The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Editorial: It is essential to educate people on women’s health, hormonal birth control

Editorial: It is essential to educate people on womens health, hormonal birth control

Women’s health, specifically reproductive and sexual health, are topics that are often glazed over and brushed past. We feel there is a critical lack of education surrounding hormonal birth control for women. Lack of education, understanding and information available to women regarding birth control and reproductive health even at a liberal arts, state-supported university like Grand Valley State University, are not seen as a priority. As more resources become available to women and men in terms of birth control, we feel it is time to update policies and access to information regarding hormonal birth control as well.

In our experience, those of us on the editorial team who have utilized hormonal birth control feel the education that we received about birth control was not adequate to provide full context as to what we should expect, what we should watch out for and the kinds of things we would experience after getting on birth control.

Additionally, the men on our editorial team know even less about birth control and the reproductive health of women. In preparation for this piece, the women on our editorial team had to educate the men on our staff about these topics due to a similar lack of education – albeit, a significantly more pronounced lack of education in comparison. Before doing research and hearing testimonials from different women, it was not a conversation that they felt they could contribute to. This is likely the case for many men. 

Whether hormonal birth control is employed by yourself or your partner, it is important to be educated on best practices for picking out the birth control that is right for your situation, and the side effects that come with the birth control method of your choosing.

One thing that we feel particularly upset about is the lack of education when it comes to Intrauterine Devices (IUDs). An IUD is a form of hormonal birth control that is implanted within the uterus. The insertion process for an IUD can be extremely painful. Those of us on the editorial team who have or know someone with an IUD have all expressed the shock and pain they felt during the insertion and were surprised by the amount of pain they felt compared to what they were told to expect. 

Planned Parenthood said people feel “some cramping or pain when they’re getting their IUD placed” and “the pain can be worse for some, but luckily it only lasts for a minute or two.”

This certainly has not been the experience of those of us who have IUDs or know peers who have had the procedure. We feel the education before the procedure does not effectively prepare the patient for what is to come. Several peers who have gotten IUDs said they had to research questions they had on their own like higher infection risks, how long to wait before having intercourse after insertion and how to monitor the placement of the IUD to make sure it is not slipping out of place from a medical professional.

Many women report that the IUD insertion, in which the common practice is to give no local anesthetic, is one of the worst pains of their lives. 

Cosmopolitan asked women to describe what their insertion felt like, and the results were shocking but realistic, in our opinion. 

In the Cosmopolitan article, one woman described the experience as the longest minute of her life, saying, “I have never, ever experienced pain like that before or since. Despite the three Advil I took before, it was so bad that I almost passed out after.” 

Many similar stories echo this woman’s experience. Why should women have to suffer through an invasive procedure like IUD insertion without local anesthetic and inadequate information to prepare them?

We push for doctors to listen to their patient’s pain and offer local anesthetic for IUD insertion when requested by patients. We also believe there should be longer consultation meetings to offer more information about the process of insertion, and the aftercare once the device is placed. 

This is a glaring issue for women’s health that we feel people aren’t talking enough about. While this is an issue that may seemingly come across exclusively as a women’s problem, it is a conversation that affects everyone.

All of us on the editorial team push for further education regarding IUDs and other forms of birth control. We believe an educated society is a society in control, and we all should be in control of our own bodies, especially when it comes to our reproductive rights.

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