Women's Woes: Heart Disease, Birth Control, Cancer, HPV

Rarely do I turn my focus towards women's issues, but my latest physical and an MSNBC report really sparked my interest. Be warned, male readers, this post may be a little graphic, but it's knowledge nonetheless.

Birth Control
First of all, I had considered getting on the birth control pill that eliminates monthly periods and gives a woman 3-4 periods annually. Sounds good, but it's really not. For example, the Seasonique (http://seasonique.com/) site states, "While you get 4 periods a year, you’re also more likely to have bleeding or spotting between periods. This can be slight to a flow like a regular period and should decrease over time." Uh, well, I'd rather have 12 periods that are on schedule than random bleeding throughout the year.

A similar statement is made on Lybrel's site (http://lybrel.com/): "Unscheduled bleeding or spotting is likely to occur while you are taking LYBREL. The convenience of having no regular menstrual periods should be weighed against the inconvenience of unscheduled or unplanned breakthrough bleeding and spotting." Right.

Earlier this week, and right around my annual physical, I heard a report that prolonged use of birth control can increase plaque in arteries. Being that I'm approaching a decade, this report caught my attention. However, after reading this article, I felt a little better. Issues of heart are nothing new in the birth control discussion. Plus, I just quit smoking and as every woman should know, smoking and birth control is a death cocktail, especially after age 35.

Cervical Cancer
The pill may slightly increase risk of cervical cancer, says an MSNBC article. Again, I heard the term "cervical cancer" dropped at my physical. My doctor strongly recommended I get the HPV immunization shot. Now that I know there's a slightly increased risk of cervical cancer with birth control, I will probably get the vaccine. My doctor told me that in my situation, the only thing that can spark cervical cancer is sex. I gave up smoking. I'm not giving up sex.

Getting old sucks, but at least I have health insurance.

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