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The Untold Story of the Contraceptive Pill

23Strands News
23Strands News October 27, 2021

Frustrated by a lack of information around birth control, Alice Pelton founded The Lowdown, a review platform and resource for contraception that’s run by women, for women.

The Untold Story of the Contraceptive Pill

ALICE PELTON WAS 16 years old when she first went on the pill. Like many teenagers, she found the thought of becoming pregnant terrifying, and starting a course of the combined hormonal contraceptive pill, prescribed by her GP, felt like a logical step.

In the months that followed, Pelton’s mood was all over the place. “I would have these uncontrollable outbursts and cry at really stupid things,” she recalls. “There were blazing arguments with very confused ex-boyfriends and family members… I also would get these really low lows – when it felt like I had a piece of gauze in my brain that stopped the serotonin flowing around it properly – and everything was really flat.”

Looking back, Pelton recognises that her reactions were extreme, her “emotions out of control”. But, given the stereotypes placed on teenagers, none of it seemed too extraordinary at the time.

In 2019, she launched The Lowdown, a contraception review platform and online community which now has more than 80,000 users. The Lowdown’s website offers contraception advice and contains independent reviews of contraceptives contributed by visitors to the site – there are around 4,500 published testimonials so far – all of which can be compared and contrasted through filters such as user age, a brand of pill and time spent using it. Pelton describes it as a “Tripadvisor for contraceptives”. The Lowdown also offers telemedicine GP appointments and an online pharmacy.