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Why Single Women, And Yes, Nuns, Ought To Take Contraceptive Hormones

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Birth Control Pills (Image courtesy of © iStockPhoto / Ceneri)

When I once said that nuns and single women who do not intend to get pregnant would benefit from taking contraceptive pills, one anti-RH Bill reacted saying “that is hysterical!” I didn’t think HYSTERICAL was even the appropriate word to say, even if she wanted to express disgust based on her knackered beliefs.

Let us put it that a woman has her first menstruation (called menarche) at age 15 years of age, and menopauses at 45 years of age. Granting she has a regular monthly menstrual cycle, that would make her mens 12 times a year. If she will have 30 years of reproductive age, then that would mean, she will have 360 menses in her lifetime. (Although realistically, nowadays, some girls already start menstruating at 9 years of age. To give you an idea when to expect the girl will mens for the first time, note at how old she is when her breasts start to enlarge — termed medically as thelarche. Approximately two years after that, she will now start her menstruation.)

During a woman’s menstruation, there is interplay between estrogen and progesterone. During the first day until day 14 of a woman’s menstrual cycle, ESTROGEN predominates especially on the day just before ovulation. The latter is responsible to prepare the uterus for an incoming pregnancy as well as ovulation in concert with other hormones; it’s level declines once the ovary has released an ovum. Once ovulation occurs, the corpus luteum (the cells surrounding the ovum in the ovary) release PROGESTERONE. The latter on the other hand ensures that the reproductive organs are optimum for a pregnancy to proceed.

PREGNANCY AND ITS EFFECT ON ESTROGEN ELEVATION

I have emphasized in my other blogs the role of progesterone as the hormone responsible for keeping the pregnancy intact. While estrogen may still be produced during pregnancy (as estriol), its potency is a lot weaker than the estrogen produced during non-pregnancy state (estradiol).

If woman gets pregnant for 9 months, the effect of progesterone is greater than the effect of estrogen. Even if estrogen is also produced during pregnancy as estriol, its effect to other organs such as ovary and uterus is dampened to nil. Thus, in cases where the woman is able to carry her pregnancy to full term, that would save her 9 months from the potent effects of estradiol to her body. If she will exclusively breastfeed (no breastmilk substitute whatsoever is given to the baby) after giving birth as well, this will have the effect of LACTATION-INDUCED AMENORRHEA (woman’s menstrual cycle remain arrested as effect of exclusively breastfeeding her baby) for about 6 months. Thus, one pregnancy will save the woman at least 15 months free from effects of elevated estrogen (estradiol) level. If in her lifetime, a woman will bear 4 children, all of which were term pregnancies, then she will have a total of (15 x 4) 60 menstruation free months in her lifetime. This means, she is on the advantage of 300 months exposure only, compared to women who never got pregnant, who are exposed to the potent effects of estradiol for 360 months.

EFFECT OF UNOPPOSED ESTROGEN ELEVATION

What effect does estrogen have to a woman? Most commonly discussed effects of unopposed estrogen elevation would range from benign (leiomyoma, or myoma of the uterus) to malignant such as cancer of the uterus, ovary, and breast, among other else.

Cancer

It has been established that most cancers are mainly genetic (meaning, inheritance of cancer genes from either side of the parents). But aside from the genes for expression of cancers, there are also genes for cancer suppression that comes along with its inheritance. Whichever of these genes predominates, that is  what is manifested clinically or physically or biochemically or physiologically by the person involved. If a person has breast cancer gene, and the gene for its suppression is muted or ineffective, then the person will have breast cancer manifestations. On the other hand, if the person has breast cancer genes, but his cancer suppression genes are enhanced and working effectively, then the person will not show signs of breast cancer, but still at risk and will readily convert once those cancer suppression genes are skewed. (Confused? hahaha). These cancer suppression/expression genes are regulated by the environmental factors to which the person is exposed to. In the case of breast cancer, one environmental factor is elevated estrogen (estradiol) level.

