A pill to treat people who aren’t sick? Yes, Ricki Lake, it’s called preventive care.


She’s wearing glasses so she must be serious right?

Otherwise, if you simply listen to what Ricki Lake is saying about the birth control pill, you might be tempted to conclude that she’s joking.

Lake opposes the birth control pill and is raising money for a documentary to make other women fear the Pill, too. Her documentary, Sweetening the Pill, is based on the book of the same name.

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#870001″]Risk of death at homebirth is more than 500X higher than the risk of death from The Pill.[/pullquote]

As usual, Lake is profoundly wrong about the science.

In a piece published elsewhere [Time.com and here] I’ve addressed the deeply sexist impulse that leads Lake to oppose history’s greatest technological aid to women’s emancipation.

In this blog post, I’d like to deconstruct just one of the many disingenuous claims among the myriad.

This still from the fundraising video is typical of Lake’s bad faith approach:

drug to treat people who aren't sick

It characterizes the birth control pill as the “first medical drug to treat people who aren’t sick.”

Umm, Ricki, we have a name for treatments that are designed for people who aren’t sick:

It’s called preventive care.

Let me explain in simple terms:

Preventive care, not surprisingly, is designed to PREVENT bad outcomes.

What bad outcomes does The Pill prevent?

In addition to preventing unwanted pregnancies, the Pill:

  • Prevents death from childbirth
  • Prevents death from abortion
  • Prevents death from pregnancy related blood clots
  • Prevents death from pre-eclampsia
  • Prevents death from postpartum cardiomyopathy (one of the fastest growing causes of maternal deaths)

But preventing unwanted pregnancies is not the only health benefit of The Pill:

  • Reduces menstrual blood loss, decreasing the risk of anemia.
  • Reduces dysmenorrhea, painful periods.
  • Prevents the severe pain and fertility destroying potential of endometriosis.
  • Prevents endometrial cancer and precancerous lesions from unopposed estrogen production in women who have irregular cycles.
  • Prevents death from ovarian cancer.

We offer women The Pill even thought they are not sick because we want to prevent them from getting sick.

And the Pill is hardly the only medication that is prescribed as preventive care. Doctors recommend aspirin to prevent heart attacks and to prevent further damage when a heart attack does occur. They recommend statins to reduce blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart attack and strokes. One of the most popular medications of all time, Viagra, is routinely prescribed for men who aren’t sick; they simply want to have sex.

Do you have a problem with Viagra, Ricki, despite the fact that it’s only purpose is to promote sexual pleasure for men through intercourse?

No? So why do you have a problem with The Pill, whose main purpose is to promote sexual pleasure for women through intercourse by removing the debilitating fear of unwanted pregnancy?

Sounds like a double standard to me.

Sure The Pill has risks, but it also has benefits and those benefits dramatically exceed the risks.

Let me put in in terms that you can understand, Ricki:

The risk of death from thrombo-embolism (blood clots) in women taking The Pill is in the range of 1/100,000.

The risk of death of a baby at homebirth is more than 500 times HIGHER (5.6/1000, 800% higher than comparable risk hospital birth).

And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that preventive benefits of The Pill mean overall mortality in women using The Pill is lower than overall mortality in women not using The Pill.

If homebirth is safe, how can The Pill be dangerous?

You can’t have it both ways, Ricki.

The truth is that The Pill saves lives and Ricki Lake’s efforts to demonize The Pill will almost certainly lead to preventable deaths.

Medication to treat people who aren’t sick? Yes, Ricki Lake, it’s called preventive care.

339 Responses to “A pill to treat people who aren’t sick? Yes, Ricki Lake, it’s called preventive care.”

  1. ChristopherSSandberg
    June 29, 2015 at 5:18 am #

    Your first choice skepticalob Find Here

  2. dragonchaser
    June 28, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    I am one of the ones who had a very bad reaction to the Pill. It gave me a mini stroke at the age of 29, where I was in the hospital for over a week. But in no way do I think the Pill is bad nor that it should not be prescribed. There’s always going to be the rare case where it doesn’t work or gives someone a reaction like mine. I had been on it for over a decade straight with no issues before that point. Millions of women have used some form of the Pill for years with zero issues. And my issue was resolved quickly with no damage that I have discovered in four years. I have now had the Implant, which I like better because it’s great for lazy and forgetful people like me.

    • Captain Obvious
      June 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

      Appreciate your anecdote. There is morbidity and mortality to driving, but it doesn’t get outlawed. Even with very low risk persons, VTE complications may happen. So if you’re worried, use a progestin only method. Women that smoke, are obese, lived a sedentary life, are over 35 years old, have family or personal history of VTE, recent surgery, planning a long driving or flying vacation trip, recently post partum, or other risks should be aware of the risks. 10-15% of people are positive for FVL, not including protein S or C deficiency or prothrombin G20210a. All women should be counseled of the risks before starting the pill, then this documentary won’t be necessary.

      • dragonchaser
        June 28, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

        Interesting, thanks to the knowledge 🙂 I had none of the obvious signs nor have any of my female relatives ever had issues with the Pill, and my mother took it until she was in her mid-30s until she did permanent sterilization. And I have never heard another woman mention having anything happen to her when they were on the Pill (except for the occasional failure which was probably user error!)

        There is no such thing as zero risk. It was worth the risk for me, as it was my only option my insurance would pay for back in 2002 and i was a poor college student unable to pay for anything out of pocket.

      • fiftyfifty1
        July 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

        I really wish that testing for higher risk genotypes was quick, easy and cheap. The risk of a clot or stroke on OCPs is very low (and certainly lower than when a woman is pregnant) but I would still like to be able to let higher risk women know.

    • Who?
      June 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      That’s rotten bad luck, so glad the ill effects weren’t long lasting.

      • dragonchaser
        June 28, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

        Thank you. Wasn’t so bad though, once the doctors realized what happened and that simply by getting off the Pill all would be well. I had a ton of sick leave and had no issue taking that week off and a second one to rest at home. And everyone at my work sent me stuff and brought me food and started buying me lunch when I returned to work. I didn’t cook for myself for like six weeks. If I’d known how I’d get pampered, I’d have been hospitalized sooner 😉

        Not to make light of my situation, but it’s either that or freak out about it and I have a dark sense of humor anyway.

        • Who?
          June 29, 2015 at 1:47 am #

          Sounds pretty sane to me-no cooking is awesome. And yes, smiling through it, if that can be managed, is always the good option.

          My daughter has the implant and loves it, I wish they’d had those when I was younger.

          • dragonchaser
            June 29, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

            The implant is amazing. I have no more periods and I don’t have to remember taking a pill or popping in a NuvaRing or getting shots every few months. And my doctor’s office has a reminder for two months before the three years is up to call and schedule a replacement so I don’t even have to remember that.

    • sdsures
      July 5, 2015 at 11:53 am #

      I’m glad the stroke resolved itself quickly for you. That must have been really scary. I know it can be scary since stroke symptoms can mimic those of a migraine (hemiplegic facial paralysis, for example), and I once called 999 (like 911 in the US) when my husband had a migraine that we feared was a stroke. He couldn’t speak clearly ormove half of his face (he was about 31 a the time). Fortunately, it turned out to just be a migraine.

      The only bad reaction re migraines that I’ve ever had is from the combo pill. As soon as my “Pill nurse” spotted the combo pill that the doctor had put me on, ignoring my history of migraines, she immediately put me on a POP. I’ve done much better on that type.

      • Medwife
        July 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

        Atypical migraines are terrifying. A college boyfriend of mine suddenly couldn’t remember how to use his computer at all (and he was a programmer). Couldn’t remember his way home from work. I was sure he was having a stroke.

  3. carr528
    June 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    Ricki Lake can kiss my ***. I’ve used BC for many years, because while I got married young, we definitely weren’t ready for kids young. Then, after having two in two years, I went on the minipill because I was ready for some space between kids!! And, finally, I’m on Provera now, because after my last one (w/a tubal), my periods have been DREADFUL! (They were so bad I was hoping menopause would arrive early for me.) Doctor put me on Provera, and I’m much happier. Not everyone’s hormones work perfectly, and I’m glad we have choices now to help that, so women don’t have to suffer. Plus, the option to not have five babies in five years is a nice advantage.

  4. June 28, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    Rickiii. Stop making me hate Hairspray, that is a SACRED sacrament between childhood me and the dragqueens of the world and I WON’T LET YOU DESTROY IT.

  5. Gatita
    June 27, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    Can’t believe no one’s posted this yet:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dip54axBnIs&w=420&h=315%5D

    • Gatita
      June 27, 2015 at 7:46 pm #


      You wined me and dined me
      When I was your girl
      Promised if I’d be your wife
      You’d show me the world
      But all I’ve seen of this old world
      Is a bed and a doctor bill
      I’m tearin’ down your brooder house
      ‘Cause now I’ve got the pill
      All these years I’ve stayed at home
      While you had all your fun
      And every year that’s gone by
      Another babys come
      There’s a gonna be some changes made
      Right here on nursery hill
      You’ve set this chicken your last time
      ‘Cause now I’ve got the pill

      This old maternity dress I’ve got
      Is goin’ in the garbage
      The clothes I’m wearin’ from now on
      Won’t take up so much yardage
      Miniskirts, hot pants and a few little fancy frills
      Yeah I’m makin’ up for all those years
      Since I’ve got the pill

      I’m tired of all your crowin’
      How you and your hens play
      While holdin’ a couple in my arms
      Another’s on the way
      This chicken’s done tore up her nest
      And I’m ready to make a deal
      And ya can’t afford to turn it down
      ‘Cause you know I’ve got the pill

      This incubator is overused
      Because you’ve kept it filled
      The feelin’ good comes easy now
      Since I’ve got the pill
      It’s gettin’ dark it’s roostin’ time
      Tonight’s too good to be real
      Oh but daddy don’t you worry none
      ‘Cause mama’s got the pill
      Oh daddy don’t you worry none
      ‘Cause mama’s got the pill

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
        July 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

        Yeah I would love to see Loretta Lynn give Ricki Lake a piece of her mind about The Pill. Loretta bore six children. The first four by the time she was 20. Very much like my grandmother. Who bore 8 children. The first 4 by the time she turned 20. The last one the year she turned 40, Ricki is a privileged idiot.

  6. Gatita
    June 27, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    Can’t believe no one’s posted this yet.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dip54axBnIs&w=420&h=315%5D

    • Gatita
      June 27, 2015 at 7:43 pm #


      You wined me and dined me
      When I was your girl
      Promised if I’d be your wife
      You’d show me the world
      But all I’ve seen of this old world
      Is a bed and a doctor bill
      I’m tearin’ down your brooder house
      ‘Cause now I’ve got the pill
      All these years I’ve stayed at home
      While you had all your fun
      And every year that’s gone by
      Another babys come
      There’s a gonna be some changes made
      Right here on nursery hill
      You’ve set this chicken your last time
      ‘Cause now I’ve got the pill

      This old maternity dress I’ve got
      Is goin’ in the garbage
      The clothes I’m wearin’ from now on
      Won’t take up so much yardage
      Miniskirts, hot pants and a few little fancy frills
      Yeah I’m makin’ up for all those years
      Since I’ve got the pill

      I’m tired of all your crowin’
      How you and your hens play
      While holdin’ a couple in my arms
      Another’s on the way
      This chicken’s done tore up her nest
      And I’m ready to make a deal
      And ya can’t afford to turn it down
      ‘Cause you know I’ve got the pill

      This incubator is overused
      Because you’ve kept it filled
      The feelin’ good comes easy now
      Since I’ve got the pill
      It’s gettin’ dark it’s roostin’ time
      Tonight’s too good to be real
      Oh but daddy don’t you worry none
      ‘Cause mama’s got the pill
      Oh daddy don’t you worry none
      ‘Cause mama’s got the pill

  7. Dr Kitty
    June 27, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    I’m already thinking about my contraceptive options for after this kiddo.

    Mirena is off the table- my husband is not happy for me to get another (the last one had to be inserted under general anaesthetic and removed under sedation, and I had a big ovarian cyst while it was in place) although I loved it.

    My history of ovarian cysts and endometriosis take non hormonal methods off the table, because TTC is the only reason I would put up with my natural menstrual cycle.

    I intend to breast feed, but don’t trust LAM alone.

    Husband and I hate condoms and they aren’t acceptable to either of us.

    Desogestrel dramatically reduced my libidos, which is unacceptable to me.

    I’m currently thinking about trying Nexplanon while I breast feed, switching to Qlaira if I don’t like it enough to keep it after I stop breastfeeding.

    I liked Qlaira best of all the combined pills I have used and I have tried Cilest, Microgynon 30, Yasmin, Mercilon, Dianette and probably some others too over the years.

    i’m not choosing things because I’m not aware of the alternatives, by this point in my life I’ve tried most things, I know what I like and I know what my own personal comfort level is when it comes to risk of pregnancy vs side effects. I think most women are the same.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      June 28, 2015 at 1:35 am #

      Sounds like a great plan.

      By the way, how are you doing? Is your pregnancy going well?

      • Dr Kitty
        June 28, 2015 at 7:09 am #

        I’m good! 31w, active baby, smaller than average but just outside IUGR limit, so we’re happy. Regular growth scans, planning ERCS at 39w.
        Now that the sickness has gone, I feel great (apart from some wicked braxton hicks).

        • Montserrat Blanco
          June 28, 2015 at 7:37 am #

          I am really glad to read it!

        • Somewhereinthemiddle
          June 29, 2015 at 6:47 am #

          I’m joining you on the pregnancy train here! 19 weeks and feeling the little bubs move regularly for some weeks now. Glad you are feeling well. 🙂

  8. Dr Kitty
    June 27, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Can I just say for the record- there is one very simple way of improving the efficacy of NFP/FAM/barrier methods in the real world.

    Which is post coital contraception (Plan B/Levonelle/Ella One/ Ulipristal/ levonorgestrel/Copper IUD) used AS SOON AS you realise you might have a method failure.

    Forgot to abstain? Condom split? Withdrawal didn’t quite go to plan?
    It isn’t necessarily game over yet.

    Unless you have an ideological objection to PCC, it is a very important weapon in the arsenal against unwanted pregnancy and shouldn’t be forgotten.

