MmMhmmm, I’m Getting Realllllllyyy Real Today: My Birth Control Experience

by
LAURYN

The Skinny Confidential talks diet and fitness.

Is this awkward?

Hmmm.

It’s not awkward for me, if it’s not awk for you guys.

Ok so, A LOT ( & I mean a lot, a lot ) of women/girls have e-mailed me privately asking my opinion on birth control pills.

Instead of just dealing with this privately, I want to talk about it publicly ( HA— weird! ).

I mean, it’s an issue that millions & millions of girls/women are dealing with so instead of burying our head’s in the sand ( so 1960’s ), let’s get real ( so 2014 ).

Let me preface this women to women convo ( boys if you’re reading this, hop on over to The Chive because this convo isn’t really for ya ) by saying this:

I’m sharing what works for me, you should do what works for you.

At the end of the day, you do you.

Here’s my experience:

Birth control pills are tricky little f*ckers.

I started taking the pill in high school because I had a long term boyfriend and, uh whelp, I didn’t want to get pregnant in HS. Four of my girlfriends and I snuck over to Planned Parenthood without letting our parents know & got the BC hookup. We even made up a code name for birth control so our parents didn’t know what the hell we were talking about. Soooo sneaky, right…LOL.

The birth control I was on ( I think it was Ortho-something in a pink package ) made me gain ten pounds.

NO fun, right?

So I switched to a birth control pill with a lower dose of hormones & the weight literally fell off.

Fast forward six years to when I was 21 years old.

Unfortunately I started noticing dark spots on my face AKA hyper pigmentation mixed with melasma.

Ugh. FML.

The tiny, little white pills were making my hormones go crazzzzzzzy.

& it was coming out on my face.

( Side: this is when I became a total, gnarly sun psycho. If it weren’t for birth control, I would never have adapted the daily sunscreen/trucker hat routine…#blessingindisguise ).

Annnnddd of course, spots got worse.

I went to my doc & she told me WTF was up: the brown spots were from BC.

Boo.

The doctor switched me to a birth control with the LOWEST of LOW estrogen level.

Thank God, because it literally helped immediately; eventually the spots were certainly not as prominent.

( Note: any acne was & is completely non-existent on BC— so that’s a major plus ).

But even today, once in while, I’ll get a couple of small brown spots. Now, thankfully, I know they’re from birth control ( even the LOWEST of LOW estrogen dosage gives me a couple of brown spots— I know, annoying ) but at this point I’m not ready to have a baby. So that means BC!

Also, for the record: of course I would prefer to not be on a pill everyday. But sometimes ya gotta do, what ya gotta do.

Downside of the pill: you have to remember to take the pill everyday. This gets annoying, but by now I’m kinda used to it. I’ve heard that when I’m ready to get pregnant I need to allow my body time to adjust before I get pregnant— I’ve heard this can take months. Anyone have any experience on this? I also know some people that have had bad reactions to birth control— share?

Anyway, point: I hate ( like, hate, hate, despise x 20 ) needles, I hate having a contraption in my vajayjay, & I don’t want anything implanted in my arm ( OUCH! ). So clearly for me, the pill works best.

I have a lot of girlfriends who swear by the IUD.

Great. That works for them. Do what works for you.

To each its own.

My advice: do your own research & ultimately, listen to your body. Plain & simple.

Listen to episode 26 of the Him & Her podcast to hear even more about my birth control experience.

Some extra BC research can be found here, here, & here.

Ok, so now it’s your turn.

Honestly, I kinda spilled my guts on this post, SO moms/single ladies/long term relationship experts/etc.: what’s your take? Puhhhleassse share your experience. Who knows, maybe you’ll empower, inspire, or guide someone who’s looking for info on the topic.

Like I said: I have had hundreds of e-mails on this subject so clearly many girls are curious.

Ok, you’re it!! Share below!

xx

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  1. AvatarSarah

    Im very anti pill! It almost killed me.
    Gave me a deep vein blood clot from my belly button to my ankle.
    My leg swelled 6cm per day and I was in hospital for 4 weeks. Surgery every 2 days.
    its a year on and im doing ok!

    Reply
    1. AvatarBecca

      My questions is what pill were you on? How old are you? How long were you on the pill? And were you smoking while on the pill?

  2. AvatarDiane

    Hi Lauryn

    I want to thank you for writing about your experience. I am the only one among my friends who got dark brown spots on my stomach due to birth control. So nice to know I’m not the only one! Thank you!!

    Reply
  3. AvatarSamantha H.

    Welp. I wasn’t on BC right away. I didn’t want to go on it for religious reasons… Thennnn I found out I have this lovely thing called PCOS. Which of course taking BC isn’t, and shouldn’t be the answer… Hormones aren’t pumping throughout my body in a natural way. And BC are just synthetic… So until someone solves this and finds an actual cure/solution to my issue I suppose that I’m on BC until I’m ready to start TTC (scary thought).

    Reply
    1. AvatarAlicia

      Hi Samantha, I saw your comment here and I too have been diagnosed with PCOS. I started on birth control when I was 16, just for the benefit of the hormones. However, they caused me to gain 30 pounds in 3 months and I was miserable. I went on and of the pill for a couple of years. Then, in college my doctor decided to try me on a different pill to help regulate my hormones and give me regular cycles. The short of that experience is, I bled non-stop for the 3 months I was on the pill.

      I have found that a low carb diet has done more for me than any of the hormones or medications my doctors have ever put me on. For the first time in a long time, my cycle is regular, I am at a good weight, and THANK GOD – I’m not bleeding continually. I have done a lot of reading on the topic and diet really has a great effect on everything in you body. Maybe try going low-carb, it changed my life!

  4. Avatarkitty

    Thx. Love advice. I am wondering what I want my girls to do when they are teens. Sadly I lean twds.. No pill nowadays. .. And if need be.terminate. sad I know. But the pill.. And any big pharma.jizz irritate me. I also coveted to a cup for periodsWHICH IS AWESOME. And def teach my girls to use that.

    Reply
  5. AvatarAlliwalli

    Couple of quick things because I overall enjoy reading this blog and I’m inspired by recipes etc…but wanted to comment on this post because I feel like a lot of young girls that read your material could use a little extra information.

    The BCP is of course not for everyone out there. Second of all, it can get expensive. Third, it is user dependent. Forget to take the pill and you can get pregnant.

    By far, the IUD (intrauterine device which delivers local hormones-not systemic which causes the brown spots you talk about) is by far the best form of BC I have come across. That said, I did go to medical school and EVERYONE who was female or their partner had an IUD in- this was now 5 years ago. I have heard of only 2 cases (one female physician in my class) and one friend who got pregnant (and gave birth to healthy kids) while the IUD was in place. That said, it is overall one of the best methods out there such as the pill. It is WAY more common to get pregnant on the pill.

    That said, I have had the IUD for a long time. It hurts to have put in (ow, not going to lie) but it has been wonderful. Once you leave the office, you can have sex and are protected. Likewise, once you take it out, you can get pregnant immediately. Lighter periods (7 days to 3) and the cost is much better than the pill. Also, people don’t realize that when they have diarrhea one evening from food poisoning etc, this could impact your BCP effectiveness. Hence why the IUD eliminates user error. You can go on a 3 week vacation and not even think about it!

    Those are my 2 cents and I hope it helps someone out there. Get Mirena (not the copper IUD) and have it put in by a woman who uses numbing medicine. I have met male physicians who do not use it, and let me tell you- I wouldn’t go for that at all. The biggest problem is when the IUD is not placed correctly and do it with someone who has one themselves.

    Good luck! 😀

    Reply
    1. AvatarSophia

      THANK YOU SO MUCH. I really needed to hear this because I have been thinking about BC a lot these days and this is truly awesome. Does the IUD hurt to put in as well as take out?

      Thanks:)

    2. Avatarallwalli

      Hi Sophia. Glad it was informative. It is just information. You should decide what is best for you of course! An IUD might work great for you or it might not. Same with the pill. My biggest suggestion is to always try different things- including doctors- and figure out what the best fit for you is. If you don’t like one doctor, go to another for a consult. I find it funny that people just go to one physician without shopping around a little. For example, I personally will only go to this one OBGYN who I know puts in 100’s of IUDs. You can ask her if she has ever had a patient with a problem. Personally, I got back acne when I had the IUD placed, but it is hard to tell if it was from the IUD or just aging etc. The biggest issue I have heard was having inexperienced people put the IUD in. Yes, it will hurt a lot especially if you have never had a child. This is because the cervix must be dilated to implant the IUD. The strings hang out of the cervix. The person who places the IUD can impact its effectiveness. Taking out the IUD isn’t painful. Another note on people’s comments about “feeling” the IUD. This is wrong. What the boyfriend is “feeling” is the strings to the IUD that are sharp or are cut weird (my hubby will tell me he feels them, and I just reach in and move them around-voila!). I also had mine cut shorter so it doesn’t wrap around things, but long enough so I can check it is in place. This is one thing girls don’t think about- I know it’s gross, but take a glove if you want and make sure you feel the strings. If you feel the strings- it should be working A-ok. If you don’t feel the strings- it could have gotten lost- or traveled up the cervix into the uterus which is a very bad thing- it could cause you to become infertile worst case scenario.

      That said (probably too much TMI anyway), I would personally recommend an IUD as well as condoms to my daughter on her way out to college. This is for two reasons: IUD=protects from pregnancy and condoms prevent HPV and herpes etc. HPV (and cervical cancer) is worse than herpes, but herpes will HURT badly in many cases. Note that most people will not ever show signs of HPV or Herpes so be careful and protect yourself! If you have a partner tell you they are “clean of STDs and don’t want to use a condom” remember that we only test for gonorrhea or chlamydia etc. We don’t ever check for herpes or hpv (unless you have an outbreak of some sort). You can’t check for HPV in a guy (unless they have warts) and most of the time they won’t know they have it either.

      That said, I’d much rather have gonorrhea or chlamydia because they are treatable with antibiotics than have a strain of HPV that causes cancer (go vaccinate yourself asap if you haven’t!) Remind yourself that you are worth it always! No guy is worth your health 😀 Also, my last gem of information is don’t ever give/have oral sex with someone with mouth sores. This seems obvious, but if they have oral herpes, they can transfer it to your genitals (ew, gross, yes, I know I went there, but thank me later in life). I had a patient come in and I was like, yah, you should have not done that… oh well. Life goes on.

      Of course, if you are in a very trusting LTR, that is different of course with condoms etc, but health is priceless.

      OK- hopefully this has been informative! Sorry for the book of information, but hopefully it will empower you to seek out good info and have a healthy, happy life!! 😀

    3. AvatarSarah M

      Thanks for your post it was super informative! I actually just got the Mirena IUD inserted and I have heard that weight gain is a side effect of the IUD, is this true?

      Thanks!

  6. AvatarCindy

    I’ve used the pill for 9 years, I started on Desogen which cured me of my awful acne. I stayed on that and its generic version Orthocept til recently. I didn’t experience weight gain and have nothing but positive things to say. I have clear skin, no cramps, minimal bloating and short, light periods.
    My doctor switched me to Chanteal but that one gave me awful pms (lots of crying) then Microgestin (cystic acne side effect) and then finally I was put on Reclipsen which is another version of my favorite Desogen.
    You just have to find what works for you.
    My sister had the IUD put in and it actually fell out, now she suffers from two periods a month and is on the pill.
    I use an app on my phone that reminds me to take my pill daily. I have had friends tell me their pill gives them constant yeast infections or causes weight gain.
    It really just depends on you.
    Cindy recently posted..Thailand July 2011My Profile

    Reply
  7. AvatarShaina

    When I was in high school I used the nuva ring… It was gross though, so I switched to the pill. Funny thing is, I got a sinus infection and took antibiotics… I didn’t realize that they cancel out the pill. That’s how baby #1 came to be.
    Five months after I had baby #1, I was breast feeding and on the super low dose pill. I felt odd… Took a test, and vwala… Baby #2 was on his way.
    After that I chose the IUD.
    I swear to you… Every single horrible side effect that they say is like a one in 100 chance of getting (other than getting pregnant) I got. I was extremely depressed, I was gaining weight but barely eating, I ended up in the hospital with rupturing ovarian cysts. So I told the ER doc I wanted the damn thing out. She said she didn’t feel qualified to do it, and that I’d need to see my OB. I said screw it. I went into the bathroom and pulled the thing out.
    Monday I followed up with my dr, and she said that unfortunately the side effects won’t go away right away.
    My depression is gone, and I’m currently losing weight… But I’m still having pain from the cysts. It’s been 2 months, and after all the mishaps I’ve had with BC… I think we will stick with condoms! Goodluck though, this is a sticky topic for everyone!

