Wednesday 9pm – 10pm, BBC2
Over three million women in the U.K. take the combined contraceptive pill, many take it without a second thought as to how safe it is. There are however cases in which taking the pill has been attributed to devastating results; twenty one year old student teacher Fallan Kurek died of a blood clot on her lung only a few weeks after starting to take Rigevidon and seventeen year old beauty queen Georgie Holland suffered a debilitating stroke following a series of migraines and headaches since starting to take Yasmin. Since the contraceptive pills introduction in 1961 there has been frequent swaithes of scare stories and controversy. The mass market medication was impinging on religious beliefs and medical understanding which led to hysteria and intense media reporting.
The European Medicines Agency advises that between 5 and 12 women per 10000 will suffer a blood clot as a result of taking the the combined contraceptive pill, a synthetic combination of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The EMA also acknowledge there are other side effects experienced by women taking the pill. In this programme Horizon surveys 1000 women aged between 18 and 45 to establish their views and fears on taking the contraceptive pill. While statistics provide an arbitrary figure, seldom does it tell the true story of a situation, and in this programme Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’s Dr Zoe Williams delves deeper into the survey results and examines the fears that taking the pill can result in developing breast cancer, depression or deadly blood clots.
In addition to speaking with the surveyed women, Dr Williams speaks with leading scientists about the latest medical research to determine whether the concerns about the contraceptive pill are justified. She also delves into the science regarding the side effects faced by women, uncovering some shocking and striking revelations. She also explores the current clinical trial into developing an effective male contraceptive pill.
Dr Williams is perfectly placed to explore the issue, a practicing NHS GP in London she is immersed in investigative medical programmes and has already explored claims of quick fixes to improve metabolism and put herself on the high fat diet to see what happens. She is engaging, empathetic and provides a scientific and impartial view. An informative and well researched documentary.
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