Medicalizing Young Women - A Dangerous Trend

image  A new drug just approved by the FDA, “Lybrel,” is one of a new breed of pharmaceuticals that profoundly interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle. While a few members of the medical establishment have questioned their safety and value, these drugs have received precious little public discussion. In her forthcoming book “What Women MUST Know To Protect Their Daughters From Breast Cancer,”  a pioneering voice in the women’s health movement sounds a serious warning about these strange new interventions in the order of nature.

by Dr. Sherrill Sellman

These days, young women are besieged by many challenges.  Social
pressures, economic concerns, health problems, schoolwork, and family
tensions all tilt the stress barometer into the dangerous red zone.
Skipping meals, eating junk food along with starvation diets have
become a way of life for teenagers.  More than ever, young women seem
to be burning the candle at both ends.

Women’s life styles and behaviors directly affect their physical and
emotional wellbeing, both for the short and long term.  It’s no
wonder that their hormonal health is under attack.  Premenstrual
Syndrome (PMS), painful periods, irregular or absent periods, ovarian
cysts, polycystic ovaries, fibrocystic breast disease (lumpy, painful
breasts) endometriosis, hormonal migraines, fibroids, acne,
allergies, fatigue and mood swings are occurring in young women at
epidemic rates.  Many girls try to ignore their health problems
hoping they will disappear.  Others schedule appointments with their
doctors.  Odds on, they will leave the doctor’s office with either a
prescription drug or some version of the Birth Control Pill.

Rather than perceiving hormonal imbalances as aberrations created by
the many abuses of modern life.  Medicine has convinced women that
menstruation itself, is the problem and those natural menstrual
cycles are dangerous, disease producing and require medical
intervention.  Doctors have also convinced many women that their
ovaries are the villains behind their health problems and emotional
turmoil.  The solution: shut it down.  The method: some form of birth
control!

The erroneous notion that menstruation is a rather unpleasant, toxic
process has been around for a hundreds, if not thousands of years.
So has the belief that the source of a woman’s suffering resides
within her ovaries, uterus and her menstrual flow.

In a syndicated column written by a well-known Australian doctor a
reader asked the following question. “My doctor told me recently that
monthly periods were now regarded by some as a ‘disease’ and totally
preventable. Is this true?”  His reply. “Why should women be burdened
with loss of valuable blood each month, which is often not
manufactured in similar amounts, often leading to anemia and chronic
tiredness?  Taking the active ingredients of the oral contraceptive
pill daily, with no seven-day break solves the problem.”

The sentiment that periods are a disease - or at least a most
unwelcome, unproven and unsafe physiological process - reflects a
growing trend amongst both physicians and pharmaceutical companies to
promote the theory that menstrual cycles should be eliminated.
Leading the charge to eradicate menstruation is Dr. Elsimar Coutinho,
Professor of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Human Reproduction in Brazil.
In his book, “Is Menstruation Obsolete?” Dr. Coutinho argues that
monthly bleeding is not the “natural” state of women and that
actually places them at risk of various medical conditions.  The
author maintains that menstruation is neither medically meaningful
nor sound.  He asserts that prehistoric women had fewer than 160
periods in their lifetime.  On the other hand, modern women, start
menstruating earlier, and spend less time pregnant, and have more
than 400 menstrual cycles. 
{pagebreak}
Dr. Coutinho believes that women should be able to choose the timing
and frequency of their periods.  In addition to perceiving
menstruation as a failed process, he also contends that it is devoid
of beneficial effects and may even be harmful to women’s health.
Coutinho’s work suggests that the most medically advanced “treatment”
for menstruation would be its total cessation in all reproductive-
aged women.

According to Dr. Coutinho, the profoundly complicated reproductive
system that has taken millions of years of evolutionary fine-tuning
has now been declared obsolete and harmful.  Medical science is about
to provide the rationale and the means to make menstruation
completely disappear.  The solutions are simple: just give all women
a continuous low dose birth control pill which is used continuously
for 84 days followed by a seven-day break.  This will allow only 4
bleeds a year.  (By mimicking pregnancy, the Pill literally shuts
down the ovaries, and causes a forced bleed each month not a natural
menstrual cycle).

Physicians and researchers alike have enthusiastically embraced Dr.
Coutinho’s theory.  They see no reason why all women wouldn’t want
to have fewer periods.  Whether is a problem such as migraines or the
just the ” inconvenience and messiness ” of menstruation, the Pill
can now come to the rescue.

Now that “medical advances” have conquered menstruation and drug
companies’ glossy marketing campaigns have succeeded in extolling the
Pill’s virtuosity, what has actually been achieved?  What does the
future portend for all the young women presently seduced by these
promises?  Does the Pill really improve a woman’s health?  Or, will
it contribute to a health catastrophe of unparalleled proportions?