    Reply
    1. Avatargina

      wow… that’s insanity. I guess I’m one of the very few lucky ones that has never had bad luck to BC. Best of luck to you gal. <3

  8. AvatarNichole

    Thanks for sharing! I did the pill for a while, but I ended up not liking the side effects and the thought of ingesting a drug on a daily basis. I also want to be able to get pregnant whenever I decide to do so (without have to get something out of my system). I support each woman’s personal choice, but for me I use condoms and my long-term partner is fine with it. That’s my choice for now 🙂

    Reply
  9. AvatarKristy

    My gyno told me that I have a higher chance of getting pregnant once I stop taking birth control for the first few months, which is the opposite of what I thought! She said when you’re ready to have children start taking prenatal vitamins a few months before going off of the pill.

    I too gained a lot of weight from the pill in the past and also went on an emotional rollercoaster on some pills, but also switched to a very low dose option, which has been much better in my experience!

    Reply
    1. AvatarRachel

      This is a very common thing for physicians to say. let me just say this (my doctor told me this but asked me not to share). it can take MONTHS or even years depending on how long you have been on the pill to get pregnant. (eg. for me with my son – straight away, then with our second- 8 months) and i was only taking the pill for a year. Pre natals are expensive and can cost up to $50.00 for 3 months. If you are actively “trying” take the prenatals if you must for the two week wait (the two weeks between when you ovulate and hopefully find out you are pregnant). these do nothing to help you get pregnant and if you eat a healthy enough diet you will already have all of the vitamins in your system anyway. Trying is stressful enough, trust me lol.

  10. Avatarmacdutton

    I took the pill for 7+ years and never had any problems. When I was ready for a ba y, I just didn’t refill my prescription and stopped taking it. I got pregnant 2 weeks later. (I know that isn’t how it works for everyone.)

    After giving birth, and of course when I was done breast feeding, I had the Mirena IUD placed. It hurt, but was not intolerable. The doctor told me I would bleed anywhere from 2 week to 3 months time, and you better believe I bled every single bit of 3 months. (Which was annoying to me because I had just finished bleeding from giving birth a few months before that.) The Mirena IUD was nice and very convenient, but I have “a very small cervix” according to my doctor, and during sex my husband could feel it. Sometimes it even poked him pretty hard. I figured it would just be something we needed to get used to.

    A few months after it was placed, (approx. 6 months) I started to notice I was getting two full periods a month. After 3 months in a row with no change, I went to have it checked and it had moved. The doctor told me my cervix was probably just too small which caused it to not stay in place. I had to have it removed at that very same visit (which hurt worse than putting it in) and came with a hefty $200 bill of what the insurance didn’t cover. Boo!

    So, now I am on the Nuva Ring. I have been on it for 3 months now and I love it! I don’t have to remember to put it in every day, which is great! I put it in on a Monday, using a tampon applicator. Then I set an alarm in the calendar on my phone for the Monday 3 weeks later. When my alarm goes off, I pull out the ring and throw it away. I get my period on Wednesday and on Monday I put a new one In. My period stops within a few hours ( which is already very light by this point, and you are able to wear a tampon with the ring in you just have to be careful to not pull it out when you remove the tampon.) In 3 weeks the process starts over! Pretty easy if you ask me!

    I haven’t tried the Depo shot or the implant because, well, why put a needle in your arm if you dont have to! Haha I hate needles! However, my sisters both do the Depo shot and seem to love it.

    Hope my info helps. I wrote y’all a book!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  11. AvatarEmily

    I am so happy you posted this!

    My experience with BC has been a little crazy. I went on the pill when I went to college and after the first 3 months (the amount of time it takes for your body to fully adjust to the meds) I got super depressed and moody which is so unlike me. My doctor said this was from the BC so I switched to a low estrogen bc pill and loved it and was back to my happy self. No weight gain, no side effects or anything. Then I stopped taking it last February because I was living in London for a semester abroad and it was really hard to get over there. I was fine until May when i got home I started getting terrible break outs. (Quick side note, I am so lucky because I have had great skin my whole life and only ever get a small pimple every once in a while around my period, so clearly something was wrong) It turns out that because I stopped taking my BC my hormones went crazy and after 3 months of not having it my face broke out. I went back on and my face started to clear up in just 4 days and now it is fine again. Bottom line, I’ll be sticking to this pill for a while.

    Just a warning if you ever stop taking the pill or change, your skin could change! I wish I knew this so I could have done something to prevent the breakouts! I personally think the pill is the best way to go, it is so easy, and I take vitamins (i just started Magnesium thanks to you Lauryn) every day anyway so one extra pill is no biggie!

    Love reading your posts Lauryn!

    Reply
  12. AvatarCamille

    Hello Lauryn,

    It is not my habit to leave comments but I care about this subject because it takes me a very long time to find what works the best for me an I had a lot of issues with BC pills.

    I was afraid of UID because of pain (yeah, I’m a sissy) so the doctor advise me to take a vaginal ring. I never heard about it but it’s a great alternative to the UID, it’s only local hormones (I didn’t like the fact that pills sent “fake messages” to my brain) and I only think about it every 3 weeks. Very easy to use.

    Here is my small contribution!
    Wish you a very nice day (love your blog so much).

    xoxo from Paris!

    Reply
  13. AvatarJen

    My OBGYN put me on the pill due to fibroids which were causing heavy bleeding during periods and anemia. I was also put on iron pills. The first month i started on the pill (July, last month) i had 2 periods both were 7 day periods but a much lighter flow than before the pill. My question is should i have started a new pill pack when i started the 2nd period that month? The 2nd period was 7 days after i ended the 1st period. Also, since starting the pill I’ve been having hot flashes at night and in morning after i drink coffee or take a warm shower. I’m 46 so I’m wondering if the pill has kicked in mentapause!!! It sucks getting old!!!!

    Reply
  14. AvatarTeresa B

    I have tried shots and pills and even the weird ring that doesn’t stay in place in my vagina. I loved the freedom of the shot. Especially the point in my life in college when it caused me to not have a period for 2 years…ahem… In retrospect…I’m not sure if that really seems healthy to not have a period for 2 years. It was awesome though. And yes it really helped my acne…which at age 38 I still have a problem with and still see a dermatologist-icky.

    The worst result of bc was my bilateral pulmonary embolisms ( blood clots in my lungs). I almost died…it feels like you certainly will.
    I spent 3 days in the hospital on pain killers and heparin by IV. And then I had blood thinners by shots and by pill for a year after…lovely.
    I don’t smoke I weighed 135 lbs and I’m 5’6″ so not overweight. I exercised regularly and after 3-4 years of testing I have no blood condition. However on the other hand this doesn’t happen to everyone so something undetectable must be different about my blood. I was 32 when this happened. My current partner has a vasectomy. That works out nicely for us. If ever that changes I will need to do condoms. Never again not any hormones for me and they all have hormones even the iuds. And hormones are the therapy of choice for cancer, menopause, I’m sure other stuff that I don’t know about…but for some reason?? BC aren’t my friends.

    I never had a baby when I was on them and I have two beautiful kids that I intended to have when I stopped taking them at 26 took me two years (age 28) to have baby one and 30 took me a few months to have baby two. With baby one I was on the depo shot and I guess it took a couple of years before my periods were back to regular and able to conceive and with baby two I was on some kind of pill. I’m not sure what to suggest to my girl when she grows up. Our blood may not allow her to take bc forever. I took them for 12 years before there was a very serious problem.

    Thanks for letting me share.

    Reply
  15. Avatarcharlotte

    I was on the pill for 3 years and then I stopped because I wanted my body to be.. well in its natural state I guess. I also wondered if I’d lose weight easier since even with a lot of exercise and healthy eating those last few pounds didn’t seem to come off. So this is what happened: I went off and my body just went crazy. I gained 6 pounds almost immediately, got migraines and I am extremely emotional all the time (like crying after seeing cat videos on youtube..). Oh and my period – which was almost nonexistent on the pill – lasts now for 6-7 days.
    So that’s to natural body hormones. Everything has its pros and cons but for me the cons of taking the pill are definitely easier to handle than those of natural hormones. I will probably go back on the pill in the sometime in the next few months.

    Reply
  16. AvatarKatie

    Thank you for being so open with this topic! Personally, the pill didn’t work for me. I was a raging b all the time and cried at the drop of a hat (no matter what dosage my doc put me on). So I stopped taking it. I have a lot of girlfriends that do so much better with the pill and a few that need it to help regulate their periods. I’m 31 now, and while I’m not actively trying to get preg, I figure at my age, if I get pregnant with my boyfriend, it’ll be a blessing. 🙂

    Reply
  17. AvatarMarijn

    Having been on BC for 7 years straight I stopped because I started to get really bad mood swings and completely lost my libido and wondered whether BC affected either. Turns out it did… My mood swings decreased quickly, until I decided to start again (different pill, less hormones as possible) after which they were back within the week. I got an IUD (mirena), but this had the same effect.

    After my boyfriend at the time and I broke up I decided to get rid of it all. The mood swings were gone quickly, but it took ages before my libido was back and over TWO YEARS before my hormones functioned properly again and I got a regular period (had one that lasted nearly 3 weeks, and then went without for 14 months!). The latter shows how much impact it can have on your body, and something I never realised while I was on it. I’m convinced that, at least for me, it has more impact than we think it has and would never ever consider the pill again.

    As i’m in a relationship again I got a copper coil fitted. No hormones, I don’t have to think about anything anymore, I’m good for 10 years and even though my period was a bit heavier in the beginning it now actually seems to have decreased!
    Marijn recently posted..Hello AugustMy Profile

    Reply
  18. AvatarCarla

    I never wanted to take the pill but gave in at 25 for the obvious reasons. I wanted to take it for 5 years max and i’m way beyond that now and it bothers me. I had no sideeffects but i find my libido is dwindling. As you, Lauryn, I have the lowest of the low and would not take anything stronger.

    Reply
  19. AvatarMC

    I’m so forgetful that I knew going on the pill would be a huge mistake for me. After talking to the gyno about every option available, I set my sights on the NuvaRing. Two of my sisters have been on it before, and one of them hated it and the other liked it. I personally love the ease of simply inserting it like a tampon and forgetting about it for three weeks! I never feel it (unless I want to stick a finger up there) and it’s shortened my periods.

    Reply
  20. AvatarLyn

    I was on the pill for over 15 years with very little break. I first went on the pill to treat acne as a teen and it did the job. I was on Dianne (not sure if that’s what it’s called outside of Aus) which is a really old fashioned one and probably has the worst side effects. I was fine on it but every time I tried to come off of it I would get serious acne. As I entered my 30’s I just didn’t want it in my system. I read more and more awful things about it. I really wish doctors mentioned these things, especially when treating acne. I decided on my 34th birthday that I wanted to just suck it up and stop taking it even if my acne returned, which it did. But I wanted to have kids one day and my age was already a disadvantage so didn’t want to create more issues. I was lucky that my period returned straight away. So many stories of women waiting a year for their period to get back to normal. BUT I have spent a year now dealing with adult acne. I mean serious acne, not a few spots! It’s pretty awful to go on dates at my age and have to worry about them touching my face because of my acne! Anyhoo after trying everything imaginable it’s now starting to disappear and there is light at end of tunnel.
    I get that for some people find it the best option for birth control but just remember it was never intended for women to stay on it as long as we do. With women having children later in life they are on the pill for a long time!
    I guess I am at a different stage of my life then many of your readers, I don’t think falling pregnant is a huge concern of mine so I get that it’s necessary. All I am saying is have a break every so often!
    Lyn recently posted..Fuck Logic – How to Follow your heart even when it sounds crazy!My Profile

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  21. AvatarAmanda

    It took my body an ENTIRE YEAR after getting of BC to get it fully out of my system and I’m still not totally back to normal. I was on it since HS too (so almost 10 years) and decided to go off of it after my wedding to give my body some time to adjust. Well… 12 months and a lot of tears later, I’m finally getting my hormones to regulate on their own. The issue with BC is that it’s synthetic so your body forgets how to make hormones on its own. If you can consider other options please do, it’s not worth the hell you go through when you get off. i think I had more of an extreme case, but I’ve talked to others who had a difficult time with their hormones after too. You just never know.

