Friday, February 19, 2010

For females: Not food but vegan related...

I've been quite sick lately despite sticking to a gluten free diet, and Toby suggested that I should double check my medication for gluten. While I was laying on the couch last night curled up in ball in pain complaining, he looked up my contraceptive pill online and discovered that each tablet contains lactose. I knew that the inactive ones that you take when you have your period were lactose based and so avoided taking them. Given that I am vegan and lactose intolerant, this causes a few problems. I went to the doctor today and asked if I could switch to another brand which is lactose free, and she couldn't find one. She checked about 12 brands and every single one contained lactose in each tablet (both the active and inactive ones). So now, I'm stuck taking them until the end of the cycle even though they might be a factor in me being sick and are clearly not vegan.

So I'm wondering, have you checked your contraceptive pill? and have you found a brand which is lactose free? Also, what are your thoughts on taking non vegan medication? The type I take helps control problem periods and is good for your skin.


  1. The pill messes with my head too much to so I could never take it, I used to use nuvaring which was awesome - I could not recommend it enough. Apparently it is all synthetic as well so vegan friendly! I also used it to skip my period every month & it clearly didn't cause me any problems :)

    I probably would take non vegan medication if there was no alternative & it was necessary for my well being.

  2. I know that all my pills aren't vegan. I made the choice to take them anyway.

    A quick Google gives the non-active ingredients for my BC pill (Microgynon) gives: Lactose, Maize starch, Povidone, Talc purified, Magnesium stearate, Sucrose, Calcium carbonate, Glycerol, Glycol montanate, Macrogol 6000, Titanium dioxide and Iron oxide yellow. It does state that they're gluten free.

    FWIW. lots of meds contain lactose (e.g. loratadine aka. Clarantyne). There should be a complete list included with the information sheet.

  3. Edit: complete list *of ingredients*.

  4. Hmm. I'm lactose intolerant and I guess my pill must have lactose too, but I guess it isn't enough to significantly affect me. However, that's really sucky that there aren't any that are vegan - if I find anything out, I'll let you know.

  5. I'm with Vicki -- the pill made me so cranky/moody/terrible to be around that I stopped taking it before I went vegan, so I haven't had to deal with the ethical conundrum. But when I have to take antibiotics or other tablets, I ask the pharmacist (who seems to know a bit more than the doctors) which ones are lactose free. Have you tried talking to a chemist?

  6. I don't take the pill either. Basically it just fools your body into thinking you are already pregnant, which can't be good if you are taking it long term. I did take it when i first got my period to fix my cycle and my skin but it made me nauseous, so i had to stop. Maybe try some other form of contraception?

  7. Wow lot of non pill takers! I mainly use them to assist with problem periods. I might try going back off it, but since i'm mid way through the cycle I have to keep taking it for a few more months.

    Danni, yes my pill is gluten free too, just not lactose free. I generally avoid taking Clarantyne and other lactose tablets.

  8. I think a lot of vegans continue taking the pill even though they know it contains lactose.

    I was on the pill when I was younger but I would never take it again, because it's not vegan and because it's not natural. I use FAM, you feel much more in tune with your body -

  9. Have a look at etynodiol diacetate (in the UK they call it Femulen). It's progestogen-only and lactose free.

  10. i have to take the pill otherwise i would bleed everyday and would be more anaemic than i am already. i would probably bleed dry, f'serious.
    i talked about the pill with my old housemate riva when we still lived together in '08 because she was surprised that her vegan housemate was on the pill (she's also a terrific and staunch vegan) because the majority of (most popular and effective) contraceptive pills contain estrogen that has been derived from the urine of pregnant mares.
    i continue to take the pill (i'm on Yaz, and I don't take the inactive ones) because of the threat of extremely painful things happening to my reproductive system that has taken me to hospital in the past when i've been off the pill. we talked about it for ages and she didnt judge me because my condition is pretty fucking serious and i wouldnt be on the pill if it were just for regulating my periods or keeping my skin nice.
    if you're thinking about stopping the pill and taking something else for problem periods, there's some chinese herbs that i also take sometimes in conjunction with my pills (my problems are pretty extensive) and i can talk to you about them some other time?

  11. Mandee, I have a book on fam. It's pretty interesting.

    Michael, I'll look into it. Thanks!

    Lena, my regulating my periods sounds pretty similar to your experience. I once had my period for 3 months, and have been severely anemic as a result. And I'm a big believer in TCM, and have seen not one but 3 TCM practioners for about a year over the problem, and while they helped a little, it wasn't enough. My current TCM has me taking pills in conjunction with the pill, which ones are you taking? The skin stuff is just an added benefit!