Estrogen naturally exists in 3 forms in women. The ovary produces (1) estradiol, the most potent form of estrogen, and this is the form usually seen elevated among nonpregnant women during the reproductive age group. This is believed to be the most potent of the three forms. Another form of estrogen is produced during pregnancy is (2) estriol; this has been noted to be the a lot weaker in comparison to potency of estradiol. Another form of estrogen is found among menopausal women, (3) estrone. During the reproductive age group, estrogen is produced by complex enzymatic process at the ovary. Postmenopausally, estrone is converted peripherally at the liver, adrenal glands, breast and fat tissues.

If a person has inherited the breast cancer genes, and keeps on being exposed to elevated estradiol, then she can develop breast cancer, especially if her breast tissue also has the hormone receptors for estrogen. These receptors will bind with the circulating estrogen and thus bring about the genesis of cancer. Between non-pregnant woman (who has 360 times of exposure) and a woman who got pregnant for four times (who only has 300 times of exposure), it is the former who is more susceptible. This only goes to show that even if the woman never took exogenous sources of estrogen (such as oral contraceptive pills), they can still have breast cancer. (I previously blogged a colleague who was single and died at the age of 42 from breast cancer. She too was not taking contraceptive pills — The Pain She Should Never Have.

DO CONTRACEPTIVES OFFER ANTI-CANCER BENEFIT TO WOMEN?

Contraceptive pills contain synthetic progesterone alone or in combination with estrogen. Among its many benefits, the effect in focus is its role in suppressing ovulation. With a sustained elevated level of progesterone from religious intake of contraceptive pills or injectable hormones, this suppresses elevation of estradiol (which leads to ovulation). With lesser if not complete non-exposure of the reproductive organs to estradiol, nothing will stimulate the cancer expression genes and therefore no cancer formation. Of course this is NOT always absolute and there are always exceptions, but these exceptions are often minimal compared to those who will benefit from the treatment.

A meta-analysis on the effect of oral contraceptive pills among women who had genetic mutations (BRCA1/2) for expression of ovarian cancers have shown that oral contraceptives reduce the risk for ovarian cancers, proportional to the length of use. The same meta-analysis also stated that OC formulations used before 1975 were associated with a significant increased risk of breast cancer (SRR: 1.47; 95% 1.06, 2.04), but no evidence of a significant association was found with use of more recent formulations (SRR: 1.17; 95% 0.74, 1.86). (highlights were mine). (Reference: Oral contraceptive use and breast or ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1/2 carriers: A meta-analysis.S. Iodice, M. Barile, N. Rotmensz, I. Feroce, B. Bonanni, P. Radice, L. Bernard, P. Maisonneuve, S. Gandini. European Journal of CancerVolume 46, Issue 12August 2010Pages 2275-2284).

Do women ought to take contraceptive pills, even if they are not married? 

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Breast Cancer, RHBill

 

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The Myths of Breakthrough Ovulation & It’s Purported Abortion

A woman posted a meme on twitter talking about “breakthrough ovulation” and how these eggs fertilized after breakthrough ovulation gets killed by contraceptive pills. I asked her to explain scientifically how does the killing happen, but I never got a reply. My guess was she really did not know what she was talking about and thus the answer (because she just want to instill fear among her readers). How responsible tweet that was huh?

Breakthrough ovulation can happen, especially when the female taking pills is not compliant and does not follow instructions well. According to Dr. Dennis Higginbotham, “failure rates for pregnancy with BCP’s (birth control pills) can be 1% to 5% depending on the particular pill and on the patient compliance. Skipping pills is the usual cause for failure, but ovulation (and pregnancy) can occur even when the pill is taken properly.” (highlight is mine; Reference: https://www.healthtap.com/#topics/breakthrough-ovulation-on-birth-control). Following his statement, it would show that the pills are 95-99% effective in suppressing ovulation.

