Reflections on contraception  

 
Women receiving hormones for life [1]

 

Contraceptive methods and their implications in women’s health

The author analyzes how the woman has been held responsible for the development and use of contraceptive methods, and how medical progress has only taken place with regards to hormonal methods at the expense of other harmless ones. Hormonal stimulation would accompany women from adolescence to menopause.
 

Dr. Mónica Puga

 

Contraception has been developed since primitive times throughout different cultures, religions and societies. The first writings about this matter are Chinese and date back to three thousand years before Christ. They are about substances such as Arabic gum (taken from acacias’ roots), which liberate lactic acid with spermicidal properties when fermenting. The Hindus used rock’s salt intra-vaginally for the same purpose.
After the industrial revolution the idea of regulating birth rates from a collective point of view arises, instead of the individual way used in the Ancient times. The strategy of covering the glans penis aimed, at first, at stopping the spread of syphilis which was threatening Europe. However, we can consider this technique to be the beginning of modern times’ contraceptive methods.
By the end of the XIX century in Germany, the first diaphragms were described. By those times, in England, the first spermicidal substances, which were improved in the 20s, appeared. The first intrauterine disposals also arose in those years, not being accepted, however, by the Medicine and the population in general until the 60s.
In 1959, the inhibition of ovulation through the administration of a combination of synthetic feminine sexual hormones: estrogens and progesterone was discovered. This is how “the pill” was born, carrying with it a social and scientific revolution, especially for women who consider it an important achievement in their fight for freedom.
In the Spanish Estate, contraception was legalized in 1978 due to a modification in the penal code. Until then, contraception had been compared with abortive practices.
  

Women’s Business

 

Talking about contraceptive methods is talking about women, since they are the ones who consult, use most of the methods, and practically take the responsibility for this topic.
According to allopathic or official medicine, the hormonal methods are the best ones in any of their forms: pill (daily), vaginal ring (monthly), transdermic patches (weekly) or intradermic hormonal transplants (every 3 years); or either the IUD (intrauterine devices), given that, according to statistics, they are the most effective.
On the contrary, the experience in our consultations shows that non-permanent methods –mainly barrier methods, masculine and feminine condoms, cervical cap and diaphragm – are generally effective and safe as well as being more natural and harmless.

 
Medical-scientific developments, however, have only and exclusively been concerned with hormonal issues. As time goes by, we get “better” combinations to administer hormones.
In advanced societies, when active sexuality starts-during the adolescence and youth- hormones are commonly provided to inhibit ovulation. The further this daily act is from women’s consciousness, the better. The vaginal ring and intrademic hormonal transplant which will make the woman forget abut this topic for no less than three years, would be less toxic for not being oral and therefore, for skipping the hepatic barrier. Their toxicity will have to be verified along the time.
Hormonal contraception abusively administered for many years, with very few or none resting periods, originates many disorders once it is abandoned, when the feminine cycle is restored. Many times, natural ovulation is not achieved any more; and even menstruation might not be recovered for quite a long time.
Fertility disorders appear which added to the advanced age for maternity, gets the woman in contact with ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques) and their consequent absolute overflow in the administration of hormones to stimulate the ovaries and obtain a number of ovules exceeding the natural amount.
It is known nowadays that for any of the assisted reproductive techniques, even when the disorder is not associated with the woman but with the man’s spermatic reproduction, the stimulus falls anyway, on the healthy woman’s ovaries either for an artificial insemination or an in vitro fecundation.
Some years later, the SHT (Substitutive Hormone Therapy) appears making the woman consume hormones again, this time in the menopausal period, to appease the symptomatology of the climacteric period until further notice.
As far as we see, from adolescence to post-menopause, we can affirm that women’s body doesn’t rest. If we don’t become aware of this, hormonal stimulation will continue being part of the whole feminine fertile life.
In my opinion, the fewer side effects the method produces, the more adequate it is, although in certain circumstances, using a hormonal method can be appropriate for a specific woman in a determined moment of her life.

Mónica Puga is a homeopathic doctor, psychoanalyst, specialized in female illnesses.
 

 

Highlights

  • In the Spanish Estate, contraception was legalized in 1978 because of the modification in the penal code.

  • Medical-scientific developments of contraceptive methods have only and exclusively been concerned with hormonal issues.

  • From adolescence to menopause there wouldn’t be a resting period for the woman’s body.

  • Hormonal contraception abusively administered for many years, with very few or none resting periods, originates serious fertility disorders.


[1] Article published in Diagonal newspaper Nº37. Barcelona, September 2006.

 


 

Ver menú de la izquierda