14 Things I Wish All Women Knew About The Pill


When I was in my twenties, health was about fixing problems, not listening to my body. Got a mild breakout? Well, birth control pills can help. Can’t fall asleep? Pop an Ambien. Need to wake up? Drink a latte.

I didn’t spend much time learning about my body or listening to it. That was for people who were sick or had “health issues.” So I ignored signs that I was out of whack. I’d go out partying all night, then expect to fall asleep immediately. I’d toss and turn, confused as to why, after 5 drinks and 4 hours of dancing, I felt restless.

And then I’d wake-up early, chug a Gatorade, drink a lot of coffee, and go on a 12-mile run. I thought that being able to finish a half-marathon with so little rest was a testament to my health. I didn’t realize it was just another way of creating stress in my body.

While most of these habits didn’t cause too much long-term damage to my body (or so I hope), one of them almost killed me. I had a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, blood clots in the lungs, precipitated by years of taking birth control pills, which I have written about here.

Only after I wound up in the ER did I start to ask questions about the pill and what, exactly, I’d been putting in my body every day for a decade. It had never before occurred to me to do my homework about these powerful drugs. Like all my friends, I’d grown up believing that the pill was proof of social progress, a sign of our empowering ability to invest more time in careers, and to choose when (and if) to start a family.

Also, I hadn’t given much thought to birth control pills because it seemed like everyone was taking them. And in fact, they were: nearly 12 million women in the US, and about 90% of all college-educated sexually experience women have used the pill.


Here’s what I wish I’d known about birth control pills back when I was a 20-something:

1. Taking the pill can reduce your risk of endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.

Taking birth control pills is one of the few things known to reduce your risks of endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. According to Dr. Sara Gottfried in The Hormone Cure, “five years of birth control pill use is associated with a 90% reduction in future ovarian cancer.”

2. But taking the pill might increase your risk of other types of cancer.

While studies have shown that birth control pills can reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer, there are questions about an increased link to breast cancer, cervical cancer and liver cancer. A 1996 study found that women who had used the pill had a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who had never taken the pill. Other doctors find the increased risk of breast cancer for women on birth control pills is not that significant, while others say the risk decreases afterbeing off the pill for ten years.

3. The pill is classified as a carcinogen.

Yup, it’s in the same class as toxins such as tobacco and asbestos according to the World Health Organization. There’s a reason that New Yorkers don’t want the remnants in their water supply and are reaching for their water filters.

4. It’s more than 99% effective if used correctly.

Note: If and only if, it’s used correctly.

5. It can cause blood clots in women, especially if you are a smoker, overweight, or over 35.

The risk of blood clots is lower if you don’t fall into these categories, but it’s hard to truly understand the total risk since Denmark is the only country in the world with a national registration of all women who have experienced blood clots.

If you’re worried about a genetic pre-disposition to clotting, some doctors will screen for common genetic risk factors, such asFactor 5 Leiden, which affects roughly 5% of Caucasian females. Factor 5 Leiden is also a routine pre-natal test as pregnancy increases the risk of clotting due to hormone changes. A negative Factor 5 test doesn’t mean that you’re out of the woods from a genetics standpoint, as other genetic mutations (such as MTHFR, Protein C and Protein S to name a few) can also cause clotting.

6. Newer pills aren’t necessarily safer.

Some “newish” pills on the market, contain drospirenone (DRSP), a synthetic form of progesterone. A 2012 study by Kaiser Permanente found a 77% increase in the risk of hospitalization for blood clots and doubling of the risk for blocked arteries compared to the risk associated with low-dose estrogen pills. Just as you know to read the ingredient panel on your food, see if your pill contains drospirenone so that you are aware of any potential increased risk.

7. Some types of pills may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Estrogen-Progestin birth control pills showed a higher correlation with heart attack and stroke. The overall risk is still pretty low, but it’s still a risk.

