16 November, 2010

Life After The Pill

**Warning: If you are of the male persuasion, you probably won't want to read this post.**

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can chat about all things "womanly."

Several months ago, I did some of my own research on the pill (online and TCOYF) and the things it can do to your body. I only did a little bit of reading, but what I found - combined with issues several of my friends have had after getting off of it - I was convinced I needed to 86 the pill from my daily routine. I attempted to convince my hubby, but to no avail. I understood his reasoning, and pretty much agreed. When we moved here, we quickly got told about the D-word. The D-word changes a lot of things. A lot.

With him not here, there is no real reason for me to stay on it. So, after being on the pill for almost 7 years, I stopped taking it. Because of my cycle, I decided to get off the pill right before Joe left. Oooh, that was a smart move. Not. Anyway. Life after the pill has certainly been...an adjustment. There are a lot of things I haven't had to deal with since I was 17. 

The reason I first went on the pill was because of my insane cramps. They were/are not as bad as other women's but they're still pretty rough. There were days when I was in high school that I literally could not concentrate in class because of the sheer pain I was secretly enduring. I was miserable one week out of every month. Completely and utterly miserable. I can remember spending a week in bed during summer in pain, nauseous and wanting to die. Once I got on the pill I still had cramps, but they were bearable. Plus, my doctor gave me permission to take 4 200mg tablets of ibuprofen every 4-6 hrs. That's 800mg 3-4 times a day. That's prescription-strength ibuprofen right there.

Another thing I haven't had to deal a whole lot with is the acne. My acne was bad in high school. My dermatologist had me taking an antibiotic every day, along with using Differin to make the zits disappear. This didn't help too much. The antibiotics made me nauseous and the Differin made the zits hurt worse. Go acne! =/

So, for 7 years I was pretty much rockin' the pill. Then this summer, I stopped. The cramps have returned in full force, as has the acne. I was literally in a ball on the couch this past Saturday, praying that the 800mg of ibuprofen would kick in. I also burned myself with my corn bag - I heat it up in the microwave and use it as a heating pad, minus the cord. I have to take either a muscle relaxer or benadryl and ibuprofen before I go to bed at night so I don't wake up in the middle of the night in extreme pain. Awesome, I tell you.

And then there's the super-painful and slightly embarrassing acne:



Yeah, let's start with the worst part. My back, neck and shoulders. I live in Hawaii. I wear tank tops half the time. Having acne in these places is just freakin' awesome. You can't really see them clearly, but they are there. There are also more that you can't see because I didn't want to put a full body photo on here. The worst ones are in the middle of my back...probably because that's where my bra stays. Yay.


Then there's my chest. No shortage of annoying bumps here. Also annoying... Try wearing cute shirts looking like this. =(


Ah, the face. The most normal place for them. At least these I can kinda cover up.


I'm not gonna lie, I pretty much miss the pill. If it weren't for future plans and the knowledge of all the hormones the pill pumps into my body, I'd probably go back to it tomorrow. I miss completely knowing my "start day." Charting does help with that, but I never had to think about it before. I miss the lack of extremely painful cramps. I really miss my mostly-clear skin. I never had perfect skin on the pill, but it was a bazillion times better when I was on it!

After reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I really have a good understanding of what the pill does... The author is pro-charting, knowing your body and avoiding pregnancy (and TTC) by not taking contraceptives. Me? Gimme the pill, please!!! That said, I think it's a personal decision. The pill isn't for everyone and neither is the charting business. I have friends that will probably never go back to the pill. I probably wouldn't either if I wasn't going crazy. =P 

I'm so glad that I've read TCOYF, though. It has some really great information...and I probably wouldn't have known some things if I hadn't read it. There were several "Ooooooh! That's what that was/is!" moments. So, for me, as soon as I can get back to the pill and its hormone-controlling powers I will. For now, I guess I'll manage, though. 

Isn't being a woman just awesome?! 

What are your thoughts on the pill? Saving grace? Evil? 

20 comments:

kelsey lauren said...

i was on the pill forever, and went off it for the first time and suddenly dropped 15 lbs. that's a lot! i didn't connect the dots until i went back on it and gained it all back! i hated the weight gain, so i am now on nuvaring. it is my first month and i've had no problems with it (even though i do admit at first i got weirded out by it!) i'm going back off it as i won't be seeing my man for months and don't like pumping hormones into my body... but so far so good. i would recommend it!

Miranda said...

The pill didn't work for me, but that's just MY experience. And, when I say it didn't WORK - it didn't work for my body. I had crazy hormonal mood swings and stuff like that. I have an IUD and it's really a great choice for me. No hormones.. but still protection :-)

Mrs. K said...

Oh, girl...I feel your pain. I'm basically in the same boat. I took the pill for about 9 years and I'm terrified that I've completely screwed up my body by doing so. I really want to get pregnant, but that hasn't happened for us yet. All that being said, I completely miss the pill. The happy hormones, the acne free days, the milder cramps...Oh, to be that girl again. I'm sure my husband thinks so, too. Ha! I also read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and it was eye opening. My husband had been pleading with me for about a year to get off the pill and I finally did back in July. It has been a long road trying to get used to a normal cycle again but it has gotten better. I hope yours does, too!

Jen said...

I had never taken birth control and I had started taking it after my last miscarriage and woah did it throw my system all out of whack. I am not a fan :( Sorry going off it has caused you pain!

Jessica said...

I was on the pill for 3 years, went off for 3 years, and just started back. I have hated the past month, and I'm talking to the doctor tomorrow when I go. I've not heard of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, but I'm going to find it and read it!

