Cycling News (menstrual cycle, that is)

The article referenced here is about variation in menstrual cycles in young girls and the tendency of physicians to quickly put girls on oral contraceptives (OCs) if a girl’s cycle different from the classic description (28 day cycle, 5 day periods).

Two themes stand out: 1. when girls are taught about menses, they are taught a cookie cutter idea instead of being introduced to the wide variety of possible patterns. 2. in contrast to the rest of the world, the primary recommendation for contraception is hormone pills.

the excerpt is from the blog Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology

….Doctors, particularly in the United States, prescribe oral contraceptives at the slightest mention of deviation from the norm or evidence of a “menstrual disturbance.” In 79% of cases, health care providers will prescribe OCs at the patient’s request (Andrista et al, 2004). Less than 5% of doctors offer alternative forms of contraception to their patients in the US (Gerschultz, 2007), despite the fact that intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are more widely prescribed globally, and are both safe and effective. Future research questions should address whether doctors believe OCs are the best choice for women or that they the easiest method to prescribe; further, it is important to understand the decisions involved in prescribing these hormone treatments to adolescents. We have found evidence of doctors prescribing oral contraceptives to girls as young as twelve years of age (Cromer et al., 2008). Additionally, doctors prescribe OCs for adolescents who do not “live a lifestyle conducive to menstruation” (Sucato, 2002). We worry that ingesting cocktails of exogenous hormones have become a tool of convenience without regard to the possible trade-offs in their consumption. There is a large gap in the literature concerning adolescents and the long-term effects of OCs, yet doctors’ primary concern is that adolescents will accidentally skip a couple pills every pack (Omar et al, 2005)….

much more via Adolescent Menstrual Variation and Oral Contraceptives


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