This post is actually a response to this blog as I found myself going on and on and on and finally I exceeded the character quota for a comment (even after doing things like switching '&' for 'and' and all that. As Pheenix as said it so nicely, I'm also going to shamelessly rob her disclaimer bit for the top of this post. :-)
Yes this is about the pill, hormones, periods, and possibly vaginas. Yes if you're a man you can run away and I won't be offended - but hey you might learn something too :c) If you're a woman, you can run away too. You've been warned.
I started taking the pill the first time when I was 20. Didn't have (or at least didn't notice) any particular problems but as you say, you're not really informed or looking out for them either. I had lots of issues with my family and in general anyway so I don't know if any of it was attributable to the pill. I just know I loved knowing exactly when I was getting my period and the fact that it didn't ever last longer than five days.
I moved to Germany the following year and got a different pill here which also seemed fine but when I went back to Ireland two years later I couldn't get that one there at all so was put on something else. I do remember at that stage starting to get the feeling that I was just being sold the most expensive one regardless of what my actual needs were. I never really seemed to get one I was happy with for the next year or so (often ended up bleeding in between periods for example) and eventually I just came off it entirely for a few years. But then I was in a position to be having sex again so I went back on it. Again with the feeling of simply being sold the most expensive one. Didn't do too well and eventually stopped taking it again. By now (late twenties) I was having horrible periods, very painful, dreadful moods and very heavy. I don't know how often doctors tested me and wanted to tell me I had PCOS but I just don't. I started taking it again as a way to deal with the painful heavy periods somewhat and was also taking very strong prescription painkillers including having some months so bad my GP would actually inject anit-inflammatories directly into my stomach (or thereabouts) but then started to get more and more interested in sustainability and all that. Which is when I first heard of the mooncup (which I have to admit I thought was a joke the first time someone sent me the link - and I'm a pretty down-to-earth kind of person most of the time) and the radical idea of using washable sanitary towels. So many women on that discussion reported having much lighter periods and less pain as well as feeling far more in touch with their bodies that I decided to try it out. Within a couple of months I had come off the pill (didn't need it for contraception anyway - boo, I hate being sinlge) and was having far lighter, less painful periods. Have the occasional heavy one now and sometimes painful but it's the pain I remember from when I was a teenager - I hadn't even realised the type of pain I was feeling was different. Hmmm, I think this blog post of yours is going to inpsire some of the longest comments ever.
The interesting thing the last time I came off the pill (bout 5 years ago) is that my GP asked me why and I told him about the mooncup, not using disposable sanitary towels etc. and all the anecdotal evidence that it can improve bad periods and he had NEVER heard of it. He actually went and looked it up on the internet while I was still in his office and I have always hoped that he might have looked into it a bit more and perhaps told other colleagues or patients too.
I remember reading reports about increased levels of female hormones in many boys which may be partially attributable to the increased levels of hormones getting into the water supply. You take the pill, it's in your body, you piss and some of that makes it's way into the water systems (sorry, have no sources to direct you to). So the whole thing came part of my attitude of really trying to think the things I do and have taken for granted for years through properly and all the way down to the last possible consequence.
Since I moved back to Germany I have had a few migraines (oh how I wish I didn't hate my job/have so much debt I can't quit my job!) with the added delight of visual auras so I think that excludes me from taking the pill anyway (plus I've very overweight still). But now I'm in the lovely position of perhaps, maybe, potentially being in the position of needing to have contraception again so I'm going to have a long chat with the doctor when I go in for my smear test later this week.
I saw a program on the telly once about the swingin' 60's in UK someone commented that actually, the wide availability of the pill didn't make women free, it just made them available. Always found that thought very interesting, it kind of resonated with me.