    Anyone asking me about FAM/NFP gets leaflets about emergency contraception too, because the odds are that they’ll have to think about using it sooner or later, and most people I see DON’T have any objection to the idea of using it if required.

    I have more than one patient who would describe herself as using natural family planning methods, and neglects to mention that I prescribe her the morning after pill at least quarterly.

    • Gatita
      June 27, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

      I used it twice, was great to have the reassurance it was there if needed.

      • sdsures
        July 5, 2015 at 11:56 am #

        I’ve only had to rely on Plan B once, and since it was the first time, I was terribly nervous about even talking to a pharmacist about it. But she took me into the private consulation room, and was very reasurring. All went fine.

  9. Allie P
    June 27, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    I personally HATE hormonal birth control, but that’s my own thing. It’s great for other people and it’s one of the most useful and feminist inventions of the modern era.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      June 28, 2015 at 1:42 am #

      It was great for me in my twenties, apparently not so great later, I somehow got more side effects from it and my lifestyle changed, so I switched to other methods that suited my lifestyle better.

      In any case I do not make a documentary agaisnt the pill. That would be like holding a demonstration agaisnt blood pressure pills…

      • Who?
        June 28, 2015 at 2:38 am #

        Except no one gets moralistic about drug pressure pills. Sex, and women making choices about sex, gets certain people very hot under the collar, though, and not in the good way.

        • Montserrat Blanco
          June 28, 2015 at 2:46 am #

          Exactly. Those dangerous women!!!! Trying to control how many children they have!!!!

        • Maya Markova
          June 28, 2015 at 7:50 am #

          You only think that no one gets moralistic about drug pressure pills! I know a bunch of grandmas who consider them harmful, replace them with some seeds that allegedly bring down blood pressure “naturally”, and try to convince others around them to do the same. I also know a man who was mocked by his boss for taking drug pressure pills. There was divine justice, however – in 2-3 years, the boss was on such pills himself.

          • Fallow
            June 28, 2015 at 10:07 am #

            Yeah, I was about to say – plenty of people moralize about blood pressure meds. Because they think people with high blood pressure bought it on themselves, think people only have high BP if they’re overweight, think thatbeing overweight is the worst imaginable crime, etc. It’s all total bullshit, of course, but there are people out there ready to apply the just-world theory to every aspect of life.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

            Ok, you have made me change my mind. There is people silly enough in the world to think that having high blood pressure is something you are guilty of and you should be ashamed of taking those pills. Insert facepalm here.

          • Fallow
            June 28, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

            Ha, I don’t think I was aware those people existed, either, until pretty recently. It’s amazing how gross people can be to one another.

          • Inmara
            June 28, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

            I was in the same mindset, until my father started to take such pills regularly. He’s as fit as a man in his age (close to 70) may be, participates in several sports, has a job which includes lot of physical activities… yet he’s apparently genetically predisposed to high blood pressure (as all his family) and there it is – everyday pill which keeps him capable of continuing his lifestyle.

          • Roadstergal
            June 29, 2015 at 11:48 am #

            Yeah, I was involved somewhat tangentially with a program that addressed high cholesterol. The target was based on a naturally occurring mutation – heterozygotes have low LDL and a reduced rate of CHD, homozygotes are even more protected. Some people win the genetic lottery, some lose it – why shouldn’t we use scientific knowledge to level the playing field?

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            June 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

            Or both blood pressure and cholesterol drugs. My dad has the hereditary form of hypercholesterolemia and high blood pressure. He works out both cardio and strength training every week day for at least a half an hour and it doesn’t even put a dent in it.

            But now he likely won’t be able to take statins safely after he started that lovely side effect of rhabdomyalysis. Started with pain in his Achilles tendons then muscle aches all over and then dark urine and kidney pain. Went to the doctor who blew him off and said it was nothing, but my mom and I independently reached the same conclusion after researching frantically. Went off the blood pressure pills and statins and the kidney pain stopped but his tendons and muscles were sore for weeks.

            His doc didn’t care so I’m having my dad see my doctor out here since there’s a six month waiting period for a new GP where my parents live right now. Hopefully my doc can help him find something else to take. My dad’s kidney function has been 80% in the left and like 30-40% in the right and we don’t know why so that episode was a bit scary knowing the severe kidney damage that can happen.

            My dad is a very fit looking guy so I don’t judge who’s taking statins and blood pressure meds. Some people’s bodies just don’t cooperate like they should. We’re just counting our blessings that he hasn’t had a cardiac event. Hopefully my doc can get him a referral to a doc at one of the universities in Portland that specializes in patients that have bad reactions to statins.

          • Dr Kitty
            June 28, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

            He could consider a fibrate or ezetimibe…but under specialist supervision.

            My dad spent most of his adult life weighing under 9 stone to make racing weight, training with his rowing team and was good at his sport.

            Aged 70, he plays golf most days and cycles or walks daily.
            He’s on five BP meds and a statin.
            Unmedicated his BP is at the “you’re about to stroke out” level.
            It’s genetics, not lifestyle.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            June 29, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

            Yeah similar situation with my dad. Genetics dealt him a bum hand on the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

            I’m hoping be can get into a specialist at OHSU that specializes in treating patients that don’t do well with statins. Has been doing a lot of research with the genes that control blood cholesterol with an interest in gene silencing techniques for more delegations mutations.

          • July 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

            My body hates statins. I’m on Welchol and Tricor. My cholesterol went from 254 to 203. No side effects that I can tell, but Welchol is a horse pill.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            June 28, 2015 at 10:34 am #

            I don’t get this “naturally” versus “unnaturally” thing. If the seeds in question reduce BP then they’re antihypertensives the same as the pills are and are as likely as the pills to have side effects. In fact, more likely because the dose is not controlled and the drug is not refined and removed from any other potentially active agents in the plant. I really don’t get why this is supposed to be better.

          • Azuran
            June 28, 2015 at 11:18 am #

            There really is no reason. It’s just fear of ‘unnatural’ things. The notion of what is natural and what is not is also pretty arbitrary.

        • Tiffany Aching
          June 30, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

          This is so true. I’ve also notes that the vaccines that get the worst reputation (at least here in France) are the hep b vaccine and the hpv vaccine. Some people don’t like it when you come up with drugs that reduce the pretexts you can use to scare teenagers and tell them that sex is dangerous. I know some mothers who say they have no problem with vaccines except those two, and I can’t help thinking that their real reason is that they really don’t like to think that their kids will have sex one day.

          • Roadstergal
            July 13, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

            It’s exactly the same here in the US. People sniff that only prostitutes and drug users get HebB, so why vaccinate their kid? Which a: is utterly untrue, and b: even if it were, you’re saying your plan is to withdraw support and care for your child if he/she happens to use IV drugs or works as a prostitute?

  10. Box of Salt
    June 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    Carl Djerassi is one of my heroes. In my field (no, not medicine).

    I didn’t watch the video, and I’ve never watched daytime talk shows. But Ricki Lake is about my age (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001442/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm) – pushing menopause. And also not trained in medicine.

    Why does anyone care what she thinks?

  11. Gozi
    June 27, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    I only watched her first “Business of Being Born” documentary, if it should be called that. That was enough for me, and at that time I was more influenced by woo. I thought it did a poor job of defending homebirth. IDK, maybe Ina May will foot the bill for this one…

  12. Captain Obvious
    June 27, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    You should add to the above post any of the additional benefits mentioned and to be fair as well as list many of the short term side effects and risks of hormonal contraception. Because any new start user will have some side effects like head ache, breast tenderness, mood changes, nuisance bleeding etc. but many of these side effects diminish over a couple of months.
    Other benefits for acne, Helping with PCOS and idiopathic hyperandrogenism by minimizing hidradenitis supparativa and hirsuitism. Decreasing risk for endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer for women at risk who are obese and/or oligomenorrhea with cycles less than 6 months. Decreases ovarian cancer risk. Helps with endometriosis, menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea. Helps prevent unwanted periods during vacations and weddings. Helps with menstrual migraines. Yaz and Yasmin are FDA approved for PMS and PMDD.
    I believe being on hormones has decreased the need for ablations and hysterectomies.

    • Who?
      June 27, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

      Thanks so much for saying all that in one place. People who are lucky enough to have very manageable cycles can be dismissive of the benefits for those of us who don’t-fair enough, it’s hard to imagine what you don’t experience or hear a lot about.

      • MegaMechaMeg
        June 29, 2015 at 8:43 am #

        Our culture is pretty quiet on the period front so I think most women assume that their normal is everyone’s normal. I personally have the periods from hell which strike seemingly at random. I got an IUD and have been period free for seven years and the number of women who will whisper “Doesn’t it make you uncomfortable? Like it is unnatural?” is both hilarious and astounding.

        • Who?
          June 29, 2015 at 8:47 am #

          Yes when natural involves fainting, flooding, significant pain and inconvenience for up to two weeks a month, plus the dreading it and the feeling fragile after, leaving natural behind is the Best Day Ever.

        • Tiffany Aching
          June 30, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

          I’m on a progestin pill and have my period about twice a year. I’ve had à lot of people telling me that it must be very unhealthy. They don’t seem to think that it is unhealthy for a pregnant woman, though. People are étrange.

  13. Mishimoo
    June 27, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    The precious child who picked up Diphtheria in Spain has passed away. Poor kiddo 🙁

    • fiftyfifty1
      June 27, 2015 at 10:08 am #


    • Azuran
      June 27, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      So much for the anti-vaxxer claim that vaccine preventable diseases are easily curable with modern medicine…. Truly devastating story. Poor family.
      Very sad to think that it will probably need many more preventable kids death before the anti-vaxxers finally see the truth about vaccine…..

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      June 27, 2015 at 10:33 am #

      That poor baby. Oh, sure, diphtheria’s no big deal with modern medicine! /sarcasm
      Queue blaming the parents for not having him on a macrobiotic/kale-only diet in 3…2…1…

      • Box of Salt
        June 27, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

        “diphtheria’s no big deal with modern medicine!”


        • Box of Salt
          June 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

          Can’t ETA so replying to myself:
          “diphtheria’s no big deal with modern medicine!”


          Wikipedia link above.

          This year, the Russians had the antitoxin this year only because DPT/DaPT vax rates fell along with the Soviet Union.

          I am possibly more angry about the refusal for no reason of this vaccine than others.

          And, yes, we need a better vaccine for pertussis than aP.

          • Mattie
            June 27, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

            That’s a really interesting link, thank you 🙂 It seems that as the disease is getting rarer, availability of antitoxin is no longer such a priority for most countries…so it’s entirely possible that catching diphtheria now is riskier than catching it at a time when a) it was common and so diagnosed faster and b) more antitoxin was available. This may be wrong, and with vaccination rates high it’s far less likely you’ll catch it in the first place, but it seems anti-vaxxers are actually increasing their risk hugely. So sad for that child though, and the family, it seems they were just taken in by the woo.

            My nana had diphtheria as a child, and almost died, we as a family know how dangerous it can be, no way would I not vaccinate against it.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          June 27, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

          One of the greatest stories of mankind (not to mention dogkind!) right there. I read it for the first time when I was about 10 or 11, and though a rather unemotional child, had tears in my eyes.

      • PrimaryCareDoc
        June 27, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

        The crew at MDC is already blaming it on poor nutrition and living in a slum (no idea where they got that idea from).

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          June 27, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

          This is my shocked face.

        • Montserrat Blanco
          June 28, 2015 at 1:56 am #

          It is DISGUSTING. The boy was a healthy six year old. He lived on a 30000 population town. It is a completely average town in Spain, with drinkable water, sewage, etc, etc. We have public funded health coverage with all the doctors visits completely and absolutely free and a discount for prescriptions (according to rent). Vaccination with hexavalent (DTPa+polio+haemophilus+hep B) is absolutely free with DTPa available if you choose it also free. The child’s mother was a physiotherapist and the father worked at a local factory. He had a small sister. Hardly a slum situation and difficult to think about poor nutrition. I admit that there is a lot of talk lately here about children with poor nutrition, but it is mostly due to unemployment. We have a lot of unemployment and very little subsidies for unemployed people so it might be a problem in that situation. It is difficult for me to wrap my mind around that two people with jobs are not able to feed their two children. It is true that I do not know the family personally and I only have the information from the news, but I know of nobody that has difficulties feeding two children when both parents have a job.

          The same has been suggested in antivaxx circles here, that “we know nothing about the boy’s situation”, adding that ” the problem is the doctors did not treat him with antibiotics soon enough”. Sickening and disgusting.

          • Who?
            June 28, 2015 at 2:36 am #

            We know one salient fact about his circumstances-his parents elected to not vaccinate him. I read he had 8 close contacts (out of about 60) with diptheria bugs when they were tested, all 8 were quarantined and none got sick, and none of the rest of the 60 have it either. A salient fact about each of those 8 contacts is that they are all vaccinated. So they haven’t got it and they haven’t spread it.

            I don’t know how contagious diptheria is, perhaps that’s a factor.

            I would mind the anti-vaxxers quite so much if they would just get up and say ‘yeah, well, cost of doing business’, but they won’t take responsibility for either vaccinating or non-vaccinating: whatever happens is always someone else’s fault.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 28, 2015 at 2:45 am #

            Actually the last reports state that 10 people tested positive for the bacteria. None of them got the disease and all of them were previously vaccinated, having received at least three doses of the vaccine.

            The disease is pretty contagious, but the problem is the toxin the bacteria produces, not the bacteria, so there are healthy people carrying the bacteria around. The vaccine never ever tried to erradicate the bacteria, just avoid the disease by getting people to create antibodies agaisnt the toxin. It seems to be pretty effective and somehow seems to have disminished the bacteria circulation although the mechanism of that is not fully understood (for what I remember from lessons at uni).

            I do agree it is awful to see how they are behaving. It is not how we treat our patients.

          • yugaya
            June 28, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

            ” having received at least three doses of the vaccine.”

            This is also immensely important – to vaccinate your kids fully and have all the follow up shots and boosters as recommended. A lot of parents on the forums follow the path of initially taking their baby to be vaccinated, baby suffering a reaction within the range of what is to be expected ( baby gets fussy, injection site swells, some fever) and they decide to stop vaccinating.