Pill are composed of synthetic estrogen and/or synthetic progesterone. Some pills are plain progesterone, while some are combined estrogen and progesterone. The hormonal contents of birth control pills are minute as compared to the volume released by the ovary. It mimics the hormone’s action by causing ovary to stop ovulating, thins out the uterine wall, thickens the cervical secretions, all for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

What are the circumstances surrounding ovulation? When a woman ovulates, there is a high estrogen level in her blood, there is the surge of luteinizing hormone. These two events are important to trigger the eruption of the ovum from the ovary. What are the sequela of elevated levels of estrogen? In the uterus per se, it causes thickening of the walls, increase in blood vessels, as if preparing for a possible pregnancy. That’s what estrogen does to the uterine lining. So, what will happen in cases of breakthrough ovulation, and this egg becomes fertilized? It has a rich uterine lining for implantation. This is contrary to the claim of misinformed anti-reproductive health bill measure that because the woman is taking pills, the uterus is thin and cervical mucus is thick disallowing pregnancy to happen. This is false! Estrogen and progesterone are endocrine hormones. This means that it is secreted by a certain organ, but its effect is transmitted to other organs sensitive to it via the bloodstream. In contrast, paracrine hormones/substances are substances which exert effect to nearby organs by diffusion but not via bloodstream. So in breakthrough ovulation, where the egg gets fertilized, PREGNANCY will take place, NOT ABORTION. As Dr. Higginbotham mentioned, there is 1-5% failure rate.

During the woman’s menstrual cycle, estrogen hormone predominate during the 1st 2 weeks (day 0-14). This hormone prepares the uterus and other reproductive organs for the forthcoming “pregnancy,” assuming that the egg gets fertilized upon its release – uterine lining thickens, there is increase in blood vessels, glycogen, etc. Everything happens in a concerted fashion for the anticipated pregnancy. By around day 14 of the menstrual cycle, the luteinizing hormone surges (released by the pituitary gland) and then triggers the release of the ovum.

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Beautiful series of pictures taken by accident by the team of Jacquez Donnez as they were preparing the woman for partial hysterectomy. (source: http://login.totalweblite.com/design/1120/index.asp?pageid=34422&AccId=4049)

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Image courtesy of http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/99761/The-steps-of-ovulation-beginning-with-a-dormant-primordial-follicle

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Image courtesy of http://ib-biology2010-12.wikispaces.com/Human+Reproduction

When the ovum is released, the follicle is converted into corpus luteum. Estrogen level now declines dramatically. The corpus luteum now releases progesterone to sustain the ovum. If the ovum gets fertilized, there is rapid proliferation of cells until the fertilized ovum will transform into blastocyst. This happens until about 13 days from fertilization. Up to this point, the corpus luteum provides progesterone for this developing embryo.

By around 13th day post-fertilization, the blastocyst implants. It may cause a minor bleeding in some women (post-implantation bleeding) while others may not. The outer layer of the blastocyst now imbeds itself into the rich vascular uterine wall and forms the placenta. Once implanted, the placenta now assumes the role of producing progesterone for nine months until the baby’s birth, as the corpus luteum has already involuted. This predominance of progesterone over estrogen during the period of pregnancy inhibits the ovary to release ovum for nine months as well.

This effect of progesterone predominance during pregnancy is mimicked by intake of contraceptive pills.  When the woman takes in hormonal pills, the progesterone becomes elevated thereby inhibiting the ovary to release an ovum, the uterine lining not prepared for pregnancy and the cervical mucus viscid, unfriendly to sperm that might swim up to the fallopian tube. Hence pregnancy will become unlikely.