    Xo!

    Reply
  22. AvatarMelissa

    OrthoTricyclin made me hemorrhage and i had to take the highest BC pill TWO times a day to make it stop. Was so NUTS. i battled a few others that also made me cray cray and then after baby I said so long to BC pills. And depends on the person for waiting to get pregnant after the pill. Some friends got pregs right away while it took us 8 months. you never know!

    Reply
  23. AvatarCierra

    I almost didn’t post. But then I saw someone above post about mirena. You leave it in for five years, which is great. So hassle-free. And a lot of women report completely losing their period for that time period. Also, a plus. (If your into that; but a lot of people would argue this is a bit too unnatural to be okay)

    HOWEVER. I would not recommend this IUD without serious research and weighing the consequences against the benefits. I had Mirena fitted last December after I had my daughter in November. I thought it sounded like a miracle. I hate the pill because I forget to take it (obvs, I now have a daughter) and I thought this was the answer.

    Here’s some TMI. Because you need to know the not so glamorous side of mirena.

    Have fun fighting off constant BV or candida; whichever lovely condition your body decides to serve up to you. Then, have yourself some acne, migraines, weight gain, initial bleeding for two months, random bleeding after that, abdominal cramping that feels like terrible PMS, back cramping that feels like back labor, and I can’t even describe the hormones. Forget what it feels like to be pregnant and emotional, this is an entirely different level.

    Also, your IUD can fall out without you knowing it (helllloooo babies), it can perforate your uterus (how fun!), and it can cause ectopic pregnancy if you do happen to get pregnant on it.

    This is just my experience. Some people love it. Some people claim it actually ruined their lives. Do your research, know the consequences, and just like Lauryn said, listen to your body.

    I still have my IUD in place since removal will be $300. I’m just hoping I can find some way to cope with the effects. The things we go through!

    Reply
  24. AvatarKate

    Hey! I was wondering if you could tell me which birth control you are on specifically? If you don’t want to post it I’d love it if you could shoot me an email because I am looking for a new super low dose pill.

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. AvatarTara l

      I would also like to know the name of very low dose options! My Melasma has gotten really bad on the one I am on now 🙁

  25. AvatarLee

    Ortho-Tri-cyclen….hated that stuff as well.
    Quick note about body adjusting when ready to get pregnant….I’m 29 and had been on the pill since I was 14. My Doc told me it would “take time to adjust” as well, but the first month off the pill, my husband and I got pregnant…which has been amazing (due in 3 weeks) but like you said everyone’s body is so different so it may not take as long as your doc says or it could take longer! Again, every woman reacts so differently! Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  26. AvatarBeks

    Good thoughts. They’re certainly not for everyone. I’ve never been on BC (I’m a “True Love Waits” gal that’s never had a boyfriend, which makes it easier), but I have a friend who, when she first got off BC, she suffered several miscarriages, because she got pregnant while most of the hormones weren’t out of her system, and the surplus is what caused it. After her levels evened out, though, she’s taken five children to term, and one of the best mothers I know. I think the best thing you can do is to be open and honest with your Doc, and listen to your body.
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  27. AvatarLauren

    This is a great post Lauryn!

    It’s so true that BC is very personal and everyone has a different experience. I started taking the pill in HS half because I had a bf and half because I had really, horribly painful cramps every month during my period. Like, so bad, that I once got physically sick and had to go home from school. Since I went on BC I have barely got cramps at all, and if I do they are very minor.

    About 2 years ago I swtiched from the pill to the NuvaRing because one of my friend’s recommended it to me. I always hated taking a pill every day and would sometimes forget and being in a long term relationship I didn’t want to worry about getting pregnant. I have had a great experience with the NuvaRing – I seriously don’t even know it’s in at all and my boyfriend doesn’t notice it either. I highly recommend it as an option for people who don’t want to take the pill! Obviously though it might not work for everyone so it’s always good to consult your OBGYN.

    xox

    Reply
  28. Avataraarti

    Interesting post, I continually keep going back to whether to get the pill or just continue to ensure I have regular old fashioned child prevention, and theres just so many horror stories on the internet. Thank you for your refreshing, matter of fact point of view (as always)
    aarti x
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    Reply
  29. AvatarDanielle J

    My personal experience with BC is pretty rough. I’m super sensitive to hormones and the pill gives me highs and lows of hormones throughout the day (even if I take it at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME every day.) I would literally be watching TV and minding my own business and bust out a cry for no reason. My fiancé thought I was nuts. Then I discovered the ring which is a constant flow of hormones all day long. You leave it in for 3 weeks then remove it which begins your period, and replace it with a new ring 7 days later. Downside – it’s not cheap, you have to keep them in the fridge until you use them because warm temperature is what releases the hormones, and you have to insert and remove it by yourself. You gotta be super comfortable with your body which isn’t an issue for me but might be for some.

    I tried to go for the IUD but upon inspection from my OB, my hips are too narrow because I have not yet had children and the IUD would pop out of place and leave me unprotected…No Bueno.

    Hope this info is useful to readers!

    -Danielle J
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    Reply
    1. AvatarCait Unites

      Hi Danielle, just wanted to mention that there is a new IUD on the market called Skyla that is smaller and specifically made for women who haven’t had children yet. I’m not sure what your doctor means by your hips being too narrow, I know plenty of women of small stature who have IUDs and it isn’t a problem. It might be worth a second opinion– lots of older docs are still of the mindset that IUDs are only for women who have already had children, which is definitely not the case!

  30. AvatarChristine

    I have PCOS, I found out my senior year of high school so I have been on BC ever since. Because of that I have done my homework and found other health reasons that people go on BC. I get sad when I hear people have PCOS and won’t go on BC for one reason or another. It helps! A lot! No more ovarian cysts or mood swings and complete leveling of hormones. As a result though, I very strongly believe BC shouldn’t be called BIRTH control. It’s more hormone control since it has not much to do with the actual birth. It scares people off, makes them think it’s for one thing only when in reality a good portion of people using it is not for sex.

    Reply
  31. Avatarshelley

    I’ve been on the pill since I was 15 off and on (I am 25 now) – I have PCOS, and sophomore year in science class my ovary had a cyst the size of a softball that exploded. well, that was painful! I had to have my ovary and the cyst removed and was put on yasmin.

    I loved yasmin but then all those weird commercials came on about blood clots and I switched over to something else that made me basically cry all day every day. I then switched to something lower dose that worked pretty alright.

    sometimes I get the urge to be more “natural” so I have gone off it for about a year here and there, but I break out like a mofo and get ovarian cysts so its just not worth it to me!

    now I’m on nuva ring and it is the bomb.com for me. my skin is reasonably clear, no ovarian cysts, and I can’t feel it and neither can my husband!

    I’ve been screened several times for blood clots and I’ve been good so far! I had a college friend die from one so I am sure to be aware of it.

    Reply
  32. AvatarLacy

    Lauren!
    Check out the Fertility Awareness Method! I was on the pill for 11 years and just couldn’t deal with the melasma but mostly just feeling like I was in a cloud. I feel so much better. You can do the Fertility Awareness Method alone but I also do a diaphragm on my fertile days. I HIGHLY recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Its amazing!
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    1. AvatarCait Unites

      If you really don’t want to get pregnant, the fertility awareness method is definitely not your best bet. I am all for being knowledgable about your cycle, but I know several women who were a day or two off in their calculations and got pregnant.

  33. AvatarMarysol

    Hi Lauryn,

    What birth control do you use? I have been suffering from melasma for years and would love to know what worked for you. Thanks.

    Reply
  34. AvatarJulie L.

    I also started on the pill in high school, when I was 16… I loved it! My skin was always flawless, my periods were only 4 days and really light. It was a dream! I’ve quit about 18 months ago, after being on the pill for more than 15 years. That’s when I saw the horrible withdrawal effects: I didn’t have a period for about 5 months. After six months off pill, my face got full of acne… I was a teen again! Horrible! Never thought I would have to go through that on my 30s. I will say my body is still adjusting. My acne is lower – proactive helps – I also started taking a supplement called vitex, which helps your body with hormones (100% natural). But no signs of a baby yet…
    So, the pill can be great… But get ready for all the side effects once you’re off it.

    Reply
  35. AvatarEm

    I have been on the pill for about a month for hormonal acne and it has worked wonders! My acne was out of control and it honestly didn’t matter what I did, my skin just got worse. My doctor explained that my acne was not related to diet, exercise, the types of products I was using.. it was strictly hormonal which felt so good to hear because people always tried to tell me otherwise. At first I wasn’t excited about it b/c I’m not a pill girl butttt now no complaints : )

    Reply
  36. AvatarSonia

    I had an OK experience with BC…until I didn’t. I went to the doc last year and found out that my BC was causing me to have very elevated blood pressure and I needed to be taken off immediately. Oh boy…coming off of it has been a nightmare. The first month off, I gained 20 lbs with no change to diet/workout/lifestyle anything (It actually helped me keep weight off when I was on it- weird, I know), my acne came blaring back with rage, emotionally I went off the deep end, and my cramps came back like whoa. Its been about a year now, and I’ve managed to get my blood pressure down which was the most important thing but the weight gain & mental part of it haven’t been easy. I’ve made my diet ultra, ultra clean and drink a gallon+ of water a day to keep my acne away and weight down but its been a struggle. I know I got the short end of the stick but in the end, I’m glad I don’t have any pharmaceuticals going into my body at any time and I’m out of the woods with the possibility of hypertension. In the end, it’s made me a way healthier person for it and I’m now getting into Ayurvedic techniques to bring my body and mind in balance.

    Reply
  37. AvatarLiz

    I’ve been on the pill for almost 2 full months now. And all I want is to NOT be on it. I was hesitant from the beginning because of horror stories I’ve heard & I hate the idea of altering my body’s natural hormones. DAILY.
    Unfortunately, I’ve noticed weight gain (6-10 pounds) & more sensitivity with my emotions. Things that wouldn’t have upset me before have made me cry.
    I’ve looked into natural alternatives to BC, & they all involve the woman just monitoring her body closely, not having sex on certain days, & hoping She get it right.
    So, for now, I’ll stick with the pill.

    Reply
  38. AvatarKimberly (Manifest Yourself)

    Thank for chatting about this! I was nervous to write about it on my own site. I recently went back on BC to help with acne and opted to give the nuvaring a try instead of the pills. I was fine in HS on the pills, but when I tried again in Dec, I gained 10 visible lbs and freaked… so after I composed myself, months later, I opted for the ring and it’s not bad! I don’t even feel it… and I love that I can take it out if I don’t feel good and I will “return to normal” since the hormones aren’t flowing through my body.
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  39. AvatarKatie

    Thanks for sharing. I’m personally anti-pill and have been off any form for about 6 months.

    Long story short, I’ve been on pretty much every pill in the book since HS, when I started because I was put on accutane. Over 10 years later, I have serious side effects that are likely linked to the pill. I have almost no sex drive, my internal hormones are completely messed up, I’ve developed thyroid issues (hormones!), and most recently (I was on seasonique) an ultra sound discovered a built up of blood just outside my uterus. I decided to call it quits. My hormones and sex drive are still out of whack but the pill causes hormone damage, so I will need to spend time reversing this.

    Sometimes you just have to buck up and take responsibility. I’m in a 3+ year relationship and I would rather stop harming my body and try to be responsible in other ways. So far so good! *knock on wood*

    Keep in mind, there are benefits as well. Some people do much better on an oral contraceptive. Talk to your doctor, run tests, and see what works for you. This is just MY personal experience.

