African journalist Yousra Elbagir has researched the use of fattening pills, used excessively by Sudanese women, to gain weight and have curvaceous figures. Which they consider to be standard beauty.
These pills are spread illegally through street vendors, small shops and even offered by unusual methods under different local names. For instance, Imitithal Ahmed, a student at the University of Khartoum stated as a direct quote, “last time I went to the beauty shop I go for my creams, the shop owner brought out a chocolate box full of different fattening pills.”
This craze is increasing at an alarming rate despite its fatal consequences. These pills contain the hormone, cortisone which slows metabolism, increases appetite, and triggers water retention. This causes accumulation of fat, especially around the abdomen and face.
Cortisone is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the adrenal cortex, of the adrenal glands on the kidneys. It is the main glucocorticoid hormone vital for major body functions, such as glycaemic metabolism, immune system and inflammation.
However, the consumption of man-made or synthetic cortisone pills, especially when consumed in large doses, can result in damage to the heart, liver, kidneys and thyroid ultimately causing death.
Unfortunately, despite these signs and symptoms and the information broadcasted by doctors, women continue to take these pills. Withdrawal of these pills can also cause fatal results. This is because the body becomes so dependent on the pill, that it doesn’t produce the naturally occurring hormone, resulting in the dysfunction of the vital organs.
This is especially common in brides who undergo a month of beautification, before their marriage, and die from the withdrawal of the pill. Due to the social pressure which defines a beautiful woman to be full-bodied and light-skinned, the women mercilessly put their health at risk in order to be accepted for marriage.