          • PrimaryCareDoc
            June 28, 2015 at 10:05 am #

            Do you have a link to an article that states the parents’ employment circumstances?

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 28, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

            It is in Spanish, I am afraid, but probably Google translator will get you something. It is from a mainstream Spanish newspaper, the most read in the country. It appeared in other media as well (TV, other newspapers).

            The employement status of the parents appears in the last paragraph.


          • yugaya
            June 28, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

            Mom worked in a homeopathy-friendly clinic?

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 28, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

            Homeopathy clinic. Yes, we have that kind of thing. Those are all private clinics, nothing has public funding.

            So, it was hardly a slum situation, more like a super-health-conscious-eat-loads-of-kale situation. It is really hard to think that they did not have money to properly feed their children.

          • yugaya
            June 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

            Yeah we have those too – not covered by state or any private insurance so you have to pay for everything in cash.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            June 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

            Another thing that’s disgusting is that I have seen NOTHING on this in the US news. Had to do a bit of Googling to pull it up when it was initially posted here. Heaven forbid we worry the idiot parents who don’t vaccinate against this stuff! Can’t have that!

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 29, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

            I can understand that because it happened in Spain. I really do not expect a death from measles in the USA getting to the front page here, so the reversal is probably OK.

            That the antivaxxers try to explain it by saying it only happened because he lived in a slum… That would make me laugh if it wasn’t so terribly sad.

        • yugaya
          June 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

          That would be the same crowd that believes all those vaxxtruth stories about illegal testing of vaccines on humans in “third world countries like Poland”. I wouldn’t be surprised if majority of them wasn’t really sure which continent Spain belongs to.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 28, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

            Slum: they do have a very broad concept of slum.

            The mother is a physiotherapist. They earn about 1500 euros/month in a full time position (40 hours a week máximum). I have no idea about the father salary, but let’s asume at least 1000 euros/month.

            2500 euros a month. 20% taxes roughly. 2000 euros.

            A three/four bedroom flat 100 sq metres in Olot is 500-800 euros a month depending on the area and characteristics. I looked it up on a renting website, idealista, that is very popular in Spain and the flats look absolutely normal and some of them are pretty nice actually. Utility bills+local taxes hardly more than 200 euros a month. Food 300 euros a month. So, 700 euros a month for clothes, car (if you have, depending on the use, but let’s say 200/month could be average) and basically leisure.

            Health and schools are free. We do have private system for both ir you choose so but you can get that for free. Pensions are included on the taxes. You can choose to pay more for a private pension pot but a public one is pretty good and you can easily live with that money.

            Sounds like a slum, yes.

          • yugaya
            June 28, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

            There’s no point in explaining anything to them.

            It was a third world slum. – No it was not.
            Then it was a poor family. – No it was not.
            Must have been nutrition. – Highly unlikely.
            But that can never happen here. – Yes it can.
            The old, almost eradicated diseases were only replaced by new ones. -No they were not.

            and so on.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

            Please, please, please: get my eyes off that MDC thread!!!!!!! I am already really upset. Take my phone and do not give it back to me in three months!!!!

            Now they are saying that the problem is the treatment he received at the ICU!!!! And the antibiotics that he got before being admitted to hospital!!!!
            There is someone saying he should have got high dose vitamin C!!!!!!

            I need to stop or I will lose my eyes due to eye rolling.

          • Tiffany Aching
            June 30, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

            I was just wondering if you can twist your eyes from too much rolling. Made me think of Liz Lemon’s giant eyerolls in 30 Rock.(btw, I’m just back from Barcelona, wonderful city, wonderful people, wonderful food :))

        • yugaya
          June 28, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

          from mothering. com http://www.mothering.com/forum/47-vaccinations/1515785-six-year-old-boy-diphtheria-catalonia-dies.html

          “I don’t live in barcelona in horrid conditions…what kind of slum did the boy live in, and how was his nutrition/health? i don’t see that addressed anywhere in the article, and barcelona has plenty of slums.”

          “When you make choices you should accept responsibility for ALL outcomes.”

          When the Barcelona slums part was refuted, this followed:

          “i like how the media did not indicate HOW the family lived…just where”

          and this:

          “Are you saying that because slums are not pictured or described on the Internet that they don’t exist?!? Name a city, anywhere in the world, especially where there is a tourist trade, and there is a poor section (aka “slum”).I am sure New York City has poor neighborhoods, yet I doubt that would be shown in a website. The idea is to ATTRACT tourists, not scare them away. Really, people! Internet links of the area where the boy lived do not tell anyone anything about how he lived. Even if there is no poor neighborhood, his family might be too poor to provide adequate nutrition.NOTE : I am NOT claiming that this boy’s family was poor, nor am I saying that poor nutrition is why he died. I AM saying that this argument is pointless because neither side can prove anything with the current publicly known information.”

          I can’t read more, the lack of basic human empathy and decency is just too much to comprehend even though I’ve seen it so many times now. 🙁

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 28, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

            I find it DISGUSTING. And then they ask: what are the chances of it happening in the USA?

            Short answer: A LOT. And, according to the thread, you and only you will be responsible.

          • Daleth
            June 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

            They didn’t even live in Barcelona. That’s where he was sent, to a major hospital with a pediatric intensive care unit, when they realized how sick he was. They lived in Olot, a picturesque small town (about 33,000 inhabitants) in the mountains.

            Reference for fact he lived in Olot:

            Wikipedia page with lovely photos of Olot:

          • Roadstergal
            June 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

            Oh, but I’m sure they just didn’t show pictures of the Olot slums on the Wiki page – tourism, and all. *headdesk*

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 29, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

            Yes, we do not happen to have a top ICU on every small town around the country so he was transfered to Barcelona. And yes, a complete third world country. Wolves run around the streets and we do not have universities.

          • Daleth
            June 29, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

            You do have universities–they’re just really old. You have all these tired old universities that have been sitting there for 500 years, while over here in America we have nice new universities that we just built! We are so much more civilized than you. 🙂

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 29, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

            I think my university was opened around the time Cristobal Colón got a foot in América…

          • Daleth
            June 30, 2015 at 10:36 am #

            See, that university is TOTALLY out of date by now.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            June 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

            Oh! I didn’t know El País had an english version!

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      June 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      Crap. If this kid had gotten a treatment (though admittedly not a pill) when he wasn’t sick he’d be alive today.

    • demodocus
      June 27, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      Oh no, poor baby.

    • Box of Salt
      June 27, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      Barbara Loe Fisher: this is your fault.

      My condolences to all who knew the child.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      June 27, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      Yes, I am really sorry about him. So sad that he has died.

      The news is in all the media here.

      The antivaxxers are simply disgusting. They have not said anything today, but previous days it was sickening to read all that crap. Really sickening.

    • Who?
      June 27, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

      So sad and entirely avoidable. I hope this death gets a lot of respectful publicity because the broader community deserves to know where this mindset leads us.

    • Cobalt
      June 28, 2015 at 9:43 am #

      I’m seeing a lot of antivaxxers blame hygiene and sanitation. Because Spain is a third world country just like Poland.

      • Tiffany Aching
        June 30, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

        Idiots. I’m just back from Barcelona, it is a marvellous city. Food is great and cheap too, I’d say that it is much easier to have a healthy diet there than in many places in the US. They certainly think that every country outside the US is underdeveloped.

  14. Ellen Mary
    June 27, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    And all of this assumes that the Pill is the only way to prevent pregnancy. But it isn’t. The Estrogen doesn’t even really need to be there to prevent pregnancy, in the end.

    It had its place but now it does not compare favorably with LARCs. The Pill, with 91% typical use efficacy, would only win over Depo if I dropped NFP tomorrow (which, though much maligned on here has brought me 18 pregnancy free months & counting just this round). I consider Implanon, Skyla, Mirena next generation, far more sophisticated strategies that the Pill with Estrogen. Exponentially lower dose. In fact COCPs just went OTC in CA. I think it is really to regain market share being quickly lost to IUS & other LARCs.

    • Sarah
      June 27, 2015 at 9:51 am #

      Actually there are a number of ways in which the Pill compares favourably with LARCs. Unlike an IUD or IUS it doesn’t require internal examination or procedure to insert, which is a benefit for the many women who either cannot tolerate or wish to minimise internals. A woman who wishes to stop using the Pill can simply stop of her own volition, without needing a clinician to remove it as would usually be the case for an IUD, IUS or implant. This is important for women who for whatever reason find it difficult to attend clinics (geographically remote areas, unpredictable work patterns, no childcare etc) and for those who are concerned they may not be able to get it removed easily. It’s a good option for a woman who’ll be trying to conceive in the near future but wants non-barrier contraception prior to that. And there are lots of people who just don’t want a foreign object inside their body.

      So in order to ascertain whether the Pill compares favourably with LARCs or any other contraceptive for a given woman, we need to know what her priorities and feelings are. You can’t just make a blanket statement.

      • fiftyfifty1
        June 27, 2015 at 10:08 am #

        “You can’t just make a blanket statement.”

        Exactly. There is no “best” birth control type. What is best is what is best for an individual teen or woman at that particular time in her life based on her own priorities.

        Clearly Ellen Mary feels that NFP is best for her. Nobody here has the slightest problem with that. What is a problem is when “best for me” becomes “so it should be best for you too”.

      • Cobalt
        June 27, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

        The “need a doctor to remove it” kept me away from IUDs for years, as my relationship to sustainable access to medical care has been rather rocky. I used the pill for a few years (when I could afford it), but after my younger daughter was born I suddenly had intolerable side effects and switched to NFP/condoms.

        • Sarah
          June 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

          Of course, I forgot that in the US there might be insurance issues with getting it removed. Can imagine that would be a very big deal for women whose insurance is sporadic. I know women can and have removed their own coils and implants, but it’s a road most would rather not go down I think!

          • Roadstergal
            June 29, 2015 at 11:56 am #

            With the implants in particular – according to two OBs I’ve seen, you need a certain certification to implant and remove them. The first one is my ‘regular’ OB, who had just re-upped the training and could remove the old one and install a new one; the second is an OB who is WAY closer to my house, but isn’t certified and apologized that he couldn’t do the swap.

            I ride 34 miles RT to see my OB, because I like her* and I like the implant, but not every woman can or wants to.

            (*Not that I don’t like the closer guy. If I do get around to going from implant to tubal ligation, I might just switch.)

      • Fallow
        June 29, 2015 at 11:26 am #

        I love my copper IUD, and will probably never use another form of birth control. However, after I’d had my first one for a few years, I began to expel it and had to semi-cajole my gyno’s receptionist into making an appointment for me to have it properly removed. It was a pain in the ass. The receptionist didn’t see why I wanted it removed immediately – um, because it’s travelling out on its own?

        Lot of my friends who don’t want an IUD don’t want to deal with the fact that IUDs are a foreign object in the body, that has to be placed and removed by a medical provider. I feel like those are totally reasonable objections. People are different. They need different things. I need to avoid hormones (I hate hormonal BC for many reasons) and never think about birth control, even. Other people need and/or like the hormones and like the ability to quit their method of birth control as they please. Nothing wrong with any of that.

        On the other hand, people have so many misconceptions about IUDs that it’s hard for me to have the IUD conversation with a lot of people. And I’m the only woman I know with a copper IUD instead of a hormonal IUD – even medical professionals assume I have a Mirena until I correct them. Which is tiring.

        • Sarah
          June 29, 2015 at 11:50 am #

          Copper IUDs seem to be much less fashionable now. Which I can’t really understand since when I used to work in family planning 10 years ago (admin not clinical, but people tell the receptionist all kinds of things) the reason a lot of women liked them was because they were non-hormonal. IUSs were just getting popular at the time. Copper IUDs seem to be one of the best options for women who don’t get on with hormonal contraception.

          And yes, I’ve heard a number of horror stories about women not being able to get coils and implants removed. I suppose because the implant in particular is reasonably expensive (or was when I last saw the NHS purchase ledgers) they want to get value out of the time and money taken to fit them. But that’s not ok if you need it out now.

    • fiftyfifty1
      June 27, 2015 at 10:03 am #

      Nobody here maligns NFP for the right person. What people object to is all the dogma surrounding NFP, such as unfair claims that it is more effective than it really is in real world use, that it is somehow “safer” or “more natural” or “more respectful” of women or other ideology-driven claims.

    • fiftyfifty1
      June 27, 2015 at 10:04 am #

      ” In fact COCPs just went OTC in CA. I think it is really to regain market share being quickly lost to IUS & other LARCs.”

      Why would you think that?

    • EllenL
      June 27, 2015 at 10:58 am #

      Where do you get “all of this assumes that the Pill is the only way to prevent pregnancy”? No one here has said that.

      Dr. Amy presented the case for birth control pills because the pill is the method Ricki Lake has chosen to demonize.

      Ricki Lake and her ilk are the ones wanting to limit women’s contraceptive choices, by fostering an irrational fear of hormonal birth control!

      The pill has lost some market share over the years, as other methods of birth control have become available. There is no single method that’s ideal for everyone. Interestingly, the method of birth control used the most in the U.S. – after birth control pills – is tubal sterilization.

      • Gozi
        June 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

        I just think there are more things more dangerous in the world than a birth control pill. Really? Get your panties in a bunch about that?

        Now when Dr. Amy decides to do a documentary about babies dying because women are coerced into thinking birth should be performance art, then I might have to scrape up my pennies!

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      Not everyone does well with DepoProvera, or implants, or the cervical rings. My experience with patients using them has been mixed.

      • Megan
        June 27, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

        I had a horrible experience with depo provera and a lot of patients I see do as well. Plus long term use can lead to loss of bone density. I have quite a few patients who hate their Mirenas as well and I have literally had women come back to get them removed within a month of having them placed. Personally out of all the methods I’ve tried my Paragard (copper) IUD was my favorite as I was lucky enough not to be someone who had heavy bleeding with it and it gave me the freedom to literally never worry about pregnancy or when hubby and I could have sex. I personally put up with the pill for a long time prior to that but never really liked the side effects, especially the fact that it seemed to work best as birth control because I never felt like having sex on it! This is not an uncommon reaction from what my patients tell me.