    An interesting read:
    http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10932/14-things-i-wish-all-women-knew-about-the-pill.html

    http://breakingmuscle.com/womens-fitness/is-my-birth-control-stopping-my-progress-in-the-gym

    Reply
  40. AvatarLeiah

    So glad you post about the ‘real stuff’ – us girls need to hear it! I had no idea brown spots can be caused by BC – I was on for several years (also in the sun allll the time :/ ) but I did notice I was starting to get brown spots on my face. Once I got off BC I noticed they had gone away for the most part. Downside – I had perrrrfect skin while on the pill, and now that I have been off for a year my body is still adjusting and unfortunately my clear skin has taken the slack 🙁 I do however, feel more balanced now that my hormones are not all over the place. I am like you – I absolutely had to have the lowest hormone level or I was hating life!

    Reply
  41. AvatarJeannie

    I originally got on BC in high school tot help with acne (sounds like a cop-out, but it’s the truth.) I was on Ortho-Tri-Cyclen and it made me CHUBBY! I stayed on it because it worked miracles on my actions. Years later, a doctor switched me to a lower dose because she thought it would have less side effects (in addition to the weight gain, I was also emotionally labile and had Melissa in my face! ) the brand she switched me to was all over the news for causing blood clots and strokes, and working in healthcare and seeing patients who’d been affected, I was not okay with that so I switched again to another low dose hormone pill. I lost weight, my melasma improved (it also helped thst I avoid the sun like the plague now…it makes it so much worse), and I was only super emotional when I first started the new pill. I just realized that I’ve been on BC for 15 years…hope it doesn’t have any long term effects : / It works for me right now…

    Reply
  42. AvatarCarly

    Ah – so glad we’re gettin real!

    Birth control wrecked – i mean W-R-E-C-K-E-D, my body. My homeopathic doctor in California had encouraged me to stay far away from it, but when I was in college, I thought it would be the safest thing to prevent a premature pregnancy with my long-term boyfriend.

    TERRIBLE idea.

    I started with the Nuva Ring. That made me get a rash all around my belly button. It was literally a ring, almost mimicking the one inside of me, and it would go though states of being really dry, then really wet and itchy (mimicking the hormone dosage releases I’m sure). I would have trouble sleeping at night, because my arms would go all tingly and numb. I was moody. Only benefit – my acne cleared up.

    I went off of the Nuva Ring when I could no longer deal with the rash. I tried a pill version, but that increased my candida – giving me perpetual yeast infections. Yeast is a BEAST – let’s get real on that later.

    Finally I quit. I gave into my homeopath. She was so upset, and said I did lots of damage to my normal balance. It took over 1.5 years to reset my body – and it’s still not back to a state of complete wholeness.

    Birth control is no joke. You are putting chemicals into your body to prevent it from operating as it is supposed to. It’s almost like consuming food with GMOs. It’s a foreign body your introducing into a very delicate system – one that can be tipped off balance so easily. If you’re taking care of your body through a healthy lifestyle, why would you work against it by telling it to operate synthetically?

    I know it didn’t work for me – but I know other’s who haven’t experienced hardly any side effects (but I do wonder if they’ll unveil later in life). To each their own; I’m not passing judgement. I just encourage everyone to educate themselves and pay attention to what their bodies are telling them!

    Reply
  43. AvatarJennifer

    So. Every single woman I know who took the pill for longer than ten years was unable to ovulate when she wanted to get pregnant. Your ob will tell you there is no correlation, but visit an infertility support forum and ask how many of those women took the pill long term. The pill stops your body from ovulating. That’s not natural.

    The pill also does not stop you from catching disease. Not just AIDS, and some of those diseases will also affect your fertility or endanger the babies you want to have someday.

    Reply
  44. AvatarLou

    IUD all the way!!

    I was on various BCP for a couple years and it just wasn’t for me. They actually made my PMS symptoms worse and there’s something about dumping synthetic hormones into my body that I’m not down with.

    I’ve had the copper IUD for over a year and no complaints. Love it so much!

    Reply
  45. AvatarJ La

    So, which one are you on? (sorry, I’m curious)
    I’m not loving mine because I’ve been breaking out and have no sex drive (unacceptable!)

    Reply
  46. AvatarNicole

    I am sooo anti-IUD & the pill works great for me! My IUD (Mirena) made me gain weight, was totally uncomfortable during sex for both me/husband (we could both feel it), made my skin break out & it was waaay more expensive than the pill. After having my IUD for three years I decided to get it removed & get back on the pill. The weight has fallen off and my skin looks awesome! Now of course you have to remember to take it everyday but this is not a big issue for me, they sit right on my nightstand.

    Reply
  47. AvatarBecca

    I have such a love/hate relationship with the pill! I’ve been on it now for a few years and it was literally like a miracle pill for me. I think my hormones where pretty out of whack when i started it and all of a sudden i felt like a normal person again (and I was actually able to control my weight all of a sudden. MAJOR bonus!)
    With that being said…I don’t love the idea of pumping hormones through my body on a daily basis. I would rather find a natural way to even out my hormones. But for now, the pill is what makes me feel like a normal person so that’s what i’ll continue to do 🙂

    Reply
  48. Avatarxx

    Paragaurd!!!!! It is an all natural copper IUD.
    It is made completely of copper.. which creates a hazardous environment for sperm. It is 99.99% successful BC (LITERALLY the number one most successful form of BC other then not having sex.. look it up)
    It last for 10 years.. and can be taken out any time and get pregnant immediately. This is clearly not the BC that drug companies advertise because there is ZERO dollars in it… what would the drug companies do if doctors put a $100 extremely successful 10 year BC in millions of women?

    Incursion is definitely not comfortable.. periods are heavier for about 6 months after. But you get to be on your natural cycle, understand your periods, and not be f*cked up on hormones

    There a reason for your post. Hundreds of girls and women are struggling with synthetic hormones and what its doing to their bodies. Its horrible and there are other amazing natural options.

    Reply
  49. AvatarEmma

    I don’t normally comment, but I have a very VERY strong opinion on this matter.

    I have to 100% disagree with Alliwalli and give a very stern warning AGAINST the IUD, as I am the 1 in 1000 who got pregnant on it, and given the side effects of the IUD, had no idea I was pregnant until I was 27 weeks in (I still had spotting, and I barely showed even at 27 weeks, I had only gained a total of 8 pounds).

    I also have an under-productive thyroid, so when I took pregnancy tests, they actually came back NEGATIVE (even though I KNEW I was pregnant). I ended up having to go to the doctor to take a more sensitive test to finally figure out: 1. That I was pregnant and 2. That I was about 7 months along.

    My IUD had worked for 4 years prior to getting pregnant, and then migrated to the wrong place (they don’t work unless they are exactly in the right position).

    The IUD is great if you are extremely regular on your period, but you DO still need to check that it’s in place- people say, “You don’t have to think about it.” -UHM – YES YOU ABSOLUTELY DO!

    On the bright side, I am not 37 weeks pregnant and it all looks like I will be giving birth to a healthy baby, but this is definitely not the way I ever planned to bring new life into the world.

    The IUD is great if you regularly get your period and will carefully check that it is in place the ENTIRE time you have it.

    However, if you are irregular and you think you can “just forget” that it’s there, think again. NOTHING is 100% and you should always read the fine print.

    Reply
  50. AvatarMandy

    Ha! Loved this post. I was on BC pills after HS (late bloomer 😉 + through my early twenties. Then went cold turk on them, tried to get preg with my fiancé (now husband of course) had a baby girl, then got back on them. Dude.. I feel like it made me a diff person. Everything was out of whack; so I quit them altogether. Still to this day. I’m cool on all of that.. And I’m also cool on not having another child for a long while.. So we take extra precaution.

    Recently came across some info stating that BC pills are linked to breast cancer in young women. Scary (if true?). Plus those “if you or a loved one have taken the drug…” Commercials are always fun to hear. Ahh.

    Reply
  51. AvatarCielo

    Thank you for this post! It makes so much sense, I knew your body could have different reactions to BC, but I didn’t know they could be so extreme. It is good to know, because I will be going on it soon and now what to look out for!
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  52. AvatarAmanda

    So I asked my doctor recently about having to be off birth control for a bit to adjust before getting pregnant… it’s a myth! I’m sure there are some women who need time to adjust, but the doctor said that is not the norm. My best friend went off birth control in January and was pregnant the next month! She was planning to have at least 6 months before that happened!

    Reply
  53. AvatarSydney

    Ah, birth control. I totally over thought mine. I am crazy type A, and I agonized over making the right decision. I wasn’t great at remembering to take the pills every day, the pain of the IUD scared me, and I knew that condoms weren’t super reliable. In the end, I went with the Implant. Honestly, I am TERRIFIED of needles, but they numb your arm, you don’t see the doctor insert it, and it was painless for me. It is good for three years, and I don’t have to worry about taking something every day. My doc told me it was as effective if not slightly more effective that the IUD. I don’t love the idea of the hormones and the face that it screws with your bodies natural cycle, but my husband and I aren’t ready for babies, so that is where I am at right now. I hope this helps someone. A post like this would have been so helpful a few months ago when I was trying to figure all this out.
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  54. AvatarKimmy

    I have been on birth control for almost 7 years and haven’t had any major side effects. I have used the Nuva Ring, but switched to Desogen because it was so expensive. I decided to go off the pill last October after my long term boyfriend and I broke up. BIG MISTAKE! My face broke out SO bad! It was like the Rocky Mountains had formed all over my face. I immediately went to the doctors and got back on it. They also put me on Spiro to help with my hormonal acne. This is my story, nothing too bad.

    However, my sister was on Ortho-Tri-Cycline (guessing at the spelling) and she had a terrible reaction. Developed two blood clots in her legs. Her legs swelled up so bad she couldn’t even walk. She was taken to the hospital and was taken care of (not sure what they put her on). Fast forward a few weeks when she got a bruise on her leg. Went to the ER and they drew a line around the small bruise to see if it grew. Well it not only grew, her leg started to swell so bad it looked like her foot was going to explode (no joke!). She ended up getting blood pockets on her leg and they have since left her permanently scarred. I didn’t think anything like this could ever happen, so please be careful when considering BC. I would NOT recommend Ortho-tri.. to anyone. Consult your doctor!

    Reply
  55. AvatarTerry

    I just started the pill (2 and a half weeks ago) after going to my doc bc I hardly got my period for the past 3 years. The doctor said my hormones were imbalance and if left I could possibly get cancer in by late 40s but now im a little worried bc 2 and a half weeks later im still on my period. Is it normal? ? :/

    Reply
  56. AvatarTris

    In my experience, the pill caused me to gain weight and I hated taking a pill with hormones every day. So, I opted for an IUD because it’s more effective than the pill and (for me) did not cause any weight gain. Plus, you don’t have to even think about it once it’s in place (and, no, you can’t feel it in your vajayjay and neither can your partner). My friends are all doing their residencies now and all of them use IUDs as their primary BC option beacause of the high rate of effectiveness, it literally eliminates user error which is the primary reason for pregnancies while on the pill. However, I do think the pill is an appropriate choice for someone who is really good about taking it on time and every day. I have a crazy schedule and would rather not have to think about BC every day lol. I highly recommend the IUD, it hurts when it’s put in (a lot) but after a few days and some aspirin you’re feeling fine and it’s effective as soon as it’s put in. Doesn’t really get any better than that 🙂

    Reply
  57. AvatarVeronica

    I was on BC pills for 13 years.. I started taking it for obvious reasons but also because I had PCOS and had very irregular periods (like 2-3 months in between and even longer) and acne. It all resolved with the pills. 13 years of bliss. Thankfully, beside just a little weight gain, I didn’t have any issues. Until I stopped the pills and started trying to get a baby… My hormones were so messed up after the pills! I didn’t get my period for months, and couldn’t get pregnant. Damn you PCOS! After 1.5 years of trying I went on a low-dosage pill to help ovulate, and BAM! I got pregnant the next month. So, if you are taking BC pills and have PCOS, chances are your hormones will be so messed up after you stop taking pills, that you might need time (or a little help) whenever you decided to get preggo!

    Reply
  58. AvatarSigal

    Hi Lauryn,

    Thanks for posting on this topic since every woman at one point has gone through the issue of finding a contraceptive that works for her. I was on the pill for a year and a half and it made me really moody. I wanted hormones out of my body also considering that breast cancer runs in my family, I didn’t want the hormones acting like carcinogens running through me.

