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The NO-PANIC Guide to the Birth Control Pill – Part I

The no-panic guide to the birth control pill

For quite some time, I’ve been trying to put together a comic on the birth control pill (a.k.a. “the Pill”). I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about: its risks (e.g. blood clots, cancer), its benefits, available alternatives, etc.

And yet, I was staring at a blank page. Utterly stuck.

Then, at some point, I finally discovered the reason for my mental block: it’s impossible to tackle the risks of the Pill without first understanding how it works.

After all, how many women know…

  • How the menstrual cycle and ovulation work?
  • What are the purposes of the different structures of the female reproductive system, such as the ovaries and the endometrium?
  • What are the roles of estrogen and progesterone?
  • How does hormonal contraception work?

Answer: not many.

It’s easy to frighten people with a list of all the serious side effects of hormonal contraception (because they do exist), but it’s much garder to paint the whole picture.

This is Part 1 of my “No-Panic Guide to the Birth Control Pill.” The second (and last) part will specifically deal with the risks and benefits of the Pill.

In order to make sure that my comic is accurate, I asked for the help of Lyne Massicotte, a clinical biochemist. Lyne, whose work I greatly admire, is the cofounder – with her partner Mathieu – of Nasci Biologie Médicale, a medical lab specializing in male fertility. Thanks Lyne!

Translated by Qian Li (Pharm.D. candidate), proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

Introduction

 

The brain releases FSH and the ovaries start working on the folliclesEstrogen appears and LH stimulates the ovaries even furtherThe ovum begins its journey and progesterone prepares the endometrium

Fertilization or period

 

How the Pill works A

How the Pill works B

 

How the Minipill works

 

Other types of hormonal contraception

 

Conclusion

 

The no-panic guide to the birth control pill part II (header)

 

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5 lies about detox and toxins

5 deceits about detox and toxins (header)

Have you heard about toxins? 

I know a few. Let’s see: snake venom, the botulinum toxin, the tetanus toxin… well, that’s it. I can’t name any more of them. 

Unfortunately, the word “toxin” has entered the popular language and is now used for pretty much anything: pollutants, heavy metals, fecal matter, microbes, gluten… hell, even stress supposedly generates toxins. 

According to some shady individuals, toxins are everywhere. They also talk about “metabolic waste” that accumulates and must be eliminated from our bodies; otherwise it’ll make us sick. 

At the holistic shop (and at the pharmacy, sadly), you’ll find a range of products that promise to eliminate these toxins and “clean up the system.” They often carry statements such as: 

  • Detox
  • Cleanse
  • Internal cleansing program
  • Supports a healthy liver
  • Protects and eliminates liver congestion
  • Promotes fat burning and weight loss (yeah, because that’s the real goal)
  • Etc. 

Manufacturers of these products make a fortune after the holiday season as they manage to convince people that they must “find balance after this period of excess“. 

Unfortunately, detox is a huge scam. So-called “cleanses” contain nothing but obscure herbal mixtures with no real purpose, as well as diuretics and laxatives that make you go to the toilet more frequently. Sounds like fun, huh? 

For educational purposes, let’s laugh a little at these ridiculous products. Let’s also examine the key deceits their manufacturers use to extort money from people. All statements found below were taken directly from their websites.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

5 deceits about detox and toxins (intro)

 

Toxins and pollutants exist since the industrial revolution

Life expectancy and health in the past and today

 

You must cleanse your system after the holiday season

 

Toxins prevents vitamins and nutrients from being absorbed

What naturopaths say about cleanses

 

 

You must help your organs to eliminate toxins and waste

My test to assess whether your organs are functioning or not

 

Food and waste accumulates in the intestines

Detox cleanses contain laxatives
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