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Opinions of Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Columnist: Michael Adu Aboagye

The hidden secret: Contraceptive pills

Contraceptives are birth control pills containing hormones that are taken either orally or through injections and other methods. The main objective of discovering birth control pills was to prevent unintended pregnancies and their burdens afterward. Birth control pills could be traced to Ancient Egypt practices when small circular stones were used to prevent unintended pregnancies.

In this 21st century, Contraceptives contain synthetic female hormones like estrogen and progesterone specifically called oral contraceptives. Another commonly used contraceptive embedded with only progestin, which is termed mini pills-progestin. This type contains an artificial version of only progesterone.

According to the United Nations Population Division, the United States of America has the largest contraceptive prevalence with a value of 84.00% in 2004. Birth control pills are a class of drugs that have been widely studied since 1960, and are used by more than 70 million women daily documented by Ryan.

In national research conducted in the US on the contraceptive methods, it was concluded that oral contraceptives had the highest rate of usage, and using oral contraceptives was the first-grade selected method in 15-44-year-old women (18.9%). In general, scholarly research has shown that the world possesses 75 million of reproductive women aged 15-45. Among these women, 82% depends solely on contraceptives to avoid unintended pregnancies. On the world ranking of contraceptive prevalence, Ghana falls on 130th position with a value of 28.60%. When you ask contraceptive users, they will nicely outline the benefits as “bigger breasts, lighter periods, unpredictable periods, painless periods, improve their complexion, they think it will keep their kids from getting pregnant, It makes them worry less, they possess the strong defense mechanism, and the almighty impetus they choose to have a baby. Well! It sounds good.

Birth control pills and cancer

Cancer is currently the biggest menace for the world especially when it comes to women's affairs. Today in our cooperate world, a lot of organizations including the World Health Organization is embarking on studies to find a permanent solution to breast cancer due to its mortality rate.

According to the World Health Organization “Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million women each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. In 2018, it was estimated that 627,000 women died from breast cancer – that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women.

While breast cancer rates are higher among women in more developed regions, rates are increasing in nearly every region globally”. Cancer is uncontrolled growth and spread of cells said the World Health Organization. A study conducted in 2000 by the National Toxicology Advisory Panel concluded by classifying estrogen as a carcinogen. They reported that estrogen-progestin in a contraceptive pill is a class 1 carcinogen for breast, cervical and liver cancer published by the UN’s International Agency on the research of cancer in 2005. Furthermore, the research found that the risk of uterine and ovarian was lower. Another epidemiological research was done to study the risk factors for breast cancer concerning contraceptive users. Kahlenbor’s me-analysis in Mayo Clinic showed a 44% increase risk of breast cancer in women who took contraceptive pills before giving birth. In three years’, other studies done by Cancer Epidemiology and Biomarkers and Prevention unveiled an increase of 320% risk of triple-negative breast cancer.

It was discovered in the meta-analysis that “Women who use conceptive pills for five years from age 20 have an increased cumulative incidence of cervical cancer at age 50 years from 38 cases per 10,000 (in never users) to 40 cases per 10,000. Women who use the conceptive pills for 10 years from age 20 years have an increased cumulative incidence of cervical cancer at age 50 years from 38 cases per 10,000 (in never users) to 45 cases per 10,000.

Contraceptive pills and Fibroid

According to Dr. Amun and Dr. Amsu, an endocrinology and metabolism specialist and physiology and anatomy and sports medicine specialist respectively concluded that 95% of female patients got fibroid as a result of birth pills control. The studies found that fibroid was the most prevalent in black women. Dr. Amun stated the root cause to be estrogen dominance. He furthered to say, black people, metabolized food differently to another race. Estrogen which is a catabolic steroid attacks cells and breaks down cells. This process causes cells to lose their charge and becomes food for white blood cells and that’s where inflammation starts. They concluded that fibroids are inflammation tumors because inflammation feeds on estrogen. Birth control pills in their research were found to have a link in boosting estrogen levels in women.

Cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world with an estimate of 17.9 million lives year says the World Health Organization. There are about 4.4 ischemic strokes for every 100,000 women of childbearing age. Birth control pills increase the risk 1.9 times, to 8.5 strokes per 100,000 women, according to a well-performed "meta-analysis" cited in the article. (A meta-analysis combines the results of multiple studies.) This is still a small risk; there's one additional stroke for every 25,000 women who take birth control pills, according to the article. With venous thromboembolism, the researched unveiled that 10.4 million-woman years were recorded, 3.3 million-woman years in receipt of oral contraceptives. In total, 4213 venous thrombotic events were observed, 2045 in current in non-users of oral contraceptives was 3.01 and in current users was 6.29. Compared with non-users of combined oral contraceptives the rate ratio of venous thromboembolism in current users decreased with duration of use (<1 year 4.17, 95% confidence interval 3.73 to 4.66, 1-4 years 2.98, 2.73 to 3.26, and >4 years 2.76, 2.53 to 3.02; P<0.001) and with decreasing dose of estrogen.

Contraceptives have a lot of hidden side effects, unveiling these hidden effects is critical in preventing diseases. Other incarcerated secrets are weight gain, intermenstrual spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches and migraine, mood changes, missed periods, changes to eyesight for those using contact lenses.

I can’t conclude without digesting the most salient issue which is obesity. Obesity and overweight are defined as excess accumulation of fact that impair the body’s health or physiological activities that’s according to the world health organization. Who’s obese and overweight? Obesity and overweight are defined when someone’s BMI is greater than or equal to 30and 20 respectively. No consistent link was clinically identified between contraceptives and weight fluctuation. However, the research unveiled fluid retention especially around the breast and hips. “According to one review, most studies have found an average weight gain of under 4.4 pounds(2kg) at 6 or 12 months with progestin-only birth control. Studies of other birth control methods showed the same gain”. Moreover, some types of hormonal contraceptives have been linked to a decrease in lean body mass.

Therefore, I conclude that birth control pills are detrimental to human health but has a fabricated health benefits than the detrimental effects. The best advice learned after this noble work is to ask your Pharmacist or Doctor the side effects before purchasing. The fact and figures above testify that anyone that use contraceptives should be prepared for spending outrageously on her health probably in her 50’s.

Take care of your body today and enjoy your old age with joy and pleasure.

Adu Aboagye Michael

· Birth control pill. (n.d) https://www.mayoclinic.org/test-procedures/depo-provera/about/pac-20392204

· Depo-Provera (Conceptive injection). (2018, January 16) Http://www.mayoclinic.org/test-procedures/depo-provera/about/pac-20392204

· How safe is the birth control shot? (n.d) Https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-shot/how-safe-is-the-birth-control-shot

· Oral contraceptives and cancer risk. (2012, March 21) Https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/oral-contraceptives-fact-sheet

· Roos-Hesselink, J.W., Cornette, J., Sliwa, K., Pieper, P.G., Veldtman, G.R., & Johnson (2015, April 29). Contraception and cardiovascular disease. European Heart Journal, 36(27), 1728-1728-1734.

Https://www.academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/36/27/1728/239818

· World health organization. (2020, April 1). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved May 17, 2020, from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/details/obesity-and-overwieght

· Sister circle TV (2019, November 18) Fibroid causes & birth control problems https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dpYNggmUpOA

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