    After months of dealing with condoms and nerve-racking pulling out, I got the paragard IUD…a non-hormonal copper IUD with the only symptoms being heavier periods and more cramping the first few cramps. Insertion hurt for a few seconds but it is definitely worth it for a .6% failure rate for the next 10-12 years. I’m only 20 but I would definitely recommend it for women who are looking to get away from hormones!

    Reply
  59. AvatarKelli

    Hey Lauryn! I am soo thankful you did a post like this.

    My body has been through so many pills due to different side effects or insurance issues, but overall, my body does better on low estrogen pills. If it isn’t too much to ask, which pill are you on now that has helped with acne/breakouts?

    Thanks again for this awesome post!

    Reply
  60. AvatarTeffy Perk

    I got the copper IUD. After being for a couple years on the pill, now with the IUD I can safely say pill nevermore!!
    Not only is the IUD completely hormone free, but I don’t need to remember to take something every day. Also, as soon as you want to have ze babies, you can take it out and get preggers without having to wait.
    Of course, to each their own, but I cannot imagine putting pills and hormones into my body anymore.

    {Teffy’s Perks} X
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  61. AvatarSMD

    Have you considered the LadyComp? It’s an all natural method of birth control that measures your basal body temperature and keeps track of your cycle daily via a device. I’ve used mine for about a year and I swear by it.

    Reply
  62. AvatarA

    I love Nuvaring, I only have to change it once a month. It’s no different than using a tampon, which honestly you should forget that too and switch to the Divacup then you only have to change it 2x a day morning and night and never have to buy anything every again.

    Reply
  63. AvatarBecca

    So i have been on the pill since i was roughly 14-15? due to irregular periods, mood swings ,crazy bad cramping, migraines… ect. Other than the fact of having to try a new one every so many years it really isnt that bad and makes my PMDD 20 X’s better.

    Reply
  64. AvatarEmily

    I was on the pill for about 10 years, and then when I was 26, I switched to a 3rd generation pill. I do not even really know why. I went to the doc and she said hey lets try this, so I did. I had never had a single complication from birth control up until this point. About 5 weeks later, I was in the hospital and had 6 blood clots in my lungs. Now, I can never take birth control again- which is… inconvenient to say the least. Also, I have to take blood thinners and regulate my diet so that it does not effect my medication. Further, I will have a complicated pregnancy and will need to give myself injections daily.

    My advice is if you find something working for you, don’t switch. And read up on the risks of 3rd generation birth controls before starting to take them.

    Reply
  65. AvatarChelsea

    I had the IUD for about a year- the concept is great but the side effects not so much!!!
    Hair loss, I could feel it pull every time I bent over!( I work at a vet hospital so every time I picked up a dog I could feel it, which was multiple times a day!), depression, probably gained about 15 pounds also. It was probably the worst thing I have ever done! I had it taken out and it took almost 6 months for me to start getting back to normal. If I could, I wouldn’t use any birth control but for now I have gone back to the ring. It makes things a lot funky down there but better than gaining weight, mood swings, and hair loss!

    Reply
  66. AvatarMeg

    I love the Nuvaring! I have been taking it for about 10 years now. Also I leave it in for 4 weeks and then immediately put in another one, I do this for 3 months at a time, then on the 4th month I take it out after 3 weeks, get my period for 5 days then I start the process over…this way I only have my period every 4 months. I started doing this cycle about 3 years ago when I found out I was going to be on my period for our honeymoon. Best advise the dr. has ever given me 🙂

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  67. AvatarChels

    Ahhhh I love you for posting this!! I was on the pill but hated how it made me feel. So I didn’t take it everyday. I was horrible a lout remembering. Then, I got prego. With twins! Now I’m a happy mama of two, but I got an IUD! I needed something that I wouldn’t forget and had a lesser chance of pregnancy. When I first got it, I didn’t like what it was reacting with my body. But after two weeks, everything was all gravy, baby. Thanks for sharingggg!
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  68. AvatarHannah

    I am extremely health-conscious and am personally against taking/using anything that comes from a pharmaceutical company. I want to be in my best physical form without using something that will alter my body’s natural state. I use a natural method of birth control. This requires me to observe, chart and interpret my waking body temperature to understand when I am fertile and when I am not. Of course it also includes withdrawal. During days of high fertility, I know I have to either avoid or be extremely careful with intercourse. For this method to be truly effective, a woman must have a typical pattern with her cycle. This method is 95%-98% effective when followed strictly. I am in a long-term relationship and my boyfriend is extremely supportive of this method! It allows me to be more in tune with my body.

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  69. AvatarKat

    LOVE that you’re discussing this. Most women I know have been on bc for 10-15 years (as we’re nearing 30), and they’re starting to say hmmmm…. maybe a bc detox would be good, or just going off it all together. Seems scary right? welp! make HIM wrap it up!

    I think a lot of women feel bad about asking their guy to do this, personally, I think being on anything for years and years can’t be good for your body.

    I went off a few years ago, and just told my boyfriend (now husband) too bad so sad, I can’t hang with the side effects.

    Personal preference / experience is DEFINITELY #1. I’m SO glad this is a topic!

    Go Lauryn!!

    Reply
    1. AvatarLily

      I totally agree with Kat. It is worth at least considering condoms as an option! That is all I have used for the past 10 years (during most of which I have been in long term relationships). I know some people worry that the failure rate is high, but you can mitigate that by being diligent. And my partners have always been understanding when I explain that I don’t want to pump my body with hormones

  70. AvatarTory @ tory of my life

    I used to be on a birth control that I LOVED… no side effects whatsoever, the lightest period ever, and I got a zit maybe twice a year. Then the drug company stopped making it, so I was switched to a slightly different one, which had artificial sweetener in it (gross) and a variety of unpleasant side effects.
    At this point I was feeling a little hypocritical because I was trying to avoid hormones in foods yet was getting a daily dose of artificial hormones, so I stopped taking it. It took about 3 months to get my period back, but I have heard of women who get pregnant the month after they stop taking it.
    Currently this works for me… thank you for pointing out the hyper pigmentation because I recently noticed that the random spots I used to have on my leg were gone and wondered why… duh no more BC! Thank you for sharing your story and like you said we’re all different and shouldn’t judge each other for what works for them personally!
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  71. AvatarWhitney

    Girlfriend preach. I adore you and your blog and this post.

    I am now the mother of one who was told I could not get pregnant.

    LONG STORY SHORT – I have arthritis, I then had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and my doc said, sorry Charlie we are gonna need to give you some shit to get you knocked up.

    Nope. Would not take the hormones after losing my period for MORE THAN a year after stopping years of birth control. I was done with hormones.

    This is becoming a long story long – but I fixed all my ailments thru food (paleo/primal) and discovered FAM – fertility awareness method of birth control. This is now my go to so that I can stay away from all hormones and pills. I find it is incredibly accurate and if you are interested I suggest this book Taking Charge of your Fertility – http://amzn.to/1lIyBLx

    Anyhootterrrss I hope this helps just one of you. For more of my journey check outs http://www.beezybodyfitness.com

    WITH LOVE

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  72. AvatarJulie

    I have never been comfortable with the idea of ingesting so much synthetic crap (I don’t even like taking ibuprofen!), so birth control is not an option for me. Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who doesn’t use birth control. We don’t use any at all. Not even condoms… Of course I’m in a committed, loving marriage with financial stability, so if we get pregnant… it won’t be the end of the world!
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  73. AvatarKelsey

    I’ve been on the pill for several years, switched a few times just due to insurance purposes. Never gained weight bc of the pill or had acne problems bc of the pill. (I did however have just regular ol teenage acne but it wasn’t caused by the pill) I now take the seasonel or something it’s called. I’m only supposed to get a period every 3 months and usually that ends up being every 6 months. Sometimes I forget to take the pill but have never had any surprise babies and sometimes if I forget for a few days I will start to spot but that’s about it. So overall the pill has worked great for me and no issues. Guess I’m pretty lucky

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  74. AvatarTiffany

    A couple of things – a post earlier by a doctor? About the mirena iud it does have hormones and a lot of them. The copper iud does not have hormones.

    For me personally I cannot take any kind of birth control, I started with the depo provera shot at 17 gained 30 pounds and lost a lot of hair. I switched to the pill and went crazy emotionally. I have since been diagnosed with pcos and chronic migraines which takes birth control completely out for me. The hard part for me is most women with pcos use the pill to get regular and help with fertility and that is out of the question for me. Birth control and being a woman and wanting to be a mom is very hard.

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  75. AvatarJenni

    From my own experiences, I’ve become very disenchanted with the birth control pill. I’m not against girls using it, but I know that I will never take it again. When I was seventeen, I dropped a lot of weight in a short period of time, and as a result I lost my period. My doctor induced my period with the BC pill (even though I wasn’t having sex yet), which brought it back. Never had any problems while on the pill, but five years later I decided to go off of it, and now I haven’t had a period in almost a year. My hormones are completely out of whack. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the pill’s fault. Obviously I have a lot of health issues that are playing part here. What I’m against is using the pill for reasons other than contraception (like inducing a period with it), or using it solely to regulate a period even though a young girl may not be sexually active. I find artificial hormones extremely freaky now, and I think the dangers of the pill are underrated. Our hormonal system is very delicate, and I believe the BC pill messes with a process that simply does not want to be messed with. That being said, we all pick our battles. There are definitely worse things in the world for our health. Plus, taking the birth control pill is far better than getting accidentally pregs. It’s a responsible thing to take if you’re regularly having sex and are not ready for a baby. You live such a healthy lifestyle; the birth control pill is definitely not going to kill that. So overall, I guess I have mixed opinions about the BC pill. I’m personally not a fan, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good choice for someone else.
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  76. AvatarMichelle

    I was on birth control from the time I was 18 until I turned 33. I figured I shouldn’t be on something that long so I went off. After I went off I was a complete mess. I break out like crazy now on my back, this never happened before the pill. I also notice that I sweat a LOT more. I’ve been off for a year and a half now and it hasn’t changed. Still have the breakouts and sweat. The only upside is that I noticed my eye lashes are longer now which is odd!

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  77. AvatarSophie

    I haven’t been on bc in years. I just prefer to not mess with my body/hormones. I do things more naturally. I used condoms and am now tracking my cycles.

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  78. AvatarRhey

    I decided I’m done with birth control other than condoms. I’ve tried pills and they gave bad side effects. I had the Mirena IUD for 6 months and had bad cramps every day after and diarrhea almost every day. After I got it taken out, my cramps disappeared and I have less digestive problems. Also I was getting bad face breakouts and that mostly went away. I probably will not go on birth control again because of what it’s done to my body. Also I get migraines/headaches frequently and the pills I’m on would basically render BC useless. :/

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  79. AvatarRhey

    Also I gained weight on the IUD and couldn’t lose it until I got it taken out. I saw multiple doctors and the only people who dared say the symptoms could be caused by the IUD are a chiropractor and acupuncturist. It’s like the actual doctors I saw refused to see a connection or didn’t want to say anything against Mirena…

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  80. AvatarCarola Murguia

    I have been on the pill, the DEPO shot and finally on the ParaGard IUD.
    Like you said, we all have different reactions, and mine were HORRENDOUS with the BCP and the depo shot. The best one for me has been the IUD because it has NO hormones, it lasts up to 10 years (you can take it off anytime), and you don’t have to remember anything. HA!
    Downside: I used to NEVER have me atrual cramps, but now I do with the IUD. My diet change helped me decrease the pain, but they’re there.
    I’d rather suffer a little bit once/month than to put hormones in my body that I already know they’re horrible on me.

    We’re all different 🙂
    Xoxo
    http://www.carolatic.com
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    1. AvatarAnna

      I’m against copper IUD, because the egg still gets fertilized, so it is a living organism still. Also the way IUD works is by not letting the fertilized egg stick to the wall of uterus by creating a strong irritation in the uterus. I think hormones are super bad, but I don’t think any kind of irritation is good either.

