Two years ago, Alice Pelton decided to create The Lowdown, a website dedicated to reviewing contraception, after noticing that the pill left her experiencing extreme mood swings.
It aims to provide users with honest, trustworthy reviews from those who have experience with a particular contraceptive method. It asks those who want to participate in sharing knowledge a few simple questions (anonymously, FYI) and discusses everything from periods, mood, weight and sex drive, and also provides information about sixteen different types of contraception from several variations of the pill, the implant, coil, condoms and also fertility tracking apps like Natural Cycles.
Alice told The Sun: ‘The idea just came to me one night: we review everything from our care salesmen to our hotels. Why don’t we review our contraception as well?
‘For many women, the only way they can find out side effects is by asking their doctor who can only relay his or her patients’ experiences – or by asking their group of friends. Both are useful but they’re small sample sizes.’
She told the paper: ‘I assumed the turbulent time I had over the next few months was just part and parcel of being a teenager.
‘I was so emotional; I didn’t have a grip on my moods. I had waves of anger and upset.’
Alice took a break from the pill before starting to use it again a few years later – and she almost instantly noticed a difference in her mood the second time around.
The site has found that just under 40% of users report a change in their mood and emotional state after using hormonal contraception, something that Alice knows only too well.
She plans to grow the website by encouraging people to keep adding reviews until each method has thousands of entries, as this is when the experts can assess where the patterns in side affects are.
Common side affects of contraception include headaches, tender breasts and a difference in skin, with less common side affects including hair growth and dizziness.
‘It’s an insight into quite how intricately the hormones can affect our body chemistry,’ Alice added.
What a brilliant idea. We’re here for it.