Women of child-bearing age must be invoked on to read and understand Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10354), informally known as the Reproductive Health Law or RH Law simply because it deals with the rights of women in a world of differing views on maternal health. Remember that the initial proposal for the RH Bill came around in 1967 and from then on stirred controversy after controversy until the much-debated revision of this Law was passed in 2014. And then, it took the pre-election and election campaign periods from 2014 to the early part of 2016, and more proponents for and anti, to further form a wedge on an already long-divided nation…ultimately landing on a new presidency and administration that projected a future of more responsible women coming into play.
I’m a survivor of generations of women in my lifetime. I was among the Maria Clara type of women of the 60s and 70’s when sex and pre-marital sex were only heard of in whispers and hushes. And then came the independent, working class of women in the 80s and 90s who struggled much against the stereo-type as we learned more and more about women who got very sick and even died from reproductive causes. At the turn of the millenium, it was really a battle between conservatism and modernity, as we began to talk openly about the plight of women and not getting adequate maternal care.
It is important that women have access to information related to the health concerns of the female anatomy, even if reproductive processes seem to be the crux of it all. Belatedly, hormones play key roles in all womanly functions and therefore, drugs and related products that regulate hormones are a part of a woman’s armamentarium to ensure a healthy reproductive system.
While we can leave the statistics and hard strategies to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the local authorities such as the Department of Health (DOH), we should make it our mandate, AS A WOMAN, to help one another, in the best way we can. Even if the only way we can help at all, is to spread the real deal on what it will take to improve maternal health care in the country today. It is no longer excusable to embarrass or be embarrassed, at encouraging peers to put more emphasis on science and objectivity (versus conservation-religion and emotionalism, I’m afraid to say) when it comes to our health and our lives.
Contraception for responsible parenthood is one such tool that can help women stay healthy and happy, for as long as she makes informed decisions. Even staunch Catholic obstetricians and general practitioners are now recommending the use of COCs (Combined Oral Contraceptives) with products that can clearly support a woman’s life and family goals. Admittedly, however, the successful practice of COCs in the Philippines is severely untapped mainly due many misconceptions and perceptions about its use in birth control.
Weight Gain. Subject is still widely debatable as differing studies have proven conclusive to make a definite stand. An extensive research conducted in 2011 at the Cochran Database System Review analyzed 49 studies that compared a variety of birth control methods with placebos and found no evidence that birth control causes weight gain. In contrast, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a study in 2009 that found the use of Depo-Provera may have caused weight gain and increase in body fat in its subjects. One thing is certain: Your OB must be consulted to get the better options using contraceptive methods.
No conception while Breastfeeding. Even in the Philippines, this seems a likely cause of a lot of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies. A reality check is that breastfeeding exclusively (without supplementing with formula) can suppress the hormones from the pituitary gland that make you ovulate, but it’s not a guarantee against conceiving. Is the uncalculated risk of pregnancy something you can (or cannot) handle? You decide.
No conception with Non-drug Contraceptive Methods. The so-called “safe” period of some days before and after your menstrual cycle presents an even higher risk of getting an unplanned pregnancy. It is funny that the woman who can make these calculations are certainly healthily ovulating individuals whose cycles can be largely affected by day-to-day worries about life and family. The only way to secure a non-pregnant state in a sexual relationship is to take contraceptives while one is still actively producing hormones.
For more myth-busters on birthcontrol, you may want to check out the friendly advisories from http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/birth-control-contraceptive-myths.
Behind a successful Woman…is her Obsterician!
In a round-table discussion held last July 27, the almost-all-women media contingent was treated to a seriously-but-lively talk with the bubbly Dra. Anna Belen I. Alensuela, FPOGS, a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist at FEU Hospital and a staunch advocate of the RH Law relative to improving maternal health.
She related her experience at defending the RH Bill, especially in objectively defining and clarifying conception versus the faith-inacceptable abortifacient.
With her vast knowledge and research on the development of the Pill comes renewed hope that the newer generations of COMBINED ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES are not only more effective (than traditional means) but also better tolerated.
Dr. Alensuela appealed to us all to help spread awareness that COCs are all about improving quality of life while being responsible women and enjoying our sexuality.
iWoman: A Woman’s Health and Wellness Advocacy
The campaign for women’s welfare has never been this purposeful. This sends a shockwave of a message that women also have to take care of themselves to be the best that they can be to the world.
Women matter. Much as women have accepted the God-given fate as the conceiver of life, they have long been around as professionals and leaders too.No longer arebthey just confined at the sidelines but now, rather, seek the full spectrum of their womanity in everything that they do and have become.
Women nurture. Call them Mother Earth or Mother Incarnate – it’s all the same. To nurture and facilitate growth is not just a function; it’s a commitment to bring happiness and fulfillment to the entire human race.
Women influence. True women fight for their right to choice. And responsible women take it to the next level to ensure information is shared for the benefit of the most people.
iWoman. This is the new bedrock of initiatives in advocating women’s right to information and choice!
Available in the market today is a formidable line of COMBINED ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES that caters to the varying needs and priorities of the empowered woman.
The ideal pill to use for first time users is the the one with the lowest dose. The brand Minipil, is a combination of 100 mcg Levonorgestrel + 20 mcg Ethinylestradiol. (“mcg” is micro gram). It is the lowest available in the market. Other bands have 125 to 150 mcg of Levonorgestrel and 30mcg of Ethinylestradiol. Take note that low dose does NOT mean reduced efficacy, but it will definitely reduce side effects, particularly useful for newbie users.
For those that have severe acne, chances are the pill with the active ingredients: Cyproterone acetate 2mg + Ethynylestradiol 35mcg will be prescribed. It is prohibitively expensive at Php 656 in Mercury, the price you have to pay to get clear skin since the pill is made in Europe. There is however more affordable option, priced at about Php 450 in Mercury and that is Cybelle. It is also contains Cyproterone acetate 2mg + Ethynylestradiol 35mcg and also made in Europe.
For girls that have been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), chances are you have been prescribed a pill with Cyproterone acetate and Ethynylestradiol. It is prohibitively expensive at Php 656 in Mercury, Europe-made. However there is brand that is more affordable at about Php 450 in Mercury, that is Cybelle, it is also made with Cyproterone acetate and Ethynylestradiol and also made in Europe. Cybelle will definitely give you more value for your money without scrimping on your treatment.
For girls that have uncomfortable periods or PMS, treating with regular pain reliever is not enough to manage all the symptoms, especially bloating and mood swings! You have to take pills with Drospirenone and Ethinylestradiol. Do consult your doctor on how to best manage this. However, being manufactured in Europe, these pills will cost anywhere from Php 889 to Php 905! The price alone will certainly cause your moods to swing. But fret not, more affordable brands are available in Mercury; these are Lizelle, which cost only Php 629 and Liza, which is only Php 600! They have the same basic ingredients and also made in Europe. Best to check with your ObGyne as Liza and Lizelle on dosage and administration; one of them should be the ideal brand for you.
For ladies who get bloatedness and gain weight when they take the pill, the ideal pills to take would be those with Drospirenone and Ethinylestradiol. Consult your ObGyn about you weight concerns when taking pills. The recommended but affordable brands in Mercury Drugstore are Lizelle, which cost only Php 629, and Liza, which is only Php 600!
- prescribed information above for MD use only
We need to bring back the satisfaction and fulfillment of being a woman by giving her CHOICE. It is time to TAKE CHARGE and be iWOMAN of today.
For more information and understanding, visit your primary caregiver or OB.