        Bottom line is that every individual woman will prefer a different method. There is no best method. My friend and her hubby have (somehow) successfully relied on withdrawal for years. I would never feel comfortable doing that unless I was ok with getting pregnant should it happen. Same reason I won’t use FAM alone though my cycles are probably regular enough to do so. The decision of what method to use is something to be decided by a woman and her partner in collaboration with a healthcare provider who can help decide which risk/benefit profile is most suitable for them.

      • Spamamander
        June 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

        I had implants after my first child in 1993. I literally spotted every single day until I had them removed a year and a half later. Plus they had migrated in my arm and the doctor had to use ultrasound to find them and fish them out. They’re an awesome long-term method for the people that react well, but apparently my body just did not like it.

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        June 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

        I can’t use any of those three myself. They whack out my moods horribly on top of making me nauseous almost constantly. it’s preferable to take a pill each day rather than live like that. Just thinking about it makes me queezy.

        And IUDs can make bleeding worse in some cases. I really don’t want to take that risk as I already bleed enough to get fatigued.

        So yeah, pill over here because I can’t use NFP because of irregular cycles and endometriosis.

        Guess my body is just dern not sophistimacated enough for dem fancy pants BC methods.

    • guest
      June 27, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

      Well la di dah. I’m glad *your* birth control choice is more “sophisticated” than mine!

  15. Ellen Mary
    June 27, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    It really irritates me tho when people compare the Pill to Viagra. The female equivalent of Viagra is Premarin/Estradiol, vaginal & otherwise. AKA, treatments used to restore/enhance sexual function. The Pill may make sex more carefree or enjoyable but it doesn’t enhance function really.

    • Captain Obvious
      June 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

      For people who don’t like to have sex while bleeding or cramping, it does. OCP helps decrease dysparunia due to endometriosis. OCP takes away the fear of pregnancy better than barriers. And flibanserin is a better comparison to viagara than HRT.

    • MegaMechameg
      June 29, 2015 at 8:53 am #

      This is anecdotal, but my sex life got better by leaps and bounds when I got my IUD just because I stopped living in fear of pregnancy. It is difficult to enjoy sex when your mind is on a loop of “don’t knock me up”

    • June 29, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      Viagra just helps blood flow to the penis. Treatments for low testosterone are a lot more perilous health wise (anabolic steroids and testosterone replacements are often the exact same meds). There is no viagra equivalent for females, though everyone has tried very hard to make one.

  16. DaisyGrrl
    June 26, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    Slightly OT: does anyone have any good information resources for women using hormonal birth control past the age of 35? I just got a new doctor and when I asked her for my usual BC she acted like I was trying to self-induce a stroke. Gave me a different “safer” pill to try. Then I went to get the pill filled and the pharmacist counselling also emphasized risks of blood clots.

    The only thing I can think of that has changed for me (besides the doctor) is that I turned 35. I use the Pill to regulate my periods and if this new pill doesn’t help with the extreme PMS and period symptoms, I want to have proper info on what the true risks are for serious adverse reactions.

    • Who?
      June 27, 2015 at 1:27 am #

      Just had this chat with my gp this week, instigated by her as I gather she’s had women in all week worried about their pills, perhaps on the back of this particular scare campaign. The risk of someone who is a healthy weight, with ok blood pressure, under some age in their forties, who doesn’t smoke and has no family history of stroke, having a clot is tiny. That risk is effectively doubled by being on one of those third generation pills, and the more risk factors you have, the further up your risk goes. The risks associated with pregnancy are way higher.

      I’ve been on Yaz for maybe 6 years, on one pill or another since I was 19, mainly for symptoms, incidentally for contraception. My only risk factor is my age (52) and we really should be talking about seeing how I go without it, but I’m so happy with it: it manages my terrible pre-menstrual dysphoria, mid cycle pain and bad periods. I can park my car and choose between tins of tuna in the supermarket, two things I really struggle to do pre-menstrually otherwise.

      Of course it could be that I don’t need it at all, but I’m frankly scared to go off it. It’s hard when you need it for symptoms, because it actually affects your quality of life to go off it. Good luck!

      • DaisyGrrl
        June 27, 2015 at 8:43 am #

        Thanks for this. I do have a family history issue that I think is the source of my new doctor’s concern. I had spoken with my previous doctor about it, and we believe that while there is an elevated risk, my relative had additional risk factors that don’t apply to me (migraines that got worse on the pill). I had also been tolerating the pill very well for several years by that point.

        I’ve been on and off the pill since I was 17 mainly because I have truly evil PMS. I can live with the periods being painful and heavy, but being on the pill is absolutely a quality of life issue for me as well. Frankly, it’s also a quality of life issue for those around me since I’m such a nut the week before my period!

        • Who?
          June 27, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

          Good luck with it-I (and I suspect my husband and children) really empathise with the suffering of all concerned when things aren’t helped along. We’re so lucky to have these things at our disposal.

    • GiddyUpGo123
      June 27, 2015 at 1:44 am #

      That’s crazy, everything I’ve heard/read is that birth control pills only increase the risk for stroke if you have high blood pressure or if you smoke. I am 43 and my doctor has never mentioned that stroke might be a concern for me, and I’m also overweight. My blood pressure is always right in the middle range of normal and I haven’t smoked since my 20s, so I understood I don’t have any increased risk of stroke because I take BC pills.

      • Daleth
        June 27, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

        No, the pill is an independent risk factor. At the risk of oversimplification, the pill gives you hormones that in effect make your body think you’re pregnant, so you stop ovulating. But those same hormones are what make pregnant women at higher risk of stroke than non-pregnant women are. AFAIK all hormonal birth control increases stroke risk (at least all combined estrogen-progesterone ones), though some less than others.

    • Bystander
      June 27, 2015 at 3:09 am #

      The minipill is recommended in women over 35. I’m on it and it’s been awesome. My ever more evil periods have just been tamed. It’s been the sole side effect. I turned 40 last month.
      I get my blood pressure checked every six months when I go to renew the prescription, but so far, so very good.

      • DaisyGrrl
        June 27, 2015 at 8:31 am #

        That’s the pill she gave me. I’m really hoping it works because it took me 3 or 4 tries in my early twenties to find the right pill.

        • Ellen Mary
          June 27, 2015 at 9:51 am #

          The MiniPill is Progestin only. It doesn’t have some of the same concerns as COCPs (although paradoxically, the particular Progestin is the issue in Yaz & Yasmin). However, with MiniPill you have to take it at the same time every day, full stop, no excuses. The Estrogen in COCPs makes them more forgiving of inconsistent admin. Progestin only pills are good, but exacting in terms of dose schedule.

          Implanon is lower dose & is set it & forget it. Also Mirena. Both are lower dose progestin only without a daily routine.

          • DaisyGrrl
            June 27, 2015 at 10:27 am #

            I’m taking the pill for symptom control rather than contraception. If the mini pill works for that purpose, then I’ll seriously consider an IUD or some other form of longer-term option. Since I had a difficult time initially finding the right pill for my needs, I’m very hesitant to jump right into a more expensive longer-term option.

          • Captain Obvious
            June 27, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

            Have a 3 hour window actually to use the mini pill. Like 7 am to 10 am. If not use barriers for the next 7 days. So it’s really not full stop.

          • June 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

            I’ve seen more than a couple of women on the minipill who got pregnant when visiting family in the US because of the time difference between the US and Israel, which can throw one’s schedule off completely.

          • Box of Salt
            June 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

            Even within the US, the time difference between East Coast and West Coast can make things challenging. You can plan around that – but it takes work. Which most of don’t want while on vacation.

            Been there, done that, used back up.

          • Dr Kitty
            June 27, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

            FDA approved Desogestrel 75mcg yet?
            I literally don’t prescribe the older POPs any more.
            Why would I?
            Desogestrel has a 12 hr window and a typical use efficacy of over 90%.

            It’s been available in Europe for years as branded and generic preparations, I don’t get why you don’t have it yet in the USA, because the market opportunity in over 35s with high BMI and tobacco dependency would be huge!

          • Megan
            June 27, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

            We only have it available as Desogen which is a combination OCP and though is was hugely popular when it first came out it isn’t prescribed much now (at least in my area) due to reports of a higher risk of VTE than other OCPs. I honestly don’t have much experience with it. Feel free to enlighten me!

          • Dr Kitty
            June 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm #


            Desogestrel alone as a POP is not associated with increased risk of VTE, inhibits ovulation pretty reliably and doesn’t have to be taken within a 3hr window. It has been used in the UK for at least 12 years.

            Personally, I didn’t like it myself, but a lot of my patients love it, especially if they don’t get periods with it.

          • Megan
            June 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

            Thanks! Looks like it would be something nice to have as a prescribing option. Not sure why we don’t have it…

          • Bystander
            June 28, 2015 at 2:38 am #

            Actually, my formulation of Cerazette has a 12 hour window to take it. I have definitely considered a LARC, but tried this as a short-term trial to see if it’d work for me… and it has done so brilliantly enough that I’ve been happy enough to continue it.

        • Amy M
          June 27, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

          I use the minipill and love it. (I’m 38 and started using it I think 2yrs ago?)

      • Klain
        June 28, 2015 at 12:47 am #

        First time I used the minipill everything was fine. Second time it was awful – giving me a complete menstrual cycle every 2 weeks which was so much fun with a toddler and a baby.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      June 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

      Your relative risk goes up with age. Your absolute risk depends on a lot of factors including whether you smoke, whether you have certain genetic polymorphisms that increase risk, your overall health, etc. There is a risk of blood clots for any woman taking OCP, though, so the pharmacist has to tell you that.

      • DaisyGrrl
        June 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

        Thanks. I think the pharmacy chain I use was sued a few years ago for failing to adequately counsel a woman taking OCP, because the counselling I’ve received in the past placed far less emphasis on the risk of clots (they still told me, but it was more, “hey, this pill increases your risk, but the risk is still quite small. Don’t ignore sudden symptoms”).

  17. dimux
    June 26, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    Your first choice skepticalob Find Here

  18. Kelly
    June 26, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    More pregnancies mean more money from home births? She is crazy. I have thought many times what it would be like before birth control and the only way to control fertility would have been abstinence. I am glad we have options. I am glad I have more control.

    • KarenJJ
      June 26, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

      Good point. Lay midwives don’t deal with non-pregnant women’s health care, so they have a vested interest in women getting pregnant. Especially the sort of women that like to eschew medical care and are happy to follow celebrity “advice” over medical advice.

    • Ellen Mary
      June 27, 2015 at 7:51 am #

      Don’t rewrite history. Withdrawl has been with us since the beginning of time & is still the most widely used method today & condoms date back pretty far. Herbal concoctions were also in such wide use that the early church is rumored to have destroyed them. The only way to control fertility has *never* been abstenience.

      • Cobalt
        June 27, 2015 at 8:23 am #

        “Control” is way too strong a word for withdrawal. “Mildly discourage” is more accurate.

      • June 27, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

        OH WHAT EVER.

      • demodocus
        June 27, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

        condoms sucked until relatively recently.

      • Kelly
        June 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

        I agree but those are not very good ways of preventing pregnancy. I know that you can still get pregnant on all methods of blocking pregnancy but they are much better than those and you have more choice. Why do you think people hail the pill and other medical inventions that have come out? These methods have changed the way people plan their life. We do not have to worry about having more kids and dying. If I was a fertile Mertile and withdrawal was not working, I would have to choose abstinence if we did not have the modern birth control.

      • Gatita
        June 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

        Ellen Mary, why do you get so defensive on these birth control threads? I’m pretty sure I speak for most people here when I say no one cares if you use NFP. It works for you, great! It also worked for me and for other folks here. No need to go on a tear defending NFP and maligning other methods. Seriously, why?

        • Ellen Mary
          June 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

          Because women can’t have it as an option while myths & misinformation keep swirling. Maybe the same reason people get upset about Pill myths. Myths damage the ability to have a full range of contraceptive options.

          • Box of Salt
            June 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

            “Withdrawl has been with us since the beginning of time & is still the most widely used method today”

            Withdrawl(sic) is not a “method.” It’s a gamble.

            Even with your NFP – no thanks!

          • fiftyfifty1
            June 27, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

            Withdrawl is very user dependent. There is a small percentage of men who are highly motivated, have developed excellent ejaculatory control and do not produce pre-ejaculate. For this tiny subset, it can work. For all others, as you say, it is not a viable method if one wished to *prevent* pregnancy rather than just somewhat reduce pregnancy chances.

          • Box of Salt
            June 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

            fiftyfifty1: as I said: Gamble!

            I am not willing to give the responsibility of mitigating the risks to someone who will not suffer the physical consequences.

            And yes I am seriously irritated by the attitude displayed by both Ricki Lake and Ellen Mary.

            Let’s re-read Tuesday’s post, and think about it.

          • fiftyfifty1
            June 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

            So Kelly writes that she is glad we have more birth control options and control than in the past and you consider THAT to be the spreading of myths and misinformation, you consider THAT to be a myth that “damages the ability to have a full range of contraception options”?!

            You bring some serious baggage to the table Ellen Mary.

          • Gatita
            June 27, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

            Ellen Mary, there’s a reason most women don’t want to use NFP and it’s not because of myths. It’s because using it is a lot of work with a very high failure rate. It’s only ever going to appeal to a narrow niche of women using it for faith-based reasons or who can’t tolerate other forms of birth control. So let it rest.

            For a comparison of failure rates of different BC methods: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/14/sunday-review/unplanned-pregnancies.html?_r=0

            ETA: Just realized that looking at the charts, NFP has a slightly higher failure rate than simple withdrawal. Lawd.

          • FormerPhysicist
            June 27, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

            There’a another small subset that use it to time/space out pregnancies within a marriage where it isn’t a disaster if a pregnancy occurs. And most of that set that I know intended surgical sterilization after childbearing was over.

          • Medwife
            June 28, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

            Yes. Not everyone wants to make their family planning option their hobby. They want to have sex when they feel like it and control their periods so they can have a better time with their other hobbies.

      • PrimaryCareDoc
        June 27, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

        I call people who use withdrawal as their only method of birth control “parents.”

      • June 27, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

        I don’t care if it’s TMI or not. For some people (women as well as men) withdrawal literally robs intercourse of the best part.

