Do You Have Problems with the Pill?

A new essay in Salon talks about why a lot of women who are on birth control meds hate it.


Today, Salon has an essay by my friend Geraldine Sealey* about all the various reasons women HATE the Pill.

As Geraldine notes in her piece, when she was taking contraceptive meds, her interest in sex plummeted, even though she'd just gotten into a great new relationship.

Pill-poppers might experience plenty of unhappy and fairly common side effects, including:

-weight gain

-mood swings

-blood clots (!)

-high blood pressure

-chronic nausea

(And, of course, libido-kill is also a fairly typical reaction.)

Geraldine goes on to say:

There is a widely held misconception that in 2010 women enjoy a plethora of contraceptive choices. ... [But in fact] there are essentially two categories of contraceptives: the hormonal kind, which includes nearly every pill and device available. And then the non-hormonal kind, including the copper IUD and less reliable barrier methods such as the diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge and male and female condoms.

Geraldine tried just about everything (except the diaphragm) before she and her man finally decided the best thing to do was to just stick with plain old rubbers, given how uncomfortable every other kind of birth control made her.

She writes:

Not infrequently, I have felt a little freakish and a lot bewildered about my predicament. Those happy women in the gauzy, ubiquitous Yaz ads make birth control look so darn easy — what is wrong with me? How is it possible that 50 years after the advent of the birth control pill, I am still dependent on a concept that may date back to 1000 B.C. when Egyptian men wrapped their units in linen sheaths? (Ow.)

But, as it turns out, she's not so freakish; 40% of women complain of dissatisfaction with their contraceptive pills or devices.

Ladies out there: Your thoughts on all this? Have you figured out some smart way to get around the side effects of the medication? Or some brilliant solution that makes the insertable devices a little more comfy?

Whatever the case may be, I hope you're keeping yourself safe and not doing anything that might set you up for an unplanned pregnancy.

(I've got to tell you, I read pieces like this and they leave me feeling ever so slightly depressed for being such a weirdo that I've never even had to think about using anything but a condom; I've never been in a relationship serious enough that we've even bothered to talk seriously about birth control. Sigh.)


*Geraldine works at a certain magazine that shall remain nameless, which is where I used to work — and she had my old desk for a while! We saw each other just a few weekends ago, at a fancy party at The Clover Club. And my wonderfully supportive and accomplished Marie Claire editor, Abby, used to be her editor.