iWoman: Our Bodies, Our Choice, Our Responsibility

Hello Sweeties!

When asked if I am on the pill, my usual answer is no. Not because am against it per se but because I have no real cause to use it.  I was raised by a baby boomer parents who think wearing uber short skirts or (gasp!) shorts will make a girl seem “easy or malamdi” ; I went to a Catholic high school that thinks talking about my menstrual cycle must be done in closed doors and not in front of the males in my class.   I must confess that I never went to an Obstetrician- Gynecologist except when I was pregnant with  my first child!

Contraception is not a subject that comes up often, in fact it was the condom that was the contraception of choice for a lot of us since it is said it does not just prevent pregnancy (most of the time) but it also prevents sexually transmitted diseases.  But there is another option.

The Pill

The Pill

Women are constantly shamed for popping the pill.  A lot of contraception-shaming stems from our conservative culture that contraception will “encourage” women to promiscuous, instead if empowering her to take care of her own body.  Silly isn’t it that we have had 2 female Presidents and still women are thought of as “sluts” when they decide to take control of their own bodies.

Sex – Taboo subject Matter

I regret that I never got around to trying the pill as I when I was much younger. Perhaps because at the time women were not given the right knowledge about the pill.  Every women must have access to information related to issues about our health, not only about our reproductive system but also about her body.

Although the main function of the reproductive system is to conceive and have children, a woman`s reproductive system is what makes her a woman.

Many hormones, especially those affecting the growth and behavior, are present in both men and women. Why is it that women are often portrayed as being under the influence of the hormones, as being under the “tide” or “storms”. Hormones are key to the reproduction¥be health in all aspects of a woman`s sexual life. Taking oral contraceptives help regulate menstruation, fertility, menopause as well as provide clear skin.

I attended a forum sponsored by iWoman, it was very enlightening.

Women must have an informed choice according to Dra. Anna Belen Ignacio-Alensuela

Women need to be heard and empowered. iWomen is launching an advocacy , #knowmorelivemore campaign to give women the right to information to help her live life without regrets and enjoy life to the fullest.

Dra. Anna Belen Ignacio-Alensuela talks about a more empowered Pinay.

Growing up there are a lot of myths about THE PILL,  Dra. Anna Belen shot all these down.

Myth:

  • It makes you FAT
  • It makes you infertile
  • It causes cancer
  • It causes you to break out in acne

Fact:

  • It helps treat acne
  • It helps you have lush beautiful hair
  • Prevents weight gain
  • Lowers the risk of anemia
  • Helps manage hypertension
  • Helps manage PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
  • Prevents unwanted pregnancy

Young people today are sexual active, this is a reality, most of them have no clue about contraception. If they do practice contraception they use the wicrawal and obviously this is not an effective way to prevent pregnancy.

Dra. Anna Belen explains that based on studies, a lot of women die every year because of unwanted pregnancy; most of which are girls as young as 14-15 years old! They are children themselves!

Other than the slut-shaming, a lot of women are not given the proper information, I think all women deserve to have a choice on what happens to their bodies. It is pretty obvious that the Catholic church had a hand in keeping women in the dark. The national government have been no help at all! This is just a shame.  I am so glad that the private sector is doing their part in informing women about their options.

I am a Mom of a 17 year old teen, what scares me most is that kids grow up so fast these days. Mind you, I trust my daughter. For this reason, I am not going to keep her in the dark, I will give her the option to choose (to be on the pill or not).

Oral contraceptive pills are 99% more effective in preventing pregnancy – if used continuously! It is readily available in drug stores, it is best Dra. Anna Belen advises to use a combination of condom (to protect us from sexually transmitted diseases) and the pill if you want to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

You may ask, why do women have the burden of responsibility? Well, obviously, since it is our bodies that will be affected.  We are often told that whenever a women get`s pregnant one-half her foot is already in the grave. This is all too true.   A lot of lives could have been saved, if they were given the choice of when they want to have children or whether they would want to have children at all.

