Saturday, 6 June 2015

MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE PILL

Hello everyone, today I wanted to talk about something a bit more personal - perhaps even controversial? I don't know, there's always a sharp intake of breathe when anyone mentions sexual health, periods, or anything of that nature, but I feel like I wanted to share my experiences with you. 

Let's get this out of the way. We're women. We have uteruses and every month we bleed from them. Or at least we're supposed to. I have been on the same contraceptive pill, Microgynon 30, since I was teenager. For more than 7 years. That's 14 six month check-ups at the doctors... 14 mornings I've feared being told that I'm too heavy for a repeat prescription, or that my blood pressure is too high, or that I have polycystic ovaries and I'm infertile. I can't help but think of the worst situations when actually everything has been absolutely fine every time.

I initially went to the doctors at 16 to see what they could do to regulate my menstrual cycle. I would go four or five months before having a period and then when it did arrive, it was always quite heavy and painful. I was convinced at the time that it was normal as I was still a teenager and was obviously still getting used to my cycle. I actually had my first period aged 13, and it was pretty regular for a while so I didn't worry. But when I started dating my first serious boyfriend I knew that it would be better to kill two birds with one stone, and see about taking a combined pill.
I'll be honest with you, my sexual history isn't anything to write home about. I've had two serious boyfriends in the last 7 years, and a couple of casual encounters (for which I'm grateful I took the pill religiously) and I'm not in a relationship right now so I don't feel the need for a contraceptive. I'm seriously considering getting an implant instead if I were to get into a serious relationship in the near future, but that's another issue entirely. It's funny how weird my nurses were about it though. Every time I went for my check-up they would always ask me about how I was getting on with the Microgynon as a contraceptive and not as a period regulator - as if preventing pregnancy was more important than the fear of infertility in a 20-something young woman. I mean, I think they're both pretty important personally.

So I'm 23 years old now, and in May I decided to finish my final pill packet and not go back to the doctor. I had a chat with my Mum before settling on this decision, by the way. I think it's good to talk about these things with someone close to you because you know you're getting an honest opinion and therefore serious advice. It's kind of like my own little experiment, but I want to see how I get on without relying on a regulator. Don't get me wrong Microgynon has not created any real problems for me, other than the odd outbreak or bout of weight gain. After 7 years of my periods appearing like clockwork I'm just interested to see whether the pill has worked like it should have, whether my skin will clear up, and whether it will help me lose a bit of weight too. It's early days but only you truly know your body. And I seriously think my body is telling me that I need to come off the pill and let nature take its course, at least for a few months. The good thing about our NHS is that the option is always there to go back to the doctor and try something else if it hasn't worked.

Well, I hope this wasn't too TMI. I tried to stick with the bare minimum of gross but sometimes you have to be honest, right? I would really love to know your experiences with this issue. Us women all have periods, and we (mostly) all have sex - I just wondered what your opinions were on contraceptive pills. Do you use them as period regulators as well? Do you use them solely as regulators? It's an interesting topic to talk about, I think. 
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18 comments

  1. I had the exact same experience as you, i would go through the year not knowing when my next period would come (usually 2-3 a year max) and I was put on the dianete pill - i've been taking it for three months and although it regulates my periods I feel the same fears as you everytime I think about fertility and the future. I'm only 19 but it's a soft subject none of my gal pals understand or give a thought to having kids but it's when theres a prospect of not having any when it takes over :( thank you for sharing your experience, I'm currently looking into accupuncture or homeopathic remedies

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  2. Ok this is super long I've had to split it up. I shall start off by saying I do not all out disagree with hormonal contraception and obviously understand it's importance, every woman is different and what works for some isn't going to work for all...such is life. This is just my personal opinion and that of a few of my friends now too.
    I started on Microgynon before quickly moving on to the injection as for me it was more reliable at the time, I loved the injection I had no periods at all and although I hate needles it somehow didn't bother me popping in for one once every 3 months. Around when I was going travelling I realised I couldn't have my top up in Thailand so decided it was time to come off it (I would never choose this method again as the hormone levels are very high in the injection and it can take well over a year, for some much longer, for your fertility to return to normal). I returned to Microgynon but quickly began to suffer with severe headaches which I soon realised must be the pills as I had never suffered with headaches before, when I returned to the GP I was informed that with my family history I should never have been given a combined pill and we discussed options for progesterone only...