        • Cobalt
          June 27, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

          It completely ruins it for me, and I don’t even find it to be “the best part”. The constant awareness and timing management, combined with the risks of failure, makes it an unpleasant chore. I would rather just not even do PIV if that’s how it’s going to go.

      • EllenL
        June 27, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

        Withdrawal is the most widely used method today? Where would that be?

        Here’s Contraceptive Method of Choice In the U.S. (in 2012, the most recent year for which I could find figures):

        Pill 25.9%; tubal sterilization 25.1%; male condom 15.3%;
        IUD 10.3%; vasectomy 8.2%; withdrawal 4.8%; injectable 4.5%; vaginal ring 2%; fertility awareness based methods 1.4%; implant 1.3%; patch .6%; emergency contraception .2%; other methods .4%.

    • SporkParade
      June 28, 2015 at 5:09 am #

      It’s not actually historically accurate to say that birth control is new. The Ancient Romans, for instance, had an herb that was so effective at preventing pregnancy that they drove it to extinction.

      • sdsures
        July 5, 2015 at 11:59 am #

        According to my husband, who is a big Ancient Roman history buff, the herb in question looked like (in his word) a “big p**** and b***s”, but he doesn’t know what it was called.

        • SporkParade
          July 5, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

          Google tells me that it was called silphium and was quite probably some sort of fennel.

    • sdsures
      July 5, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      I thought her crazy train had left the station years ago.

  19. KarenJJ
    June 26, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    I’m so sick of drama queens and media whores taking up these types of cause celebre. There are so many issues affecting women’s lives, why pick one that has been incredibly popular and changed so many women’s lives for the better, if not to feed into her own notoriety.

  20. namaste863
    June 26, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    it begs the question of who’s the bigger moron; Ricki Lake, or the morons who actually take her seriously? Personally, I doubt she will gain much traction. Even the Pope hasn’t been too successful in getting women to stop taking the Pill in the USA when conditions of access to it are optimal. My advice to you, Ms Lake, is please for the love of all things good and holy stop watching 19 kids and Counting. Oh, and speaking of which, I am by no means condoning sexual assault/molestation/rape/whatever. What Josh Duggar did was beyond despicable. But am I the only one who’s secretly pleased that those lunatics turned out to be nowhere near as squeaky clean as they portrayed themselves?

    • Hannah
      June 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

      I used to think I’d be secretly pleased when a sex scandal was their downfall (because it was only inevitable with the type of life they preach). I’m glad for their downfall because the truth about their cult is coming out, but so so horrified by what the ‘scandal’ itself happened to be.

      • MegaMechaMeg
        June 29, 2015 at 9:39 am #

        Right? I was secretly waiting for whichever one of the boys is inevitably irrepresably gay. I imagined him finger snapping while styling his sister’s gothard curls and remaking their hideous denim into project runway style prom dresses. It would have been so beautiful.

  21. Sue
    June 26, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    Somehow, I suspect that this silly woman’s campaign will not have much influence on the use ot the world’s greatest liberator of women from yearly pregnancy.

  22. Tiffany Aching
    June 26, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    You did not list it, but the progestative pill I take has tremendously reduced the horrible migraines I had both in frequence and intensity. Also, I don’t have my period (or like once a year). Even if it had no birth control effect I would still take it for these effects !

    • Cobalt
      June 26, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

      Menstrual migraine control is a VERY BIG DEAL.

      • Tiffany Aching
        June 26, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

        Migraines can be so crippling and in my case it interfered with work. I’m so grateful to the obgyn who put me on this pill.

    • June 26, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

      I envy you. Birth control made mine worse – I’ve been unable to use the pill because of it. But I’m married to a man who 100% respected that and we found ways (including condoms even after marriage) to control our fertility. And that fine man, bless him, got a vasectomy the moment we were sure we were done so I’d never have to worry again. (I’m still getting the essure sterilization when I can manage it to double up, but still)

      • Cobalt
        June 27, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

        Condoms after marriage gives me the frustrated giggles. My husband and I used them for years during my fertile times, and I still feel silly buying them. My GP looked at me a little suspiciously too, like we were secretly swingers and he was debating if offering STD screening would be appropriate or offensive.

        Since getting an IUD, a few of my female friends have asked me about it, they’re curious because they’re married with condoms too. It’s more common than you’d think.

        • Poogles
          June 29, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

          Hmm, I didn’t even realize that using condoms after marriage might be seen as “weird” – I’ve always just viewed it as one option among several for birth control.

          • Cobalt
            June 29, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

            Depends on how you view them, which probably relates quite a bit to whatever style of sex ed you got initially. For me, birth control was presented as the pill, implant, shot, etc. Condoms were for STD prevention, a necessary evil for the promiscuous pre-marital stage to be abandoned once a long term monogamous relationship was established. Condoms were apt to break, and were therefore too unreliable to use for pregnancy prevention.

            Now, that might not be strictly accurate, but it was my first impression and then my durable underlying bias. So using condoms still makes me feel a little promiscuous even if I’ve only had the one partner for years. Silly? Sure. But still true.

  23. Sarah
    June 26, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    What a dozy bitch.

    • Who?
      June 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

      Ricki Lake? You’re right, she is. And lying as well.

      Mind you I’d call her an idiot because I try to avoid gender specific insults when I can-Ricki isn’t an idiot because she’s female, after all.

      • Sarah
        June 27, 2015 at 4:34 am #

        Yes, Ricki. You may have whatever feelings you wish about traditionakky gendered insults, personally I use them for both sexes.

    • June 27, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      no woman is a “bitch”

      • June 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

        I disagree.

        – a bitch

        • Box of Salt
          June 28, 2015 at 2:41 am #

          Meredith Brooks

          • June 28, 2015 at 2:44 am #

            I’m a BITCH
            I’m a LOVER
            I’m a CHILD
            I’m a MOTHER
            I’m a SINNER
            I’m a SAINT

            That’s my jam, yo. She’s from my home state too.

      • Poogles
        June 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

        “Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman’s got to hold on to.”
        -Dolores Claiborne, by Stephen King

  24. JJ
    June 26, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    I took BCP for heavy periods from about 17-21 and they worked great and I had no bad side effects. I stopped taking it and my periods stayed normal after that. I was afraid to take it for multiple reasons when I for married at 22 though: (I was afraid I they caused abortions, I would get cancer from them ect.) I actually had a dream last month that I was wishing I just took BCPs again instead of doing fertility awareness for the past 11 years. Not that I have any children I don’t want (LOL), it just would have made my life a lot easier. (Now my dh is getting a vasectomy so I don’t need to worry about birth control anymore.)

  25. GiddyUpGo123
    June 26, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

    After four pregnancies, I decided I really liked not getting my period. So I started taking birth control pills (skipping the placebos) and got my periods down to about twice a year.

    I also take them because I like knowing that they can help prevent ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer scares the f*** out of me.

    Pregnancy prevention, as far as I’m concerned, is a happy side effect.

  26. GiddyUpGo123
    June 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    Oh god, when will that woman finally shut her mouth?

  27. June 26, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    I had some weirdo pro lifer harass me as a young woman going to planned parenthood for birth control. I figured she wouldn’t care because I wasn’t getting an abortion but she had the NERVE to lecture me on how dangerous the pill is, and I was like “I read the package insert, I am aware of the risks leave me alone please” and she still wouldn’t shut up. I’m certain that she didn’t read them, most people don’t, but I find them weirdly interesting so I always peruse them. The only thing I learned later that wasn’t in the provided literature is that it can lessen libido in some women. I can say with certainty that it would have been the absolute worst time in my life to be pregnant though so I am very glad that birth control was available to me.

    • guest
      June 26, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

      I took them for many years and became concerned about my lack of libido, and found the same information online (that wasn’t in the insert – I also am weirdly fascinated by reading the whole entire insert for anything I’m on). I don’t know if the libido thing was ever confirmed or not, but I quit taking them and didn’t see an improvement.

      Now I want to go back on and get me one of those no-period pills, but I have to wait until the end of September for a gyno visit. 🙁

      • KarenJJ
        June 26, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

        It happened to me and I was so annoyed because I was on birth control and suddenly didn’t really need it 🙁 I switched the pill I was on and was much happier.

        • guest
          June 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

          I no longer care if it suppresses my libido or not, so there’s that. But if it’s a common side effect, it should be in the insert.

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:51 am #

      Those package inserts! In my last job, which involved teaching women receiving fertility treatment how to inject themselves, a dozen times a week I would see a half-hysterical woman who’d “read the insert” and was horrified. When I explained that legally the drug company had to list everything, even the single case of green freckles that occurred in the administration of X million doses, the women usually calmed down, but fertility treatment is stressful; the last thing they needed was more stress.

      • Mattie
        June 27, 2015 at 3:04 am #

        I agree, but also it really frustrates me when people don’t read the inserts at all and then claim they had no idea that (for example) the drug they/their daughter was on for acne could cause blood clots…well of course you didn’t know, you didn’t read the information.

  28. The Computer Ate My Nym
    June 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    Semi off topic, but I wonder how many people who use NFP successfully to avoid pregnancy are also sub-fertile? I used barrier alone for years and was very smug about how I was so good at it that I didn’t get pregnant in all that time–until I switched to trying to get pregnant and found out that while I can get pregnant, I can’t get pregnant easily. It’s easier to make a slightly flaky method work if you’re not at high risk to start with.

    • Mariana Baca
      June 26, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

      I’ve known many people who are highly fertile and used NFP for years successfully. But they were highly motivated to do it right. Percentage-wise, I don’t know. Most failures I’ve seen were “user failures” which indicates most NFP methods are difficult to use — nobody should claim otherwise, they do the whole thing a disservice.

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with the science behind it. But it is not easy to use — humans have very occult ovulations, by design, and there is not a ton of money for research of better detection methods.

      • Roadstergal
        June 26, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

        I think it’s always very informative to look at the ‘ideal’ failure rate, vs the actual failure rate in the wild – that’s a pretty good estimation of how complicated a method is. The gap is, of course, the lowest for implants, so I gravitate towards those, as someone who is happier the less she has to think about BC. Know thyself, and all that.

      • FormerPhysicist
        June 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

        It can work. If the couple is highly motivated, highly disciplined and the woman is regular and/or can feel ovulation. It’s much harder if the woman’s cycles are irregular.

        • Mariana Baca
          June 27, 2015 at 1:14 am #

          I think it can work for highly motivated people with irregular ovulation if they are willing to abstain/use other methods at any sign of ambiguity. Or it can work pretty easily if person is regular since the periods of abstinence are shorter and predictable. I don’t think “feeling ovulation” has anything to do with it. You are measuring far more concrete bodily symptoms.

      • yentavegan
        June 26, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

        Or the many people you know are liars and their husbands used condums in addition to NFP.

        • Mariana Baca
          June 27, 2015 at 1:12 am #

          I don’t think they are all liars. I’ve met them in person, and I’ve met their kids. Some use condoms, some don’t. If you don’t wish to believe me, that is fine.

          I can’t relate my own experience since I’ve never tried to have kids, but I avoided pregnancy for many years using NFP. But I might be subfertile, I’ll check back in a few years.

      • Jessica
        June 27, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

        I used fertility awareness to conceive my son, and thought it was great – I had no trouble taking my temperature at the same every morning, thought the cervical mucus observations were clear, and OPKs sealed the deal. We conceived the second cycle I charted.

        We recently embarked on TTC #2, and I found charting much, much more difficult. The first cycle I was trying to avoid pregnancy (trying to regulate after Mirena). I had a sinus infection for most of the month and my temperatures were all over the map. I had many more days of fertile mucus than I expected. I got positive OPKs but no clear temperature rise. Fertility Friend’s advanced method detected ovulation but the FAM rules did not. It meant an entire cycle of abstinence. The second cycle, again, irregular temps, and a disagreement between Fertility Friend’s advanced method and the FAM rules for detecting ovulation. The positive pregnancy test on CD24 of course revealed that I had ovulated despite the odd temperature pattern.

        After this baby is born, I’m getting another IUD.

    • June 26, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

      I think they are just SUPER regular in their cycles, lucky basically. Just like the people that have easy home births with live children never consider themselves lucky, they take credit for choosing to try it that way as if they could know the outcome.

    • JJ
      June 26, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

      I used fertility awareness successfully and I am extremely fertile but I also have very regular cycles.

    • Cobalt
      June 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

      I used NFP (sort of, we used periodic condoms instead of periodic abstinence) for about 7 years with slightly irregular cycles and no accidental pregnancies. Never took me more than two “trying” cycles to get pregnant, but I did stay unpregnant for 4 “what happens, happens” cycles towards the end of that period.

      I think the condoms really helped (versus abstinence), because there wasn’t this intense focus on whether or not we could have sex. If we ran out for whatever reason, we were really aware of it the whole time until we got more condoms. If we lived that way for any lengthy period, we probably would have slipped up just from having to think about sex availability all the time.

      Now I have an IUD. The spotting is less than wonderful, but knowing we could just have sex whenever is a relief.

    • RMY
      June 26, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

      I used condoms and thought I was just very good at it or they were lucky for me. Then I married a woman and spent the better part of a year trying to get pregnant with increasing medical intervention. While I was charting I noticed my ovulation dates were really all over the board (CD12-21). I can only imagine how much I’d need to abstain to be completely safe practicing NFP.

      • June 27, 2015 at 2:58 am #

        Having regular periods is no guarantor of ovulation bang on time [14 days before the next period]. Over the years I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen who are “entirely regular” yet have trouble becoming pregnant because they are Orthodox Jews who keep the Laws of Family Purity which interdicts sex not only during one’s period but for 7 days afterward — and they ovulated during those 7 days.

        [My daughter is like that. Regular as clockwork, she ovulates within 48 hours of the cessation of her period. She and her husband tried without success for three years, after the birth of their first child, to get pregnant again. It took exactly one month after they began having relations immediately her bleeding ended.]

        • Ellen Mary
          June 27, 2015 at 8:04 am #

          14 day ovulation is not ‘on time’ it is an average. Ovulation between day 10-20 can be considered normal, regular, fertile, etc. NFP has not required 14 day ovulation since my Nana’s day.

