Well, folks, I’m back to taking birth control. I feel like I’m 16 years old again, but really I’m just too old for this shit. I have a zit the size of China under my nose (I think it has actually changed the way I breathe), and my boobs feel like they might fall off they are so sore (They aren’t any bigger, they are just sore. Pointless and inconvenient.) Oh, hormones, why are you so good to me? But let’s start from the beginning of this story, shall we?
After I had my surgery last October, my surgeon specifically told me that I had two options: go on birth control or get pregnant. If I did not exercise either option, my period would come back with a vengeance (heavy, cramps, the works). So L and I decided to give the baby dance a try. We tried for about four months. Granted this is not a long time to try, but I think I was hoping for some miracle to happen and poof I’d be pregnant. But, as we all know, life ain’t that easy. At least, mine isn’t.
To be honest, I believe my inability to get pregnant is my fault. I am not the healthiest person, and I have neglected eating well and exercising for the past year. I am also somewhat underweight, and anemic. I don’t like to talk about being underweight (because it’s like “cry me a river, biznatch”) But, it really can be a problem, especially if you are looking to get pregnant. You NEED to be hearty and healthy or else you and the baby are going to be in bad shape.
L and I both decided that if I didn’t make a real effort at being in top baby-incubating shape, I should just forget about getting pregnant for awhile. Well, coincidentally, last month my heavy period came back, and in a nasty way! Who has the time to change pads on the hour and feel sluggish for days at a time? Not me.
So last month, I made the decision to start the Pill. (Cue ominous music)
I need to regulate my periods and give my body a break, and this is the only way to do it. (Or is it the only way? It’s the only way according to western medicine.) My surgeon gave me a prescription for Microgestin (a low dose hormone pill). I filled the prescription at my local pharmacy and started taking it on a Sunday. Well, a funny thing happened. My period started on Sunday, and ended on Tuesday. Then it started again on Wednesday, and kept going and going and going and going. I thought I was going to bleed out. I was dizzy, and worried I might pass out at any time. Even after eating a steak the size of L’s head, I didn’t feel any better.
I ended up calling my general doctor, and asking her if I was going to die of blood loss. She told me that Microgestin is notorious for causing heavy breakthrough bleeding, and that I needed a higher dosage of hormones to get my period to stop. So she prescribed me a pill called Mononessa, which is the generic for Ortho Tri-Cyclen. I was so worried about taking Mononessa, because I had a bad experience with Ortho several years ago, and swore off of it for life. (Read: I gained ten pounds, and basically became dragon lady from hell). But I was desperate, and willing to sell my soul to stop the bleeding, so I switched to Mononessa. (I plan to switch back again to a lower hormone pill, but I needed the higher dose to stop the bleeding.)
After three days of doubling up on the new pill, it finally ceased. Hallelujah!
Now I am back to taking one pill a day and waiting for next week……when my placebo pills start. Dammit. Can’t I even catch my breath before I am supposed to bleed again?!
I am now more motivated than ever to get healthy. If not now, then when? I am also very frustrated because my doctors don’t seem to have any answers. They keep wanting to put a band-aid on my problems, but they aren’t getting at the ROOT of what’s going on.
Anyone else taking the (dreaded) Pill? **UPDATE: A couple of days ago, I had a life-changing meeting with a scientist/nutritionist/health expert. I may be going off birth control despite just re-starting it. Oy. But I think it’s a very, very good thing. More on this to come…**

March 31, 2010
April 5, 2010

thelessthandomesticgoddess

13 Comments

  1. Reply

    Heidi

    April 2, 2010

    I am! I do not or have ever had really bad periods, so I guess I'm lucky there. I'm so sorry you have it so bad! I'm hoping it will get better for you!

    I think the pill I take is a generic of a generic. We really don't want to get pregnant right now, so I freak out every month thinking I'm pregnant, but Aunt flo is like clock work…always comes at the same time!

    Good luck with the new thing you're looking into! I hope it works out!

  2. Reply

    junghwa by amy stewart

    April 2, 2010

    I'm really sorry that you have to go through with all this. Wouldn't it be nice if the things we wanted the most were the easiest to get? Ugh – life.

    But I'm glad that you're getting things squared away and being healthy is ALWAYS good no matter what your plan in life is. Speaking of… I need to start working out again!

  3. Reply

    Geek in Heels

    April 2, 2010

    I always had HORRIBLE cramps and was extra EXTRA hormonal the week before my periods (my usually clear skin would break out, and I'd gain 4-6 lbs, only to have it disappear when my period ended). My doctor put me on Yaz soon after it was released, and while it put a permanent 5 lbs on my frame it helped tremendously with my cramps and PMS.

    When I started TTCing, I found that how bad the pill can be for your body. I have a friend who bled for 3 mos STRAIGHT when she tried to go off the pill. I have another who took the pill for 15+ years and now, she is not able to get pregnant because the hormones messed with her system so much. So I think that even after I have this baby, I'll look into non-hormonal methods of birth control.

    Now, I'm not trying to lecture/scare people about the dangers of the pill. I know that it's necessary for some women, but I just wish I had done more research before I started taking it, and continued taking it for 5+ years.

    Please keep us updated on the scientist/nutritionist/health expert…I'm curious as to what he/she thinks!

  4. Reply

    -J.Darling

    April 2, 2010

    Please share what you learn from this specialist you saw! I'm a PCOS patient that has been on and off (mostly on) BCPs for about 11 years. There simply aren't other options for PCOS patients in the US. Even if they take out the ovaries, I'm still looking at systemic issues that don't just resolve on their own. I know I hit the big 30 (the death knell for most PCOS patients when it comes to reproducing naturally with any hope of not needing assistance), and adoption is COMPLETELY an option for me, but I'm always interested in other ideas.