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  3. In the end I got brave and decided on the implant, the first two years were great but I then began to have problems with very irregular bleeding, after a very long winded process involving taking a pill alongside the implant which didn't correct the issue they agreed to remove it. Somehow I was conned into getting another one (claiming hormones must have worn off a bit early in my first and this one would be its wonderful self) this time the irregular bleeding continued and they kept trying to say this can happen at the beginning but with no issues with my first one I wasn't convinced, after serveral more appointments I convinced them to remove it by claiming I wanted to try for a baby (this was a total lie but was the only way I could get them to remove it) I would say be careful with the implant as I have found doctors are REALLY pushing it on people at the moment and a few of my friends have found themselves quite pressured into trying it. I decided to take a break from contraception altogether and just let my body recover a bit. Coming off the implant then brought along a few other unexpected advantages for me, for a few years I had been quite anxious and low at times and had thought it was due to a lot going on in my life but since having it removed I am a totally different person, so much more relaxed and generally much happier and I really believe that it must have been my reaction to the hormones in contraceptives, also I found losing weight much easier (still have to work at it but comes off much steadier and I find I don't plateau so quickly). I have already made the decision that after I have this baby I will be looking for alternative contraception and never intend to use hormonal options again.Three of my friends have been long term pill users who have decided to take breaks, all of them found their periods have gone from regular before the pill to very irregular after long term use. One also found it had a serious impact on her fertility and took her 18 months to conceive after finishing the pill due to very irregular cycles. Another has been off contraception for 3 years now and still only has a period once every 4-6 months despite having regular periods before the pill. They have also said they won't use hormone based contraception again.
    That's not to say this happens to everyone its a very small group of peoples personal experiences which just happen to have been negative but I do have concerns about the long term affects of playing with our hormones. I think taking a break is a great way of seeing how your body handles coming away from the pill as some people have no issues at all! I also think shorter periods of using these probably doesn't have the same kind of impact as long term use most of my friends and myself have been using contraceptives for well over 10 years which is bound to have impact.
    Good luck :) xx

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  4. I was on the pill from 16-21, and when I couldn't get a doctor's appointment time and time again, I thought about if I really wanted to continue using it, and decided to give my body a break. This was at the beginning of last year, and it's only in the last couple of months that I've started having periods again. I was worried at first, but apparently, others experience the same thing. I was going to go to the doctor about it anyway, but the day I was planning on booking an appointment, my period started. I only used the pill to take control of exactly what days I'd bleed (never had a boyfriend), and even though it's harder to predict now, it's not as bad as I remember from my teenage years x

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  5. found this really interesting

    www.thewonderlanders.com

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  6. I used Microgynon 30 when I was younger and I have also just started to use it again. I have found that it does tend to give me a few outbreaks and some irregular bleeding to start which is a right pain, I think it's definitely the best form of contraception for me though. I'm too wimpy to go for the Implant x

    Amanda / Amanda's Escape

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  7. I have always been regular in my periods, ever since I was about 14, so me taking the pill is purely contraceptive. I have never had a real problem with my pill that I take, but I do often think about giving my body a break from it just to see what happens. The pill is definitely the best form of contraception for me, and I don't have any intention of changing it at the moment.

    nueyork.blogspot.com

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  8. I've never gone on any type of pill partly because I was sick for over a year or so and kept getting asked if I was on the pill because that might be making me ill and cough up blood. That sort of put me off it, although I may try it later - who knows? The idea of it has just never really appealed to me, I prefer to just keep things natural I guess x

    vvnightingale.com

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  9. I have had exactly the same experience as you.
    Although the pill DOES act as a contraceptive, and I am thankful that it does that, the main reason I started taking the pill wasn't because it would stop me having a baby, it was because it would make my periods regular.
    As a young teen, I didn't worry too much about my irregular periods. In fact I was kinda thankful for them. Less periods? Brill!
    But as I got older and started dating, they were constantly worrying me and my boyfriend. I can't count how many times I took a pregnancy test - knowing the answer would be negative, but needing to take one anyway...just in case.
    Going on the pill was just easier. It would stop me worrying so much. It would make me feel 'normal'.

    Roll forward a few years and being on the pill actually worried me. It felt like I wasn't solving the problem of my periods, I was just hiding it. I thought being on the pill would make me feel like I had control over my body. But that was't true at all - in fact now I knew even less about my body. I could be missing years of periods and not even noticing.

    This year I decided to stop being on the pill. I feel like I know my body much more now.
    Yes, my body isn't perfect and doesn't play when it should, but at least I know it isn't!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lou
    naturallybeige.com
    xxx

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  10. I've been on the pill on and off for years, since my early teens, and I've tried a fair few different types of it too. I have a love/hate relationship with it! The only kind of anxiety i've ever really had is health anxiety, so anytime I heard a rumour or found out about a possible side effect of the pill I always went straight to the dr and asked to switch to something else, which probably was worse than staying on the same one. I had heavy periods when I was younger and was really glad that the pill helped to regulate them and also help with the pain I used to get, whereas now I have a long term boyfirend I take it as much for the contraception as anything else. On e of the only things I dislike about it is how it kind of goes against my body's natural cycle, but then again I was in pain with doing things naturally so maybe its not so bad! I also find I always put on more weight when I'm not on any pill, which is odd as it's usually the other way round haha.