  81. AvatarAlayna

    I’ve been on birth control pills (Alesse) for about 10 years now, with pretty much no side effects. I started taking it actually because of hormone issues in high school. It seemed like I would get the flu or a really bad cold once a month right around my period, but once I was on bcps I was fine! I also found that it really cleared up my acne.

    When my husband and I decided to start our family, I was only off them for about a month before I got pregnant so it didn’t take long. I had tried the patch as well and hated it because it got so much sticky residue on my clothes. I don’t want to stick anything up there because my mom had uterus issues when she was younger so I don’t want to risk anything there, and I hate needles so I won’t do that either. I might try the ring since a lot of you seem to like it though.

    Honestly I feel a lot worse when I’m not taking them, because I always get so sick otherwise. Plus I live in Canada so I don’t know what you guys pay, but it’s pretty cheap here.

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  82. AvatarSamantha McCall

    I was on the Pill on and off throughout high school and college. Once I reached 35, I realized I no longer wanted synthetic hormones in my body. I do take Synthroid for Hypothyroidism but I don’t have a choice in that. I decided to get the Paragard Copper T IUD. It’s hormone free and has a less than 1% failure rate. My husband and I don’t want children. We’re happy being child-free. Soon enough he will get the snip snip. But even once he does, I keeping my IUD. Up to 12 years of pregnancy protection. You can’t beat that. But whatever works for the individual. I was on Yaz a few years ago and it made me borderline suicidal. The Pill is a tricky thing. But thank God woman have a choice nowadays.

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  83. AvatarRachel

    I went off the pill 7 months ago. I’ve been doing so many other things to stay clean and healthy in my life and felt that switching to a non-hormonal birth control (my friends rave about the copper IUD) would be the best option. I wanted to give myself a few months off the pill just to see what my body was like off of it since I’s been taking it straight for 8 years.

    Well, fast forward 7 months later and I’ve only has about 2 normal periods and my skin has completely broken out. My doc isn’t concerned and said in can take your body a long time to start menstruating on its own again. I give this advice though because what if I was wanting to have kids? I have a long term bf btw, so we are using other contraceptives for now… But I don’t think I ever want to go back on hormones seeing how much it had thrown by body off to where it still isn’t if functioning properly so many months later. The skin issue sucks, but I realized I’ll have to deal with finding a natural solution now OR when I want to have kids down the road, so might as well not have the last 7 months be for nothing and try to get to the root of it now. Im finding things that help, and it’s definitely a journey but I feel good that I know I’m working on a long term solution.

    Anyway, that’s my story. I have had friends that got pregnant the first month they went off the pill, so everyone’s body is different. I’m sharing my experience though because I would hate for anyone to be in a hurry to get pregnant and then have to wait a year to even get a normal period again, let alone pregnant. For reference, I’m 27 years old and I was on reclipsen, which was a low dose BC.

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  84. AvatarKat

    So glad you posted this and it is reassuring (? Unfortunately so…) reading through the comments and seeing that so many other women like me have had such bad issues. In high school I started getting super heavy, irregular periods when I went to boarding school (had been normal before that) so I went on the pill. Super depressed and othe bad side effects that I didn’t tie to the pill at the time. Moved back to the US for college and tried a series of pills, all gave me had side effects. Had the depo shot and bled for 67 days… They did an intrauterine ultrasound (and I was still a virgin then… Ouch). Tried a few more pills and the ring in college once I was in a relationship. The doctors tested me for all sorts of things but couldn’t figure out why my periods were so heavy and so irregular. I also got terrible migraines (had been since about age 8). I eventually went off the pill and when I met my boyfriend after college (now hubby!) I started the pill again. Basically it made me a crazy bitch and super emotional. It was so bad that he made me promise no more hormonal birth control. We did comdems but once we got married and weren’t quite ready for kids I got the Mirena. Had all the same hormonal issues (moods / lethargic / depressed / no libido). So I got that out and less than three months later… Preggo! My daughter is now 2.5 yrs (I am almost 31). I got the copper iud in about 2 months after she was born because it is “not hormonal.” In and of itself, it is not BUT it can cause hormonal reactions. I breastfed / pumped milk for 14 months so I thought that a lot of symptoms (moody / no libido / SO TIRED / bloated fupa even though i was at pre pregnancy weight… On and on the list goes) were related to that. Finally earlier this year I just knew something wasn’t right and started googling… Tons of women have posted their stories online about these exact same effects of copper iud (paragard). I had it removed in April and almost immediately energy levels were better, but hormones can take months and even years to balance out. I think I had copper toxicity so now I am dealing with those detox symptoms.
    Of course, this is not everyone’s experience and as you said Lauryn, do what works for you! I wish I had know that paragard is not exactly side effect free.

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  85. AvatarChristina

    I recently went off bc bc I was working hard to become active, had just gotten out of a LONG relationship and wanted a change. I stopped taking my meds and lost about 5-10 lbs with diet and exercise, my boobs significantly shrank (that was the upside to taking that pill each day) and I noticed acne come back after many many years of never having a problem with it. Overall, I’m happy. I feel good! Granted, the cramps came back and my “girls” disappeared back to what they were in high school (thanks to my flat-chested genes), but my body looks great and I just overall feel great! It took my body quite some time to adjust back to a monthly cycle. I get smaller periods in between my monthly cycle. I liked having the peace of mind taking bc due to the fact that I knew I couldn’t get pregnant, but my body took quite a transformation over those years. Now, I’m all natural and taking care of myself. It feels great!

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  86. AvatarAnna

    When someone asks my opinion on BC, now I say a big NO! I think it’s madness, got off of it 2 months ago myself. Of course, I thought it was unnatural, so it made me think of it badly, but also I started to have strange headaches when getting up, I’ve heard it can have something to do with the pill.

    Also, did you know that the “period” you get when on the pill is not actually a real period? It’s withdrawal bleeding, BC tricks your body into thinking it’s pregnant. I think it’s sick!

    I first got on BC for regulating my extremely painful periods, but now I get to know that it didn’t actually regulate anything >.<

    Also, right when I got off BC my skin got better!!! No more chin breakouts/acne after going off!!! YAY!

    Anyway, if you're thinking of doing BC, just don't, it screws with your system, your body can not get enough nutrients, it's just plain bad!

    Reply
  87. AvatarErica

    I was on the pill for 15 years and got pregnant 3 months after I stopped taking it! I heard it could take up to a year, but not the case for me. I was also in extremely low dose pills. They are my bc of choice.

    Reply
  88. AvatarLauren

    I was on the pill from 15 until 19 years old.
    I couldn’t handle it……Made me so moody. One time I went to a male doctor to discuss it and he said there is no possible way that the pill would change my hormones… LOL serious right?!

    I went off it and then had the copper IUD for 5 years. It was brilliant! No hormones, but made me bleed way to much. So out that comes! haha

    I am now 25 and my husband and I only use condoms and natural pull out methods. cant stand hormonal contraception so this is the way to go with us.
    LOVE IT 🙂

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  89. AvatarSarah

    My soon to be husband and I use condoms. In the past I have been on all kinds of pills, patches, the Nuvaring and even Mirena (IUD). All included weight gain, mood swings, etc. for me. Many of my friends and their partners use condoms as well and it works for us!

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  90. AvatarCassie

    The day this post went up, I was due in for an MRI. My dr told me to immediately stop taking the pill. I had a migraine, with stroke like symptoms. If I stay on the pill, I will have a stroke. There are non hormonal iuds as an option. Luckily, I’m married, 30, otherwise healthy, so I can afford to roll the dice. It’s tricky ladies. Stay safe and listen to your body !!!

    Reply
  91. AvatarJessica

    I always like to read about other people’s experiences taking birth control. I took the pill for maybe a total of 2 or 3 years. I first went on it to control my acne because I had been taking antibiotics for about 3 years to control it and as I became more health conscious I decided it’s probably not a good idea to keep taking them and saw my doctor to get the pill. Whilst on the pill I developed high blood pressure and was given a very low dosage to try and control this but still suffered with it and noticed my heart would start racing for no reason. After suffering for a short while I gave up on birth control. A year ago I was diagnosed with lupus and it is suggested that excess estrogen in your system can bring on a flare of your symptoms. As it’s been a struggle to control my symptoms I choose not to go back on the pill because I have worked too hard by getting control of my diet and body to not have it be put out of whack again. So for me it’s condoms all the way, lucky I have a partner who understands my choice. You can only do what feels right for you!!!

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  92. AvatarFyn

    I tried everything from the shot (hello 3 months of heavy bleeding! Like I had to go back and be like YO. I’m going through a pack of heavy’s a week kind of bleeding). I tried the patch (hello violent crazy moodswings!) I’m on Alesse, one with the lowest form of estrogen since estrogen impacts my migraines like crazy (I went from 4 a month to 1-2 now). I hate taking pills but I can’t get preggers either (I have a heart condition that could kill both me and the child so there’s NO way I’m taking a chance on that). I don’t want the Mirena because A) OW. B) I dislike that I’ll have string just dangling in my bits (sorry, but I’m pretty grossed out by the thought) and C) I think I have to get that approved by my cardiologist first.
    I take my birth control straight through, ie I don’t take a break from the pill. My Dr approved this. I can’t/shouldn’t/will die if I get pregnant, there’s basically no reason for me to have a period. I’m turning 30 in november and will be pushing for a partial hysterectomy. (where they take the uterus but keep the ovaries so I don’t go into pre-menopause, though I’m certain I’m already going through that). I still get the “cycle” I just don’t bleed. Which even my gyno said women don’t have to unless they’re trying to get pregnant. So yeah. That’s my spiel!

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  93. AvatarJenni

    After 2 kids, an IUD, and a divorce, the pill is my favored choice. I did have a little problem taking the pill in my early 20’s, did I mention my oldest son is 10, I’m 31, you do the math:) Don’t skip your pill! Beyond not wanting to have a child, I take the pill for my skin and hair. My IUD had some pretty horrible side effects toward the end of the 5 years (acne, hair loss) and the pill has helped a ton with clearing my skin and my hair is thicker. My only problem, now I’m terrified to ever stop taking the pill! Thanks for bringing this topic up, it’s popular with my girlfriends.

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  94. AvatarNicole

    Lauryn,
    Which BC do you take now? I was on Lo Loestrin Fe for a few years, and prior to taking that I suffered from brown spots and pigmentation from a higher estrogen pill.

    Thanks!
    ~Nicole

    Reply
  95. Avatarkurohana

    i take loestrin a very low dosage BC pill. It took a few tries to find the pill that was right for me but i started the pill to help control my hormones not because i was having sex plus since being on the pill i dont really get a period anymore, just two days of spotting. I’ve been taking allergy medication since i was five so taking a pill everyday is not a problem for me. i was told i was to small for an IUD and I know 7 people who are IUD babies so that was checked off the list, i wouldnt mind the implant but i’m worried it will be too strong of a dose for my body to handle.
    Although i didnt realize that many people here have seen an decrease in libido kind of explains why i don’t have any, im okay with that

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  96. AvatarI Showed Up In Boots

    Thank you for sharing this fantastic post. Clearly, this is a subject that hits home with so many women, speaking from personal experience and after reading the thorough feedback.

    I have been on BC on and off since I was 18. I was always worried about taking hormones and doing something that was so unnatural. I was also concerned about it affecting my possibility of having children down the road, but my gyno said that that was a huge myth. She said that I can take the same brand of BC for up to 4 years, then take a break 2 months and start the 4-year cycle over again.
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  97. AvatarS

    Hi Lauryn, I am sure this is mentioned in the comments above, but figured I would add my two cents anyway…

    I got pregnant as SOON as I went off the pill, like right away.. I had been on the pill since I was 17 years old and never went off until this past April when my husband and I were baby-ready (I am now 27). I didn’t even get a period!

    I think the thought of “giving your body time to adjust when you’re ready to get pregnant for a few months” is a myth; it really depends on your own body.

    Make sure you’re ready to get pregnant because it really can happen right away! lol.

    Cheers from Canada xo!