          • June 27, 2015 at 8:39 am #

            You’re right, it’s an average; but the woman who swears she gets her period “like clockwork” every 28 days is also in error: such women who kept calendars were surprised to discover that their “regular” periods varied by as much as 5 days more or less over the space of a year.
            Most women have more irregularity in ovulation than they know. Doing blood tests and ultrasound every third day shows exactly when ovulation takes place, and is one of the first techniques used in fertility treatment. And, of course, once ovulation occurs, there is a 72 hour window when fertilization can occur. So, all in all, for NFP to be really effective, one has to be abstinent or use some barrier method of contraception for between a third to half of each month [including during menses].

          • Ellen Mary
            June 27, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

            That is true but neither STM, Billings, Creighton, or Marquette rely on past cycles for phase III (luteal phase) ovulation data. All use current cycle data & account for double ovulation also. You do not need to use a barrier during menses IF you have a confirmed ovulation in your last cycle by Temps AND you have not ovulated before day 14 in your past 6 cycles. For a couple using barriers, getting 1/2 a month off barrier use is a real benefit.

          • fiftyfifty1
            June 27, 2015 at 9:53 am #

            She didn’t say ovulation on day 14 of the cycle, she said ovulation 14 days before the next menses. The follicular phase length of women can vary a lot. Having the luteal phase length vary is much, much more rare.

    • Gatita
      June 26, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

      I was super super regular, like I could tell you to the day when I ovulated (and I could feel it because I had mittelschmerz) and NFP worked for me at a time when every single BC method I tried was intolerable (heavy bleeding and pain for months with IUD; puffy, nauseous and depressed with all hormonal BC that I tried; UTIs with the diaphragm). When I did try to get pregnant on purpose it only took me two months. So maybe you have to be at one extreme of the bell curve or the other for it to work.

    • Somewhereinthemiddle
      June 26, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

      I have used fertility awareness (the term NFP has a religious slant to me, so I stay away from that phrasing) since the birth of my first 7 years ago and have only gotten pregnant when we were trying. And I get pregnant pretty easily, usually within 1-2 months of trying, so I guess you could say I am pretty fertile even in my mid/late 30s. I also have a regular cycle, am vigilant about my fertile signs, my fertile signs are pretty darn obvious, and I use a barrier backup method, so you could say that I am pretty strict about following the rules.

      I’ve never been super worried about an accidental pregnancy as we’ve been open to more kids. Not sure that will hold after this pregnancy (19 weeks today, yay!) but whenever we are “done DONE” he will be getting a vasectomy so we can do the whole sex whenever thing.

    • June 26, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

      As I mentioned above, I am unable to use chemical birth control because of side effects. In addition to barrier methods (made worse because I’m also highly sensitive to spermicide), we were extremely successful using NFP. HOWEVER, this is 100% luck – we are both exceptionally fertile, but I am also obscenely regular. It was almost no effort to keep track of my fertile days (and thus, when we DID want to get pregnant, it was the first try every pregnancy, although for other reasons we only have 1 living).

      It’s either people who are SUPER regular or, as you suggest (imo) not all that fertile.

      I think that all methods of birth control should be freely available and thoroughly discussed. We could use NFP (with barrier methods) but only because we were both lucky and actually educated about them.

    • Cartwheel
      June 26, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

      I have no evidence at all that I’m fertile, but I have used fertility awareness for many years with no trouble at all. I have wondered if it might be that we are a subfertile pair – I guess I may or may not figure it out, depending on if we ever get off the fence about trying.

      I am very, very regular and my fertile signs are super obvious to me – sometimes I use LH urine test strips to pinpoint my ovulation, and I can generally pick the day I will be LH positive without even looking at a calendar. We also use barrier backup. I am medically contraindicated from all of the forms of contraception that might be more effective, so this is what I’ll be doing until and unless one of us gets surgically sterilized. I know several other women who have used fertility awareness – all of the failures of which I’m aware were definite user error. And since user error essentially means, “We knew we might get pregnant if we had unprotected, but did it anyways” it is pretty hard to blame the method.

      I mean it is ACTUALLY TRUE that for quite a few days out of any given ovulatory cycle, it is not it any way possible to get pregnant. If you can figure out what those days are, and either not have sex or use a reliable barrier method on the days when fertilization is possible, you are all set. For people who can’t figure it out (irregular cycle, unwilling to pay attention, etc) or can’t for whatever reason abstain from unprotected sex, the method won’t work. But really there is no need to postulate sub-fertility to explain the method working for some people.

      • Sarah
        June 27, 2015 at 4:41 am #

        Sperm can hang around for several days though. Not usual but it happens. So that does reduce the number of days when you can have sex knowing it’s not possible to get pregnant.

        That said, I’ve nothing against NFP. Clearly works for some people, and the more contraceptive options the better. The Family Planning Association in the UK puts it as comparably effective to condoms in both real world and perfect use rates. I’ve not seen the evidence they base this on, but they have no pro NFP agenda afaik so am inclined to regard them as trustworthy unless proven otherwise.

        • Ellen Mary
          June 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

          All legitimate methods of NFP & FAM account for sperm survival time. Otherwise they would not work at all, for anyone.

          • Sarah
            June 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

            Of course they could. The fact that sperm can survive for x days doesn’t mean it will. Discounting this would make NPF less reliable, not totally unreliable which is what you claim when you say they wouldn’t work at all. Not that this is an especially important point.

        • Cartwheel
          June 27, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

          You say that like you’re contradicting something I or somebody else said.

          The possible survival time of sperm in the female tract is part of the information that goes into figuring out how to successfully practice fertility awareness. Someone who does not understand this DEFINITELY should use a different method.


          There are many days in a regular menstrual cycle in which it is not possible for sperm deposited in the tract to result in pregnancy.

          If the regularity of the cycle allows a person to figure out when those days are, then the person will know without doubt that pregnancy cannot occur as a result of sperm deposition on those days.

          There are also days when depositing sperm in the tract might possibly lead to pregnancy. These days include the day of actual ovulation and also some other days.

          If the regularity of the cycle allows a person to identify THOSE days, then the person will know that sperm deposition on those days might potentially result in pregnancy, and can act accordingly.

          It’s really not rocket science, and for many women it is a great option. I really don’t understand (and really get annoyed by) people acting like just because they can’t do it for whatever reason, it couldn’t possibly be working for me and the many other women for whom it does demonstrably work.

          • Sarah
            June 27, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

            If I was contradicting something you’d said, I’d be disagreeing that there were any days you could have sex and not get pregnant. Which did not happen.

            I am also not sure why you include your last paragraph in your response to me, since there is nothing at all in my post to suggest that I can’t do or in any way disapprove of NFP (in actual fact it came in very useful to me when TTC). If you weren’t talking about me, it would’ve been good netiquette to make that clear.

    • fiftyfifty1
      June 26, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

      Interesting question. I can see it going either way. We know that very regular cycles make NFP more straightforward/easier. Then again, regular cycles are, in general, more fertile than irregular cycles. Then there is the whole behavioral aspect to fertility. Couples that have a lot of sex are more fertile, in general, than those who don’t. So maybe one can say that people who use NFP successfully to avoid pregnancy are less horny/active than those who don’t?

      • Ellen Mary
        June 27, 2015 at 8:01 am #

        Now that I would agree with. It also absolutely requires women to be in charge which happens too infrequently on this Earth, I will readily concede.

    • KL
      June 27, 2015 at 4:18 am #

      I think that is a powerful observation. Also, I think if you’re planning to sleep in the same bed as your husband it’s smart to choose a method that doesn’t require late night decision making and critical thinking (NFP).

      When I became pregnant with my first I was using the pill, and I started a pack a few days late. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, just extend my period a bit, but it turns out we are extremely fertile…. I cannot imagine getting pregnant at every possibility.

    • Ellen Mary
      June 27, 2015 at 7:58 am #

      That is a horrible, damaging myth. People who use NFP successfully are good @ charting, understand the science, have self control & have a partner who allows the to say when sex us going to happen or not. NFP is *easier* with normal fertility, because your cycle functions regular, with clear signs. Sub fertility like PCOS & anovulation makes NFP *harder*. Say what you want about NFP, but it is absolutely 100% false that it only works for the sub fertile. The opposite argument could be made.

      Anecdote is not data but I’ve been using NFP since my marriage began & I’ve been pregnant every time I agreed to have sex during fertility, which is so far, 4 times for wanted pregnancies.

      • fiftyfifty1
        June 27, 2015 at 8:37 am #

        How is what TCAMN saying “a horrible, damaging myth”? She is merely asking how many of the successful users of NFP are subfertile. She’s not spreading myths, she’s asking a question, and an interesting and important one from a scientific perspective.

        It’s pretty clear that NFP is more than a birth control method. It’s obviously also an ideology. Otherwise people wouldn’t freak out when somebody poses a simple question.

        • Ellen Mary
          June 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

          It is a damaging myth in NFP circles because it leads women to practice sloppily & say things like ‘I am just very fertile I guess’, when actually they just don’t care to practice correctly. It also hurts women who do practice well because people go around calling them sub fertile incorrectly. It is damaging in secular circles because it robs women of the opportunity to consider of a legitimate science based method is right for them.

          • fiftyfifty1
            June 27, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

            ” it leads women to practice sloppily & say things like ‘I am just very fertile I guess’, when actually they just don’t care to practice correctly. ”

            Oh my goodness NO! A woman blaming a pregnancy on being fertile rather than blaming herself for lack of self control! To think that she tried to avoid her rightful fate, the shaming from her more virtuous peers. That hussy!

            “It also hurts women who do practice well because people go around calling them sub fertile”

            You would seriously have us believe that there is a contingent of people going around speculating on what type of birth control a woman is using and making claims about these women’s fertility levels?How would a person even know if someone is using NFP rather than another method? Is there the mark of Cain upon their foreheads if they use the pill? Must they wear a scarlet letter if they have an IUD?

            Seriously Ellen Mary, develop some perspective.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      June 27, 2015 at 10:20 am #

      Hmm…the majority verdict seems to be that I am exactly wrong and that normal fertility, especially associated with extremely regular cycles, is the ideal situation for NFP. This might be important when considering whether NFP is a viable option for a particular couple.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        June 27, 2015 at 10:21 am #

        (Not but that the hypothesis should be formally tested, possibly retrospectively looking at women who did and did not have successful control of their fertility with NFP before even considering giving advice about who has a better chance of a good outcome with NFP.)

      • fiftyfifty1
        June 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

        Don’t be so fast to reject your original idea! The IDEAL candidate would be a mixture of very predictable cycles but plus subfertility in some other realm (e.g. subfertile due to low sperm count, tubal factors, mucosal factors, poor egg quality, advanced age, low libido/infrequent sex etc.)

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          June 28, 2015 at 9:59 am #

          That seems like a pretty specific set of circumstances.

          Actually, I’d add one more: Has a backup plan in case of failure and resulting pregnancy. That plan might be shrug and have the baby or it might be get an abortion, but if pregnancy is the end of the world for someone, NFP is probably not their best bet.

    • Life Tip
      June 27, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

      I assume that I’m pretty fertile. We’ve tried to get pregnant twice, and we were successful the first month both times. I’ve used NFP for ten years with no unexpected pregnancies. For me, being very regular for the first few years of charting is what makes NFP easy for me personally. I’m getting less regular as I get older, but I’m much more comfortable identifying fertile signs because I’ve used the method for so long. TMI perhaps, but my husband is very sensitive to the signs as well since we’ve been using it together for ten years.

      That’s just my anecdata of one though.

  29. June 26, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    I’m sure she is on the vitamin/supplement woo train tho right

  30. yentavegan
    June 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    I am one of those folks who in my heart of hearts abhors hormonal birth control but only for myself. I never had the chance to rail against their widespread use to my daughters, thinking that I had sufficient time. WRONG. The minute my daughters were old enough to drive and old enough to have private conversations with the doctor…they both began taking them. Boo Hoo for me. I thought I could prevent wanton sexual lust alas I was wrong again.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      June 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

      You and Bristol Palin…

    • RMY
      June 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

      The birth control doesn’t cause wanton sexual lust though, adolescence does.

  31. Amy
    June 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    How many crunchy people are just FINE with dietary supplements, reiki, ear candling, homeopathy, herbal teas? *I* don’t consider those things medicine, or even that any of them work (although I do love mint tea), but *they* usually do.

  32. guest
    June 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

    I also like to use antibacterial ointment on cuts and scrapes even though I don’t have an infection. But then, I was also fine with IV antibiotics to prevent GBS in my babies during birth. They weren’t sick, and she apparently thinks I shouldn’t have tried to prevent that.

    • Mattie
      June 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      OT but maybe someone with knowledge can explain. Antibiotics are given during labour to women who test positive for GBS in pregnancy, why is the GBS not treated in pregnancy instead? Is the idea that the baby will get the antibiotics through the placenta so if it picks anything up while being born, it has meds on board to fight it?

      • fiftyfifty1
        June 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

        The reason is that GBS colonization in the mother is not possible to “cure”. GBS is a bacterium that lives in large numbers in the guts of many women where it causes no harm at all. You can give a woman an antibiotic course in pregnancy, but it cannot totally sterilize the gut. The GBS just comes right back.

        • Mattie
          June 26, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

          I see, that makes sense. So are the antibiotics to prevent transmission, or to give the baby antibiotics to fight the bacteria it may pick up, or to temporarily get rid of the GBS during labour when the baby may pick it up?

          • MaineJen
            June 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

            Temporarily clears the GBS during labor, I believe. GBS infection can be life-threatening in a newborn, but it is symptomless in adults with normal immune systems.

          • Mattie
            June 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

            Yeh it’s terrible for newborns, thanks for the info guys 🙂

          • Cobalt
            June 26, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

            If you’re GBS+ and in labor long enough, might even get more than one course of antibiotics. The exact protocols vary from one situation to another, but the antibiotics need to be delivered within X amount of time before birth. Since labor length is unpredictable the antibiotics may need to be repeated.

        • guest
          June 26, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

          This. I *was* treated during pregnancy too, because I had a GBS UTI. But that means I was super-colonized and definitely needed the antibiotics during labor. (Well, maybe not since my kids ended up going out the sunroof, but that wasn’t planned.)

  33. EllenL
    June 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    Oh my god, I am a lesser version of myself. I took birth control pills.

