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The Pill Is Not My Friend- No Joke

Submitted by Shana on April 12, 2010 – 1:50 amComments

Photo courtesy of Jenny Lee Silver via Flickr.

This April Fools’ Day I told my sister I was pregnant and to not tell our parents.  She informed me that she wanted to see the stick I pissed on- isn’t she charming?  Anyway, my little joke leads to today’s topic: birth control.  Choosing a form of birth control is one of the most important choices a young woman could make today and my joke made me think back over my choices concerning hormonal birth control.

I started taking the pill just shy of my twentieth birthday despite my mother’s warnings that hormonal birth control always had horrible side effects for her (Ladies, take a note here: it is very important to speak with your mom about any health issues she has had over her lifetime because genetics can play a role in some types of cancers and health issues).  My personal reason for starting BC was that I was always skipping periods and I was tired of not knowing when I was going to get it, which caused a lot of anxiety  and more than a few embarrassing moments.  Add in the fact that I was falling in love for the first time and I wanted to be safe if we decided to have sex.

I took various hormonal pills for over a year and a half and there was one problem after another.  There were the physical problems: constant vaginal infections, my breasts going from a C cup to a DD cup (oh the back pain!), extreme fatigue, weight gain, loss of sex drive and muscle aches.  The last few symptoms I attributed to being in college and working at the same time.

The mental issues were a serious problem as well.  I had the craziest mood swings- happy one minute and crying the next.  I started suffering from depression.  Eventually my boyfriend and I broke up and I felt suicidal and that was the breaking point because I had never wanted to hurt myself- EVER.  I called the doctor and she told me to stop taking the BC.  I stopped, and within a week noticed a difference- I felt lighter.  I laughed more easily, I lost weight, my muscles stopped aching, and the mood swings were fading.  All I kept thinking was, “Why the hell did I do that to myself?!”

I was reading the most recent issue of Glamour magazine the other day and the following statement caught my eye: “Eighty-two percent of women under 45 have used oral contraceptives- but just 19 percent are on the Pill now.”  Perhaps those women had similar problems to my own and I’m not alone in having such a horrible experience.  Maybe someday there will be a birth control pill I can take, but for now I always say no when my doctor asks me if I want the pill- and that’s no April Fools’ joke.

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  • Hey! About six months after I went off the Pill, I tried the ring and that started to give me the same side effects after a few months- with the added bonus of my hair starting to fall out. Fun, right? I was way too young to lose my hair so I gave up on the ring. I also tried a progestin only pill, but I experienced the same side effects. I spoke with my doctor at the time and we decided it was best if I didn’t use hormonal birth control because of all my negative experiences. I refuse to touch the stuff now. I do miss the perfect skin too!
  • thetarhythm
    I'm exactly the same! And my guess is that she didn't replace it with a ring or shot, because reported side effects for both of these methods tend to be more severe than those from the pill, and these methods are more difficult to monitor and adjust. But if you did switch to a ring or shot, did you notice similar side effects?
    I've been sticking to condoms for about 3 years. The only thing I miss from the pill is the perfect skin (I don't miss: mood swings, SI, weight gain & loss, loss of sex drive, etc, etc, etc).
  • I'm interested to know if you've decided not to use hormonal Birth Control at all or if you use a different kind of contraceptive (ring, shot, etc.)?
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