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  98. AvatarJulianna B

    LOVE this! Birth control is a hot topic, but it seriously needs to be talked about more! I started on BC when I was in early HS because of cramp pain, I literally passed out because of the pain. Then I started again when I got with my boyfriend, because babies? Ew. No. I’ve had the pill, ring, and patch. The patch was great except that when I took it off it left a sticky spot on my body and ripped skin away. Nope. The ring was great the first time, but every two years while on BC I cleanse my body of the toxins for 3 months (sorry boyfriend), while I was cleansing they upped and changed the ingredients/recipe so I gained 10 lbs and broke out BAD and turned into, as my man calls is, a crazy person. Then I tried about 4 different pills. The last one was FAB! I didn’t get too crazy, no weight gain, clear-ish face, and no babies!!! Then I ran out for a month, (sorry boyfriend) and by the time I got into the doc, he told me that the pill brand was bought out, re-labled, and probably had the chemical quantities/qualities changed.

    So I, honestly, quit. Like. My body can’t handle it. My cramps are better now that I have ways to deal with them naturally, my face is clearer than EVER, my weight has been manageable and dropping. I’m still with the same boyfriend, with no outside partners on either side. A baby would be devastating, but with all of the warnings on birth control and all of the health problems I’ve had because of it, I’ve written it off. My man supports me and he is in charge of his side of the birth control.

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  99. AvatarKiley

    I stopped taking BC because I was on it for 8 years and wanted to give my body a break! Weird thing is, when I stopped, I stopped getting my period for a year!!!! I got checked by 2 docs and they couldn’t find anything wrong…they told me I need to get back on the pill because I NEED to have a period…I got back on the pill and now I get my period every month. Has this happened to anyone??!!

    Reply
  100. AvatarKayleigh

    Hey Lauryn,
    I honestly can’t tell you how much this has helped me. Ever since I moved to San Diego about 4 1/2 months ago I have been having crazy skin problems. Like I have never broken out this much in my life!! It is all around my chin area, which after some research I found out is a result of a hormone imbalance. I never really thought twice about maybe my birth control I take could be the problem. Recent changes in life with moving and in a new climate may have had some effects of my hormones (or my body is just changing, who knows) Anyways, I just called my gyno to set up an appointment to hopefully switch my birth control and see if it works with clearing up my skin. Thank you for this post and the idea!!

    Reply
  101. AvatarCait

    I work in public health and a big part of my job is helping to improve access to family planning in developing countries. Women today, especially in America, have so many choices now and there really is a method that works for everyone. Talk to your gyn about your options, and if one method isn’t working for whatever reason tell your doctor. If your doctor isn’t willing to help you find a birth control method that works for you, then find a new doctor.

    I was on the pill for 15 years–I went on long before I started having sex because of heavy and irregular periods–and I ended up going off of it because I had a sudden work trip that came up and I didn’t get my mail order refills in time.

    I have been resistant to using any kind of hormonal birth control since going off the pill 3 years ago because I have been managing depression since my early 20’s and I felt way better mood-wise off the pill. Over the last few years my periods have been getting heavier, but in April I was on vacation and had the worst period of my life. I bled through 12 (seriously) super-mega tampons + super maxi pads before noon. It was horrible. I went to the doctor and had a ton of tests and there was nothing wrong, apparently it can happen as you get older. My OBGYN friend suggested a Mirena, which I got immediately after the vacation and it has been amazing.

    The insertion was not as bad as I expected it to be, but I definitely had cramps for a while after. My cramps were off and on for about a month, but were bearable with Advil. The OBGYN friend suggests that anyone who gets an IUD stick with it for a full 3 months, because it does get better. It definitely got better for me.

    I was worried about hormones, but the Mirena is incredibly low dose and the hormones are essentially localized within your uterus; I haven’t felt any negative side effects at all. The Mirena did have an instant effect on my periods– now only a few months later my period consists of a tiny bit of spotting and about a half day using a regular tampon. No cramps, no PMS, my Costco sized box of tampons will last me for years, and I won’t get pregnant. Life is good. The pill worked for me for a long time, but for a multitude of reasons the Mirena is a way better method for me at this point in my life.

    As a public health professional I would be remiss to not throw in a reminder to USE CONDOMS to protect yourself from STIs. Unless you 100% trust that your partner is monogamous AND you have both been tested for the full range of STIs and come out clean, you should wrap it up to keep you both healthy. Way too many of my friends have gotten HPV and a lot of that could have been prevented if they hadn’t assumed their partner was safe or felt too awkward to talk about condoms.

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  102. AvatarNicole Van Der Heide

    I was on the pill for about a year, but now I have an IUD. I personally think it’s a better option because you don’t have to worry about taking it every night and what if you miss a dose. There are two different types, one that is a hormone (Mirena) and one that is a copper one without hormones (ParaGuard) Also, in the long run it’s the cheapest! It did hurt to put it in, and you do have cramping the first few weeks, but to me it was worth the 5-7 years of protection that I will get from it. Obviously, an IUD might not be the right choice for some people, but you would have to research and make the best decision for your body.

    Reply
  103. AvatarEleanor

    I had been on one form of the pill for nearly a decade and last year I began to really think about what I was putting into my body. After A LOT of research, I came off the pill and have been monitering my body as my own form of birth control.

    I use the basal body temperature method and just make note of any physical and physiological changes I have during my cycle to determine when I’m ovulating. We just use condoms for the 5ish days when fertile. Maybe not the best method if you’re not in a long term relationship, as it is definitely something you both need to be cool with, but let me tell you, I feel so good being off the pill! I feel happier, a lot more in tune and in control of my body and I have far fewer mood swings. Would totally recommend to anyone who feels a bit blahhh on the pill.
    Eleanor recently posted..Mint Green DreamsMy Profile

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  104. AvatarAlexia

    Personally went off Bc thinking it would be nice to not have hormones. Well this made my once perfectly clear skin into acne face. Which made me go back on BC. I have the copper IUD with no hormones and love it and I take the BC pills for my skin…. it has done wonders.
    Thanks for sharing fellow SD blogger!

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  105. AvatarSarah

    I am having the same problem with hyper pigmentation recently popping up on my face :(. I’m wondering if this is linked to me using BC as well. I wear sunscreen everyday but have recently become even more aware of the time I spend in the sun and making sure I reapply and wear a hat! Did you use any products to help fade the dark spots? What worked for you? This one spot on my forehead is driving me crazy….

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  106. AvatarBrenda Canas

    Since I became a holistic health coach and changed my lifestyle to be healthier, I decided to go all-natural, pretty much. I went off birth control about 2 years ago (went on it because 1) I had horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE cramps, 2) I had irregular periods & 3) I also didn’t want to get preggers in HS.) I forgot what brand I took, but it was good to me for being on it for over 2 years. It seriously took my over 8+ months for my period to regulate when I got off of it. It was pretty awesome, but scary. But ever since I’ve been off of it and I’ve been healthier, my cramps have been almost nonexistent and my periods are shorter (where it used to last over a week). As for birth control, we simply use good-quality condoms. 🙂

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  107. AvatarAG

    I came off BC for a few months this year and felt so much better off it! I’m back on it now, but looking into alternatives. It really messes with my mood!

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  108. Avatarkristin

    So I’m trying to figure out what a more NATURAL way for BC. I really don’t like taking the pill, as I also have been on it for like 10 years, no 12 actually. I’ve actually missed a pill a got pregoo this one time. (I say it relaxed but it was 7 years ago and NOT chill at all.) Fast forward to now, I have had some “irregular” cells down town V town. It really really scary. I’m like 99% positive it’s from my BC! SO, to combat this I’ve been eating parsley by the bunch and also taking turmeric because both combat cervial cancer cells! Great but at the same time, I still need to not get pregs.
    There has to be some sort of natural way. I’m already cray about what I put in my body— no thanks pesticides. Does anyone know of natural BC alternatives? thanks in advance xoxox

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  109. AvatarJulia

    Which BC are you on right now for the lowest of low? I hate having to be on it, but without it (EVEN WITH the most healthy diet I’ve ever had in my life ) i have acne in my adult years. so i use it for skin. which are you on? Curious. x

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  110. AvatarJacqueline

    Very long story short, I had a horrible time with the Mirena IUD. I began getting yeast infections regularly – always the week before my period. When I had the damn thing removed it took over a year for the infections to stop and my periods to normalize. The removal also gave me adult acne that is just now finally letting up after aggressive treatment.

    Would not recommend.

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  111. AvatarJess

    I know this is an old post but I’ve been trolling! After taking Ortho Tri Cyclen for about 5 years, I stopped 7 months ago in the hopes of getting pregnant. I have not had a period since 🙁 The doctors tell me to give it time but it is very discouraging. Plus I have spent a small fortune on pregnancy tests because I never know if I am not having a period because I’m preg-o or because my body is still out of whack. Thanks for bringing this topic to the table for discussion! You are theee best 🙂

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  112. AvatarAmie

    I had a tubal after my 4th kid, I’m 38 and I thought great! no more pill! Then came the acne (cystic on the jawline) and the “off the pill” periods which were heavy. So back on the pill I went, I am exercising a lot more now and I noticed on the pill I have less endurance and my legs feel more tired when I run, I also seem to have minor injuries more often. I’ve been on several pills and have not found the “right” one yet. I considered and IUD but I’m not sure thats what I want. Periods are annoying but if I could get the acne figured out I could deal with the periods.

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  113. Avatarjules

    OMG!! love that you and your friends snuck over to Planned Parenthood and got the discrete hook up on your BC. I was just telling my fiancé that I was so grateful that Planned Parenthood was around when I was young and that I had the ability to go some where that was private and allowed me to get on “BC” without having to tell my mom, SORRY MOMS reading this. But… its not really a fun convo at 16 or for a lot of girls out there! Plus I was given a chance to keep myself child free and responsible when I didn’t want to have a baby. Something I think is kinda important right?!?! I was also on Ortho-Tri Cyclen Lo which gave me super terrible hyper pigmentation. It is a great one for any girls who suffer from major acne because it contains Tetracycline which is an antibiotic usually given to people who suffer from Acne. I was on it for a long time, and then stopped when I was no longer with my Ex. Ive tried Yaz (made me blow up with water weight and enormous boobs like instantly)…I Tried the Nuva Ring and that was just waaaaay to weird inserting it and taking it out on a regular basis…. Most recently I was given the “Tiny Pill”, or something like that. It only contains Progesterone and it is the lowest dose of hormone you can possibly get in a pill form of BC. I don’t really like the way any of them make me feel to be honest and I somehow feel like I notice side effects from them all even when they say you shouldn’t (can we say I’m a bit cray…YES) On the other hand, it is better than becoming preggers when I’m not ready right?
    I’m really happy you mentioned Planned Parenthood! I am not trying to be an advocate for people having sex too young, but this is real life and people will do what they want. I just think that not everyone knows about PP, and they don’t realize they DO have other options available if they are considering becoming sexually active. It would be great if we all felt comfy talking to our parents or doctors, but the reality is that’s not always the case. Its important to be safe and keep yourself from any unwanted mishaps, and you don’t have to feel like there aren’t resources out there! I mean thank God for the days when the Morning After Pill was available at CVS lol!! Just sayin…. it is nice to know there are others options out there other than getting pregnant when it’s not in your plan. OK lastly… I have a lot of friends who have recently gotten the IUD. They used to just be offered to women who had been pregnant at least once. Now NOT the case. I am in no way an expert but, I have done research and spoken to a lot of people including my doc about this. There are two newer ones on the market the Mirena and the Skyla. One stays in longer than the other if I’m not mistaken. You choose when you want to take it out and you can start trying for a baby asap, unlike the Pill. The other plus side it is not like the old fashioned copper ones we heard about back in the day in Life Ed class with some awkward coper strings hanging out of your cervix. The plus to these: they stay in for something like 3-10 years (give or take). You don’t have to remember to take it everyday and fret over a missed dose like with the pill. They both release a very small amount of hormones which is awesome, and the hormones (again I’m not an expert) I think I am remember reading, stay localized in your uterus. This news is/can be great if you’re not down with tons of hormones floating around in your body or you are super sensitive to the side effects of a regular Pill etc. The downside: People have mixed reviews on how bad it feels to have it inserted. Its done in your gynos office after a consult with your doc of course.Its a quick in office appointment that lets you walk right out. Not a lot of down time really if any at all from what friends have said. One kinda crappy thing I’ve heard from a few people is that it can hurt like a bitch when it is getting put in (others say they felt nothing), also some say that you can experience bad periods and severe cramps for like 3 months to follow. One friend said that the few minor issues like some pain during the insertion and the cramps totally were worth it! She pretty much doesn’t have a period anymore, no issues around having to bother with a daily pill and not seeing any weight gain, bloat, or hyper pigmentation. She was ALLLLL about it and trying to convince me that I had to switch. She swears its a game changer and that it’s a MUST. I, like you Lauryn think that this is personal and a choice each person should make that feels best suited for them and their body. Do your research, ask around, talk to friends and Docs and don’t just go on the same thing your Bestie goes on just because it works for her. We are all different and all react in unique ways. Hope this is helpful and that it gave some added info about options out there. I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL so some of my info may be wrong. I am simply doing my best to share things I’ve tried and things my friends have spoken about. Great topic!!! Love that TSC doesn’t hold back on any topic and lets girls exchange info like this. We should never feel ashamed about talking to each other and asking questions!! xoxox

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  114. Avatarjasmine

    i am in neeeeeeeeeed, i have been on the pill for about two weeks and my acne has just been getting worse and worse every day since i have been on it ( i have never had bad acne just little spots and recently alot of little sports gathering on my forehead causing a heavy breakout for a month) i have looked everywhere and cant seem to find anyone saying acne got worse while on the pill, i am currently on one of the lowest doses and i have no idea what to do.

