By regulating the hormones the occur during the menstrual cycle, birth control helps prevent hormonal break outs. 
There are more conditions, but these are the most prominent. As you can see, birth control access is a crucial life line for many women. It is no longer just for pregnancy prevention. Today we live in an age where a woman's body is under her control. Women of all races, age groups, backgrounds, and income levels should have full access to the birth control they need. If it is against your belief, don't take it. Every woman should have the choice of whether she takes birth control or not. The Los Angeles Times published a statistic from the National Institute of Health that states 62% of women (out of an estimated 62 million women) use some type of contraception, with 28% using the pill. This is a staggering amount, and it shows that the pill is extremely relevant in the life of a modern day woman. Why are the men of this country deciding women's health issues? Maybe it's because they have their viagra covered by their health insurance. Which is something to think about....


No comments:

Post a Comment