Guest Post: For Me, Freedom Came in a Pill and Today’s Choices!

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Judy Washington

A guest post by physician Judy Washington:

Menopause brings freedom from the worries of contraception.

We now have women of child-bearing age in our lives.

They are our daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, and colleagues. Listening to all the talk about contraception makes me nervous, and it should make us think twice about what there is at risk if they lose access to contraception.

Free contraception would be better, but that will take time.

Starting the pill after my son was born made residency much easier.  My husband was a pharmaceutical company sales representative. The company launched its low dose oral contraceptive pill, and I started taking it in 1987.

After a few weeks of morning nausea, I was fine.  I learned to stop my period even before it was common place with the new extended cycle pills.  I would not have period during my hospital rotation months, during my vacation or on my weekends off.

When I finished residency and started my private medical practice, I continued regulating my period. I also managed to save many honeymoons and vacations by using this method for my many female patients.  I never had a period because I was too busy seeing patients or being on call. That was my freedom.

Now there are the new extended cycle pills that are being used by more women. Many women are not using them because of the higher insurance cost.  The hormone dose in these oral contraceptive pills is even lower; one pill has only 10 micrograms if estrogen compared to 30 micrograms back when I started.

Not only are the pills lower in dose, the new IUD’s are called Intrauterine Contraception (IUC’s).  There are two types.  The copper IUC which is non-hormonal and lasts for up to ten years, and the hormone containing IUC, which is effective for five to seven years.

Judy Post

Paragard http://www.paragard.com/default.aspx

IUD

http://mirena-us.com/

I really love the new FemCap, which is an improved version of the diaphragm and cervical cap. It is non-hormonal.

Cap

http://www.femcap.com/

Another blast from the past is the new and improved contraceptive sponge, renamed “Today Sponge.” We all remember the Seinfeld episodes with Elaine hoarding her supply of the Sponge.

Sponge

http://todaysponge.com/

Access to reliable and affordable contraception is our right and is medically necessary. The medical facts are being dismissed as we have to listen to the political rhetoric and the hysteria.

Contraception decreases the risk of unintended pregnancy for women.  Worldwide, women do not have this freedom.  Contraception can reduce child-birth related deaths.  In Nigeria, women are waiting in lines to obtain contraception.  The facts are that using contraception is a safe option.

We made the decision together to have only one child to add to my husband’s two children.

Every woman should have that freedom.  It just takes a few clicks to be informed.

Judy Washington, MD FAAFP, is a board-certified Family Physician.  She has spent her medical career first in private practice and later in medical education. She is now working as a college health physician.

12 responses »

  1. Great information. And yes, contraception should be free! I personally didn’t like the pill and some of the side effects it caused. I am happy for all the other women out there that they have improved the pill and now have so many other options available also.

  2. This was a wonderful and informative post. I have a 25 year old daughter so I always like to keep abreast of all the new options. And there are many. Yes! Every women should have this freedom!!
    Thank you, Judy!

  3. Excellent post. Thanks to birth control pills and later the IUD, I was free to have two planned pregnancies during 35 years of fertility. I was lucky I could afford this freedom.
    Birth control should be free to all women.

  4. It’s so great to get to actually ‘meet’ and learn more about you, Judy. I see you in the comments all the time but it’s nice to learn more about what you do.

    I’ve always thought about how lucky I was to grow up in a time (and location) where birth control was a part of life – available, affordable, and acceptable. I knew about the struggle, of course, but by the time I was old enough to be concerned, birth control (the pill) was a normal part of the conversation. To think that young women now have to fight again for their right to control their own body is disturbing.

    Thank you for bringing the discussion to light, again, at this time. It’s so important to understand that even though some of us are free of the burden, there are so many more women who still suffer. Thank you, Judy, and thank you, too, Barbara.

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