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  115. AvatarAstrid

    Lauryn thanks for talking about this topic. I was on and off the pill during HS mostly because my periods were super irregular and when I would have them, they’d last forever. I took a break from it in college then got back on the pill and that time around I definitely felt the weight gain and felt like my circulation got bad. Then while I was living with my best friend during an exchange program, she told me about her IUD (I had previously thought you could only get it if you had had a child). After almost 2 years debating it, I finally got it and while it hurt getting it in and I almost passed out, I’m glad I got the IUD. I don’t feel the weight gain or the other issues I had and I’m glad I have protection. But not sure if I’ll get it again cuz it really did hurt. On top of all this, I’m also currently starting a program from Alisa Vitti which deals with addressing hormone balance naturally and through food. It’s great for people with PCOs (which thankfully I don’t have) as well as preventing hormones from getting unbalanced as I get older.

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  116. AvatarMonique

    I am also a big fan of the pill. I don’t want a shot, or some weird shit in my vajay! Lol, just sayin’! Anyways, I was off of my BC for a little over a year when I got pregnant. Granted we weren’t exactly trying, but if it happened we would embrace it. Basically we wanted a baby, but weren’t sure exactly when a “good time” was. Even though there is no right time. Point being, they say to give it around a year to let your body adjust before you can get pregnant. I think my timeline was pretty on point with that!

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  117. AvatarAmanda

    Thank you for sharing! I was put on birth control about 8 years ago because I was diagnosed with endometriosis and was told it would help (which it has- no horrible periods/passing out/throwing up since I started). I recently switched to the lowest low dose as well and I am loving it! I had been put on a higher dose by my former gyn because I would occasionally start a period early from stress. One year later, I had gained 20 pounds! I thought maybe I had just been lazy but no amount of exercise would make any difference! I did some research and decided to see a different gyn and explain my concerns (I also would get super nauseous when I would start my pack). She told me there was no need to go to a higher dose of estrogen because it’s normal for a woman to sometimes start her period a little early due to stress. I agreed to try the low-low estrin pill.. I’m still only one week into the pack but the difference is amazing. My pants actually fit now and my mood has improved dramatically (apparently I was a little depressed and just didn’t realize it)! Long story but if you’re ignoring the side effects of your birth control pill- don’t! It’s worth asking about even if it’s a different doctor!! I only wish I had asked sooner! Thank you for starting a conversation on this subject!

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  118. AvatarHolli

    I went on the pill when I was about 18 and was fine on it for years, literally no problems whatsoever. Then my doctor claimed my pill had been discontinued on the NHS (I’m from the UK) and they put me on another at the age of 24. Needless to say my hormones went crazy and my body had no idea what was going on, cue extreme period pain, bleeding for months on end, bleeding during sex, severe eczema all over my face etc etc I could go on. Long story short, the pill ended up giving me the same symptoms of cervical cancer and I went through months of invasive investigations and biopsies to find out the cause. Surprise surprise, BC. I stopped taking the pill nearly a year ago, around the same time my relationship came to an end so contraception hasn’t really been as necessary, but I’m now concerned about what I would do when I next enter a relationship. It angers me a bit now when I hear my guy friends complain about condoms, to be honest, I’m not a mega fan of them myself! Who is? But whatever reason they have for not wanting to use condoms can’t possibly be worse than my reason for not wanting to go back on the pill! Now my body has had a break, perhaps it will be possible for me to go back on BC one day and be fine again like I was before they messed me around, but the question is, am I willing to potentially put myself through all that again just to find out?

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  119. AvatarBella

    I’m like you, I prefer the pills instead of the shot or implants. I did use the sticker you put on your lower stomach or butt cheek but after awhile I got tired of the adhesive it would leave behind on my skin. I’m now on Lo-Loestrin and it’s pretty good to me so far. I love how it clears up my acne and my periods are lighter. So I’ll always be a pill taker person. Recently, I downloaded an app that sends you reminders for when to take your pill. I can’t think of the name right now but it’s convenient that apps do that now.

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  120. AvatarCaroline

    Old post I know, but you should look into this thing called Daysy. It’s a device that uses your BBT (basal body temperature) to predict your day of ovulation and gives you ‘green days’ and ‘red days’ based on your fertility. I’ve used it for almost a year now and LOVE it. The device has been around under different names (LadyComp) for years, and is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy (backed by research, I literally had them send me all of their articles and read every single one cause I was skeptical). No pills, no insertions, no hormones. I feel like a new person on it. Honestly I tried SO many different kinds of BC pills and always had the weirdest side effects (acne, hair loss, depression, like generally feeling disoriented). That has ALL gone away.

    The 2 major drawbacks to it are you have to get a good amount of sleep (at least 4 hours I believe) and take your temp every morning IMMEDIATELY after you wake up (temps can be affected if you drank heavily the night before) and when you have ‘red days’ it means either no sex or using a backup form of contraception. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s for everyone. You have to be very responsible and disciplined (don’t have sex on red days! Or use backup!) and I probably wouldn’t use it if I wasn’t in a serious relationship.

    BUT if you’re relatively responsible and in a committed relationship, I think it’s PERFECT. I’ve been trying to convince all my girlfriends to use it too. They said they’d wait and see how I do for a year first, lol. Can’t blame them. You should look into it! I’d be interested to hear your take on it.

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  121. AvatarMaya Trevathan

    Ugh THE PILL. I think your description of “tricky little fucker” is so accurate. The pill was a miracle acne-clearer for me at 14. (Fun fact: I got on the pill before I even kissed a boy… late-ish bloomer, I know) but also made me gain 25 pounds. Part of that was good since I’d been 107 lbs at my height of 5’10 and everyone thought I was anorexic even though I was just pre-pubescent. I worked hard to lose some of the weight and stayed around 125 (give or take) for most of high school and college. Minus a weight gain phase sophomore year when my now-hubs and I got together– we had a ton of pizza, wine, and netflix nights.

    Then when I got off the pill at age 24 to lose weight for my NYC agency who wanted me “herion chic” level of skinny, my acne came roaring back (even though I’d done accutane at 16). After 8 months of trying acne treatments that didn’t work, I got back on the pill to do accutane again. And I’m DEFINITELY finding it harder to maintain my weight. My skin looks bomb though and now even though I’m done with accutane I’m scared to get back off the pill. But then again, I’m so annoyed by the extra “fluff” on my thighs. I now model in Florida and being a size 4 as opposed to 00 is fine, but I just find it annoying that I work so hard on my body and still have that jiggle that sticks like elmers. Maybe I should try the super low estrogen stuff!!

    Xx Maya from Maya Unmarketed

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  122. AvatarEmily

    I’m Anti all forms of birth control. Nothing against it for those who take it but for me it’s no bueno. I’ve tried it all, well practically almost all. Pills, depo shot, IUD. Pills even the lowest dose didn’t work, depo made me insane, gained 15lbs and started to loose my hair. IUD gave me cysts. As soon as they removed the IUD I didn’t have a cycle for 4 months. I’ve been in a relationship now for a few years. We’ve discussed what our options are and are willing to take the risk. If I get preggo we’ve had this talk too. Do what works best for you but plain and simple for me, I’m happier with out it.

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  123. AvatarNatasha

    Last spring, I was a healthy 28 year old non-smoker and had blood clots in lungs and leg from BC. Would much rather have ALL THE BABIES then go through that again.

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  124. AvatarChanelle

    Thanks for sharing! I was on the nuvaring for over 7 years…loved it! I couldn’t remember to take the pill every day and had adverse reactions to the hormones (read: getting my period every 2 weeks). It’s a little awk taking out the ring before sex the first few times, but you and your partner get used to it. That being said, I’m now off the ring, and have been off of it for almost a year now. I’m not pregnant yet (that’s the reason I went off) so I’m thinking/hoping it just takes a while to ween off the ring (which has similar effects as the pill). Though I’ve had two friends who got pregnant the month after they went off the pill. Who knows?!

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  125. AvatarTipene Darrow

    I’ve had terrible acne outbreaks for the last few weeks due to medications. My face broke out all over and every day would get worse and traveled down my neck as well. After immense research I ordered dermalmd acne serum and used it one night and like magic the next day my face improved by about 50%. I was blown away. The second day improved even more. I can’t wait to see what day three looks like. At this rate my face will be fully clear in just a few days. Dermalmd acne serum is magic! Highly recommend.

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  126. AvatarJoycee Chavarria

    It’s true that there are various birth control methods and birth control pills are one of them. These pills are really beneficial to some extent because if you don’t take it timely then it doesn’t help you.

    These pills are used for the only temporary purpose. And if you want a permanent solution then there are some other options that you can adopt. Like Essure, a medical device is a permanent birth control device.

    It is very useful for women sterilization, but it has some side effects. For example, at the time of insertion women faces many problems like infection and injuries where the implant was inserted.

    For women and the family members of women who suffered from pain, internal injuries, or other complications as a result of Essure, you may qualify to file an Essure lawsuit to recover compensation for damages you have suffered.

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  127. AvatarAnne Katherine

    I was on birth control for forever too and my doctor told me that I needed to go off of it early last year as I was getting married in October and we wanted to start a family fairly soon after. Wellllll long story short it only took 3 months for me to get pregnant, I had been tracking my ovulation and new I was ovulating but in a moment of list we said f*ck it haha found out the week before my wedding I was pregnant so I’m not sure the whole “it takes a while to get out of your system is true”!

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  128. AvatarCj

    I was on tri nessa it worked great! The they changed it to Tri- VyLibra and said it was the same!!! No it’s not!! The stuff is absolutely horrible! And many almost all people that have been written this RX say the same thing!! So what’s up PP??!! Why are you making us sicker than we need be. Look up the side effects?!!! They’re horrible!! I don’t understand when our lives as woman are had enough they give us this crap!!! I’ll pay $27.99 and get Tri nessa which is the generic version of ortho- tricyclin lo- $41.99 or you can go to PP and get some real nasty stuff for free that literally will turn you psycho and make you sick at the same time! Thanks a lot oo!!

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  129. AvatarShayne

    I stupidly got an IUD before my wedding based on a friend’s recommendation. I did some research, but I really didn’t know what to look for. My IUD has completely wrecked my hormones. It took me a year to realize the IUD was the culprit of my symptoms. I had it removed 8 months ago and my symptoms have only worsened. Libido, dryness, pain, mood swings, brain fog, etc. My doctor tells me it has nothing to do with my IUD and I disagree. Feeling so frustrated. Beware of the IUD.

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  131. AvatarJane

    When I chose to quit taking conception prevention pills and change to a long-acting reversible preventative around four years prior, the Nexplanon embed appeared to be a simple decision. What amazed me at the time, and even now, is that the embed is far less famous than other anti-conception medication strategies. Presently that I’m on my subsequent embed. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing your experience.

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