    Thanks for sharing this post, it's so nice to talk about a subject like this for once! So glad I found your blog! xx
    Sarah xx
    simplysarahlou.blogspot.com

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  11. Such a brilliant post, I really enjoyed reading it. I've kind of wanted to post about my experience with the pill for a while but was scared it would be boring, but ive enjoyed every sentence of this!

    lillies and lipbalm
    xx

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  12. I first went on the pill at 15 because my cramps were awful, I would be in the school office for two days every month and it was the school receptionist that told my mum to maybe put me on the pill. well 9 years and nearly every pill available later, I took myself off it. The combined pill caused me to have high blood pressure and migraines every single day and the mini-pill made me have a period every other week, not great when you have a boyfriend. The doctor actually said I wasn't suitable for any alternatives except the coil!?! Ew no way, that lasts 5 years and me and my boyfriend already knew we wanted to try for a baby in the next year or so. So I took myself off it and didn't go for anything else. Totally agree with talking to someone close to you, just to make sure everything's been thought through. At the end of the day it's your health and no one can tell you what to do. I hope everything is fine for you now! xx

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  13. I think its becoming more of a thing that girls our age are coming off for the pill. Obviously all for various reasons. But its definitely nice to be completely back to nature. A year off the pill and I feel much more balanced with hormones which was my main concern (that and not pumping something artificial into my body). I do have bad breakouts on the lower half of my face and shoulders now, but that's nothing compared for my pill-hormones!! The pill affects so much more than just being a method of contraception - I think that's one thing the NHS have really got wrong! Hope you settle into being pill free smoothly :) x

    Sophie Loves Food | Recipes & Reviews

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  14. Hi Katie, thanks for sharing such an honest post. It can be very scary talking about personal things like these. I too also suffer from not having periods unless I am taking a pill to regulate and I have polycystic ovary syndrome; I'm not sure if you have ever heard of it but my symptoms include not having any periods, difficulty losing weight, having bad acne, excess hair on the face and really bad cramps.

    I just thought I would mention it as I notice you talk about your skin as well and perhaps if you can relate to any of my other symptoms it might be worth speaking to your family Doctor about. I too had a break from my pill when I was about 20 as I had been on Dianette since I was 16 and it was then that I realised I didn't have a period for about 18 months. Eventually, I went back to the doctor and I said I wanted to get tested for PCOS (it was an ultrasound) and I had it confirmed.

    Now that I know what I'm dealing with, I can understand my body better. I am back on a pill again and I am now coming up for 27. However, the pill I am on helps with the symptoms of PCOS as well giving me regular periods.

    I hope I'm not over stepping the boundaries of internet stranger telling you my story and I'm more than happy for you to e-mail me (emsylou88@gmail.com) if you feel like it.

    I hope everything works out now you have decided to come off the pill

    Emma xx || Her Glamourati

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  15. I took this pill for a while it messed my body and moods up completely. After about 6 months, I gained over 10 pounds, my husband and I were at the worst odds ever, and nothing was right. I stopped using it and my body went back to normal. After my second child, they forced me to take this pills once again, regardless of my history with the pill. Same exact thing happened. Eventually we cycled through every single type of contraceptive available to me, and nothing worked. It was eventually decided that I am one of those few people in the, I think they said 3%, that simply does not get along with contraceptive periods. It's condoms all the way :/



    Angie x | Chocolate & Lipstick || UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

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  16. I'm doing the same right now, taking a break as I don't get periods with the pill I'm on! I have polycystic ovaries, it's nothing to fear- just means that I can need extra fertility assistance when the time comes. I took Microgynon as a teenager, it made me horribly moody and I gained lots of weight. The mini pill has worked really well for me, someone who also used to get crippling periods! I say, take a break then change the pill that you're on! :) It's good to see someone blogging about these things! Popping by from the #lbloggers chat!
    Donna xx Polkadot Pink

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  17. Echoing some of the others who have PCOS I used to be on Microgynon 30 as a teen. I was told that it would actually help me to lose weight, total lie not that I gained much either. I took myself off because I hated having regular periods, weird I know but I was also having sex with women so didn't need it as a contraceptive.
    I'm now on the mini pill Micronor which has some positives in that it hasn't affected my skin or hormones much at all but it's also not working for me in that I know only get a week break between periods. Quite a shock to the system after 7 years of only having 2 periods a year.
    Once your body settles back into itself, it's well worth visiting your doctor to look at other contraceptive methods of you want to use one. I'm going to be looking at the coil when I go back to see my doctor.

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  18. I took Microgynon 30 for a in total year and honestly, I had a really rough time with it. I gained weight (which I expected), terrible headaches and I had the most ridiculous mood swings throughout the whole time. I even took a break for about 3 months and things settled down but as soon as I started taking it again, all hell broke loose. I tried to stick with it as I knew things should settle after a few months but they never did. I really should have asked to try a different brand but I just stopped and have never gone back. I agree with what you say though, it's all about listening to your body. For me, it just didn't feel right.

    p.s I'm considering an implant too so if you ever get one, I'd like to know your experience :) They sound great but my only issue is that some people end up being on their period for like a month straight (eeek!)

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