8. The pill depletes your B vitamins.

Our B vitamins are our neuroendocrine system’s BFFs. Some of the ways B Vitamins can help us live happier and healthier lives is by reducing stress, helping memory, and reducing heart disease. All good things, right? But birth control pills can further increase the needs for folic acid and the B family. Dr. Sara Gottfried recommends adding a B vitamin if you’re going to take the pill. Marketing savvy Bayer has recently introduced a pill with folic acid, also know as vitamin B9. Interesting…

9. The pill can help with some acne.

The pill lowers androgens, a group of hormones that includes testosterone, which can help with some acne. Sounds good, but….

10. The pill may lower your sex drive.

The same hormonal changes that clear up that pesky pimple may also decrease your libido. It tinkers with your ability to know if you’re just not that into him – or if the amount of testosterone your body can use has been lowered. Dr. Christiane Northrup writes in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom that “the pill suppresses the midcycle testosterone surge, thus decreasing sex drive in many women.” What’s also concerning is that the diminished testosterone continues even after you have gone off the pill, although it’s unclear whether there’s permanent a change.

11. Taking the pill could explain why you’ve been bringing home certain types of guys and ignoring the nice guys at the bar.

Researchers from St. Andrews and Stirling Universities have found that women on the pill tend to choose more macho, masculine men with distinct physical characteristics and disregard sensitive, more feminine men with softer features. Sensitive men tend to be good communicators and also able to express their feelings, traits that make good boyfriends, husbands, partners, and fathers. Probably not a good group to marginalize in the dating pool if you are looking for a long-term relationship. And who wants to enter the dating pool with “pill goggles” on?

12. The pill could impede your ability to find your best match.

There may be more than just personality compatibility to the adage that “opposites attract.” In Woman Code, Alisa Vitti writes that “the more genetically dissimilar two partners are, the lower their rates of miscarriage and the greater their chances are of having a healthy baby as well as happier relationships, more satisfying sex, and a greater likelihood of female orgasm. However, women on the Pill tend to unconsciously seek out men with more similar genes…” Ok, that’s scary. I wonder if any ofthe 4-year-itch can be attributed to birth control pills? Women meet a partner while on the pill, when they get ready to have children, they stop using birth control and then they become less attracted to their mate, which strains the relationship even more.

13. It’s a Band-Aid for menstrual cramps, pain, and migraines.

Up to 60% of women experience some sort of menstrual cramping and get some symptom relief through birth control pills, which have been shown to eliminate ovulation, and the hormonal fluctuations linked to cramps and pain. Are there long-term effects of using birth control to treat these symptoms? The jury’s out.

14. It can delay your fertility.

The monthly cycle is the best text message from your body that your hormones are in-sync. Progesterone and estrogen in-balance? Check. Other hormones in-sync? Check. Hypothalamus sending the right signals? Check. Since you don’t experience a “real” period on the pill, you are missing the signs that everything is – or isn’t working correctly. With women coming off the Pill later in life, Vitti writes that “now, having gone off the Pill, not only do you have to direct your energy toward healing the issue, but it may take longer to do so than had you addressed the real problem originally.” With less time available to “fix” the issue, many women may opt for more drugs to help get their bodies back in sync. And so the “cycle” continues….

Knowing what I know now: would I take the pill again?

No, it wasn’t for me.

Am I telling other women to ditch the pill? Not necessarily. I’m telling you to realize that it’s a big decision, and—as with all major life decisions—make an informed choice and get the right people on your team to help.

Invest the time in finding a great doctor and building a relationship with that doctor. Ditch the transactional mindset of “I’ll-take-this-Pap-and-answer-some questions-if-you-give-me-a-prescription” and learn how to better build a relationship with your doctor so that she can truly be your trusted co-pilot.

On the road to recovery from my pulmonary embolism, I found it helpful to learn more about the connections between birth control, hormones, and fertility. Reading books by women’s health pioneers such as Dr. Claudia Welch, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Sara Gottfried, and Alisa Vitti HHC, helped me understand what the heck was going on in my body for the decade that I was on the Pill. I recommend those books for anyone hoping to take charge of her health.