The Shocking Facts About the Pill:

The pill has become the most popular method for birth control. But,
in recent years, oral contraceptives have increasingly been
prescribed to young women for noncontraceptive purposes. The Pill
has become the darling of the medical world for treating just about
any hormonal problem a girl may have and then some. To date, the
Pill is prescribed for acne, to “regulate” periods, for heavy
bleeding, and painful periods, to treat PMS, endometriosis,
migraines, ovarian cysts and polycystic ovaries. The Pill is even
prescribed to girls as young as thirteen for acne.

The Pill is said to be one of the safest drugs around. But is it?
In December 2002, the US government published its biannual Report on
Carcinogens that added all steroidal estrogens to the list of
“known” human carcinogens. The gravity of this finding cannot be
overstated: all estrogens used in HRT and oral contraceptives have
now been proven, unequivocally, to cause cancer! To make matters even
worse, synthetic progesterone (proteins) such as Provera or Depo-Provera,
used in HRT, oral contraceptives, injections
and implants are also listed as carcinogens.

  This is the indisputable fact:  the ingredients of the Pill,
whatever its formulation, cause cancer.  How can any carcinogens be
deemed safe especially when given to vulnerable young women?
Studies have linked estrogens and progestins to breast, ovarian,
endometrial, cervical, skin, brain and lung cancers.

There is nothing natural about taking the Pill.  As a result of the
Pill, a woman’s ovaries may be permanently damaged, resulting in
infertility.  Fabio Bertarelli, a billionaire manufacturer of
fertility drugs told the Wall Street Journal: “Our usual customers
are women over 30 who have been taking birth-control pills since they
were teenagers or in their early 20’s.”

Contraception formulas also increase the risk of coronary artery
disease, immune dysfunction, liver toxicity, strokes, blood clots,
osteoporosis, gum disease, high blood pressure and ectopic
pregnancies.  The side-effects include nausea, vomiting,
migraine-type headaches, breast tenderness, allergies, weight
increases, changes in sex drive, depression, head hair loss, facial
hair growth, colitis, Crohn’s disease and increased incidence of
vaginitis. Many of these effects may persist long after the
discontinuation of the Pill.

  In addition, the Pill depletes Vitamin B1, B2, B6, Folic Acid, B 12,
vitamins C, E, K, zinc, selenium, magnesium and the amino acid
tyrosine, essential for proper thyroid function.

Even more alarming is the fact that the earlier a woman uses the Pill
the greater the risk of developing breast cancer and also having a
worse prognosis. One disturbing study showed that the Pill
caused chromosomal aberrations in the breast tissue of young female
users. This research was further backed up with a study showing
that there was a 100 percent increased risk of breast cancer, which
extended from 10 years of pill use down to just three months!  So, it
is of no surprise that women as young as 17 years old, are now being
diagnosed with breast cancer.

  In one landmark study, researchers found that women who took the
Pill before the age of 20 and were later diagnosed with breast
cancer, have tumors with the worse prognoses than do breast cancer
patients who started taking the Pill at a later age or had not
previously taken it. Another study found this most terrifying
result: the younger the women were at the time of diagnosis, the
greater the possibility they would die within five years.

Echoing these findings, the U.S.  National Cancer Institute published
a study in 2003 showing that the risk of breast cancer was
significantly increased for women between the ages of 20-34 who had
used the Pill for at least six months.

Progestins make their own mischief, raising “bad” cholesterol and
blood pressure, altering sugar metabolism, compromising the immune
system, and creating undesirable masculinizing effects.  One study
found that women who used Depo-Provera before the age of 25 increased
their relative risk of breast cancer by 50 percent and for women
using it for six or more years; their risk was raised significantly
to 320 percent.

Of further concern are studies showing that oral contraceptives and
Depo-Provera contribute to bone loss in adolescents.

With the arrival of the continuous low dose Pill, normal menstrual
cycles are now fair game for the drug companies.  This option appeals
to many young women who believe that menstrual cycles are, indeed, “a
curse” and an unnecessary inconvenience. Nutritionally depleted
diets, stress and environmental toxins, the real culprits of
menstrual irregularities and hormonal imbalances, have been all but
ignored by doctors who prefer to opt for a quick drug fix.
Getting healthy is really the challenge before us.  Understanding the
immense importance of a healthy diet, good nutritional support,
exercise, relaxation techniques along with the guidance of competent
holistic health practitioners is the only way to truly assist young
women to regain their hormonal health and ensure their fertility.
Should menstruation, an intrinsic expression of a woman’s
physiological and psychological self, ever be made obsolete?

Absolutely not!

Enlightening article. Many Thanks.

Regards, Keith Johnson

Posted by Keith Johnson  on  09/29  at  07:03 AM
Page 1 of 1 pages

Name:

Email:

Location:

URL:


Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:


© Dharma Cafe'   |  RSS Site   |   Top of page