Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bleed No More!

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first birth control pill that completely eliminates a woman's monthly period. Taken daily, the pill, called Lybrel, continuously administers slightly lower doses of the same hormones in many standard birth control pills to constantly suppress menstruation. This will be the first and only oral contraceptive designed to be taken 365 days a year, allowing women to put their periods on hold. Studies showed Lybrel is as effective at preventing pregnancy as standard birth control pills and completely suppresses menstruation for many women within the first year, although some women experience sporadic bleeding.

The pill's approval was welcomed by birth control advocates for providing women with another option. "Every woman's birth control needs are different, and the best methods are those that fit a woman's lifestyle and meet her needs," Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Critics questioned whether enough research had been done to be sure it is safe to suppress menstruation long term. "There may be important health consequences that we don't know about," said an endocrinology researcher. "I don't think we understand everything that the menstrual cycle does well enough to say with confidence that you can abolish it and not have any consequences." Others criticized the pill for fueling biases and misconceptions about menstruation. "It perpetuates a lot of negative attitudes and taboos about menstruation -- that it's something that's bothersome and dirty and debilitating and shameful."

The FDA said there is no evidence of any long-term risks and that suppressing the menstrual cycle can have many benefits, especially for women who are plagued by cramps, bloating and mood swings.

Others said menstrual suppression could actually have some health benefits. For eons, women had few periods because they were either pregnant or breast-feeding for most of their reproductive lives. "We weren't supposed to have 13 natural periods year after year after year," said an obstetrician-gynecologist. "We as a society have already changed what nature intended for us."

The pill isn't for everyone, the FDA said. About half the women enrolled in studies of Lybrel dropped out, many because of irregular and unscheduled bleeding and spotting that can replace scheduled menstruation. Because women taking Lybrel may not know if they are pregnant, the FDA said women taking it should undergo pregnancy tests regularly.

I know my girl Sarah will have some things to say about this. In my layman's opinion it doesn't seem right not to menstruate. And of course we don't know long term effects because we haven't study it "long" term - one year doesn't count. There is also increased risk of certain cancers when taking birth control so will the risks be even higher from taking hormones everyday? I just think it's unnatural to not have a period. Maybe this will be the first step to change the evolutionary cycle and will allow men to bear children!

What do you think???


captain corky said...

The bleeding thing caused by the pill makes my stomach a little queasy.

Jenny! said...

Sorry, just wait till your wife is in labor and will need to sit down for that!

Hammer said...

I've read several studies that suggest that when the uterous does not slough off it's lining regularly it can increses the chances of uterine and ovarian cancer.

Looks like this is another billion dollar drug deal bribed through thr FDA. Look for future recalls sick people and lawsuits.

Jenny! said...

I know it crazy how they think that its okay!

Fever Dog said...

On a personal level? I'm in no position to comment. However, I have known well girls for whom menstruation really was "debilitating" and were already suppressing it, long term, under medical supervision. And that's about as far as I can go to comment, I don't know enough to speculate any further than that.

Yoda said...

Well, obviously I've never had a period, so I don't know what it feels like or what the risks/benefits are.

However, I do keep an open mind w.r.t. the drugs. The only real way to find out whether they have long term impact is to have people try them out. I know I might sound heartless about the many that may have side effects, but in pure scientific terms, there is NO other way to find out. As long as we are sure that to the best of our knowledge and investigation, there is no or low chance of long term complications, it should be OK. Here's where the FDA should take the drug companies up for challenge. FDA should make sure that all possible tests regarding this drug have been done and the results are accurate. To what extent FDA does that -- I don't know.

Another example is "continued cell phone use". Many critics say that continued use of cell phones (essentially low freq. microwaves) may have a bad effect on the brain etc. But we probably won't know that until 50 yrs are past and someone's cancer is tied to cell phone use.

If you think about it, the crux of the matter really is that we don't really understand our biology at a fundamental level. We just treat it like a black box and find drugs by trial and error.

The Man at the Pub said...

It doesn't sound right, but my partner has heard it's OK from our trusted doctor. If he says it's Ok, I believe him, because he's the expert, and a great doctor and I'm not.

Ratty. said...

This is just what I need for my Albanian girls who are fucking up my knicker production by bleeding on them. They are so unsophisticated, and never heard of fanny rags. I gave them some tampons yesterday and they thought they were English cigars and smoked the fuckers - hopeless.

Jeannie said...

Obviously, it's unnatural. If the pill has risks, I think this one has more - I've known a few girls who ended up with blood clots. This pill will be much like the shot some get that also suppresses menstruation.
However, my menses practically stopped for 10 years on its own for no apparent reason - I'd have perhaps one or two a year. Yet I still had crazy pms which would get worse until I did have a period. They returned to normal when my daughter began hers and have remained regular since.
The company, for their own sake should have those who purchase the pills sign a waiver that they realize no long term studies have been done and are willing to risk whatever for the convenience now. I wouldn't trust a doctor for advice on drugs - they only know what the salesmen tell them. Ask your pharmacist for his opinion - he understands chemistry far better and will be unbiased.

Jen said...

Fever Dog:
This may be very helpful for woman are debilitated by menstration, I didn't think that this was going to be a post most of my readers enjoyed...most of you guys are guys!

Jenny! said...

There are side effects for everything, if we live our lives worried about every side effect, we aren't going to be very happy people. The FDA is a fraud, they are only concerned about money, not the well being of people. I do support new drug findings b/c we never know what else could come from this drug. I also get pissed at animal rights activists who protest animal testing...their slogan should be, "Save a lab rat...kill a child!"

Jenny! said...

Pub Man:
I have little faith in what birth control OBGYN's push. They are easily influenced and overrun by hot little pharm. sales reps! They try to "suggest" a new birth control pill every time you see them b/c that is what the "new" miracle is.

Jenny! said...

I am sure free samples will be given out in every Dr.s office next month...I can see if I can get a supply for you!

Jenny! said...

I agree wiht you about talking to your pharmacist, they know better.

Sarah said...

Oh boy do I want to comment....

One, it is true that contraceptives have liberated women for decades now and I do not want to say that women should not use the one that is rightfor them. However it is also true thathaving a period is seen as disgusting and taboo and can be blamed by men andwomen for bad behavior and poor humor. It is not something women should be ashamed of, it is natural and a beautiful process the female body goes through each month.

With that said something that has not been liberating for women is cancer. It is beating out heart disease for deaths among women and having seen my own mother go through and not beat the treatments for ovarian cancer it seems inhumane to put a product on the market that may or may not cause this kind of cancer. Women deserve better than that!

I think we have to keep in mind that medical studies for only women are actually rather modern since for the majority of western medicine women were not studied but prescribed drugs that happened to work on men. There needs to be regulation set for the approval of birht control methods that makes sense for birth control instead of just approving it with the same guidelines as tylenol.

It is amazing howfar the women's rights movement has come andhow easily we women are willing to settle for less than what is just!

I have now stepped off my soapbox

Jenny! said...

I know that this was a subject you would get on about...and I really wanted to know your opinion. You are so eloquent, even when enraged! I love it!

Malnurtured Snay said...

Thank god I can't get pregnant.


Jenny! said...

You don't know what your missing!

Anonymous said...

Maybe this will be the first step to change the evolutionary cycle and will allow men to bear children!

Only if I'm allowed to carry it in my calf.