    • Linden
      June 30, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

      I took BCP *for years*.
      I am now like butter spread over too much bread.
      I keep my pills on a chain in my pocket, fingering them occasionally, muttering, “My Preciousss.”

  34. Liz Leyden
    June 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    The Pill did not work for me. I didn’t get pregnant, but I couln’t handle the side effects. I didn’t conclude that the pill was evil, only that it didn’t work for me. I managed to use other methods successfully.

    One of my nursing instructors went deaf from Z-Pak. She didn’t conclude that antibiotics are evil and unnecessary.

  35. Liz Leyden
    June 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Viagra was developed to treat pulmonary hypertension. Apparently, studies found that it doesn’t treat pulmonary hypertension very well, but subjects really, really liked the side effects. I’ve had clients, including a 4-year-old, who were on Viagra for pulmonary hypertension. Latisse (developed as Bimaprost, for glaucoma), Chantix (Wellbutrin, an antidepressant), and Simply Sleep (Benadryl, an allergy medication) are also repackaged drugs sold for their side effects.

    I wonder if Ricki Lake is opposed to vaccines, vitamins, or natural supplements, which are legally barred from claiming they can cure or prevent anything. How does she feel about other forms of birth control?

    • Roadstergal
      June 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

      Even the Pill is often used for its side effects (side to the primary use of preventing unwanted pregnancy).

      • Amy
        June 26, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

        Yup, one of my cousins took them for really bad acne when she was a teenager.

    • mostlyclueless
      June 26, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

      Chantix isn’t Wellbutrin. It’s the brand name for varenicline, a nicotinic receptor agonist. You are thinking of Zyban, which is re-branded bupropion.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      June 26, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

      I thought Viagra was originally meant to treat systemic hypertension. It does work at least somewhat for PH (idiopathic, but not sickle related).

      • Megan
        June 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

        That was my understanding too.

  36. Dr Kitty
    June 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    Risk of VTE in women not taking the combined contraceptive pill: 2/10,000 per women, per year.

    Risk of VTE in women taking the riskiest third generation pills : 9-12/10/000 women per year.

    Risk of VTE in pregnancy: 60/10,000 pregnancies.

    Risk of Failure of FAM: 15-25 pregnancies per 100 women/year with typical use.
    Risk of failure of barrier method: 10-15 pregnancies per 100 women/year with typical use.

    So, on average, 1 in 6 women who swap pills for FAM or condoms are exchanging a 1 in 1000 risk of a clot for a 6 in 1000 risk of a clot…and a pregnancy.

    Statistically that makes no sense.

    • Nick Sanders
      June 26, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      What does FAM stand for?

      • Mattie
        June 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

        fertility awareness method(s) so natural family planning, using ovulation kits or fertility monitors, measuring temperature/cervical mucous etc…to determine when you are fertile and when you are not.

        • Nick Sanders
          June 26, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

          Thanks for explaining.

      • MaineJen
        June 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

        “Fertility awareness” something. Basically, keeping track of when you’re ovulating by tracking your body temperature. Thus, the very high failure rate…

        • Mattie
          June 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

          FAM/NFP is actually very effective…if you’re trying to get pregnant lol

          • MaineJen
            June 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

            Yeah, that’s what I meant by “failure” rate…touting FAM as a birth control alternative is not responsible, IMO.

        • Nick Sanders
          June 26, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

          Thank you.

    • Amy
      June 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      FAM works better when used in conjunction with barrier methods AND avoiding intercourse on fertile days. Using it on its own is basically a recipe for having more children.

      • Dr Kitty
        June 26, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

        Which is why you have to look at “typical use” failure rates and not “perfect use” failure rates.
        For fit and forget methods like Nexplanon and Mirena, typical and perfect use are basically the same- if the device is where it is meant to be, it works.

        For barrier methods and NFP/FAM, typical failure rates are lower for a reason.
        Condoms break, diaphragms slip, your anniversary/birthday/the only day in the last three months you’ve had a babysitter is a day when you should abstain and you don’t, or you ovulate unexpectedly twice in a cycle, or the battery in your thermometer runs out…
        Believe me, I have heard more reasons why those methods failed to ever be happy recommending them to people unless an accidental pregnancy would be something that wouldn’t be the end of the world.

        If you really don’t want to get pregnant, you need to find other options.

    • Sue
      June 26, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      Spot on, Kitty. But people driven by ideology aren’t interested in relative risk – they’re one-eyed about their message.

  37. Laura
    June 26, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    The Pill is what kept my mom’s endometriosis at bay between pregnancies so she wouldn’t have to undergo fertility treatments every single time she wanted to have a baby.

  38. Rachel
    June 26, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    What in the everloving F***?? The pill is the most important thing that has ever happened for women’s rights! This is totally ridiculous. I agree that it would be ideal if there were also an option for men to take birth control pills but that doesn’t mean we reject the idea of women controlling their own reproductive systems.

  39. Heidi
    June 26, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    It’s easy for her to advocate FAM and tell women not to take the pill when an unplanned pregnancy probably wouldn’t be such a big deal for her as a wealthy person. I’ve tried a couple of birth control pills and didn’t enjoy the side effects and chose the FAM for myself, but we knew we wanted children in the near future, had the means to support a child, had health insurance, knew we agreed about parenting and all the important stuff. Despite having a regular menstrual cycle, one month I ovulated 2 weeks later than normal but had a temperature rise that appeared to correlate with my usual fertile time. I lucked up and didn’t fall pregnant that month. I absolutely would not want my teenage daughter using this method. If anyone is not prepared to actually have a child, this is NOT the method to use. It’s definitely not for those with irregular cycles.

    I also suspect I might could find a pill that better suited me, but after I have my two children, I am choosing tubal ligation.

    • MaineJen
      June 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

      Yeah…most of the people I’ve heard of who use FAM for birth control use the corollary “But if I do get pregnant, it’s not the end of the world.”

      • Heidi
        June 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

        Yes. And that’s the only people IMO that are candidates for it. We decided to intentionally get pregnant about 5 months after the uh-oh month. It helped me understand what day of the month I generally ovulate, understand how long my luteal phase was and other things that made me more informed for actually conceiving so it had its positives. But it’s far from reliable as birth control and sometimes cycles, even in the most regular of us, can get weird.

  40. EllenL
    June 26, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    Vilifying birth control pills? Good grief! If you don’t like them, don’t use them. And please, let other women make up their own minds.

    Do pills have side effects? Of course they do, for some women. So does pregnancy – which statistically is far more dangerous than the pill. Not to mention the financial and career costs of having one baby after another, or the personal and relationship stresses.

    I was thrilled when birth control pills became available. I never had any side effects from them. I thought they were heaven sent.
    This latest diatribe is one more example of policing of women.

  41. The Bofa on the Sofa
    June 26, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Taking pills when not sick? That’s nothing, Ricki. I actually had SURGERY despite not having any ailment at all.

    • Sue
      June 26, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      Not to mention all those pregnant women who have Casareans when they’re not sick – for the benefit of their babies!

  42. Zoey
    June 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    I can’t believe that the “great alternative” that she’s pushing is the fertility awareness method. Because a method that involves inserting a special thermometer inside your vagina daily, methodical tracking, and periodic abstinence is obviously the best choice for all women. Even if you’re 13 years old, or have irregular cycles due to breastfeeding or a medical condition, or don’t have total control over when you have sex, or any one of a million other circumstances that make this method totally inconvenient or impossible. She’s seriously delusional.

    • Laura
      June 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

      You don’t have to stick the thermometer up your vagina–you can do it orally. You just have to do it every single morning around the same time right after waking up.

      • guest
        June 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

        And I could never do that. I do not function in the mornings, and I don’t wake up at the same time every day. Setting my alarm just to take my temp would never work consistently for me. Glad it does for others, but it’s not for me.

        • Laura
          June 26, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

          It’s not for me either. I should have added that in my original reply–sorry about that. I just wanted to clarify that you don’t have to take your temperature vaginally 🙂

          I used FAM when I was trying to get pregnant with my first. After that, trying to use it would have been laughable because she didn’t sleep through the night consistently until she was TWO YEARS OLD. Of course, I could have relied on breastfeeding because I didn’t get my period until she was 13 months old, but I wasn’t taking chances. I know a few too many people who got pregnant that way.

      • Guest
        June 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

        What about women who work rotating swing shifts? Sleeping at night or during the day depending on work schedule? Oh, yeah, wimmin-folk aren’t supposed to work. Never mind…

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          June 26, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

          Well, there are other methods. I use one which involves peeing at the same time every day. That’s it. There are also mucus-observation-only methods which some women swear by. Me, I’d hate having to use subjective information to make such an important decision. Give me a firm “yes” or “no” any day. Interestingly enough, if unsurprisingly, of the women who I know who use NFP, most of the ones who work outside the home also prefer hormonal testing to temperature-based methods.

          • Becky05
            July 1, 2015 at 9:12 am #

            The mucus-only methods have higher failure rates than symptothermal methods do, and that’s important to consider.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            July 1, 2015 at 9:27 am #

            That I did not know, but I’m not surprised by it. The thing about mucus-only methods–and I say this as someone with several friends for whom they apparently work quite well, though they would be a terrible fit for me–is that they are, necessarily, subjective. Hormone levels in urine aren’t. Temperature isn’t, though that data (datum?) can sometimes be incorrect due to fever/restlessness. I needed a method for which I had a firm yes or no every day, no dithering over whether this mucus is or isn’t stretchier than yesterday’s.
            I also find it interesting that while mucus-only methods have higher failure rates, one of them is also the one that has the most obsessed followers. It also is the only method I know of which provides no self-study materials, thus requiring that you pay an instructor to learn it, as well as for ongoing consultations. Some of its followers and instructors actually insist that using the method I use, or even using ovulation tests for backup, isn’t “natural” and that, therefore, you shouldn’t use them because you should just know your body well enough to know if you’re ovulating. It’s ridiculous, and highly reminiscent of a lot of the NCB circles. To my mind, NFP is a lot like most adult decisions: if you’re going to use it, then know what all the options are, complete with their risks/benefits, figure out what works best for you in your particular situation at that time, and then do it.

          • Becky05
            July 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

            I assume you’re talking about Creighton FertilityCare or whatever it is calling itself now. The studies on that method also do some very shifty things with numbers, such as counting anyone who breaks the smallest of rules, such as only observing *after* using the bathroom instead of before and after, as “trying to achieve pregnancy” and thus excludes their pregnancies from the reported method and user failures. Other fertility awareness methods would count any breach of rules while still wanting/intending not to get pregnant as a use related failure. And their parent organization, the Pope Paul VI institute, also promotes many treatments under their “NaPro” label that are not scientifically verified.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            July 9, 2015 at 10:05 am #

            Creighton is certainly the worst offender in that regard. Billings is another mucus-only method which is much simpler and, I suspect, may well have a higher failure rate; as I understand it (and someone more familiar with it, please correct me if I’m wrong!), it’s based on the shape and characteristics of the mucus patches on your underwear.
            Not that I don’t believe you–frankly, I’ve thought this may be the case for a while–but would you mind listing some of those non-scientifically-verified treatments, perhaps with a link?
            One of my issues with Creighton is its seeming dedication to its treatments to the exclusion of all others. Its treatment of endometriosis is, perhaps, the best (worst?) example. The treatment involves invasive surgery every couple of years to remove all the endo. There are a lot of problems with this. An acquaintance, for example, had this surgery recently for the 3rd or 4th time. This time, the doctor she went to didn’t get all the endo because some of it was on her GI organs, and he’s not a GI doctor so didn’t feel qualified to remove it without one present. Lovely. So, thousands of bucks and a painful surgery/recovery later, she’s left waiting to see how bad the endo is going to be this time around since it wasn’t even all removed. This treatment may be fine for a woman who wants to get pregnant over and over again after that, that condition necessarily keeping endo growth at bay, but for those who don’t want to for whatever reason, it’s not reasonable.
            What makes me really, REALLY angry is that per Church teaching, the birth control pill or a hysterectomy are ENTIRELY valid options for treatment of her condition. She’s in horrible pain for a couple of weeks every cycle and bleeding so heavily as to be quite weak, but her doctor won’t do either because good Catholics don’t do those things or something…which just isn’t true! I told her that, cited the appropriate Church documents, and suggested that she find a doctor who can be polite about her beliefs while treating her appropriately. I think she may; she’s pretty fed up after that stunt.
            And finally, the idea that more information (read: use of OPKs or hormone testing or temperature-taking) is somehow “against the method” is simply unscientific. More information is always a GOOD thing when you’re talking about medical stuff. Why is that difficult to understand?

        • Laura
          June 26, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

          I should have added that waking up at the same time everyday is NOT convenient for every woman. I can see why people might have thought I was saying that all women should practice it–I’m sorry about that. I have a toddler on my lap.

          I practiced the method myself when I was trying to get pregnant with my first. I haven’t used it since because hello, she didn’t sleep through the night properly until she was two years old. I didn’t get my period until 13 months postpartum because of nursing, but I sure as heck used contraception because I wasn’t relying on FAM or LAM. I know a few too many people who had unplanned pregnancies using both 🙂

      • Zoey
        June 26, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

        Good to know! I’ve obviously been misinformed about the purposes of a basal thermometer haha.

    • Anne
      June 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

      Also, to record an accurate temperature, I believe you have to have 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep before you temp. So good luck using this method if you have a baby and don’t immediately want another one!

      • Jessica
        June 27, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

        Not to mention things like stress and illness can throw off your temperature readings. The cycle I had a sinus infection my chart looked like the Rocky Mountains.

  43. Wombat
    June 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Seriously, the pill? The totally optional pill? That’s your new target Ricki? This is unfathomable to me.

    I started the pill at a very young age, because my cycle refused to regulate in a timely manner (we’re talking ropy, clotty, heavy bleeding for months at a time – hell). To shame my mother for that -treatment- (setting aside the preventative benefits for now), recommended by the very OBGYN who happened to deliver me and had extremely good history of my family, is absolute bull shit. You’re not ‘bringing awareness’. He did that when they discussed it. He and my further OBGYNs did so every year when they screen me, and renew it. I do that, when I take responsibilty for my own health – rather than look to media kooks with an axe to grind.

