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Monday, June 2, 2014

Contraceptives: Dangers and Types

Some of you are probably hoping I'll be singing the praises of chemical contraceptives, but that will not be the case.  Birth control, like any other chemical, comes with an inherent risk that may not be fully understood because of a variety of factors, including trusting what doctors and friends say about birth control... which is fine, but that leads to that whole "swallowing info without doing research" tendency.  We're preppers, for crying out loud! We spend hours watching the news and talking to friends, keeping an ear out for clues on what to add to our preps or for warnings of emergencies. Things like chemical contraceptives deserve that same attention to detail.

DISCLAIMER
Human beings are NOT widgets. We each are going to react slightly differently to various chemicals.  I need to make it clear right now that I made the choice a long time ago not to use birth control.  I have a large number of sensitivities to medicines, some at the lethal level.  I'm okay with no sex if there's no condoms. Yes, I'm aware of the rates of pregnancy with just condoms, but honestly, I feel it's the safest choice I could make for myself.
Also, before I go any further, if you are fortunate enough to have a doctor who listens to your concerns, then chances are you already have a birth control method that doesn't mess you up too badly and fulfills your needs as well as can be hoped.

Types of Contraceptives

Condoms are the most common methods among the birth control types.  There are male and female condoms.  One advantage to condoms is that they don't require a prescription and are available in latex and non-latex options.  The second advantage, at least in my opinion, is that they don't require weeks of something building up in your system.

Chemical contraceptives (pills, cremes, gels, etc.) are a beast unto themselves in terms of the number of kinds and ways they can be. There isn't really any way for me to break it into something really really simple, so bear with me.    

Side Effects

Condoms:
For guys, they can reduce sensitivity. In other words, you'll have to work harder. For ladies, it could be uncomfortably dry.  Good thing there are lubes with spermicide, eh? More information on condoms can be found here.

Chemical Contraceptives: 
Ones like Nuvaring are gaining in popularity.  However, there is a growing and alarming trend among users of this method.

And then you have pills like Yasmin that have side effects lists like this:
  • sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, pain behind the eyes, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • a change in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches;
  • stomach pain, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • a breast lump; or
  • symptoms of depression (sleep problems, weakness, mood changes).
  • breast pain, tenderness, or swelling;
  • freckles or darkening of facial skin, increased hair growth, or loss of scalp hair; 
  • changes in weight or appetite, swelling of your hands or feet; 
  • problems with contact lenses; 
  • vaginal itching or discharge; or 
  • changes in your menstrual periods. 
Source for side effects: RxList

Why am I telling you this stuff?  Because side effects like this affect just about everyone who takes the stuff; we women just have a tendency of blowing it off because "It's just my body getting used to it" or "It's just my imagination."  And there appears to be a correlation between birth control and depression.  Oh depression, that annoying ever-present thorn in the side that everyone can fall prey to.

My thoughts on birth control


Men:
  1. If you're a male with no female partner, birth control is not like pads or cans of spams.  You could put back a bunch of morning after pills, but I'll be honest... you'll look like a douchebag when you pull those out.
  2. Unlubricated condoms are also a good dual-use item - properly supported by something like a sock, they make good water-carriers.  
  3. Don't, for the love of [Deity or Deities of choice], unless you really actually honestly sincerely don't want children ever, get a vasectomy.  Depending on how bad things get after SHTF calms down, chances are that women like me are going to want to try to build a family.  Give us that chance, if you can.  Plus, there's a good chance there won't be any doctors around to reverse to the vasectomies or the Inserted Birth Controls.
  4. TALK TO YOUR PARTNER!  Ask her how she feels about birth control and kids.

Women: 
  1. Ladies, involve men in the conversation. There is a serious need for communication about this. 
  2. Make sure, if you use chemical birth control, that you are aware of the shelf life of it. The last thing you need is to be taking something that no longer works to keep you from getting pregnant but still screws you up in other ways. 
  3. Birth control is not a guarantee that you won't get pregnant. I have several friends and associates who got pregnant while they were using both the pill and condoms. (For those of you of the Christian persuasion, I think you guys call that predetermined destiny? @_@ )
  4. Taking contraceptives can potentially kill you.  You're going to be in a SHTF scenario with stress levels and situations you've not encountered before.  Your body's ability to mitigate the effects of chemical contraception will be severely compromised.
  5. I'm not saying don't take birth control, I'm saying BE SMART ABOUT IT.  Do your research NOW on what you can put back that will be as safe as possible for you to take.   This is information you need to cover NOW, while you have time.  NOW, while you can still safely make choices with the help of your medical professionals in choosing the best one for you.

I have a few links here for you too, from other sites about the topic.  Please note: while I disagree with some to several of their statements, the information is still valid and a different viewpoint on this topic.  Consider all points and statements in order to make the best decision for yourself.


Do your research, and make yours choices now, while we're still in an ideal as possible world.  What it could cost you and your tribe isn't worth the delay.

The Fine Print


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