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Mama_Cakes's avatar

Your thoughts on birth control (the pill). I'm looking for the cons.

Asked by Mama_Cakes (10970points) November 5th, 2011

Since August, my cycle has been messed up. I was advised by my doctor to go on the pill.

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22 Answers

bongo's avatar

I never had any problems with it. Might make your boobs bigger and you might put on a little weight if you aren’t careful and you may be a little moody for the first few months til your body gets used to it. I thought it was great when I was on it but I kept forgetting it so I got the implant. The implant certainly wont help with your cycle but I thought the pill was great. I know some girls who felt a bit all over the place on it but they did tend to forget the pills more often than me!
If you can remember to take it everyday its great. That was really the main downside for me.

marinelife's avatar

I took it for years. It did regulate my cycle.

Coloma's avatar

I never took it but my daughter who is turning 24 in a few weeks went on it last year to help with severe cramps and irregular cycles. She feels GREAT and has had all her symptoms abated, plus, the obvious, no risk of pregnancy with her live in boyfriend.

She really suffered, as I did, with severe cramps and I am thrilled she has found relief.

If you smoke it is not recommended.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I spent about a decade on pills, several kinds. I bled more often in between periods than during my scheduled period. That really sucked. Aside from that and it may not pertain to you, I was one of the small percentage group of women who got pregnant on pills, twice. So many medications affect the potency of bcp’s.

janbb's avatar

I was on them in my early years and then again during menopause for fibroid tumors. Had no problems either time.

nikipedia's avatar

People respond very differently to the pill. It will probably achieve your goal of evening out your cycle, but side effects are so common that discontinuation rates are very high (39% here, 32% here, and this review reports anywhere from 25% to 50%). I personally have had very bad side effects but it has been worth it to stay on for the time being.

Judi's avatar

The pill made me an emotional roller coaster (and even worse space cadet than normal.) That was 30 years ago and I hear that the hormones are not as strong as they used to be though.

JLeslie's avatar

I had no problems on the old fashioned pills, 21 days of hormone, 7 days no hormone. Literally not one change, period was exactly the same, no weight gain, no bust gain, nothing. If it had been a placebo pill switched on me I would not have known the difference. I took the pill for 5 years. Stopped for 2. Then again for 3 years. Then years later for three months for a medical reason. Each time no problem. When I stopped the pill like clockwork my cycle was completely normal and regular.

I do wonder if it increased my platelets, because my numbers were very high side of normal I once noticed, and whenever I get it chacked now they are very nornal. Since my father has had a blood clot, and I am genetically heterzygous for a particular clotting problem, I have to wonder if the increase in platelets was caused by the pill, and if I would be at significant risk now that I am much older.

I did get crazy taking those low dose or triphasal pills. I mean literally, emotionally I was not right, and I just felt unwell physically and mentally.

I personally don’t believe in the pill for regulating a period, in that if you are irregular there is a reason. The pill will make you regular, but it will not fix your problem. It is not a cure, it is a facade of normalcy typically. It doesn’t mean you should not consider it as treatment. How irregular are you? Did your doctor do a day 3 hormone test? Test your sugars?

Aethelflaed's avatar

The pill is really great for me. I’m crazy hormonal without them, and it really helps bring it in and make it much more tolerable. My cramps are either much less or not there, my period is only really light for 2–3 days (instead of raging heavy for the whole week), and it does effectively regulate things. So all those side effects some women get from the pills, others get relief from by taking the pill.

JLeslie's avatar

I wanted to add I have never heard of a GYN or GP doing a day 3 test or the glucose tests for PCOS which frequently are the cause of irregular periods. Reproductive endocrinologists do that testing, and most women don’t get there untill they are having trouble getting pregnant. I once had an argument, we will call it discussion with a GP on fluther about this who she herself had irregular periods since her teens, tried to explain to me why it makes sense to take BC pills to regulate, we went round and round, and then after a while she admitted she was going to go to an RE because she was having other problems or something? That she was basically unaware of the specialty previously. Exactly my point! GYN’s don’t bother to suggest it exists for young women who complain about being irregular. She had to become a doctor, and interact with many other doctors to know.

deni's avatar

I was really hesitant to start taking birth control. I didn’t like the thought of chemicals controlling when I released an egg, and all that jazz. It just seemed really unnatural. But I did it anyhow. I had mostly positive results, luckily. I didn’t gain weight. It cleared up my face for REAL. I used to break out randomly and fairly often and now I never do, EVER. Except when I stopped taking it for a couple months. It was so quick. I do think it affected my sex drive though…it seems lower now.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni Your egg doesn’t release on birth control.

