New contraceptive guidance reverses decades of advice

New advice that women can take the pill everyday is met with confusion -- and claims that it's the Pope's fault.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
New contraceptive guidance reverses decades of advice - NewsMavens
Birth Control Pills, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Women have been losing trust in contraception.

Although the pill was introduced in the late 60s to resounding support from women and health professionals across the world, evidence that the hormonal contraceptive is linked to depression, mood swings, anxiety and unwanted physical symptoms has caused many women to stop taking it.

New clinical issuance guidelines by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) state that the contraceptive pill can be taken back-to-back and that there is no health benefit to a seven-day break.

While the guidance will help some women take their health into their own hands, many are frustrated at the lack of accurate information surrounding the pill and the "trivialization" of reproductive health issues.

Details from the story:

  • This new Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) guidance goes back on 60 years of reproductive health advice.
  • The FSRH claims that it is safe for women to take the combined oral contraceptive pill back-to-back with no known health issues.
  • Claims that the guidance existed to appease the Pope have been widely circulated. Several reports claim that gynaecologist John Rock first devised the pill "break" in the hope that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use.
  • However, this claim has been refuted by Dr Alice Howarth, a clinical and molecular pharmacologist and cell biologist at the University of Liverpool, who cites sources suggesting the co-creators of the pill in fact convinced the Catholic church to approve of the contraceptive through its claims to nature -- that a break was more like the body's natural fluctuations of hormones.
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