Opinion

Lacking nookie? What a pill

Speaker argues that birth control pills are bad for health and sex drive

It would seem the birth control pill is a double-edged sword.

At a time when women can have all the sex they want without fear of getting pregnant, suddenly they just don’t feel like it.

A study released this month by the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported women using the pill showed markedly decreased levels of sexual desire than women who do not use the pill.

“We have 40 per cent of our female population that has zero sex drive,” said Lorna Vanderhaeghe, a self-described women’s health expert from Vancouver. She is speaking in Victoria Jan. 18 on the effects of the birth control pill and hormone replacement therapy.

The pill, Vanderhaeghe argues, is being over-prescribed – with dangerous effects on women’s health.

“I teach younger women that even a low-dose birth control pill contains seven times the estrogen we give menopausal women,” she said, adding that moms with teenage daughters being prescribed the pill for acne or bad periods should be advised of this information.

While Vanderhaeghe isn’t “anti-pill”, she promotes a natural remedy approach to hormonal problems associated with menstruation.

Using the pill as a contraceptive is fine, says Vanderhaeghe, but women should be advised of the increased risk of breast cancer and other problems.

“Then, of course, another problem would be fertility. We have rampant low rates of fertility in Canada today,” she said.

“When you’re on the pill, the concept is you don’t ovulate. Your body thinks it’s in a pregnant state. So we halt ovulation. It’s not happening.

“Here in Vancouver, we have fertility clinics popping up all over the place. So it’s all interconnected.”

But Dr. Stephen Hudson from the Victoria Fertility Centre argues there’s no evidence to suggest birth control pills affect fertility when it comes to the ovaries.

Hudson attributes the decrease in fertility to women deciding to wait until they’re older to get pregnant.

“The main reason for the decrease in women’s fertility is the delay in choosing to start families. More and more women are choosing to start professions first, therefore delaying their start in trying to have children. Of course, the chances of becoming pregnant as a women becomes older start declining significantly over the age of 35.”

In her Jan. 18 talk at the Victoria Conference Centre, Vanderhaeg will also discuss what nutrients can be used to balance hormones for women before menopause, the role of food in healthy hormones, and the effects of HRT. The talk begins at 7 p.m. and is free.

For more information, call 905-690-7680.

alavigne@vicnews.com

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