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contraceptive pill

If you are unfamiliar with the term 'reproductive coercion', it's essentially when another person has more control over your reproductive health than yourself.

Hilary Freeman of The Guardian is now reporting that more women than imagined have no idea that reproductive coercion is a form of abuse.

Studies have revealed that a shocking one-in-four women who attend sexual health clinics report coercion over their reproductive lives, including 'contraceptive sabotage', such as covert condom removal.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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According to BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, available evidence about the abusive behaviour needs to be updated to 2017 and widen the spectrum of activities involved to include familial pressure, criminal activity and exploitation within sex trafficking.

As well as not being able to choose contraceptives to use or take control of their own reproductive health, reproductive control takes the form of contraceptive sabotage, such as convert condom removal or needling a hole in a condom. 

Not being able to decide whether to start or continue a pregnancy is a major factor, research shows, and the concept of reproductive control (especially over women's autonomy) by others was first described in 2010.

Women's experience of interference with their autonomy goes back centuries, arguably, but research indicates that younger women are particularly vulnerable, as well as those in the black community and racial minorities.

The practice is scarily common, with women having decisions taken away from them by partners, exploiters or family, invalidating consent.

One-in-four women attending sexual healthcare clinics are reporting persuasive methods, emotional blackmail, threatened or actual infidelity and physical violence predominantly perpetrated by male partners but also criminal gangs.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Other examples of contraceptive sabotage include; partners lying about having a vasectomy or sterilisation, refusing to wear condoms, forceful removal of condoms, not using the withdrawal method properly, piercing barrier contraceptives or throwing away contraceptive pills.

Condom removal during sex is referred to as 'stealthing', and is now classified as sexual assault. Spiking drinks or food to induce abortion also was mentioned as occurrences.

The consequences are often emotionally difficult to bear; unintended or unwanted pregnancy, higher abortion risk, higher STI rates and emergency contraceptive usage.

Women in violent, abusive relationships prove especially vulnerable to reproductive coercion, but many are unaware that they are being subjected to reproductive control.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"The degree of control that a male partner can have will vary from mild to extreme. Milder amounts of control may not be perceived by the victim as unhealthy or abusive."

"Women in a long term relationship may become inured to significant levels of reproductive control," the study's authors write.

The study calls on healthcare professionals must play a crucial part in noticing and preventing this horrifically controlling behaviour.

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Research has discovered that ONE IN THREE women have heard the classic excuse of the condom being "too small to use."

We're feelin' pretty smug at this news, but we thought it would be three in three, to be honest…

A study has proven that just FOUR percent of people experienced problems with the condom legitimately not being big enough to use, despite so many women hearing the excuse. LOL.

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Scientists were seeking to dispel the fallacy through their testing of condom sizes with an air compressor, and found that the condoms expanded to well over the average penis size.

The NHS and King's College London have previously said that the average size is 5.16 inches long.

However, engineering firm SGS Engineering maintain that the condoms measured roughly THREE FEET LONG by one foot wide when inflated to full capacity, so it seems a lot of men are telling fibs.

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A spokesperson for the engineering company who tested the barrier contraceptive said: “The condom, when inflated, would be approximately the same size as an Alsatian.”

A DOGGO. A REAL-LIFE BIG SIZED DOGGO. Let that sink in for a minute.

Researchers talked to 1,000 people in the UK to discover common attitudes to condom use, and found that only one-third of sexually active 18-24 year olds use condoms, and just 41 percent of sexually active folk across all age ranges use them. Alright then, do you want a baby/STI? Did you not see Mean Girls?

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70 percent of those who were quizzed said they don't use a condom every time they have sex because they use another contraceptive method, such as the pill (24 percent of y'all are smart), withdrawal method (13 percent of y'all are stupid) and sterilisation (10 percent).

This is next level absurd; one in ten people said they didn't use condoms because of the WEIRD SMELL.

20 percent said the reason was discomfort, while 16 percent said it was because they reduced the pleasurably sensation, and 8 percent said they 'forgot'. Fools.

However, of the 70 percent of people who cited another contraception being used, one third just assumed that this was the case but there wasn't any proof. Mmmkay then. 

Half of people experienced an unplanned pregnancy because they didn't use condoms. See? Sex Ed is IMPORTANT people.

Condoms are up to 98 percent effective at protecting against STIs and unwanted pregnancies, 15 percent of people in the survey said they didn't trust condoms for fear of splitting.

Only three percent if these worries are based on this happening to them previously though.

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A spokeswoman for SGS Engineering, Natalie Richardson, commented on the results;

 “The findings were surprising – particularly how anti-condom some men seemed to be, despite them not considering any other contraceptive methods."

