Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Lives will be saved": The FDA decision not to ban Bayer's birth control pills

The final decision on drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives.

For the blog re:Cycling I have written a piece on the FDA's final decision on Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills that was announced last week.

This month I signed a publishing agreement with Zero Books for 'Sweetening the Pill.' I am trying to get my thoughts and feelings on these developments figured out. I've been writing about the birth control pill - and specifically Yasmin - since 2009. I may be cynical and all too aware, but this news still shocks me.


  1. I am very interested in what your trying to do here, raising awareness of the harmful effects of the Pill. Since the age of 16 I've been on many different kinds of pill, had the contraceptive injection and the non-hormonal IUD, all with very different, very unpleasant side effects.

    I've been on Microgynon, Femodene, Yasmin, Cilest, Ovrette and Loestrin. Symptoms ranged from significant increase in breast size and severe pain, mouth ulcers (5 - 10 at once, every month in my mouth and throat), loss of sex drive, significant increase in appetite leading to weight gain, monthly bouts of thrush, depression, fits of rage, fatigue, suicidal thoughts, loss of focus and motivation and increased period pain.

    I am 33 and have had no hormal contraception for 3 years. Last year I thought I'd try the Pill again, after 1 week of being on Cilest I fell into a deep depression and wanted to kill myself. As soon as I came off it 1 month later after reading more about its ill effects, I felt euphoric, as though a black cloud had been lifted. I felt like myself again.

    For all the 'liberation' and so called freedom that comes with the development of female contraception, I've realised there is also a level of repression and control. Two weeks after missing a contraceptive injection 6 years ago my sex drive suddenly returned after a 3 year absence, and I realised I was in a relationship for the last 7 years that I was deeply unhappy in. I felt as though the fog had cleared, I left my partner, went travelling, moved to London and changed my career.

    Over the years I've found GP's and women's clinic specialists to be unhelpful, unknowledgeable and unsympathetic to these issues.

    We should not, in this day and age, struggle in the darkness when trying to manage how and when we get pregnant.

    Best of luck with your book and documentary, you are doing a very good thing.


  2. I read the full blog article linked to above. I've heard all the negative things about Yaz, seen the news coverage, and researched Yaz online. In my personal history, I've been on various different birth control pills/patch/nuva ring. All had side effects to the point of horrible depression/negativity. On the patch I actually felt crazy. I was done with pills for good when my gyn. suggested Yaz. It was a complete turnaround: leveling out my moods, decreasing my heavy periods, curing acne, and improving my sense of health and well-being for most of the month. I respect that Yaz can be dangerous for some women, for me personally I was afraid it would be pulled from the market, and thankful it is still available.

    Just my two cents.