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MissAnthrope's avatar

Ladies, what is your experience with birth control pills and your periods?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21479points) March 1st, 2010

I apologize to everyone for my sudden obsession with birth control pills, but I’m new to taking them and I honestly don’t have any friends on the Pill, otherwise I would be bugging them and not you guys.

I’m wondering what other women experience in terms of menstruation when taking the Pill, in order to form some kind of picture as to what to expect.

I’m taking Ortho-Novum and just wrapped up my first pill cycle. Tonight will be the 4th inactive pill. I thought I was starting my period yesterday because of the cramps, but it seems to just have been a little bit of spotting and now it looks like it’s stopped? Anyway, I find it weird and it made me curious as to what other women experience.

Would you care to share? :)

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30 Answers

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have been on the pill for years now and it really helped to regulate my periods. I now come on when expected (almost to the hour) and I have a light flow that only lasts four days. I was lucky that I found a pill that worked well with my body, I know plenty of women that have bad side effects frm theirs.

Violet's avatar

It may take a few more months to get you on a regular cycle. Also, having light periods/spotting or having no period at all is common. Spotting between periods is also common.

tedibear's avatar

While on Orthocyclen, there was virtually no change from my regular, non-pill cycle. Which sucked because I had heard that “the pill” would give you shorter and/or lighter periods. Now that I’m on Yaz, my periods are distinctly lighter, although not shorter. And my skin is much better, unless it has been a stressful month.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My periods were always on time.I haven’t taken the pill in years and never will again as I didn’t like the risks associated with it.

JLeslie's avatar

My period was exactly the same on the pill and off. I took the pill for almost 8 years, 5 the first time and 3 the second. If you started your pills on a Sunday, which is what most people do, typically you would begin to bleed sometime on Monday, so that would be day 2 off hormones, but I am sure this varies a little from woman to woman, BUT the reason they tell you start Sunday is so you are likely to not have your period on the weekends.

Are you having break-through bleeding in the middle of the month while on the pill? Is it Ortho Novum 1+35? Which hormone combination is it?

JLeslie's avatar

And, you don’t have to take the placebo pills you can just throw them in garbage, unless you think you need the routine.

JLeslie's avatar

One more thing, some women do have lighter periods while taking the pill.

Frankie's avatar

The pill is a godsend for me for regulating and lightening my periods. Since I started the pill roughly three years ago my periods have been so much shorter (4 to 5 days as opposed to 6 to 7 days when I wasn’t on the pill) and lighter—the last two days of my period are always so light I don’t need to wear any protection. It always starts around the afternoon of the first inactive pill, so I usually know when to expect it. I was on Yaz for a year and it seemed my cramps weren’t so bad when I did get my period. I was on Seasonique (which is a great pill if you don’t mind breakthrough bleeding every month) for a year after Yaz and now I’m on a generic low-hormone pill, and the cramps I had with Seasonique and with this new pill seem to be worse than when I was on Yaz. Spotting and cramping while on the pill is pretty common; it may take a few months for your body to adjust to the new hormones, so expect to see some spotting off and on for awhile. I usually don’t have problems remembering to take my pill everyday, and I haven’t experienced any side effects other than shorter, lighter periods, so my experience with the pill has been great…I love it!

JLeslie's avatar

If you have spotting for more than three months you need a stronger pill in my opinion.

What @Frankie said makes sense also, that it might start as early as the afternoon of the first inactive pill, because I took my pills at night.

deni's avatar

I just recently started the pill too. So far I have only had one period while on it, but it was a lot lighter than usual. My periods before were never abnormally heavy, but there was definitely less this time. And every month before I would get horrible cramps that would stop me from going to school or work. This month I had none. I was so happy. I’ve had no negative side effects…I haven’t gained weight, or had a drop in sexual (what’s the word…I’m drawing a total blank….libido? no. something to that effect lol)....but yeah, and I’ve worried a lot less since I started it. Wooo.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I’m not on the pill, but I have a bunch of friends on the pill, and from what I’ve heard what you’re experiencing is very normal. I have friends who barely have any period at all on their placebo week. Jealousss.

meagan's avatar

So much period talk! :P I only started taking the pill (yaz) because I had a month where I had three weeks of being on my period. o_o
It was terrible. I gained weight and really just didn’t feel like myself. After about three months I went off the pill and my periods have regulated. Unless they start going out of control again, I doubt I’ll go on the pill untill I’m “sexually active” again.

stardust's avatar

I’ve been on yasminelle for 5 months now. I went on it due to the intense pain I experience with my periods. Also to help deal with cysts/possible cysts. It was going well; the cramps more or less disappeared for the first 3 months, but this month, they came back with a vengence. The pain is incredible. ugh!
Anyway, my period arrived when I was into the second strip of my pill & it’s still here now that I’ve finished the packet. I’m unsure about what to do.
I don’t like taking it, but I won’t go through that pain every month if I can avoid it.
The spotting is normal. It’ll take a few months to regulate

Allie's avatar

I’m on Ortho-Novum, too. My period definitely got lighter when I started taking the pill. It’s shorter as well, but for me, it usually begins by the 3rd green pill or so. I didn’t gain weight when I started to use it. It doesn’t make me break out. My cramps seemed to get worse, but only slightly, and they’re not unbearable.
I’m happy with Ortho-Novum. Plus, my deductible just went down! Yay!
Wasn’t Yaz/Yasmin/Ocella going through lawsuits because of serious side-effects?

