Volume 94, Issue 4
Friday, June 9, 2000
|CAMPUS AND CULTURE
Misconceptions about the pill
Side effects of the birth control pill can include anything from migraines, spotting, elevated blood pressure and depression, to exhaustion, acne, weight gain or loss and general irritability.
"You want to disclose the side effects to people but you don't want to scare the life out of folks," Wright said. She also noted while most side effects are rare, careful assessment of a patient's health and history can avoid complications.
"The last time I went on it, I gained 15 pounds and two [bra] cup sizes," said Adriane Villeneuve, a 24 year old dancer from Toronto. Villeneuve said she hated the pill and would take it again.
"My dance teacher was after me for gaining weight, saying I would never get any auditions if I didn't lose it. But no matter how hard I tried, the weight stayed on," she stated. "I was having these weird hot flashes and was so tired all the time. I don't know if that was from the pill, but once I went off of it, I lost the weight and I felt normal again."
Altaf Jiwaji, a pharmacist in the University Community Centre's Western on Campus Pharmacy, said if women do suffer unwanted side effects, there are not many options left.
"You really only have three options if you're experiencing side effects," Jiwaji said. "Go to a different pill, go off the pill or use a different form of birth control."
Villeneuve, who has suffered from side effects, said the convenience of the pill was a huge factor.
"I've never liked the pill, but I kept going back on it because it was so easy," she lamented. "That's what's so frustrating about it. But what else can you use that's that easy?"
"I just went to the doctor and said I want to go on the pill," Villeneuve explained. "And he said OK, here's a prescription for a year. We didn't discuss anything that could happen."
Vansevenant said because most women who take the pill for the first time are between the ages of 13 and 21, most are less likely to seek out accurate information. "A young woman contemplating taking the pill would probably approach a friend, who's not the most knowledgeable," she said.
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