“Potentially women are being told the excuse as a way of avoiding condom use because of sensation reasons. However, in most cases the risks far outweigh the benefits of ‘increased sensation’,” she added. Damn right they do.

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Ian Green of sexual health service organisation Terrence Higgins Trust said that the best way to protect against STIs remains to use condoms;

“There is the right condom out there for everyone. Penises come in a whole range of different shapes and sizes – and condoms do too. For example, if you do find standard condoms too small, then you should try a king size option."

“Last year we saw big jumps in rates of both gonorrhoea and syphilis, which is why more needs to be done to promote condom use, the range of different shapes and sizes available, and the importance of regular testing," he continued.

"This is particularly true among groups most affected by STIs in this country, which includes young people, gay and bisexual men, and people from BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) communities.” 

The Family Planning Association, said regular sized condoms are suitable for most penis shapes and sizes.

Karen O’Sullivan, who has 30 years of experience working in sexual health wrote : “We would advise anyone who knows that regular condoms aren’t suitable for them, for whatever reason, to carry appropriate options with them so they can have safe sex."

Sexual health provider SH:24 said health providers need to move away from the “one size fits all” contraception mentality.

“When patients come into a clinic, they can often assume all condoms are the same size so we also want to see better education around choices and how to use condoms properly,“ they said.

It just goes to show, we need to massively step up when it comes to sexual health education, because myths are still circulating.

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According to more than 40 years of research, the contraceptive pill can protect women against certain types of cancer.

The study, which was carried out at the University of Aberdeen, reports that women are less likely to suffer from bowl cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer after using the pill, and it can protect you for up to 30 years after.

The research, which studied 46,000 women for 44 years, also debunked the myth that taking the pill can lead to breast cancer in later life – it does not.

Image result for the contraceptive pill

The Oral Contraception Study first began in 1968, by the Royal College of General Practitioners to investigate the side effects of taking birth control.

Dr Lisa Iversen, the lead researcher said: "What we found from looking at up to 44 years' worth of data, was that having ever used the pill, women are less likely to get colorectal, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

"So, the protective benefits from using the pill during their reproductive years are lasting for at least 30 years after women have stopped using the pill.

Image result for the contraceptive pill

"We did not find any evidence of new cancer risks appearing later in life as women get older.

"These results from the longest-running study in the world into oral contraceptive use are reassuring.

"Specifically, pill users don't have an overall increased risk of cancer over their lifetime and that the protective effects of some specific cancers last for at least 30 years," she added.

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Having recently been linked to depression, often associated with weight gain and commonly blamed for breakouts, it’s safe to say the contraceptive pill has a bit of a bad rep.

But thankfully for its users, there could be one unusual benefit to taking progesterone only and combined pills – and no it’s not just the prevention of unplanned pregnancies.

Research conducted at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that the pill could help prevent common illnesses like the flu.

Taking female mice as participants, the study found that animals with higher levels of progesterone in their bodies had better functioning immune systems than those in possession of lower doses of the hormone.

Because progesterone is found in the majority of pills, those who’ve been prescribed the contraceptive could have boosted immune systems and therefore be better able to fight Winter ailments.

While it is still very early days, if the study’s findings are found to be applicable to humans, it would mean that the pill could have real benefits for parts of the body beyond the reproductive system.

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GIFs: Giphy

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A newly published study from the University of Copenhagen has found that women who take the contraceptive pill are more likely to suffer from depression.

After studying the health records of more than one million Danish women aged 15 to 34, researchers found that those taking the combined pill – which contains artificial varieties of oestrogen and progesterone – were 23 percent more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than those who were not on a hormonal form of contraceptive.

Scarily, that figure rose to 34 percent for takers of progestin-only pills and up to 80 percent for teens aged between 15 and 19 who were on the combined pill.

Researcher Professor Øjvind Lidegaard told the BBC that the three year study’s most significant finding was the extent to which cases of depression increased among young women with no previous mental health issues once they began taking the combined pill.

He said: “If it is increasing by 80 percent it is not a trivial finding, it's something women should be fully informed about.”

While critics of the study have been quick to point out that the results do not prove that the pill causes depression, only that it is link to it, Professor Lidegaard believes hormonal contraceptives are inducing depression.

“We cannot see any other explanation,” he said.

The study – which is one of the largest of its kind – also found an association between depression and other forms of hormonal contraceptives like implants, the coil and vaginal rings.

A 2014 study by Bayer found that Ireland has one of the lowest rates of contraceptive use in the EU, while births to teenage mothers here remain among the highest.

Among those using contraception, the pill was found to be the most popular method of choice.

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