Seaofclouds's avatar

When I was a teenager, I started birth control pills (ortho-tricyclen) and never had a problem. I stayed on that for several years until stopping to get pregnant with my first child. I tried going back on birth control pills after my son and have problems with every one I tried. The problems varied depending on the pill and ranged from a lot of breakthrough bleeding (like having an extra period every cycle, not just a little bit), migraines, decreased sex drive, and being an emotional mess.

I ended up having a tubal ligation and stopping them for years. I had a tubal reversal last year and had a baby 5 months ago. I decided I would give birth control pills another shot. Started with ortho-tricyclen-lo and had breakthrough bleeding again and a decreased sex drive, so now I’m trying lo-ogestrol. I’ve only been on it a few weeks so we’ll see what happens.

Everyone is different and their reactions to the different pills and hormone levels vary a lot. Has your doctor considered doing any testing to see what’s going on with your cycles? When you say they’ve been messed up, what do you mean exactly? Have you kept a journal about your cycles and discussed that with your doctor?

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@Seaofclouds I am 39 and my last normal period was in July. Since, I have barely bleed and missed a month altogether. No chance of being pregnant. Perhaps, I am perimenopausal.

janbb's avatar

@Mama_Cakes So why do they want you on birth control to regulate it?

JLeslie's avatar

@Seaofclouds I’ll tell you the same thing I told ItalianPrincess on a different Q, if you continue to have bad side effects try the old fashioned 21 days of the same hornone in each pill, and then 7 days placebo pill or no pill. I know more people with side effects from low dose. Although, you did ok on ortho-tryciclen previously. Ortho-novum 1+35 or 1+50 if the 35 gives you breakthrough bleeding, or one of the other old medications. Doctors start with low dose now, and then try another low dose, and another low dose, and tryphasals and cyclicals, and then the patients give up before ever trying the older drugs. Docs like the new ones because that is who visits their offices, and some like the idea of lower hormones being taken.

JLeslie's avatar

I have the same question as @janbb. And, did they do the hormonal tests to show you are indeed perimenopausal? Is the irregularity bothering you? If you go on the pill you will mask your cycle and not know when you are done with menopause. Not know if you can actually have no period and be free of it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Mama_Cakes Have other women in your family went into menopause around your age? Some women do start going into peri-menopause early. If you are going into peri-menopause, your doctor can check your hormone levels to see what’s going on. Personally, before starting a pill to regulate my cycles, I would have lab work checked to see if it is the peri-menopause.

@JLeslie Thanks for the advice. I have to go with the low level hormones because of the migraines I experienced in the past. The pills I take now are one level for the 21 days and then the 7 days of inactive pills, they just contain low levels of hormones. If this one doesn’t work out, I’m just going to give up on hormonal birth control. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Seaofclouds Oh, the migraine thing is tricky I would guess. I didn’t know how the headaches are affected, if the higher dose is more likely to give migraines? Most people I know don’t complain about headaches, but of mood swings or bleeding. I do know though that some people get terrible headaches and trigger migraines on hormonal treatment. That sucks, because if it is the higher dose hormones that triggers your migraines, but you tend to get breakthrough bleeding, it would be very difficult to find a pill that works for you.

deni's avatar

@JLeslie That’s what I meant. Seems weird.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni I can see how it seems wierd. However, what some women don’t realize is each month women have a bunch of follicles that grow eggs, and then the one that ripens most is the one that pops out. For instance when I was in my late 20’s each cycle I had about 12 follicles visible at the beginning of my month. Now I have about 8, older, declining hormones. When a woman takes hormones to make more eggs for fertility treatment, she just grows all those eggs available that month. It doesn’t make it all less wierd I guess.

lonelydragon's avatar

The pill actually helped regulate my cycle, but it also caused me to gain weight, so I am no longer on it.

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