More than you, and birth control companies would like you to believe.
Let's quickly review what PCOS is...Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of a female sex hormones. This may lead to menstrual cycle changes, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, and other health changes. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common disorders of the endocrine system affecting women of reproductive age. The endocrine system regulates and secretes hormones throughout the body. Thus, PCOS is often associated with hormone irregularities.
Birth control is seen as "only for women", and everyday, millions of people pump unnatural hormones and chemicals into their bodies as a way of "family planning". Now, I think birth control was one of the most important things ever invented, but we have come to an age where there needs to be more broadly accepted methods of "birth control", and more healthy and 'natural' family planning. This starts with Feminism.
Unintended consequences of the "hormonal birth control mindset" & lack of feminism, in women, men and society:
1. Woman are scared of getting pregnant because of societies demands and unfair cultural consequences that associate itself with pregnancy and giving birth such as:
A. a loss of career,
B. poor body image after pregnancy
C. an image of being a whore (outside of marriage/wedlock)
D. objectified and viewed that their worth is only to procreate
E. viewed as a neglectful mother if they choose not be the sole caregiver
2. Woman need to be in control of their bodies, and should not be expected to be the ONLY sex responsible for family planning, and a lot of the time, raising a family on their own, or with a distant partner.
3. Men and Women need to be seen, viewed and understood (by themselves and society) as EQUAL in all areas, especially as it relates to family planning, birth control and raising a family. A women does get final say on things that directly affect her body, but so few cases demonstrate that. (Abortion and Birth Control choices, affordable options)
4. Woman are constantly put into a place of being the sole caretaker, and usually fill the role as single mothers.
5. Woman get sick and develop illnesses from birth control, and appear to be lazy or irresponsible if they do not take Hormonal Birth Control
6. Woman loose connections with themselves, their natural cycles and natural family planning with birth control
7. Unexpected pregnancies that lead to abortions stem from lack of family planning, education for women, and empowerment as well as safety and respect as seen in cases where it from sexual abuse- which stem from lack of mutual respect/feminism and objectification.
8. Creates a mindset of addressing the symptom, rather than the problem
9. Women play the support role in their careers and at home - which is also why you do not see women i high powered positions who would have the opportunity to help change policies and mindsets
10. Woman are viewed to be in competition with each other in order to please the man
I know I really focused on women, but there are unintended consequences for men as well:
1. Men feel shame of choosing to be a stay at home dad and are judged negatively
2. Held to societies standards that they must be the sole money maker
3. That they can not show a feminine or nurturing side, or be vulnerable
4. Objectify women with their male counterparts - and learn to objectify from their fellow males
5. Self worth from men is viewed in by the power positions they have and the money they bring in
6. Men feel as though they can't be sensitive without feeling emasculated
7. Men sexualize women
8. Men feel as though women are a reward to be taken
9. Men in power positions have passed laws and created social norms that women are not in charge of their bodies and feel the need to regulate women's bodies
10. Young boys are not taught and raised the same as young girls. Such as pink vs. blue, bossy vs. brave...etc but on the flip side of that there is also feminine vs. masculine, which is shown more in a boy than a girl? What do those 2 words mean? Being called overly sensitive or gay.
....& SO much more. To make an exhaustive list would take many days, and too many pixels on this computer screen. There are social, economic, monetary, environmental consequences...Now I understand these are symptoms of the true problem and generalizations, which I am making to prove the point of a prevailing condition - lack of mutual respect and dignity for men and women, or feminism. Stop thinking of feminism is a dirty word! It has become a dirty word in a similar way as "Islam" has. Feminism simply put - means equal rights for men and women. There is nothing inherently wrong with being feminine or masculine - so stop saying there is!
Now people don't really know the exact causes of PCOS - there are MANY and I do not want to point the aggressive finger just at Birth Control, but I think this is a discussion we need to have and a thing we need to consider. Things are done and produced everyday without the thought of unintended consequences and the affect it may have on its context - whether known or unknown.
I just find it very disheartening, ignorant, unintelligent and short sided that doctors #1, and frankly usually only recommendation for PCOS, is the thing that just may have and most likely developed their condition in the first place - the elephant in the room - Hormonal Birth Control, pills. It is really frustrating and heartbreaking for me that the only supported option with my healthcare plan is for me to go see a regular doctor who will prescribe me the only foreseeable "cure" - band aide - hormonal broth control. In order for me to see another more natural practitioner, who will look and treat the problem, not symptom, costs $100-300 a session out of pocket and is not covered by insurance. That is why I am driven to start this research on my own, and start writing about this issue to learn more.
There are many reasons why a woman should not take hormonal birth control in the first place. That is not my focus, but if you are skeptical or want to learn more, please check out this great resource:
The idea of a more Holistic approach to family planning and really making sure that when you do so you asses possible unintended consequences and test your decision against your gut feeling, research and experiences. What I am telling you now, literally, my gut feeling is screaming NO to birth control in the common sense as it is viewed today. My research and experiences, are also on board with my gut. So what does this mean? Stop birth control. So I did, and my hormones are swinging around and lost - which is something I am confused about but intuitively understand. They have never been allowed to natural develop - every since puberty, they have been bombarded by chemicals and unnatural hormones. My skin has actually cleared up (one of the reasons I wanted to keep on and stay on BC) when I stopped using BC and started to change my lifestyle.
Do we want chemical companies to be the ones that are controlling women's bodies? What about the government? When men and women start and continue to have healthy, well informed conversations with each other about family planning based on mutual respect, I bet we will see a decline in the use of over the counter birth control and unintended consequences - such as abortion, disease and depression.
We need to take charge of women's health and empower women to not just mindlessly consume chemicals and hormonal birth control pills under the guise of fear and ridicule for themselves to be seen as lazy, deliberately careless or perhaps even being irresponsible or negligent. We need woman to be empowered by their bodies and start to take control back and make well informed decisions.
If you are using birth control to "treat" a unwanted symptom, such as acne, irregular bleeding...etc. I would definitely ask you to reconsider and ask yourself if you are really treating the symptom or the problem? If one were to take BC to treat a symptom, not the problem that the symptom stemmed from, this most certainly causes many unintended consequences. Doesn't seem like such a smart decision does it? Yes, it is harder, and (sometimes more costly) but usually MUCH LESS costly to try to go to the route of the problem rather than just address the symptom - both in unintended consequences, and monetary views... Now I must say, I was able to get a non hormonal copper IUD from Obama for free with my current healthcare. I am truly thankful for that because getting an IUD with all the exams can cost $500-1,000 easy. We need to make sure that many different types of birth control and education about family planning are accessible and affordable. One of the reasons why I support planned parenthood, although it is not the end-all-be-all. Where are the birth control options for men? There are ways to do natural family planning where neither the woman or man need to be "on" birth control.
Humans notoriously do not treat problems, we "treat" and go after symptoms. This is a CRITICAL problem in our way of thinking and a (could be fatal) flaw. People like to think of the world as a simple place, or even if they understand it as being complex, try to describe and treat the complexities with simplicity. This does not work. To tackle root causes, to some, opens up a scary pandora's box. It may mean that you discover that you are addicted to an unhealthy food, drug or substance, it may mean you have toxic relationships with yourself and those close to you, it may mean you are in a toxic environment...etc. This sort of thinking can lead you on a path of discovery that can shatter your current world view and lifestyle. But I promise, it will be better both almost immediately and in the long run. It is a brave journey. Allowing people to freely and openly be themselves, challenge the current societal view and make fully empowered and healthy decisions for themselves is what feminism encourages.
...to be continued and edited as I am still gathering thoughts....