    Preventative care. What is safe now? Certainly not water. ‘Toxins’ and fluoride! Air? Pollutants! Life? Maybe I guess. Who is perfect in this damn framework?

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      June 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

      My daughter had a very similar situation. Heavy, extremely painful periods. The Pill was a wonderful thing as far as she and I were concerned, it’s awful seeing your child in that much pain. I won’t lie I was actually happy that she was on birthcontrol, she’s in the middle of some very demanding schooling and she wants kids but not now.
      Ricky Lake is an idiot, an uninformed, dangerous idiot.

  44. EllenD
    June 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    If women really want to be “natural”, they would have a baby every 11 months to 2 years starting at age 16, half the babies would die before their first birthday, and the mothers would die from postpartum hemorrhage at age 35. We only need to live long enough to procreate to continue to populate (and increase the population of) the earth.

    • Sue
      June 26, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

      Yep. It’s only a copule of generations ago that many women did exactly that.My grandmother had a child or a miscarriage every year, AND lost a second twin. Her first two were only eleven months apart.

      • Who?
        June 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

        My mother is one of 14, born over a 21 year period. The first five have their birthdays within a few days of each other, in consecutive years. The family joke is that things happen on the first cold night of the year…

        She died in her 80s of heart failure, having refused treatment for the breast cancer discovered when she had a lump that wouldn’t to away. She was terrified of the pain and horror of cancer, having seen my grandfather die of it, and her gp told her the heart would give out long before the cancer got to her, which is exactly how it went.

        All her children survived her, two have died in the last couple of years, one in her sixties of morbid obesity and its associated illnesses, the other in his 70s of lung cancer. The eldest is in his early 80s and going quite strong.

      • Wombat
        June 28, 2015 at 4:30 am #

        This is my family tree on both sides once you go back even a little… 14 children out of who knows how many pregnancies or possible pregnancies. Even my fiance and I are both one of three.

        We’re thinking one, if that c: Maybe two, in part because twins/multiples might run in my maternal line (no idea if it’s due to hyperovulation, and we have a mixing of MZ/DZ sets).

  45. Kazia
    June 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    I use BC because periods are a pain in the ass. No chance of accidental pregnancy because I’m a lesbian, so purely so I don’t have to deal with floods of blood exiting my uterus each month.

    • Alcharisi
      June 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

      I too am highly unlikely to be impregnated by my wife, but not experiencing excruciating breast pain one week out of every month is also a really nice consequence of being on the pill.

      • Gatita
        June 26, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

        I’ve never been able to tolerate any hormonal BC so when I hear these magical stories about how great it is for some women I feel sorry for myself.

  46. Amy M
    June 26, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    And why the pill? I mean, she could demonize screening mammograms or even advil—headaches are natural and having a headache doesn’t (necessarily) mean you are sick. I see that Ricki Lake will sell books/movies, but its not like Big Condom is subsidizing her or her followers. This is just stupid—most people take the pill voluntarily, and their choice has no bearing on Ricki or anyone else (other than themselves, and their sex partners).

  47. The Computer Ate My Nym
    June 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    Also minor nitpicks:
    1. Men who need viagra are not entirely healthy: they are impotent which is a non-normal health condition, if not a fatal one.
    2. The VTE risk of OCP varies with the pill and probably with the woman in question’s underlying health status. OCP can be great in some (most) women but there are situations where they aren’t the best option. Fortunately, we have multiple options for treating “not sick” women and preventing them from becoming pregnant if they do not want to.

    • Megan
      June 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

      Yes. I have discovered underlying asymptomatic heart disease because of erectile dysfunction. The penile artery is quite narrow, even compared to the coronary arteries and ED is often the first sign of underlying vascular disease.

      That being said, I still think Ricki Lake is an idiot and don’t understand why she’s demonizing the pill. All medicines have risks.

      This just kid of reminds me of Anne Coulter trying to come back from has-been status by writing an editorial criticizing soccer as un-American during the last mens’ World Cup. It just screams, “Don’t forget about me! I’m still here!”

      • namaste863
        June 26, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

        I know a urologist who will not prescribe Viagra without a clean cardiac bill of health for exactly this reason. If you have ED, chances are it’s the least of your worries.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          June 27, 2015 at 10:25 am #

          And Viagra can increase the cardiac risk in men who have cardiac disease so it’s best to get it checked out before indulging.

    • guest
      June 26, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      Isn’t is fairly normal for men to lose potency after a certain age, though? Sort of like saying a woman who doesn’t have periods after menopause isn’t “healthy”? I’m really asking, here, and of course there are younger men who use Viagra.

      • Megan
        June 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

        Most men as they get older do lose some “potency” probably as a result of lower testosterone levels and vascular disease.

      • fiftyfifty1
        June 26, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

        Even many of the younger men are not sick. A lot of the men in their 20s who use it just have situational impotence with certain partners, or have a tendency toward rapid ejaculation and want to be sure of maintaining an erection even after they do orgasm. So basically, not sick, just nervous and perhaps not great at communication.

    • fiftyfifty1
      June 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

      “Men who need viagra are not entirely healthy: they are impotent which is a non-normal health condition,”

      Meh. Depends. Sure, organic impotence in a 40 year old is not normal. In an 80 yo it’s pretty normal as in it’s the norm.

      • Roadstergal
        June 26, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

        Insofar as living to 80 in the first place falls under ‘normal.’ 🙂

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          June 27, 2015 at 10:24 am #

          At this point, living to 80 falls under “average” in most developed countries. This is unusual historically but not in a bad way.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        June 27, 2015 at 10:23 am #

        I’d argue that it isn’t “normal” it’s just that the risk goes up with age.

  48. Mel
    June 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    To me, this is an excellent example of how people can be seduced by the craziest ideas once exposed to other crazy ideas.

    I graduated from a small Catholic college in 2005. In the last 10 years, the only women who have home-birthed also have been alleged* practitioners of NFP and post about the evils of hormonal birth control.

    I’m willing to bet decent money that those women would have been much less likely to homebirth if they hadn’t accepted the irrational hatred of ‘artificial’ ** birth control preached by the Catholic Church.

    *Alleged because they also tend to have really, really closely spaced pregnancies which makes me wonder if they are actually using NFP at all.

    **I hate the use of the word “natural” in NFP. If you need to be trained in decoding cervical mucus states, need to buy a really accurate thermometer, and create more graphs than I did pre-graduate school – it ain’t natural.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      June 26, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

      Possibly TMI, but it’s natural, for me at least and I think for many women, to desire sex most strongly during ovulation. NFP denies women and their partners sexual contact just at the time when they likely want it the most. Not natural, not good for the relationship. (Though if you’re one of the rare women it works for, go for it! I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use it, only that you shouldn’t insist that it’s the only way to do things.)

      • Mel
        June 26, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

        I’ve never minded NFP as an option. For people looking to get pregnant, NFP can speed up the process if they have fertility issues or give them a feeling of having some control over the process. (And, honestly, from the NFP instructors I know, the local classes are 85-90% people with concerns about fertility and the rest are young, engaged Catholic couples who want big families.)

        I mind it when it is the only option.

        I really mind it when it is touted with bizarre and nearly impossible to support claims like “NFP gives spouses so much better communication skills.” “If you can talk about cervical mucus, you can talk about anything!” My husband is a dairy farmer – he and I can talk about cervical mucus ALL.DAY.LONG. Doesn’t improve our ability to talk about finances or relations with our families of origin.

        • NoLongerCrunching
          June 26, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

          NFP got me pregnant in 1-2 months every time. Way too time consuming and complicated to use for birth control though.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          June 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

          I used the artificial version of NFP when I wanted to get pregnant: peed on a stick to know when I was ovulating. Worked nicely and was much easier than the whole temperature and cervical mucous thing.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            June 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

            I use NFP every month to avoid, but that’s how I use it too. The cervical mucus/temp methods drove me mad.

        • FrequentFlyer
          June 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

          I’m so glad that NFP wasn’t my only option for birth control. The FireCapt is not at all squeamish. Blood, guts, and all sorts of bodily fluids do not bother him at all anymore, so if I really wanted to discuss my cervical mucus he would be ok with that. I really don’t want to sit around and talk about it though. We seam to communicate just fine without it.

        • Megan
          June 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

          The fertility awareness method was great for helping me get pregnant (and really aided in dating the pregnancy) but I find the rules for avoiding pregnancy complicated.

        • Amy M
          June 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

          I found it useful to confirm that I wasn’t ovulating, and then when I started fertility treatments, it was definitely useful to follow my (artificially induced) cycle—it was still clear when a given treatment failed to induce ovulation, and when I did finally get pregnant, I had evidence of that days before the pee stick test or blood test.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        June 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

        Going by the admittedly anecdotal information I get from the NFP groups I’m in, heightened desire around ovulation is the norm. It makes biological sense, but also can certainly make NFP harder.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      June 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

      As someone who was raised Catholic in the 60’s , old Catholic neighborhood joke: What do you call people who practice NFP to prevent pregnancy?….Parents It worked ok for women who had very regular periods, and the freedom to refuse sex on their fertile days…

      • DaisyGrrl
        June 27, 2015 at 8:55 am #

        My parents used that method. Only one of us three kids was actually planned. They switched to something more reliable after the third baby…

      • Azuran
        June 27, 2015 at 9:23 am #

        Two people at my job used the ‘fertility awareness’ method of contraception in the last 2 years. Both fell pregnant in less than 4 months.
        Sure, when used perfectly, it is still very effective. However, using if perfectly seems to be even more of a hassle than basically any other contraception method. The average human has trouble remembering to take a pill every morning, So, it is very often used incorrectly.

  49. EllenD
    June 26, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    Great. Because we need women with PCOS, abnormal uterine bleeding, dysmenorrhea, and sexually active young girls with irregular cycles to decide they are going to use fertility awareness.

    • Mel
      June 26, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

      I’ve heard that before from the conservative fringe at my Catholic undergraduate institution. They really believe that a) most of those dieases are made up and b) there’s a better medical choice….although they can’t articulate what that choice is.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        June 26, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

        I’m a practicing, NFP-only Catholic, and *I* can’t stand that line of thinking. It’s not Church teaching. There are some Catholic medical institutions that have done some good research/treatment of certain female medical conditions, but they do NOT have the answer for everything. Endometriosis is about the top of the “things they don’t have an answer for” list. Their treatment is surgery to clear out the endo every couple of years. Fine if you want to go through with it/want to do it to increase the chances of getting pregnant, but not so much if you don’t. And Church teaching does NOT require someone to go through arduous treatments to avoid Teh Evil Pill if it’s being used for a medical reason.
        If you ever care to argue the point with them, here’s a quote from Humanae Vitae, the definitive Church document on the subject written by Pope Paul VI: “On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.” http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html
        Not trying to convert you on the subject, you understand; I merely offer this because as a Catholic, I really, really hate it when people on “my side” misrepresent what my Church actually teaches on this. I’ve seen Catholic women shamed/generally picked on by their fellow Catholics for using the Pill rather than having either nonstop misery from endo or frequent surgeries, and it makes me absolutely furious.

        • Alcharisi
          June 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

          I would certainly think that non-contraceptive therapeutic uses of the pill would be covered by the rule of double effect!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            June 26, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

            It is.

          • Anne
            June 26, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

            Like hysterectomy. Or risk reducing salpingectomy for ovarian cancer.
            Now, if we can just get Francis to approve the double effect of HIV prevention with condom usage, I may stop grinding my teeth every time I reflect on celibate men weighing in on women’s reproductive issues. My dentist will be pleased.

        • anotheramy
          June 27, 2015 at 1:51 am #

          I completely agree with this (Catholic here, also). Just want to add that the doctors K o B mentioned will also use progesterone at specific points in a woman’s cycle to treat certain conditions (irregular periods, IIRC) and a friend of mine was given specific doses of magnesium and some other vitamin ?potassium? to help with very painful cramps. I think it worked for her.
          I’m not sure why, but I hate the whole “the pill doesn’t treat the underlying causes, it just masks the symptoms” rhetoric that is * so* common in NFP circles.

  50. The Computer Ate My Nym
    June 26, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    Ironically, the usual complaint of the altie crowd is that doctors aren’t interested in preventing disease or keeping people healthy.

    • Roadstergal
      June 26, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

      It’s like alties who say doctors only treat symptoms, then use homeopathy – a system of medicine entirely _based_ on symptoms!

      Docs are great with preventive medicine, in my experience. BC, vaccination, science-based recommendations on diet and exercise… I have Osgood-schlatter, and my docs have only ever given me advice that involves no profit for them (knee braces bought on my own dime from Walgreens, stretching techniques, etc).

      • EllenD
        June 26, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

        That’s it? They didn’t sell you supplements? What about adjustments requiring you return 3x weekly? No surgery? My son also has Osgood-Schlatter, very painful, especially as a student trying to pass high school PE.

        • Roadstergal
          June 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

          It was supposed to go away after high school, but mine persisted. However, thanks to the ebul doctors and their easily implementable advice, I do triathlons and marathons despite the lump on my knee.

          (I did ask about surgery – they said that current techniques would likely leave me with scar tissue that might be as bad or worse than the status quo, and advised against it.)

      • Sue
        June 27, 2015 at 12:55 am #

        Exactly, Roadster! Homeopathy is a uni-modal practice where the only thing they can offer you is magic water. Hardly ‘holistic’!

  51. Anonymous
    June 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Is she even relevant anymore? Last I remember of her was around 2000 and her talk show was cancelled.

  52. Karen in SC
    June 26, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    Lake is a hypocrite of the highest order. I hope there is a lot of backlash from this film.

    • Cobalt
      June 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

      And the backlash exposes her craziness on birth options.

      • FormerPhysicist
        June 26, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

        Oh, I PRAY you are right. Wouldn’t if be wonderful if women heard of this stance/film and thought “Wow, I wonder if her homebirth stuff is as looney.”?

    • Gatita
      June 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

      Opposing birth control is a loser issue. You may activate the fringe folks on the right and left but people in the middle like birth control, TYVM.

      • EllenL
        June 26, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

        They like birth control that works. It’s hard to gin up enthusiasm for a method that’s laborious and prone to failure.

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