By: Colleen Washob
Source: www.mindbodygreen.com


Related Questions

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    Q: I am going to stop taking my birth control pill (YAZ) immediately. I have enough information to know that it is not good. I am curious about natural forms of birth control, particularly the use of herbs. Is taking the herbs safe and does it effectively prevent pregnancy? Any side effects? Thank you!!


    Natural birth control via Wild Yam Root when taken properly is 100% safe and effective!


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    Q: Thank you for the cancer info...It is welcome and beyond informative, however, I take issue with your remark that "women would be wise to just accept the fact that they are female by nature and God made them to have (deliver) babies and they should stop trying to compete with and be like men." Part of me is not surprised--men make comments like this all the time. I chalk it up to ignorance, as men enjoy living their entire lives not having to endure periods, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and lord knows what else. So because a woman does not want to have children--at all, or at a particular time in her life--she wants to be a man?! That's an illogical conclusion you are making. So why are there pregnant women with cancer, some of which who have never taken BC pills? Are women entitled to making any sort of control over their reproductive health? What about women who are infertile, naturally? If they develop cancer, is it because they never gave birth to a child? Are you willing to support all of the children that will result from women not being on Birth Control, since many people cannot afford several children on their incomes? This line of reasoning makes some women think that men really need to get over themselves. I think you have been reading too much Freud. Some women, present company included, appreciate our femininity and everything that encompasses being a woman. At the same time, this is not the dark ages--and even then, women chose not to have children during different times in their lives. Surely you are aware that in non-Western countries women utilize natural herbs to control their reproduction or as abortifacients? I am not advocating abortion; my point is that if you are going to criticize women taking BC pills, you may as well extend this criticism to women naturally preventing pregnancy via alternative means.


    Birth control pills play a big role in female reproductive cancers. Women would be wise to just accept the fact that they are female by nature and God made them to have (deliver) babies and they should stop trying to compete with and be like men. In attempting to stop or prevent life (birth control), they are ending up losing their very own lives. And the birth control pills cause cancer in areas of the body that denote femininity (breasts, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, uterus and vagina). This is a form of language here. You have disease and female organ(s) which basically means your disease is specifically related to an issue of femaleness or femininity, that's why the disease manifests in these "female" organs. In attempting to be like and compete with males, females compromise their feminine integrity and goddess nature which "eats them up" (anger, frustration, sadness, etc.) inside. When the cancer appears in any female organ, it serves as a sign or sensor that the problem lies on a deeper metaphysical level pertaining to emotions, thoughts and attitude."

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    Q: I currently take a garlic pill once a day, multi-vitamin pill once a day, and two maximum strength fish oil pills daily to address my cholesterol and vitamin intake. Do you have? Herbal pills that can help me lower my cholesterol and some form of a cleansing for male customers, which addresses excess fat?



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    Q: I have been on prescription birth control for many years now. But recently, there has been a growing voice in the back of my mind telling me to stop. I've looked into alternative forms of birth control and none of them seemed appealing until I found your HERBAL CONTRACEPTION. I immediately stopped taking 'the pill', and plan on ordering the hebal contraceptive formula asap. I am wondering if I should start the TOTAL WOMAN CLEANSE, as well as the Female Package to rid myself of the toxic synthetic hormones I've been takigh. What would be my best option for cleansing and restoring my body? Is it necessary? And is it a bad idea to begin the Birth Control Formula while detoxing?


    I would recommend that you first perform the FULL BODY DETOX, followed by the TOTAL WOMAN CLEANSE and then begin your natural birth control. These 2 cleanses will help undo the damage from the man-made BC pills. They (cleanses) should be done periodically! Every 3-4 months in your case!

