Seasonale to relieve the pain of periods


March 4, 2003, midnight | By Nora Toiv | 17 years, 10 months ago


A new form of birth control that could affect women everywhere, may soon be approved by the FDA, according to The Washington Post, Seasonale suppresses women's menstruation cycles to four times a year.

For many women Seasonale is a miracle. Some women experience very intense cramps, mood swings, and general discomfort during their periods. The Washington Post reported that one woman who participated in the study on Seasonale, Kelly Barclay, said, "The pain could get quite intense." Barclay said that she loves the new pill and "rants and raves" to her friends about it.

Reportedly, Seasonale uses the same hormones as traditional birth control pills but instead of having 21 pills in a pack, there are 84. According to Joan Chrisler, a professor of psychology at Connecticut College in New London, Conn., and president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, the Pill could potentially upset feminists. "Cultures have long had many practices to manage the taboo and stigma of menstruation over the years. You can see them all as ways of managing women's behavior."

Women like Emily Toth, the author of "The Curse: A Cultural history of Menstruation" said that menstruation has been "treated as if it's a dirty little secret instead of an ordinary anatomical process." But what some do not realize is that before there was the Pill or any other contraceptives, women used to have so many babies that they barely had their period.

Promoters of the new drug say that Seasonale will extend the original freedom brought about by the Pill. When originally marketing the Pill researchers decided it would be more popular if women still had their period each month. So women take the Pill for three weeks and then a pill called a placebo, which has as much effect as a sugar pill, is taken for a week so that women get their periods. So, as the Pill became safer, women began to skip the placebos continuing to take the pill through the fourth week to stop their periods all together. Seasonale is as safe and effective for women as the Pill as long as they do not smoke or have a history of heart disease. Some researches even think that Seasonale could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.

William Gibbons, a chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Eastern Virginia Medical School and director of the school's Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk said, "If we go back thousands of years, when humans were hunter-gatherers, women may go through their entire lives without ever having a menstrual flow. There are some places in the world today where you'll hear stories of a woman who has had many pregnancies and will come into the doctor in her forties because she's had the first period of her life and doesn't know what it is."



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