Birth Control: From a Girl Who Has Tried Them All

This article contains the personal testimonies and opinions of the author. Please consult with a gynecologist or medical doctor about the best options for you and your body regarding contraceptives. 

 

I’m not sure if every girl remembers their first gynecology appointment, but I definitely do. There I was, 17 years old, crying in the parking lot of the gynecologist’s office because I was too afraid to go in. My mom thought it was time for me to try birth control and had made me an appointment to get Nexplanon, which is a small rod that is inserted underneath the skin of your upper arm and releases hormones. Yup, I was terrified. 

 

That wouldn’t be the only time I’d shed tears at the gynecologist. Getting an IUD inserted? And removed? Not fun.

 

Three years and three forms of birth control later, I’m now the resident BC advisor for my friends and family who text me asking my opinion. From a girl who has tried all the methods under the sun, I am here to offer you the lowdown and the takeaways of my experiences on a few types of contraception. 

birth control methods against pink and yellow background Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition  

Nexplanon 

 

As I mentioned above, Nexplanon is a tiny rod inserted underneath the skin of your upper arm that will prevent pregnancy for up to four years. 

PRO's:

  • 99% effective 

  • No missed pills, or alarms 

  • No monthly trips to the pharmacy

  • No worries 

  • I didn’t experience any weight gain or intense mood swings 

 

CON's:

  • I bled for a year straight. Yes, you read that— A Year. I had to take additional pills to stop the bleeding, which just seems counterintuitive. I’ve also had multiple friends report the same side effect.

  • I actually experienced some significant weight loss in the year following insertion. So be aware of how these hormones might be affecting your metabolism and adjust your diet accordingly to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need. 

 

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

IUD Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash

An Intrauterine Device is a little, T-shaped plastic utensil inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is 99% effective for 3-6 years, depending on which IUD you have. I used Kyleena because it produces the lowest amount of hormones compared to most competing IUDs. 

 

PRO's:

  • NO PERIOD! I stopped having my period completely, which was amazing.

  • No pills

  • No monthly pharmacy visits 

  • No pregnancy scares 

  • Complete clearing of back pimples, face pimples, and chest pimples

 

CON's:

  • I quickly put on some weight- about 20 pounds- in the span of 3 months, without any lifestyle changes. 

  • Omg, those damn back pimples- I probably had some of the worst “backne” I’ve ever had in my life. Thankfully, after a month, everything disappeared, and my skin was clearer than ever before, but be prepared for changes in your skin.

  • The insertion was pretty painful! I experienced some dizziness and intense cramping. This also occurred when I had it removed. 

Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash

The Pill

Ah, the classic pill. I figured I had to try it at some point in my life. The pill is a daily medication you must take every day and is 91% effective if used correctly. I am currently on Microgestin FE 1/20, which is a combination pill. It contains 2 hormones: norethindrone (a progestin) and Ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen). 

 

PRO's:

  • No noticeable weight change 

  • Clear skin

  • No noticeable mood swings

  • No foreign devices sitting in your body, if you're like me and that is something that can you uncomfortable 

 

CON's:

  • I started my period again. RIP. 

  • I have to take the pill at the same time every day (I’m a forgetful person)

  • Pregnancy scares 

  • Extreme breast tenderness 

  • The pharmacy has run out of my birth control before 

  • If you skip a pill, you must wait seven days until it is effective again 

 

If I could go back to my 17-year-old self and recommend one, I’d have to go with the IUD. No periods, clear skin, and no pills weigh out the cons for me. Hopefully, this list aids you with more knowledge on birth control, but there are also many other forms and brands of birth control out there. So if one method isn't working for you, don't get discouraged, and reach out to your doctor to talk about switching. Remember, every woman is different, and what works for one body may not work for another!