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    Q: I suffer from a host of side effects from taking the yasmin birth control pill (my testosterone level is really low, hair is thinning at an alarming rate, vaginal dryness, low libido, anxiety, excessive weight gain, and infertility). I also have herpes and have had a terrible year of outbreaks. I have been taking FECUNDITY and the ANTI-VIRAL FORMULA. I also use the oz oil. I have seen some improvements but I need to know if I should be doing something different, and if by chance I am able to conceive what regimen should I be on at that point?


    I recommend you first DEROX with the FULL BODY DETOXfollowed by the TOTAL WOMAN CLEANSE and then followed by the ANTI-VIRAL CLEANSE AND REGIMEN. Read our articles on these subjects too under "Articles."

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    Q: In less than a year, I had two miscarriages with there being a fetal pole, but no heartbeat. Both babies died between 7-8 weeks. My last baby, I had an emergency c-section. During that time (either before or afterwards), I had a major infection in which I was given antibiotics for 4 days. Then once the infection was gone (so they say), my blood pressure went up. Because I am not a medicine taker (especially since I had hypertension with the two pregnancies before the last one and the medicine never worked), I refused to take the ONE pill that they say would make my blood pressure go down. Today, my pressure is pretty stable. Anyway, I was wondering if you think that the miscarriages have been caused by the infection or is there something still wrong with my body due to the c-section. What do you recommend that I do in order to get my body back so that so I can safely and fully carry another baby to term if it happens again that I will get pregnant? I can't lose another baby. I will be totally devastated. By the way, neither I nor my husband wants to do birth control. I don't want to have my tubes tied because I believe there are some underlying negative causes that can effect the body and I particularly do not want to put anything foreign in my body, i.e. IUD. I have been told that I cannot take Birth Control Pills due to my history with hypertension. What can I do?


    The miscarriages are more spiritual than anything. Babies have no soul until after birth, so until birth, you only have biological entities forming in your body, so you are dealing with physical health problems. You need to work on strengthening your reproductive system. Evidently you system is weak. The C-section was unnecessary and doctors did it to make money. That's all. You don't do a C-section for a fetus of 7-8 weeks. That's ludicrous! Antibiotics? Those things are dangerous and are still in your body until you detox. The poisonous drugs they put in your body caused the Hypertension. Beloved, here's what I would recommend in your case: first perform the FULL BODY DETOX that will target all of the above. After this, perform the TOTAL WOMAN CLEANSE. After this cleanse, perform the FERTILITY CLEANSE (which is optional in your case). You don't need birth control pills or any foreign device in your body. Just change your thoughts (see yourself pregnant, holding/nursing your baby), develop a healthy attitude (that you are worthy of holding a baby to term). Change your diet (vegan is best, eat more raw foods; fruits and vegetables). Drink Dherbs FEMALE HEALTH TEA daily. Remove all fears that you cannot hold a baby. Remove all thoughts about a 3rd miscarriage and how you will be devastated as you are setting yourself up for this by the very thought. Thank you for your interest in Dherbs.Com

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    Q: I've ordered the 20 day body cleanse for my husband who has been diagnose with (RCC) Renal Cell Cancer which is in the kidney & spread to the Right lung and liver. They were going to take the kidney out today but could not because the right lung has filled with fluid it is being drained now they have started on the chemo pill SUNITINIB I've told the Dr. about the dherbs pills he said it was fine for him to take them along with the chemo pill he's has been on raw for 12 days also taking 2ounces of pure wheat grass a day is there anything else he can take to kill the cancer cells in the lung and liver?


    The chemo pill is not going to help him because it's a poison - his body won't recognize it! He'd do fine with just the raw foods, wheat grass, and FULL BODY DETOX herbs. But it is your choice to do whatever you are going to do. Cells become cancerous because of starvation of OXYGEN. He should add 30 drops of OXY-DROPS to every glass of drinking water.?

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    Q: My thyroid was removed by a radiation pill. I have to take a pill for the rest of my life to regulate my metobolism. Since I do not have a thyroid anylonger what can I take to balance my metobolism and weight?


