I know this isn’t something I would normally post about, but I feel that more women should share their experience with birth control–both good and bad. It’s best for us to be more comfortable about the topic and become more educated on how it effects our bodies. Enjoy!
The use of hormonal birth control is viewed as such a controversial topic. Rather than being controversial, I believe it is just more dependent upon individual preference.
However, I believe a large percentage of females are affected negatively by hormonal birth control. Birth control is not always the answer (although it seems to be quite an easy fix for a wide range of things)!
My Experience With The Pill
I decided to get on the pill for a variety of reasons, as many females often do. I had (and still do have) and extremely irregular period. There was no consistency in my cycle, and I would not get it for as long as 6 months at a time. Sometimes I would have spotting, other times it was extremely heavy and painful to the point where I had to call off of work.
Also, after getting into my current relationship, I became sexually active. Since we really do not want kids right now (gimme all the fur babies), we decided oral contraceptive was the best and safest route for us.
When I went to get the pills, I was evaluated about general health, and was told I would be on Ortho Tri-Cyclen. I was warned of the side effects. Some breast tenderness, moodiness, and headaches were the most common. I was totally okay with this, and just brushed them off at the time. Later on, I found out that the pill ended up being great for my skin, I went up a cup size (yay!) and it helped to prevent ovarian cancer.
So this was all pretty cool. After taking it for the first few months, I experienced the headaches, breast tenderness and that’s about it. It felt great to know when my period was coming each month (so no stressing about accidentally getting preggers) and the only problem I really had was actually taking it the same time every day!
However, slowly but surely, my anxiety seemed to worsen and I had crazy mood swings. I did have a lot going on in my life at the time, so I just figured maybe I was “being a woman” about things and just stressing.
It almost felt like a weekly cycle as the months passed by, and then I KNEW something was wrong. After about a little over a year, they put me on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo (same as before with a lower dosage of estrogen) for absolutely no reason at all. I got my prescription through Planned Parenthood, so I figured they ran out of the other stuff and this wouldn’t be much different. Looking back at it, that was quite an unprofessional and potentially dangerous thing to do. I’m still not sure if that was a mistake, but they never told me anything, they just handed my prescription as usual, and I was on my way.
With the new birth control, each week my body felt an entirely different way. White pills would leave me waking up with nausea. Light Blue and Dark Blue I would feel extremely emotional and depressed. The depression got so bad to the point where I didn’t feel like living. Not necessarily suicidal as in ending my life, but rather not getting out of bed or doing anything productive in society. I also had an extremely low sex-drive.
Even more weird–I felt MOST normal on the placebo pills. Although I still had hormones in my system, I figured that this was the time that I had the LEAST amount, which is why I felt more myself. I was always in a great mood when I got my period and relaxed, and experienced no signs of PMS. I knew this was not the usual case, so I was a bit concerned. You shouldn’t have to suffer 3 weeks out of the month to have one good one.
It took me a few months of questioning whether it was the birth control or me that way making me crazy. After some major thought, I just decided to stop taking the pills. I had done my research and saw that a lot of girls were experiencing the exact same things I was.
However, the part that made me weary was that birth control was so hit or miss for the individual person. It seemed like someone could be completely fine taking it, while the next girl was absolutely miserable. Others fell somewhere in between.
I guess I was one that birth control didn’t mesh well with (at least that type, anyways). It was hard after using this method for so long to just stop taking it. There was also the convenience of having clear skin and a less stressed sex life.
Let me tell you though–within DAYS of stopping use, I felt AMAZING. I had been on the pill for about 2 years, and I immediately felt happier, carefree, creative and more of myself. I had gained a ton of energy and just felt “normal”.
Life After Birth Control
The biggest thing I noticed that I didn’t realize until I was OFF of birth control had to be my mental focus. I seemed to be in something like a “fog” when I was on medication. It didn’t allow for my personality to shine through except on good days and I felt somewhat like a zombie. Without that fog, my creativity, sarcasm and wit were instantly back! I have heard that people who are put on other types of medication, such as depression, can have similar effects, so I was not surprised.
The only negative side effect I have experienced after getting off of the pill was extremely chapped lips for a week or two. It was a very odd symptom, but surprisingly common for those who stop taking the pill. I did also notice my face got a lot more oily, but i have managed to keep any acne under control.
My periods are still irregular at the moment, but I will be getting some blood work and further testing to get to the root of the problem.
If you want to/are on the pill for medical reasons–reconsider your options. Taking birth control just puts a band-aid on the problem. The problem is still there, the hormones are just a temporary fix.
When you get off the pill, you need to find another method of protection immediately! The effects of the pill wear of almost instantly and it is not worth it to risk the unprotected sex.
There are plenty of other options out there for you to explore. Hormonal/non-hormonal IUD’s, condoms, abstinence, and even more versions of the pill with different levels of hormones in them.
Each person is different, so you just have to find out what works best for you in the end. Birth control is convenient in today’s world, and girls feel pressured to be on some form of it.
Other methods are just starting to gain popularity and have research backed behind them, so it’s worth your time to look into them.
I also recommend you read this super informative article from Justin (AKA “Nutrition Max”). He has a great holistic AND scientific approach to the body–check out his article here.
Choosing the right birth control for you is a big decision. Be sure to do your research and go to multiple doctors for their opinions if necessary. I hope someone can use my story to help themselves in their birth control journey.
What’s your experience with birth control? Please share your thoughts, comments, and concerns below!