Now it makes me wonder why these anti-rh bill supporters keep on saying that contraceptive pills are abortifacient. How can abortion happen when no ovum is released? And when there is no ovum released, what is there to fertilize? As of now, majority are in acceptance of the fact that fertilization is when human life begins. In cases of breakthrough ovulation which they repeatedly claim, again, if there is ovulation, then the uterus and the cervix is also prepared for a pending pregnancy because the effect of estrogen that lead to ovulation is also echoed in other parts of the female reproductive organ and not on the ovary alone. It does not happen that estrogen causes ovulation, but uterus remains thin and cervical mucus remains viscid. Estrogen and progesterone effects contradicting at the same time? No, dear anti-rh bill supporters, estrogen effect is endocrine. Again, read the meaning of endocrine as I have mentioned above. And if you insist on this premise that an ovum is released but the uterus and cervix is unprepared for a pregnancy, leading to the abortion of that fertilized ovum, then you should be one who is menstruating while pregnant because you think that estrogen and progesterone effects can happen at the same time. I wonder what subspecies of homo sapiens you are, perhaps Homo sapiens mutatis?

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Pregnancy, RHBill

 

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My Friend’s Thought: One Reason Why We Need RH Bill

friend of mine (he was the mayor of his year level when I was the governor of our college back then), arrived after doing some missionary works down south of the Philippines. I could see the disappointment and frustration in his face as he related what he found out.

He came to know of a girl, she is 14 years old. Pregnant… for her 3rd child. Yes, you read that right. Pregnant for her 3rd baby at age 14. My friend thinks, it seems that in that tribe, as long as the girls reaches menarche (first menstruation), they are being taken wives by older men.

He also talked to a leader of the tribe (they’re called datu). He has vast land, around 20 hectares. He rents it out to a multinational company. The company pays him 1,000 pesos per hectare, so that would sum to 20,000 pesos… Per month? NOOOOOO… Per YEAR, yes, per year!!! In addition, my friend told me the datu has about 10 wives. And each wife has lots of kids. So it makes my friend think, how can a 20,000 sustain that big family? How cannot he be impoverished when aside from the big family he has, he is being taken advantaged of by this big multinational company?

What took me was my friend saying, this scenario should really be seen by those men in congress, especially those who oppose the passage of the reproductive health bill. They are so impossible to contend with. There is really a need for it to be enacted.

When he departed, I thanked him, for understanding how life goes on among our poor fellows, for sharing the passion about how reproductive health program will help our poor women, save lives/reduce deaths, and in the long run, help alleviate their conditions.

 
 

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GMA, CBCP, RH BILL – The Entanglement?

During the 2004 Presidential elections, which GMA “won” against Fernando Poe Jr, the former was accused of massive cheating thus her victory. Many were protesting against her. In fact, then former President Cory Aquino, together with some CBCP members were calling for GMA to step down and honor the people’s clamor. Yes, CBCP with former President Aquino were together and bidding GMA’s step down.

Then GMA staged a checkmate with the priests. She bargained NOT to touch, and possibly kill any moves on POPULATION CONTROL (RH Bill) as well as Mining (where many diocese are major stockholders). Vatican then called the Filipino priests to remain neutral, and insisted that bishops distinguish between pastoral care and political involvement.

So the bishops no longer pursued the call for GMA’s resignation from office. Then what happened next? Bishops already started to ask favors from her. Of course, you now remember the scandal involving some bishops directly asking the president for vehicles as birthday gift. That PCSO intelligence fund being siphoned for purposes other than charity that eventually led to plunder case.

Now that GMA is out on bail, she vowed to vote against the reproductive health bill. Recently, she got readmitted due to some choking incident. She was advised complete bed rest. But come Tuesday when the RHBill will be voted upon, I will not be surprised if she will again insist to be discharged against medical advise and report to congress, earn media mileage and champion all those who are rallying against the bill’s passage. Voila, those of you who were calling for her resignation before, will now be swayed to shift side with her. 

Wait… can someone find out had there been negotiations between the camps of GMA and the bishops before this rally?

Reference:

1. http://raissarobles.com/2011/09/07/rh-bill-was-killed-by-pres-gloria-arroyo-in-exchange-for-church-political-support/

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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How Pro-Life Are You?

How Pro-Life Are You?.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Abortion, RHBill

 

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How Pro-Life Are You?

