Let's Talk: Birth Control

Several of our writers wanted to talk about what birth control they take, why they are taking it and also their own personal symptoms they to show all you avid readers some of the options out there! Anything from the pill, to an insertion and even none at all - they are all here for you to read and learn more about!

 

Anonymous 1: My current birth control method is the IUD. An IUD is a tiny T-shaped plastic object that is inserted into your Uterus, which last about 5 years. After using the pill for about 4 years, I decided to switch to the Mirena Brand IUD. I switched because I just was not responsible enough for the Pill, I didn’t it everyday and never remembered to get refills on time.

Personally, I think there are many good and bad qualities about the IUD. I love it because I got in inserted once, and I do not do anything for 5 years. I also love that I do not get a period. Not getting a period, however, can be kind of scary, especially if you are regularly having sex and if you rely on your period to tell you that you aren’t pregnant. Lastly, the only other negative I can think of involved is getting it inserted. Long story short, it hurt a lot. It causes extreme cramps and once I got it, I laid in bed for about 2 days straight.

Overall, I would 100% recommend the IUD. It is easy, it lasts a very long time, it is very reliable and well worth the 2 days of cramps.

 

Anonymous 2: I’ve been going to the dermatologist since I was around 12 or 13. Since then I've been put on many different skin care products. At one time I had two daily pills and three different skin washes, and nothing was helping. Around age 16 my dermatologist decided to send me to another doctor who told me that I needed to start taking birth control to balance out the hormones in my body. At first, I was skeptical because I was so young and I didn’t know what it could do to my body, but I was also sick of having bad skin so I started taking it. For the past four or five years, I've been taking the Necon 1/35 pill.

 

The first couple months sucked, I remember being so hormonal and cranky a lot. Getting into the habit of taking them every day at the same time was hard (it’s still hard, but using a timer on my phone helps a ton). Combining the pills with bad eating habits made me gain around 30 pounds in like a year, which was really hard for me as a teenager, but it helped me realize the importance of good eating. It has helped clear up my skin a ton and gives me the confidence that I didn’t have when I was younger and having horrible breakouts, which I’m very thankful for. Most people don’t think of the benefits it has other than just preventing pregnancy. Birth control can be used for a ton of things like balancing hormones, clearing acne, reducing the severity of your period, and more.

 

Anonymous 3: Being one person with a certain set of hormonal sequence, I can not vouch for your potential symptoms taking the listed birth control pills, but I can share with you my experience taking them.  

Birth control was always a touchy subject for me growing up. In my household, if I were to ask my parents for birth control, they’d think I was crazy, but that’s another story. Right before I was heading off to college,  I decided that it was time I have the talk with my parents. Pulling off the 18 year old band-aid was quicker and easier than I thought it would be. Surprisingly enough, my mom and dad were both on board. My mom took me to Planned Parenthood to get my first three month set of birth control pills. Having the basic allergy to condoms, I knew that the contraceptive pill was the way to go.

I started off taking Othro Tri-Cyclen. By definition this birth control "contains a combination of female hormones used as contraception to prevent pregnancy. It is also used to treat severe acne.” Some of the major side effects that occurred when I was on the medication for 3 months was anxiety, weight gain/loss, nausea, change in vision throughout the day and random tiredness and weakness. After experiencing these noticeable side effects, I decided to visit the health and wellness center to change up my prescription. The next prescription that was given to me a three month supply of Caziant.”It (Caziant) contains two different types of hormones, and is a triphasic birth control pill, which means that there are different amounts of hormones each week. The last pill contains no hormones.” With this birth control pill, I experienced severe fluctuation periods of depression, anxiety and weight gain. After I started noticing the changes in my emotion and weight, I immediately stopped taking the pill overall.

 

Anonymous 4: Years ago I was given a prescription for a tiny magic pill. One that would get rid of acne, cramps, ovarian cysts, and major bleeding. Also, it would supposedly make your boobs bigger (spoiler alert, it didn’t). Microgestin Fe is who I have to thank for these things. Going on birth control is sort of a right-of-passage for young women. The reason for my birth control was more so for me to stop skipping school due to deadly cramps. The choice of the pill was honestly the only one given to me, I was young and it took years before I found out about the various different types of birth control. Now that I’ve been on it for years I am noticing some less than glamorous side-effects. For one, I typically have one day per month where I go into a state of serious depression and it normally lands me lying in bed, crying, and questioning all the decisions I’ve ever made. This has gotten a lot worse the longer I’ve been on it. Another thing getting worse is my sex drive. There are studies both for and against the fact that birth control affects women’s libido, but mine has definitely been affected. I do have to thank birth control for a plethora of other things, barely having periods, cramps that don't even need medicated, and reassurance that I’m not pregnant. It is definitely typical to have a love-hate relationship with birth control but I can thank it for all the benefits it has given me.

 

Anonymous 5: Nexplanon is a small, flexible implant inserted into the upper arm which lasts up to 3 years and is over 99% effective   

The Nexplanon insert gradually releases a low dose of hormones over time. These hormones prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs and sperm from reaching them.  It can be inserted by your gynecologist in the upper/inner part of the arm so it’s basically invisible. After determining you’re eligible for Nexplanon, the insertion is a minor procedure. Basically it’s a bigger version of a shot, bruising will last a few days and you should be able to feel it under the skin.  

After the 3 years another minor procedure is done to remove the old implant and replace it with a new one. Nexplanon can be taken out at any time by a professional if needed, the most common side effect is a change in menstrual bleeding and it’s not uncommon for women to stop getting their periods altogether.

 

      

I personally chose Nexplanon because it’s low maintenance, it’s effective, and its affect on my menstrual cycle. I discovered it when looking into alternative methods to the pill, by nature I tend to be a forgetful person and wanted a “me-proof” form of birth control. I was still a little insecure about an IUD due to how they would have to insert it and to my pleasant surprise with Nexplanon I didn’t have to get my you-know-what explored. The most awkward part was peeing in a cup to make sure I wasn’t pregnant and my gynecologist repeatedly saying the best place to insert it is into the fatty part of my arm. After she numbed my arm and inserted it I had to feel for the implant and sign a form confirming that it was in my arm and it was over.  

In high school my period was always on the heavier side and I would usually end up crying from how bad my cramps were. I’ve had my implant for over two years now and my period is completely different. It’s much lighter, shorter and sometimes more frequent, on occasion I get a light period every two weeks and sometimes they are even about a month apart. I spoke with my gynocologist when I got worried and she assured me irregular bleeding is very normal and common. Basically whatever my lady parts decide to do is fine as long as the symptoms aren’t abnormally heavy and or there is prolonged bleeding.

 

Anonymous 5: At the ripe old age of 16, I had just had my third of four surgeries. The doctors were very specific in telling me that because of the type of surgery I was receiving, hip surgery, that the chance for clotting was higher but for my age unlikely. Guess who threw a clot within two day. Now moving past my stay in the hospital trying to break it down and get it under control, it left me on three months of twice-a-day self-injection blood thinners. Because of now having thrown a clot and also having to be on the medication, I am no longer able to take normal methods of birth control because there is now risk of me clotting again. I’m bringing this up because a lot girls think the pill is the only viable method of birth control besides condoms. Also, some girls might not know if they have a clotting factor in their blood which can be triggered by certain types of birth control. Make sure when deciding what method to look into the effects, how it would affect you personally, and also its purposes. You never know how your body will react to medications and insertions, so make sure to do your research

 

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