    I would suggest Thyroid Formula, Iodine Phosphate, and Weight Release Formula all available @ Dherbs.com.

    Product Link:
    Thyroid Formula
    Iodine Phosphate
    Weight Release (Loss) Formula

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    Q: To make a long story short, my mother just found out that the 'cancer' her doctors had been treating her for the past 8 yrs was misdiagnosed. Her new Doctor informed her she's HIV positive and all the drugs; radiation/chemo treatments have only weakened her body. This information is quite distressing. My mother is now taking 15 pills a day and is essentially confined to home and bed. My mother will be 68 yrs old at the end of this month. Please advise what you would recommend she takes that will help her feel better and help get the toxic waste out of her body that these pill are helping to create. Thanks for any info regarding this matter.


    Put her on the FULL BODY DETOX. After the detox, have her take ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD capsules (5 capsules) 5-6 times a day and drink RAINFOREST TONIC TEA. She must eat only raw foods. Please read our â€CANCER: Causes and Remedies†article.

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    Q: I've had acne since about the age of 12. Back then my acne was very serve but now it's light to moderate because I am on birth control. I have read information on your site and want to stop the birth control pills but I don't know what to do about my acne. I know I need to do a detox to my body but the products you have on your website are very expensive for me at the moment. I saw the product for cleansing your blood. Would this be a good place to start? Could please give me some recommendations? Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks


    An effective blood cleanser is the FULL BODY DETOX and if you can't afford the FBD, then drink vegetable juice daily (beets, carrots, parsley, spinach, apple, etc.

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    You take 7 capsules daily for as long as you take them. You are taking 7 capsules for 7 weeks to get the herbs into your makeup (bloodstream) for its contraceptive purposes and during the 7 weeks you are to abstain from unprotected sex or sex entirely. After 7 weeks, you can go back to unprotected sex, as the wild yam will now be in your body serving as a contraceptive.

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    Q: I would like to know if it's ok to take a Multi-vitamin pill? I am only asking because it has iron in it. I have heard it's not good to take iron, because your body already has iron. Can I take a Multi-vitamin pill without iron, or just take a small dosage, or one pill of a Multi-vitamin supplement with iron?


    I'd recommend to stay away from iron supplements on the market. Only take organic iron supplements (herbal-based) e.g. Dherbs.com Iron Phosphate Formula. Our Electric Greens Cell Food would supply both minerals and iron.

    Product Links:
    Iron Phosphate
    Electric Greens Cell Food

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    1. Detox first with the Full Body Detox.

    2. Follow up the FBD with the Total Woman Cleanse (TWC).

    3. Drink plenty of our Female Health Tea.

    Perform all of the above and watch your period regulate itself.

    Your situation can be healed! Do you believe this?

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    Q: I see a lot of your tea formulas if not all of them are also offered in pill form. Which is recommended the tea or the pill? Also I am pretty sure I have a bacterial infection of some sort. I have been to 2 different doctors neither one of them actually ran any test to find out what the infection was. They really didn’t even listen to me at all when I went there. Actually I told them flat out what tests I wanted done and they still didn’t do them. Now I remember why I hate traditional doctors. One doctor took an x-ray and told me I have a whole lot of bacteria in my ingestions what an x-ray shows there I don’t know because even if it appears cloudy bacteria is SUPPOSE to be there anyway. I already knew I had a problem bacteria there as I am having mucus in my stools. He just gave me an antibotic and that was it. either way his 3 day antibiotic didn’t work and I felt ripped off paying a copay for 3 pills. So I have a question about a recommendation here. I know for sure the bacteria is affecting my intestines as the mucus in my stool. I don’t know where else it has worked into but I am thinking it’s starting to effect my eyes some as well as I have noticed they appear much more watery than normal and looks like they get a discharge from them and they are much more red than normal. Regardless to what the doctor says I don’t have allergies. I know my body much better than he does I have never had allergy problems in the past so I don’t think its caused from that. so what products should I be looking at? and are the teas or pills recommended?


