Although some doctors still do not believe this syndrome exists, many women have been enormously helped by treatment of this condition. It is usually necessary to go off the birth control pill before treatment is started.
Some studies have shown a reduced incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease. However, according to Jill Weiss, of the Canadian PID Society, "There is disagreement about whether birth control pills really provide protection against pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). There is evidence to suggest that chlamydial infections of the cervix are enhanced by the pill. Also, women who use birth control pills have higher rates of chlamydial infection than women using barrier methods of birth control or no birth control. Some experts believe that pill use may increase the risk of chlamydia caused PID and the risks of developing silent pelvic infection which is more difficult to treat."
The cervix shows distinct changes for those on the pill, becoming redder in appearance and the cervical mucous more sticky and opaque. This is called "the pill cervix" and goes back to normal after the pill is stopped.
One study found an increase of urinary tract infections on the pill, while another study did not.
GUM DISEASE: Has been shown to increase with the use of the pill.
The link between the pill and depression has been known by women for a long time. Pill use substantially increases the chance of depression. Nine major studies have shown an incidence of depression in pill users ranging from 16 to 56 percent. Three major studies showed no connection between pill use and depression. Two other recent well designed studies showed a ten to 15 percent increase in depression in pill users.
Most long-term pill users tend to develop vitamin-B6 deficiency while on the pill, and this is often helpful in treating pill-related depression. Therefore, as a preventative measure women on the pill should take extra B6 in the form of one or two mega B tablets that each contain 50mg of all the B vitamins daily. It is also a good idea to take 500 to 1,000mg of vitamin-C along with the B vitamins. In addition, some experts also suggest vitamin-E 200 IU a day and chelated zinc 25mg a day.
EYE CHANGES: The pill may cause a need for a change in contact lens prescriptions or the inability to wear contact lenes at all. The pill can rarely cause sudden blindness (due to clotting in the blood vessel leading to the eye) and cataracts.
The way sugar is handled in the body is markedly affected by the pill. The amount of sugar in the blood is increased as well as the amount of insulin and growth hormone. The long-term effects of these changes are not known.
Liver function can be altered in pill users and this can show up in altered levels of liver enzymes as measured in the blood. Only rarely (1 in 10,000) do pill users develop hepatitis with yellow jaundice. This jaundice usually subsides after the pill is discontinued.
Most blood clotting factors in the blood are also increased with use of the pill.
Other Side Effects
Pill users may experience side effects that are not hazardous to their health, but are nonetheless very annoying. These include tenderness of the breasts, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, and swelling of the ankles. A spotty darkening of the skin, especially the face, may occur and, in some cases, becomes permanent. Other skin problems may occur such as eczema and hives or other skin rashes. These side effects are increased with higher doses of the pill.
On the lowest dose pills, breakthrough bleeding throughout the month is quite common, but usually disappears after three months of use.
Some studies have shown an increased incidence of chicken pox and other viral infections. The pill has also been linked to arthritic symptoms, ulcers in the mouth, hair loss and hair growth, sunlight sensitivity, bruising, lupus (a connective tissue disorder) and non-cancerous growths of the muscle tissue.
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