Scazrelet's avatar

I could not be on the estrogen progestin mix, it made me dizzy and woozy, so ended up on progestin only, with no dummy pills. I experienced less painful periods, but they were erratic and sometimes skipped months, especially in the beginning. However, I reacted poorly to the pill I was on and gained a crap ton of weight, throughout the whole year I used them. Since being off of them, I have already begin to lose it again, but it will be a chore getting back in shape.

casheroo's avatar

I started taking the pill at 14, and loved just regulating my period and knowing when it would come. It also helped lighten it. But, after coming off the pill, I still have rather light periods. Only two days of bleeding, then usually just spotting.

I was on Ortho Tri Cyclen for a few years, and started having breakthrough bleeding (bleeding mid month) the doctors said my body was too used to the medication, so I switched and was put on Estrostep or something. I loved it.

I choose not to take pills anymore, only if I need to regulate my ovarian cysts. Otherwise, I prefer no hormones.

thriftymaid's avatar

I got pregnant twice while on birth control pills. That’s my experience.

stardust's avatar

@Allie Thanks for the link. I’ve heard nothing about this up until now.

JLeslie's avatar

@thriftymaid Did you take regularly?

thriftymaid's avatar

@JLeslie . Just like clockwork.

JLeslie's avatar

@thriftymaid I guess some people need more drug maybe or something? It’s so rare. It’s like how some people need more anesthesia I guess.

I have two other question if you don’t mind me asking. 1. Did you have every reason to believe it was working, were you cycling perfectly like people who are on the pill? and 2. Do you need more medication than most people? Like when you take oral pain meds or antibiotics, etc?

thriftymaid's avatar

Yeah, my doctor and I both knew of no reason. Cycles were perfect. I always need less medication than most other people. I don’t take medication very much. It takes very little to affect me. I’m that person who would sleep 24 hours if I took a pain pill. I don’t take them ever. Luckily I have a high threshold for pain. I don’t remember what the statistic is for getting pregnant while on the pill, but it was pretty unbelievable that both of my children were conceived while I was on it.

JLeslie's avatar

@thriftymaid I know one other person who got pregnant twice while on the pill, but I have no idea if she was good at taking it or not. During the 8 years I took it, there was a 2 years in the middle that I had sex almost every day, and never got pregnant and never worried about it. Each time I stopped the pill I went right back to my normal cycle, which is not the same as my pill cycle, everything wihout missing beat. The first time I tried to get pregnant I did, and the second and the third (I miscarried) so I know it was not that I could not conceive. With my experience I always found it hard to believe that people could take the pill like “clockwork” and get pregnant, but I completely believe you, because the way we react, absorb, and utilize medications is different in everyone. My relative of mine who worked in a hospital watched a patient die in the hospital from being allergic to tylenol, had TENS. Very rare.

The stats for pill failure does not separate out people who take it well and people who don’t, unless there are new stats, which there might be.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Wow, so many answers! Thank you all for being willing to discuss this.. it’s informative and helpful. :)

@JLeslie – It’s Ortho-Novum 1–35. The doc said it was the low-dose Pill and I think this is because I’m using it for hormone and period regulation rather than birth control. I had no breakthrough bleeding during the regular pills. My last active pill was Thurs. night and I woke up Sun. morning spotting and then I had some cramps, so I was like, Okay, cool, here’s my period. I expected the spotting to turn into something heavier, but it never did, actually, it got lighter and seems to be pretty much done.

My normal periods are irregular in length of time (average about 39 day cycles, occasionally skipping one), but when they come, they’re pretty reliable in how they play out. Heavy the first day with cramps and feeling icky, then normal the next two, then light the next two. So, I was totally expecting something way more dramatic than what actually happened. :P

JLeslie's avatar

@MissAnthrope The doc did not advise you to start your pills on Sunday? You may want to call your doctor and just let him/her know what happened. I’m thinking maybe you have to go through another month and see if the same thing happens. My periods were regular before taking the pill, so you are in a different situation than I was. What does come to mind is that I think maybe you should be evaluated for PCOS? Have you ever had cycts on your ovaries?

MissAnthrope's avatar

@JLeslie – They told me I could start whenever I wanted, no one said to start on a Sunday. I did think I might have PCOS at one point, but they said I didn’t. I’ve always had irregular periods. When I first started at 13, I could go 6–12 months between periods. So the fact that I’m even having 39-day cycles is a major improvement. And the docs say it’s fine, as long as I’m menstruating once every 3 months.

JLeslie's avatar

@MissAnthrope So, why do you want to regulate with pills if I may ask? Starting Sunday, as I mentioned above, means you usually bleed M-F, which of course varies somewhat woman to woman, so women never have to worry about a weekend trip with an SO. Purely convenience. It might not matter for you if you are only going to get a day or two of light bleeding.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@JLeslie – I have a suspicion that I might have a hormone imbalance and I thought I’d give the Pill a whirl to see if it improved my life at all. For example, I’m usually a pretty even-keeled person and pretty in control of myself, but at least once a year, I have a PMS episode that launches me into delusional crazyland for a couple of weeks, which is beyond unpleasant. :\

JLeslie's avatar

@MissAnthrope I see. Makes sense. Hope it helps. Can I ask how old you are?

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