    Capsules are more potent than teas but teas get into the body faster. So you can choose what you're looking for. Both capsules and teas work however! For bacterial infection: First perform the FULL BODY DETOX and follow that up with the 10-DAY SUPREME COLON CLEANSE. Change your diet: raw foods (75%) and vegan (25%). Drink plenty of vegetable juice. Drink Dherbs MUCUS BUSTER TEA daily (1-2 cups) p.s. - Don't hate traditional doctors! It's negative energy. Read my article â€LEAVE MEDICAL DOCTORS ALONEâ€.

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    Q: I recently started taking yaz birth control pills to lessen the fatigue, cramps, and etc associated with my menstrual cycles. Should I continue taking them during the detox or should I stop?


    You can take our HERBAL CONTRACEPTION while Detoxing!

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    Q: I’m 26 years old. No sex drive for over two years. On the pill for dysmennorhea for about 6 years. Engaged and very happy, but sex a chore. Suggestions please...


    Sounds like you need to perform the FULL BODY DETOX followed by the TOTAL WOMAN CLEANSE to reboot your endocrine system (hormonal system). After these, take as a daily regimen BUNNY RABBIT formula and drink FEMALE HEALTH TEA! Now on a mental, emotional, and psychological level, do you enjoy sex? Are you sexually attractive to your fiancé? Are there past sexual issues that need to be resolved (raped, molested, STDs, numerous abortions, etc.)? Are you sexually pleased after intercourse? These are questions that need to be answered and dealt with. Libido is an easy thing to get to come back! Hey, read some of our articles on our site under ARTICLES! Great information!

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    Q: I am currently using an IUD for birth control. I have been on it for 7 months now, I have no problems with it, well known problems. I want to do a detox. Do you suggest a Full Body Detox, or Total Women Cleanse? Will it be effective even though im still using a IUD?


    You could perform a cleanse (The Full Body Detox), but it may render the IUD ineffective.

    Product Links:
    Full Body Detox
    Total Woman Cleanse

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    Q: What types of grains are allowed with the raw foods diet during the FULL BODY DETOX? Are whole grain breads and cereal bars ok? Please clarify. Also, should I stop taking my birth control pill while on the detox? I hear it will cancel out anyway?



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    Q: I have not had my period in about a year and a half - ever since I went off of birth control. I recently saw an intuitive healer, who recommended your herbs and said that I should follow your program to detox from the birth control pills. However, after looking through your list of products, I was unclear as to whether I should be doing the full body cleanse or the female cleanse. Which would you recommend?


    Try both cleanses! The Full Body Cleanse works with your entire system and all of its eliminative channels to eliminate impurities and restore to optimal function, while the Female Cleanse focuses more predominantly on helping. to provide essential nutrients conducive to female sexual reproductive health

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    Q: I TRULY LOVE YOUR SITE! I am a health seeker by holistic means and am suffering from Uterine fibroids as well as cysts in my breast. My Naturopathic doctor told me that the fibroids wont totally go away with any and all treatment. However, I believe differently. I know that I will get rid of the fibroids, and I believe that I will also learn how to keep them driven away with the helpful information that I have found on your site. Thank you for also expounding on natural birth control. I have also been doing some research on this topic (being that the synthetic birth control, tampons, sanitary napkins and food microwaved in plasticware has created an estrogen dominance that has fed these insatiable tumors). I will be trying your natural birth control soon, and wanted to ask if you have also heard of another form of natural birth control called, "Neem Oil". It has been widely used in India with a 98% effective rate. I am just wondering what your take is on this?

    A: The Fibroid Cleanse & Regimen can greatly benefit you. It is a 20 Day Cleanse and Regimen that naturally works to strengthen and purify the female reproductive system, while helping with the reduction of fibroids.