Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team
Did you know that October is National Women’s Small Business Month? Pandia Health is proud to be the ONLY women-founded, women-led, doctor-led company in birth control delivery. Ahead of October, Dr. Sophia Yen, co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health, gave a talk on the importance of women-led reproductive health for the Women in Business and Technology Conference on the The Somi Arian Show. Check out her talk here and read the highlights below.
Not many women know that menstruation is a leading cause of missed school and work in womxn under the age of 25. That’s a barrier to education and career that most people without uteri don’t have to deal with. Menstruation is also the number one cause of anemia in menstruating womxn because of the amount of blood that is lost each month when those with uteri aren’t on any birth control medication.
The only reason menstruation and monthly bleeding occurs is because of the potential for pregnancy; most of us don’t want to get pregnant for a long time until after our first period. That means that every month starting from age 12 to 15 (that number tends to be lower with greater access to nutrition), we build a lining, wait for an embryo, and bleed when the embryo doesn’t appear. Every time we build, then bleed, then build, then bleed, we risk endometrial cancer. Every time we pop out an egg, we risk ovarian cancer. Colorectal cancer risk can also increase.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With medication or hormonal treatment, we can end this random burden that hits half the population one week out of four. How do you have fewer periods? You have several options based on your lifestyle, personal preferences, and medical history: the IUD with hormone, the implant, the shot, the patch, the vaginal ring, or the birth control pill. Of these options, methods to decrease periods are more predictable if you use the ring, the patch, or the pill.
It is important to know that extra estrogen exposure resulting from the pill, patch, and ring increases your risk of breast cancer. However, the benefits of decreased endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancer outweigh the small increased risk of breast cancer; that’s not to mention the benefits of improved quality of life for women along with decreasing the landfill. Those with uteri use about 10,000-13,000 menstrual products on average in their lifetime so fewer periods means helping out the environment as well by reducing this waste.
Some might argue that it is not natural to have fewer periods. However, evidence shows that what’s not natural is the incessant menstruation we are now experiencing. Currently, women in the Dogon Tribe in Mali have about a hundred periods in their lives as they tend to begin their periods at age 15 or 16. In contrast, those of us in first world countries have 350 to 400 periods in our lives with most young girls starting their periods around age 12.
Women in Mali Dogon Tribe have about eight periods a year, while we have thirteen. In their lifetimes, they have eight babies on average, while we have two. For each of those pregnancies, they breastfeed for 12 to 18 months, while we breastfeed for zero, three, or six months. Therefore, we have three and a half to four times the amount of periods than we should.
Pandia Health Gives You Options
What we need is more options for turning on and off our periods. Currently, there is only one implant, two rings, and one type of hormonal IUD, but there are seven to eight different types of progestins. Lastly, we need far more money put into research on different side effects of different birth control pills and the long-term effect of these kinds of methods.
If you think skipping your periods with birth control is the right choice for you and your body, sign up with Pandia Health to schedule a telemedicine appointment with one of our expert doctors. If you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MI, NV, TX, TN, PA, WA, or WY, we can set you up with a birth control prescription and mail you your medication directly to your house for FREE.
If you already have a birth control prescription and want to #SkiptheTrip to the pharmacy, we can mail you your medication no matter where you are in the United States.
Want to stay up-to-date on the latest reproductive health news? Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to get doctor-approved, womxn-supported content directly to your feeds. Remember, educating yourself on reproductive health is a crucial step to empowerment!
Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.