Sunday, May 9, 2010

50th anniversary of the pill

Today makes exactly 50 years since the pill was approved by the FDA. The anniversary made a few headlines, together with a discussion on how the pill has changed women's lives.

As a diabetic I have a slightly different perspective. Every month during my period, when I take the little blank pills, my insulin needs drop: I have to take 4 units less of my 24-hour insulin during that week. It's always about the same, too, even if my insulin needs fluctuate the rest of the month — if my basal shot goes down to, say, 17 units from 18, I'll need to take 13 units instead of 14 during the last week of the pill.

I have always been on some kind of contraception since I was diagnosed. At the time of my diagnosis, I was on the Depo-Provera, but I switched to the pill soon afterward. I did find that my 24-hour insulin needs were more constant on the Depo-Provera, most likely because the pill causes changes in the body's hormone levels, and hormones tend to block the effectiveness of insulin. (I also think that's why I take less insulin during the week when I'm taking blank pills.)

I'm interested in hearing from other diabetics. Do you take the pill or do you use another form of birth control? If it is the kind that tinkers with your body's hormones, how do you find it affects your diabetes?

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