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 July 31, 2005
New Birth Control Pill?
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Dr. Shari Brasner is a busy obstetrician and gynecologist as well as a mom. So, she knows how a menstrual cycle can really interrupt a woman's life.  Her answer for years has been to reduce how often she gets her period by using birth control pills.

"I've been using the pills to manipulate my cycles for years, since my children were born," says Dr. Brasner.

She's not alone.  Doctors all across the country regularly tell women about doing the same thing for convenience and for certain medical conditions.  For most women, it's been a well-kept secret but not anymore.  Especially if the FDA approves a new pill called Seasonale, which is a low-dose birth control.

"Seasonale offers women, who are taking the birth control pill and may still be having certain type of symptoms related to cramping and whatever, to reduce the number of cycles they have per year," says obstetric researcher Dr. William Gibbons.

It would reduce the number to four but is that kind of manipulation safe? Dr. Gibbons, who investigated the drug, says yes.  In fact, Seasonale comes with the same benefits as other birth control pills like decreased risk of cancer and ovarian cysts.  Yet, the biggest hurdle for Seasonale may be the psyche of the American woman.

"I think we, certainly as American women, have been brain-washed to think that there's something terribly wrong when we don't, in fact, have a period at the end of each calendar month," says Dr. Brasner.

But Dr. Brasner says she's living proof that it's healthy.  Once on Seasonale, women would take the pills for 85 days straight as opposed to just 21 days each month.  If approved, Seasonale could be available to women by this fall.

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