I'm calling out Elon on his mansplaining birth-control baloney! Musk says the ... trends now

I'm calling out Elon on his mansplaining birth-control baloney! Musk says the ... trends now
I'm calling out Elon on his mansplaining birth-control baloney! Musk says the ... trends now

I'm calling out Elon on his mansplaining birth-control baloney! Musk says the ... trends now

As far as I knew, Elon Musk's expertise extends to tech firms, huge tax bills and designing ginormous trucks that look like the backend of my dad's first ever PC.

But apparently, he is also an expert on women's health – or at least, he is according to one of his tweets (Xs…?) posted last week:

'Hormonal birth control makes you fat, doubles risk of depression & triples risk of suicide. This is the clear scientific consensus, but very few people seem to know it.'

As a health journalist, my alarm bells immediately started ringing. What 'clear scientific consensus'?!

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.

As a father of 11, and strong proponent of procreation (his self-proclaimed greatest fear is declining population rates), Musk has earned a reputation for a somewhat tenuous relationship with the truth and impulsive use of social media to peddle influence in his spheres of interest: from wild claims about the self-driving abilities of Teslas, to his newfangled Neuralink brain implants.

As a father of 11, and strong proponent of procreation, Musk has earned a reputation for a somewhat tenuous relationship with the truth and impulsive use of social media to peddle influence in his spheres of interest: from wild claims about the self-driving abilities of Teslas, to his newfangled Neuralink brain implants. (Pictured: Musk with one of his children).

As a father of 11, and strong proponent of procreation, Musk has earned a reputation for a somewhat tenuous relationship with the truth and impulsive use of social media to peddle influence in his spheres of interest: from wild claims about the self-driving abilities of Teslas, to his newfangled Neuralink brain implants. (Pictured: Musk with one of his children).

But when it comes to the contraceptive pill, I fear Musk's pseudoscience risks doing real damage – after all, his post has already been viewed over 41 million times.

Women in my life have aired grievances with the Pill for as long as I can remember. It made them gain weight they couldn't shift, it gave them spots, it made them feel exhausted, hangry, depressed, just not quite themselves.

Throughout my career, I've been fascinated by such complaints, not only because of the frequency with which I hear them, but because my personal experience has been the total opposite.

I took the 'combined' pill (progesterone and estrogen) between the ages of 18 and 28, albeit with a few brief breaks.

I never suffered a single side effect until the age of 31 – when I went back on the same pill and had a few incidences of irregular bleeding, which eventually passed.

Have I just been incredibly lucky?

Well, practically every gynecologists and women's health expert I have encountered over the years has gone to great lengths to argue that the risks of the Pill are 'overstated'.

That said, given that we only have six decades of research to draw on, we do lack any long-term safety data. (The FDA first approved the Pill for use in 1960).

However, less data is not necessarily a reason to discount a drug, or assume it is unsafe.

DailyMail.com Health and Wellness Editor, Eve Simmons.

DailyMail.com Health and Wellness Editor, Eve Simmons.

Vaccines, for instance, are often rolled out in the absence of long-term studies. And, despite what some corners of the internet think, they have been proven safe time and time again since their introduction in the 1700s.

The smallpox vaccine alone is estimated to have saved between 300 and 500 million people in the last 100 years. The Covid-19 jab was similarly revolutionary in what it did for ending the pandemic.

High-quality studies continue to prove that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks for all groups, including pregnant women.

As for the Pill, the data overwhelmingly suggests that the 'risks' are often exaggerated.

On acne: a 2012 review of 31 trials involving more than 12,000 women (on combined pills), found no worsening of skin problems.

In fact, as the review concluded: 'The six pills studied… worked well to reduce facial acne.'

As for weight gain: a 2014 review of 49 trials detected no 'substantial difference in weight' for those on a variety of brands of combined pill.

But what about mental health?

In 2016, a study of a million Danish women found that those taking oral contraception (both combined and progesterone-only pills) were significantly more likely to suffer depression than those who weren't.

That said, it should also be noted that another study from last year by Cambridge University involving 6,000 women concluded the opposite: that those who took the Pill were less likely to suffer depressive symptoms.

The data overwhelmingly suggests that the 'risks' of the Pill are often exaggerated.

The data overwhelmingly suggests that the 'risks' of the Pill

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