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.