I hope it starts getting better for you!

Expat Girl said...

I was on the pill for 6 years and was so worried that this meant it would take me forever to get pregnant once the time came but in the end, I actually got pregnant whilst still taking it! I missed a day or two when we were moving house and whadda ya know now we have Baby Girl : ) I am back on it now because the hubby is about to come home and it hasn't been too bad adjusting back to it so far. I hope your experience gets better

Rebekah said...

I've had to be on birth control since I was 16 for problems with my periods and like you, I had the worst cramps ever. I had ultrasounds to check for cysts, and was given codine for the pain. THAT didn't work. So now I just live with the cramps and I have them every single day. Not normal, but nothing's been found. I've used other versions of BC because I didn't like the pill, but I'm off everything because we're trying for a baby and just going off what I was on is wrecking havoc on my body! Hello acne!

Chelsey said...

I've actually never, ever been on birth control. I have horrible, horrible, painful periods, like what you did. Anyway, not to go into too much detail because that would probably be gross, BUT, I have had horrible complications the last 2 months. I'm having an ultrasound, lab-work, all of that, and THEN I'll be getting on birth control. Hopefully it will work for me because, Mr. Monthly decided to pay a visit today and I'm pretty sure I'm about to die. AHHHHH! :(

Elizabeth said...

I am a firm believer, that depending on the brand, depends on what it helps with or actually works.

I've tried Yaz, helped a lot with crmping and all the signs of PMDD, didn't help with acne, and didnt sustain any weight.

I am currently on Alesse or Sronyx (military cheapos), and I havent noticed anything different. I'm only on my second month, might take another month or two to notice any changes.

I should have just gone the Mirena route too easy to not have to take a pill everyday.

Whatever works for each individual.

Hopefully you can get back to being satisfied with your pill!

Chelle said...

I had to take the pill because my periods were never regular. I could 6 months at a time with nothing showing up. So the Dr said pill time after I got pregnant with DD1. After that I tried the Depo hmm yeah literally spotted for an entire year sooo not fun plus I got pregnant on that one. After that I tried the Nuva Ring and lived with taking Midrin and Immetrix every month since it intensified my migraines. Finally after DS2 I decided to try the Mirena. Have not had a problem since. I'm on my 3rd one and absolutely in love with my BC. I don't get periods anymore.I don't suffer from deliberating migraines either. While I know it's not natural to stop my periods, I would much rather loose it to get rid of the migraines. Its so hard to function as a mom when I'm curled in a ball under a blanket crying silently afraid to move.

I tried charting once but with being irregular it was so pointless.

Chantal said...

I miss the no-acne part! :(

Jenn said...

I have an IUD. I love it!! But I have also had one child already and have no plans for more in the future (not the near future anyways)
As far as birth control, pill, iud, any of the others, I think it all depends on the person. Some things work wonderfully for some people and others are awful. All of our bodies and systems are different so I say do what you know works for you. If you try something else and it works Awesome, if it doesn't go back to what works. :) Hope that made sense LOL

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I was on the pill for years and then last year I went off of it and I had the same reaction. I had to go to the dermatologist and get it taken care of. It's because your body is producing tons of hormones now.

MeaganAnne said...

BCP caused my body to hate me, and now I'm having to go through all this fertility stuff. SIGH

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I think you should honestly talk to your doctor about the possibility of endometreosis. Your symptoms cramp wise sound like mine and I have it bad. I'm sorry you're so miserable!

Cruz said...

Have you tried eliminating wheat/gluten and sugar from your diet?
I used to have horrible acne as well and since getting rid of those things my skin has cleared up and my cramps have also gotten better.

hmb said...

I went on the Pill back in high school for the same reason as you. It did help with cramps but for whatever reason it made everything else terrible. i gained weight and I never felt like myself. I went off and it's like "freeeedommmmmm!". It's so crazy how one pill can make you feel so differently (good or bad).

Janet Peroff said...

OK Gals! Here's my story. I was on the pill for 24 years straight. Yep...EVERY day. Started when I was 16 and stopped just before I got married (for the 2nd time) at 40. Well, I got pregnant after only 3 months. Although that pregnancy ended tragically at 19 weeks, I did get pregnant again 7 months later and now have a wonderful, healthy 3 and half year old son and I am now 46! Moral of the story....I certainly don't think the pill ever did my fertility any harm. If it makes your day to day life easier, go bak on it. You will have to dispose of it for maybe a couple of years to get pregnant, but cross that bridge when you get to it! Best wishes!

Erin said...

I have never used birth control, and I don't plan to. It's not religious beliefs that defer me from it, in my opinion its just not good for your body. There is nothing healthy about stopping or adjusting a natural cycle. One of my best friends in highschool developed 7 blood clots, which doctors determined was 75% caused from birth control so ever since I have refused to get on it. We use other "preventative" methods and when it comes to cramps and acne I just choose to deal with it. My face breaks out a lot sometimes and I have cramps that can be horrible but I would rather deal with those things for a few days out of the month, than risk putting my health, and the health of any potential children we may have at risk. With that said I think it is definately everyones choice to make and I have nothing against women who do choose to take birth control...they are just much braver than I!

Jenn said...

Oh trust me I'm going though that now too since I went off of mine. Clearasil Daily Face Wash is in part my saving grace. I use it in the shower on my face, neck and shoulders to prevent or treat it. Use it right before you get out as the last thing you do. But make sure you get the regular one not the sensitive skin one. I sometimes get a little dry in the winter from it but nothing some moisturizer can't handle.