Wrapping up #PCOSawarenessmonth

pcosSeptember was a month that gave women the perfect excuse to wear teal nail polish, all while embracing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and raising awareness to it. With over 198 tweets this year, #PCOSawarenessmonth was able to reach people from all corners of the globe – from the United States to South Africa to China and to our homeland, Australia!
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And what was most exciting is that 24% of contributors were male.
Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.24.23 pmIt’s great to see men getting involved in women’s health, as PCOS could affect their partners, mothers or even daughters. You shouldn’t be surprised if someone you love is affected by PCOS since 1 in 10 women between the ages of 18 to 44 have the hormone disorder.

So what exactly is PCOS?
In scientific terms, PCOS is when your body does not produce high enough levels of estrogen. This causes you to have ‘hyperandrogenism’ aka abnormally high testosterone levels (male sex hormone), which may cause ovulation to stop making it more difficult to have children. And for women that are able to fall pregnant, with PCOS they have an increased risk of miscarriage.

Or in short, PCOS is when you have imbalanced female sex hormones.

What are the consequences of PCOS?
– irregular or absence of menstrual periods
– acne, hormonal break outs
– weight gain/obesity/ difficulty losing weight
– excess hair growth
– depression
– cysts in ovaries
– difficulty getting pregnant
– miscarriages
– infertility

The Oral contraceptive pill and PCOS
Unfortunately, many women are frequently prescribed the pill as the first line of defence for their PCOS. The pill lowers testosterone levels in women with PCOS. This is pivotal for those with PCOS as testosterone at abnormally high levels is what triggers excess hair growth and acne as well as prevents ovulation. The intake of the pill will allow the user to temporarily regulate these symptoms and the symptoms listed above. Emphasis on the ‘temporarily’, as the truth is OCPs do NOT cure PCOS. Sadly, there is yet to be a PCOS. The disorder remains incurable and once the user gets off the pill, their PCOS symptoms will continue to affect them.

Women and their personal PCOS journeys
This is Liz Marie, who was diagnosed with PCOS at 25. Her raw and honest blog post will be of comfort and inspiration for those with PCOS and have had difficulty getting pregnant. You can find her post here:

And here is Amber Benge who managed to treat her PCOS by restoring hormonal balance in her body without prescription pills. Amber is a remarkable testament of treating PCOS symptoms naturally and holistically. You can find her here:

Don’t forget to share your PCOS journey with us on our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/tbhthepill
Or Tweet us @tbhthepill

Why are there so many freaken pills around?

pill brands

Ever wondered why there are so many damn pills on the market? What’s the difference between Brenda and Juliet? Why is she on Diane and while you’re on Zoely?

From experience, I was prescribed Zoely merely because my GP was in abundance of Zoely sample packs (how convenient). After my first appointment I was given 2 packs. For FREE! Naïve as I was at the age of 19, I took them with the same satisfaction anyone would have given freebies. From hindsight this was a stupid move by my GP and myself. I should have asked questions. Why Zoely? Why not Brenda or Juliet or even Yaz? Is Zoely any better? What’s the difference and why does it cost twice as much? (Zoely $75AUD for 3 months)

If I were talking to my 19-year-old self, this is what I would have told her…In terms of combination (estrogen and progestin) oral contraceptive pills there are TWO main types – monophasic (one phase) pills and multiphasic (multiple phase) pills.

Monophasic pills

  • All active pills in the pack have the contain the same levels of estrogen and progestin in each pill
  • So regardless of what order you take them in, each pill is the same as it as the same dose for every active day
  • Examples – Microgynon-30/50, Nordette, Levlen, Monofeme, Norimin(1)-28, Brevinor-1(R)-28, Yasmin, Diane-35, Estelle-35, Juliet-35, Brenda-35, Valette, Microgynon-20, Loette, Yaz and Zoely

Multiphasic pills

  • The active pills contain different levels of hormones dosages through the month
  • There are 3 types of multiphasic pills:
    biphasic (2 different dosages), triphasic (3 different dosages) and quadphasic (4 different dosages)
  • Multiphasic pills must be taken in sequential order otherwise they will not be effective and you may experience breakthrough bleeding and unintended pregancy
  • Examples – Natazia, Aranelle-35, Enpresse-30/40, Ortho Tricyclen-35, TriNessa-35, Triphasil-30/40/50,

Monophasic pills are more popular as they are easier to take. Multiphasic pills only appeared because there were concerns about estrogen levels in monophasic pills. Which leads me to the numbers. Ever wondered why there are numbers attached to each pill name? This number is actually an indication of the amount of estrogen that is present in the pill.

  • LOW dose pills contain: 20 micrograms of estrogen e.g. Alesse-20
  • REGULAR dose pills contain: 30-34 micrograms of estrogen e.g. Brenda-35
  • HIGH dose pills contain 50+ micrograms of estrogen e.g. Microgynon-50

And how do you decide what dose is best for you? Well here are a few things you should know:

  • Increased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of blood clots
  • Increased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of breast cancer
  • Increased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of weight gain
  • Increased levels of estrogen = the decrease in the thyroid hormones leading to hypothyroidism
  • Decreased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of breakthrough bleeding
  • Decreased levels of estrogen = higher rates of discontinuation
  • Moderate levels of estrogen = reduces side effects and regulates periods

For user reviews on each contraception pill visit:
http://www.drugs.com/condition/contraception.html
This website can be a good way to gauge whether you should be questioning the symptoms you are experiencing on a specific pill.

Welcome to Tbh The Pill

We are a community of gal pals who share our experiences and questions about being on hormonal contraceptives or better known as ‘the pill’. As of late, the media has been sensationalising the benefits of ‘the pill’, claiming it reduces the risk of cancer and will assist with population control in developing countries. Although these may be positive outcomes, they have led to the lack of awareness to the pill’s adverse side effects such as blood clotting, hair loss, migraines, liver tumours and depression. With the pill as Australia’s #1 contraceptive method, this is extremely worrying as these effects can be life threatening. It is an unacceptable risk that society has normalised.

As a non-profit organisation we aim to raise awareness to the negative side effects of oral contraceptive pills. We want women to have a holistic understanding of the pill’s adverse effects so that they can weigh out the risk of using oral contraceptive pills against its perceived benefits (prevent unplanned pregnancy, reduce acne, regular periods etc.). Since the Continued Dispensing of PBS Medicines Act in 2012, that allows women to access oral hormonal contraceptives without a prescription, our cause has become increasingly more pertinent to the wellbeing of young women. The increase of the pill’s accessibility has given women the impression that regular health check ups and monitoring while on the pill are unnecessary. This is WRONG.

How many more young women need to die before society realises that the pill poses the potential of serious and at times life-threatening complications? Women as young as 16, have died from taking the pill. Women have a RIGHT to know exactly what is happening to their body under the influence of oral contraceptive pills and understand ALL the potential effects of its use.

Share your experience or questions with us on our Facebook or Twitter page and help raise awareness to the pill’s serious side effects #tbh.