Your stance as a PRO-LIFE is definitely distinguishably palpable and admirable. You fight with all your might for the welfare of the UNBORNS, and would prevent any factors that will harm them, right from the very point that LIFE begins. You ardently believe that life begins the moment the sperm fertilizes the ovum. Yes, so does the many (including us) agree with you on that, even if the definition indeed of when life exactly begins remain still to be controversial, even among those regarded as experts in that particular field of discipline.

But just how admirable your being a prolife is, that’s the same magnitude how disgusting you are spreading lies. You label contraceptives abortifacients. All experts, those who think rationally than you do, agree that contraceptives prevent fertilization to take place. If no fertilization happens, then there’s no life that forms. (You must agree with this as you emphatically annunciate it to be so). When there is no life formed, there is nothing to abort. Thus, how can a contraceptive act as abortifacient? You’re no experts in that field let alone have sufficient medical background, yet you act and talk superior than them. You are challenged to file a class suit against the manufacturers of these contraceptives. Yes, you can do that, with the billions you amass every mass. But why don’t you? Those that you are saying are of course LIES; you, who are so righteous, judgmental perverts and experts of morality, know that lying is an act of sin. Or doesn’t it matter anymore if you are committing an act of sin as long as you convince your clout to believe your lies?

BUT… until what extent of their lives will you fight for? Just until they’re born? What about afterwards?

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(Photo courtesy of http://lover-caring.blogspot.com/2010_08_01_archive.html)

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(Photo courtesy of http://sforiginal.blogspot.com/2010/02/baby-thrown-into-garbage-bin-and-burnt.html)

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(Photo courtesy of http://cura-personalis.blogspot.com/2010/12/why-help-street-children.html)

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(Photo courtesy of https://abandonedchildren.wordpress.com/)

(Photo courtesy of http://yvettetan.com/2012/07/07/child-labor-the-cbcps-latest-argument-against-the-rh-bill/)

Unplanned pregnancies are so rampant they comprise >50% of the total pregnancies. What do they end up with? Abortion, dumping of live borns at garbage bins or sewers and then left to die, street children, and then children being forced to join the labor force. Is this what you envisioned their life would become, after all your valiant efforts to fight for their welfare whilst in pregnancy? Shouldn’t being a pro-life also entails ensuring that their offsprings will have a good quality of life after birth?

EMPOWERMENT vs. CONTROL

During the time of Jesus, he said “give them fish, and they will live for a day. Teach them how to fish, and they can live a lifetime.” Since then, Jesus has encouraged EMPOWERMENT for his followers to survive. But how does empowerment apply?

Empowerment is:

  • When a family has free will and varied options on how to plan their family. Consequently because they were able to plan, without restriction,
  1. parents are able to provide for the family; parents don’t have to work overseas in order to augment family income, thus parents also performs their supervisory role over their children; parents are able to save for their retirement, and do not end up as nannies of their grandchildren
  2. children are able to receive all vaccines and thus fare better against these vaccine-preventable diseases; they do not contribute to under-five mortality burden; grow up as healthy individuals and thus a healthy society in return
  3. children are able to go to school instead of being forced into child labor; receive good education that will prepare them as they enter the labor force during adulthood.

Control is…

  • when you blind your followers and limit their options. Consequently, the options you have provided fail more than succeed.
  • impose your belief, whether rational or not, to others who do not necessarily share your views
  • when your followers keep on feeling indebted to you; when they always seek and rely on your approval;
  • when you use your position and blackmail your followers with abomination, excommunication and eternal damnation
  • when you label those who adapts a modern evidence-based, legal, ethically sound practices as terrorists, insurgents, filibusters, demons, just so you can get what you want
  • when you extend your duties and powers beyond pastoral and shepherding to governing.
  • when you suppress truth from surfacing and impose what was “traditionally” accepted truth as infallible.

My religion classes way back then taught me that one of the gifts of the holy spirit to us humans is FREEDOM and FREE WILL. Clearly, this is being contradicted, oppressed by some who thinks their power is limitless.

 

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Abortion, RHBill

 

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The Filipino Adolescents 2012

The Filipino Adolescents 2012.

 

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