Birth Control Shot

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In honour of International Women’s Day, I’m posting an article from my friend and colleague, Lisa Leger, a Fertility Specialist here on Vancouver Island, Canada. If you have any questions about birth control, please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with her. Enjoy!

PARKSVILLE — “I’ve seen the needle and the damage done.”

When local women’s health educator, Lisa Leger, hears that classic old Neil Young lyric she thinks of the depo provera shot.

The birth control needle is offered to women as a contraceptive option, but it can have damaging consequences. Leger has seen the damage done to women by the use of synthetic hormones in her almost 20 years counselling women on fertility awareness.

“I see women who have side effects from birth control pills or the shot immediately,” she said. “Those are the canaries in the coal mine. Their bodies tell them right away that tinkering with their normal fertility cycles and suppressing ovulation is a bad idea.”

The long term safety of hormone use is debated constantly. Research is emerging to suggest that hormonal contraceptive use can increase the risks of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and other chronic conditions that emerge later in life.

Leger’s concern about how hormonal products are sold to women as a benign lifestyle choice without adequate information about risks and side effects has motivated her to teach fertility awareness methods.

It has also prompted her to host a film screening and discussion about menstrual suppression products. The documentary is an official selection of the National Women’s Studies Association that examines the use of hormonal birth control for menstrual suppression. The film is titled Period: The End of Menstruation?

Documentary film-maker, Giovanna Chesler (www.g6pictures.com), who teaches media and communication at the University of California in San Diego interviewed every perspective for this film; from drug company marketing reps to goddess-worshipping menstrual celebrants and everyone in between.

The film includes the stories of patients who either liked or disliked suppressing their menstrual cycles with hormonal products. Leger expects the film screening and discussion will give participants the opportunity to air their opinions.

The free event is March 8 at 3 p.m. in the meeting room at Parksville Pharmasave. Call 951-0243 to register or drop in. For more details, go to http://www.internationalwomensday.com.

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