    (I've been bleeding or clotting for the past 3 weeks! Not always super heavy, but I'm exhausted. MD appointment on the 12th. Let's share results!)

  5. Reply

    HisBirdie (Ali)

    April 2, 2010

    Carly I'm so sorry you're going through this πŸ™ BC always made me feel funny and made my already larger chest even bigger. Like Geek in Heels my Dr put be on Yaz and now I feel much better.
    Anyway, I'm happy to hear you went to a scientist/nutritionist/health expert, I was going to recommend someone like that. I can't tell you how many of my friends have been helped by someone like that πŸ™‚

  6. Reply

    Krista

    April 2, 2010

    I have only been on two types of birth control options: marvelon (a low-dose birth control pill) and nuvaring (that new ring).

    All hormonal birth control options work the same, but different types of synthetic estrogen and progestin cause slightly different side effects in different women. As a rule of thumb, the "ultra low dose" pills have the greatest incidence of break-through bleeding. The "low dose" pills are the "new" generation break through that came onto the market about 20+ years. The ultra-low dose started to gain popularity about 10 years ago, and work great for some women but not for others. However, there's no perceivable difference in efficacy (i.e. the pregnancy rate is still the same for both).

    Here are a couple websites you can look at for more info (such as which ones are more likely to cause breast tenderness, prevent acne, reduce cramps), etc:
    http://www.wdxcyber.com/ncontr13.htm (no idea if this is a reputable website b/c I just googled to find it before)
    http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/centres/sex/birthcontrol/pill.html (a prestigious Canadian women's health hospital that my respirologist practices in)

    Now I am on the nuvaring. The downside is that I sometimes get very mild cramping for a couple days after inserting the ring. The plus side is not having to remember to take a stupid pill!

  7. Reply

    Krista

    April 2, 2010

    Oh, before starting the nuvaring, I always took 2 or 3 packs of marvel in a row. One period every 2-3 months is GREAT and research shows it's safe. Specialists and most general practitioners generally agree this is an okay option; however, some doctors (usually male G.P.s) don't like it, but that has to do with the "idea" that women "need" to have periods for psychological health. (And some women do need a period to feel "normal", but don't count me in that group!)

    If you need more info, I can point you towards the scientific literature on the safety of not having your period every month.

    With the nuvaring I ALWAYS insert two rings in a row.

    I still have occasional break-outs (and probably will until menopause, judging by my mom!), mild depression and bad PMS (particularly cramps). So if I had any negative side effects relating to acne, depression or severity of PMS, I wouldn't hesitate to try another birth control pill formulation. Anecdotally, anyone I know who has tried orth-tricyclen has either loved it or hated it, so if that doesn't work, just ask to try another type. There are literally dozens of different options out there, so don't suffer needlessly!

  8. Reply

    Krista

    April 2, 2010

    Sorry for the inability to collect my thoughts into one concise post, but I just remembered something:
    You can't "double up" (take back-to-back) pills when you're on a triphasic pill like Ortho TriCyclen. You can only "double up" on monophasic pills.

  9. Reply

    Kayla

    April 3, 2010

    I actually do the Depo shot. It a shot I go get once every 3 months from the doctor. I find the hormones waaaay less harsh than when I was on the pill.

    http://senseofstyleiseternal.blogspot.com/

  10. Reply

    Kasia Fink

    April 3, 2010

    It sucks that you suffer like that each month – ouch. I'm glad to hear you're going off the pill again though – I too had many problems over the years and as a result am in the "that much extra hormones in your body can't be good" camp. My naturopath did wonders for me – have you ever been to one? At any rate, I'm interested to hear what your scientist/nutritionist recommended.

  11. Reply

    Mo

    April 4, 2010

    I'm so sorry Carly. Doctors don't know a lot of things yet, but I hope that this new specialist has some better answers.

    I have been on the pill on and off for a long time now, maybe 8 years. Before I was on it, I used to get horrible cramps, to the point where I fainted twice and would throw up. I would miss a day or two at school because it was that bad. So, although I know many do not like the pill, I think the pill gave me my life back while I have my period. The times I was not on it, me and a bottle of Advil were best buds.

  12. Reply

    thelessthandomesticgoddess

    April 5, 2010

    Thank you all for your input. It helps to read your stories of both triumph and failure with the Pill. I will definitely be blogging about my recent meeting with the health expert.

    @Geek in Heels: I took Yaz, and it gave me never-ending UTI's. I still have no clue why I reacted that way, so strange. Thank you for sharing the stories of your friends and their difficulties. I'm so sorry that they have had to go through such messes with the Pill. I will be sure to share what happens with this new thing I am starting.
    @J. Darling: I will absolutely let you know how this new method works for me. Maybe it can help you and your condition?
    @Ali: I'm so happy to hear that your friends have sought help and have had positive results! Thanks for sharing!
    @Krista: Thank you for the BC resources! A good friend of mine used to get killer migraines due to her period. Her doctor suggested she take the Pill back to back, and she only had 3 or 4 periods a year. It helped her tremendously. I don't think that's the best thing for me, but I know it has helped a lot of women.
    @Mo: Oh man, cramps are the worst! I totally sympathize. The Pill can do wonders for cramps and heavy periods, or at least, it helped me when I was younger (18 to early twenties). But at 28, my period seems to have changed. Ugh. But I'm glad it has helped you so much!

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