Thursday, April 26, 2007
Ready for the end of the period?
When I realized I was having terrible mood swings at the same time every month, I started to take action to protect the people most important to me.
Me: Hey hon, so I'm pretty hormonal this week. Just a friendly warning...
Hubby: *Blink.* So, I've got to work late tonight. And tomorrow night. And the night after.
Me: [unintelligible because of my uncontrollable sobbing]
I can't fault the poor guy for wanting to avoid me. He's got the patience of Job but even he'd get run down after a few takes of me flipping out about the simplest things. "What do you mean your phone isn't charged? I really needed to talk to you! What if I was seriously injured and needed to reach you from the ambulance?" You know, the everyday stuff.
So in 2003 when the makers of Seasonale started to market their birth control pill as a chance to cut down to just four menstrual periods a year, I seriously sat up and listened. How great would it be to side-step the inevitable back pains, bloating, and bad attitude that much longer? It would probably make for a happier married life, I thought. But it seemed, I don't know... unnatural. And too new. So I sat back and waited for some scary study to come out saying that missing your period is actually bad for your health.
Instead, I just learned that the FDA is now about a month away from approving Lybrel, a contraceptive that allows you to get evade your period for even longer than three months. Like, forever. Or at least as long as you want.
So this whole period-skipping must not be so bad for us then, right? I mean, studies so far show that there are no added risks to your health if you do it. My doctor told me that I could do the same thing with regular birth control pills, just keep taking the white ones, and that some women do it for various health reasons. But other docs will point out that there are still no long-term studies out there to prove that the health risks won't surface later on down the line.
I know I'm not alone in still wondering whether this is a good idea. Wyeth, Lybrel's makers, said that almost two-thirds of women they surveyed said they were interested in giving up their periods, the New York Times reported.
But what about that comforting monthly sign that you're not pregnant when you don't want to be? And that feeling you first had when you started to menstruate back in junior high - that feeling of hey, I'm a "real" woman now, complete with menses and bra straps? Is having a period a biological phenomenon that we should just accept and respect as the way God made us? Or do you think if we have the technology to make our lives a little easier and less painful, then we should take advantage of it?
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