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My Experience On Birth Control, And How I’m Navigating Towards Better Health

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWG chapter.

Birth control. Two words that I never thought I would have to deal with. Well, at least until I was going to start having sex. Before birth control, I suffered from heavy and irregular periods. I didn’t think too much of it, as I thought that it was from the relentless stress of school. There were weeks where I had numerous assignments and had to balance my time management in order to keep my mental and physical health in check. I wasn’t expecting for my menstrual cycle to be affected in the process. Dating back to high school, my periods sometimes came late. Other times, they wouldn’t come at all until I noticed that I went two months with no period. However, it has become more prominent since I’ve been in college. The levels of stress that I dealt with while in high school is nowhere near comparable to the amount of stress I’ve dealt with during my first two years in college. The last thing on my mind was worrying about the mystery of my irregular periods.

It dawned on me this past March that my irregular periods should no longer be ignored. So, I made the ultimate decision to visit my university’s health center for answers and help. I remember when the front desk clerk handed me the forms that contained information from “vaginal discharge” to “oral sex”, along with other information that made me feel uncomfortable at the moment. But, I knew the information was needed to let the doctor know how they could help me. After getting called into the examination room and getting my vitals checked, the doctor entered the room with a clipboard in her hand and a bright smile on her face. When we started our conversation, she asked about how long my periods have been irregular for. After telling her the many months that I would go with no period and some light spotting in between, she stated that my hormones could be imbalanced. I also explained that I was suffering ongoing stress that hasn’t been properly managed. With all of these factors, she recommended something that I never knew I needed to go on so soon…birth control.

My heart dropped at this. I didn’t have any prior knowledge of birth control other than using it as contraception for sex. The doctor explained to me that many women also use birth control to regulate their menstruation, treat acne, and to treat medical conditions such as endometriosis and poly-cystic ovary syndrome. Once she gave me an option to either receive a shot or go on the pill, I consciously decided to go on the pill. A part of me was proud of this decision, because I was relieved that I would be able to regulate my menstrual cycle. However, there was another part of me that was deathly afraid of what the side effects could be. Once everything was finalized, I paid for my prescription, along with another prescription for my stress, and went to treat myself for lunch soon after. 

The first day I started taking the pill was the Monday of the following week. It was 7:30 in the morning, and after I got ready for the day ahead, I took my first pill. At first, I didn’t feel any shame or regret. But, I knew that the side effects were yet to come. I kept up with the schedule of taking it at 7:30 a.m. in order to stay on track of taking it daily. I consider myself a morning person, so if I were to have taken the pill later in the day, I would’ve more likely forgotten. After my first week, the crowd of symptoms started to hit.

I noticed that I was tired more than ever, specifically on days when I had little to nothing to do. The fatigue that I experienced was like no other…it was terrible. Another symptom was light spotting. Now, this one freaked me out, considering that I started taking the pill a week after my period ended. I didn’t think too much of it and thought that it would disappear, but I experienced the spotting for four days after it started happening. I went back to the doctor and explained to her why I was experiencing spotting. She explained that since I was on a progestogen-only pill, that the spotting was normal and that it’ll disappear within a few days. So, there I was. Sitting impatiently and constantly worrying about what was wrong with me.

Fast forward to three months later, and things have been different. For starters, I consulted with my doctor about stopping my birth control use, as I felt that it was no longer useful for me. She was kind hearted about my heavy decision, and advised that if I decide to start using the pill again, that it’s best to let her know beforehand. During my short time on the pill, it made my periods lighter than what they were before. I also had lesser cramps and headaches as well. Making changes to my diet and workouts have also helped me physically. Overall, I do believe that birth control taught me that it can be useful for other reasons outside of sex. Had I known more about birth control use prior to entering college, then I would’ve gone to the doctor sooner. 

I will say that I am grateful for putting myself in a position where I needed to listen to my body more and to follow on a path to better health. To me, that means incorporating benefits within my diet, physical health, and mental health. I know that every woman may or may not have used birth control, but all I can say is that I am happy that I have made an adult decision to take care of myself. 

Makalah Wright is the Campus Correspondent at Her Campus at UWG chapter. For the chapter, she has written personal essays about real-life experiences and she encourages readers to take inspiration or learn from it. Beyond her position as the CC, she is also a national writer for the wellness section of the website. So far, she has written articles based on mental health, relationships, and other wellness-related topics. She is a senior at the University of West Georgia, studying in public relations with a minor in music. After her undergrad, she plans to get a masters in public relations and work within the media industry. She also hopes to create her own foundation that will help with funding for the performing arts in schools. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, shopping, traveling to new places, and drinking iced coffee. She also enjoys playing the clarinet and listening to all types of music, specifically jazz.