I came across an article in The Cut yesterday that caught my eye: “Every Girl I Knew Was On It: Why some women are questioning hormonal birth control.

As a Gen-Xer headed to college in 1992, I was one of those “every girls.” As a result, the article prompted me to indulge in the full 7 minutes it required to read it top to bottom.

Author Anna Silman wrestles with growing concerns about birth control and its potential for heightening anxiety in the women who take it.

She writes, “…many women I know are beginning to question hormonal contraception, particularly its effects on mood and behavior.”

With that, I fired off an email to genneve’s Director of Health and ob/gyn, Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, to get a science-backed opinion. She promptly wrote me back stating,

“There is no published association between anxiety and OCPs. Additionally, by evening out hormone levels over the cycle, many women find that these medications help reduce anxiety that comes with hormone swings. Any woman with depression or anxiety should inform her prescribing physician and they should discuss possible side effects, as hormones are active in the brain, so any change can disrupt a stable baseline.”

Articles like the one in The Cut and claims made on platforms like goop create fear when claims go unfounded. I specifically indulged in popular author and ob/gyn Dr. Jen Gunter’s quote where she stated, “…an accidental pregnancy is also not going to be good for your depression.”

I am reading Melinda Gates’ book Moment of Lift. The stories she shares about women in Senegal, Rwanda and India and how access to birth control not only changes the economic outcome of their lives but the economic status of a country is astounding.

How these women cherish their access to birth control is something we take for granted in our comfortable developed market. And yet, our rights to this incredibly important drug are being challenged by our government in its desire to prevent funding for the programs that ensure that right.

This prompted me to look up the latest stat for unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. – a whopping 45% of the 6 million annual births are unplanned. Behind teen pregnancies, women in perimenopause have the second highest rate of unplanned pregnancies …most often, because we think we’re too old to get pregnant!

As Dr. Sherry Ross says, “If you’re still having a period, you can still get pregnant.”

At genneve, we’ve published a fair amount on your options for birth control during perimenopause in Hot Flashes and Diaper Pails, and one of my favorites, the Mirena IUD to control heavy bleeding.

So what’s our call to action on this topic of birth control? I’d like to see more unified outrage on protecting our rights rather than picking apart the options we have.

We might think the topic of birth control and reproductive rights are a younger woman’s fight, but the stats tell us that our perimenopausal bodies have a place in the ring, and I’m certainly using my voice (and vote) to stand up for truth and freedom.


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