Are the pills safe? They are if you find the right pill for you. Although there are instances that where you can`t be on the pill.   You should not take Combination birth control pills if you have any of the following:
* Blood clots or history of blood clots
* History of stroke or heart attack
* Coronary artery disease
* Known or suspected breast cancer or cancer of uterus, cervix or vagina
* Unexplained vaginal bleeding
* Jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin) during pregnancy or during previous use of the pill
Liver tumor
* Known or suspected pregnancy
* If you plan to have surgery with prolonged bed rest
* Smoke and have high blood pressure
* Uncontrolled high blood pressure or Diabetes
* Have Lupus
* Migraines with aura
* Smoke and are over the age of 35

Not all oral contraceptives are created equal. There are combinations you have to look into. Check out the iWomen approved pills below to find one suitable for your personal needs.

Minipil

For Minipil The ideal pill to use for first time users is the the one with the lowest dose. The brand Minipil, is a combination of 100 mcg Levonorgestrel + 20 mcg Ethinylestradiol. (“mcg” is micro gram) It is the lowest available in the market. Other bands have 125 to 150 mcg of Levonorgestrel and 30mcg of Ethinylestradiol. It has to be noted that low dose does NOT mean reduced efficacy, but it will definitely reduce side effects, especially if it will be the first time to use the pill.

Cybelle

For Cybelle: For those that have severe acne, chances are the pill with the active ingredients: Cyproterone acetate 2mg + Ethynylestradiol 35mcg will be prescribed. It is prohibitively expensive at Php 656 in Mercury, I guess that is the price you have to pay to get clear skin, the pill is made in Europe after all, however there is brand that is more affordable at about Php 450 in Mercury, that is Cybelle, it is also made with Cyproterone acetate 2mg + Ethynylestradiol 35mcg and also made in Europe. I guess beauty has a price, but is doesn’t have to be pricey. For Cybelle For girls that have been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), chances are you have been prescribed a pill with Cyproterone acetate and Ethynylestradiol. It is prohibitively expensive at Php 656 in Mercury, the pill is made in Europe after all. However there is brand that is more affordable at about Php 450 in Mercury, that is Cybelle, it is also made with Cyproterone acetate and Ethynylestradiol and also made in Europe. Cybelle will definitely give you more value for your money without scrimping on your treatment.

Liza

For Liza & Lizelle For girls that have uncomfortable periods or PMS, treating with regular pain reliever is not enough to manage all the symptoms, especially bloating and mood swings! You have to take pills with Drospirenone and Ethinylestradiol. Hurry and consult your doctor to best manage this. However, as they are made in Europe, be prepared as the pills cost anywhere from Php 889 to Php 905! It will certainly cause your mood to swing. But fret not, I found more affordable brands in Mercury, these are Lizelle, which cost only Php 629 and Liza, which is only Php 600! Same Drospirenone and Ethinylestradiol and also made in Europe. If this isn’t a deal, I don’t know what is.

Lizelle

Best to check on you ObGyn as Liza and Lizelle have different doses and number of pills; one of them should be the ideal brand for you. For Liza & Lizelle For ladies that get bloated and gain weight when they take the pill, the ideal pills to take would be with Drospirenone and Ethinylestradiol. Consult your ObGyn about you weight concerns when taking pills. There are Europe made pills that cost anywhere from Php 889 to Php 905 that will help you maintain your weight. It is certainly expensive, but ther are affordable brands in Mercury, these are Lizelle, which cost only Php 629 and Liza, which is only Php 600! Same Drospirenone and Ethinylestradiol and also made in Europe. If this isn’t a deal, I don’t know what is. Best to check on you ObGyn as Liza and Lizelle have different doses and number of pills; one of them should be the ideal brand for lighter you.

Reminder for the ladies from:  Dra. Anna Belen, always always consult your Obstetrician-Gynecologist or consult a health worker if you want to know more about oral contraceptives.

with the empowered Dra Anna Belen

I learned so much about reproductive health that day. I am so glad that silence has been lifted, with the new administration a new dawn has come for women all over the Philippines. Now that reproductive health is a priority, along with mother and child health I am assured that information, knowledge and proper medical care will be given to all Pinays. We deserve no less.

Until next time!

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