My experience with…

I said on Twitter last month that I wanted to start doing more personal posts on my blog; I kicked off this months selection of posts with probably the most personal post I’ve ever written and you know what? It felt good. It was scary. But it felt good having written it. This is my space on the internet after all – nobody else’s. Why can’t I talk about my private life, my personal problems and my own experiences? 

So today, I wanted to continue with the theme if personal posts and talk about something I’ve had a hell of a lot of experience with since around the age of 14 / 15. All I ask is that you don’t judge me, you respect what I’m saying and you respect anyone else in the comments who might share their own experiences. Got it? Cool. Okay so let’s talk about…

The pill.

Ugh. I know, I agree. Ugh. We could all sit here for hours debating the pros and cons of that tiny little pill which causes so much controversy couldn’t we? My experience of the pill started when I was around 14 and I had popped into a local sexual health walk-in clinic to get myself the pill because I had a boyfriend and although we weren’t having sex yet (and it would later come about we tried it once and never did it again!) I wanted to be extra safe.

I can’t remember if my mum knew – there’s a voice in my head telling me that she didn’t. I was up to a lot of stuff at that age that I sure as hell wouldn’t want my metaphorical daughter doing so chances are, I had done this in secret. This first pill was Microgynon (since been renamed Rigevidon) and I was on and off this pill from the age of 14 until around 21. For various reasons and with various boyfriend’s; some of which didn’t even know I was on the pill. I didn’t tell them because if I did, I knew they’d want to have sex without a condom and I was (and still am) absolutely terrified of getting pregnant. I know it’s deceiving and not something I’m proud of but yeah… told you I was a little shit.

So, my experience with this pill wasn’t all bad. In fact, it wasn’t bad at all and I can confidently say it worked for me quite well. I may have had a few side effects – nothing major or noteworthy – but I’m aware of the horror stories so I know how vitally important it is you do your research before taking any of the contraceptive pills. Especially this one. I came off of it for the last and final time in 2015 and all I remember is that for weeks afterwards, I had this horrible sensation in my stomach. It felt like I simultaneously needed to eat, not eat, fart, stretch and wee all at the same time constantly for weeks. What the hell was that about?! I don’t even know if this was “coming off of pill” related but it went and that was that. My Microgynon / Rigevidon chapter was closed.

I wanted to go back to “normal” and have a proper cycle with proper periods. Suffering from anxiety, I didn’t want anything extra in my body, messing up my hormones and emotions and making me feel worse especially as I was getting better. This worked and my periods came back like clockwork – I’ve always been very regular so that was good. Until… I stopped being regular.

Skip forward to February 2016, I had had a good year of natural period-ness with regular cycles, everything was cool. Then one month, I was 2 and a half weeks late. This wasn’t like me and I wasn’t pregnant. I even took a couple of tests to be sure. Nothing was working and my period was not coming. It threw me completely off guard and it probably ended up showing up later because I was worrying about it so much! It finally arrived and things were normal until it happened again a few months later.

I put it down to stress. Last year was shit and my stress levels had shot up like a rocket. They’re still not back to where they should be but 2017 hasn’t been quite so harsh… thankfully. Anyway, that was the only explanation because nothing else had changed. And as each new month was coming around, my period was coming early, then late. Then on the months where I needed it to turn up on time because I was going away, it didn’t. A 2.5 hour car journey to my boyfriend’s family’s house then laying in bed in pain all day and having to miss going in the hot tub was not my idea of fun.

So I took myself back to the doctors after a month of contemplating what to do, I had decided to go back on the pill. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more health conscious and the heavy side effects of Microgynon (blood clots predominantly) were weighing heavily on my mind. I thought about going back on it and worrying every day or if any tiny little symptoms came up I would be in a frenzy thinking I had a blood clot. And I couldn’t live like that.

So after extensive research, pros and cons lists, chats with my doctor and getting myself in a right 2 and 8, I was prescribed Zeletta, a progesterone-only pill which is generally safer to take that the combined pills like Microgynon. It’s safe for women over 35, smokers and those over-weight and although I am none of those, the fact that this one is deemed “safer” sat well with me. Whether it actually is is another matter but this is my own experience.

My only downside of taking this one is that my periods have stopped. I was told that it was likely they would get lighter – especially during the first few months – and then gradually stop after a year or so. But since starting it 3 months ago, I haven’t had a single period. And it kinda makes me sad. As much as they sucked, they were a nice reminder that everything was working as it should down there. And I miss that comfort. But on the other side of the coin, it has been utterly brilliant knowing that it doesn’t matter when I book to go away or go anywhere, I don’t have to worry about Flow turning up, catching me off guard and ruining my day!

My only other side effects of Zelleta are terrible skin – I’ve had permanent breakouts since pretty much the day after I started taking it. It’s annoying but nothing that can’t be covered up. And I’ve had the odd spotting episode. The first one which lasted around a week but wasn’t even heavy enough to warrant a panty-liner, let alone a pad and the next lasted for just a few days. I was told that side effects settle down after a few months and I’m 3 months in and barely had anything at all.

Personally, being on this pill has taken a few weights off my shoulders. And side effects haven’t been bad enough for me to have to go back to the doctor or stop it completely. The more common side effects are all pretty standard – the same ones you get with pretty much every type of medication ever; headaches, nausea etc. I’m happy on Zelleta so far, it’s personally worked fairly well for me. But as did Microgynon when I was on it; I don’t think I’m prone to side effects too much.

To anyone thinking about going on the pill, the most important thing ever is to do your research. Research different types of pill; there’s not just one and talk to your doctor. If they think it’s safe for you to take, trust them but pay attention to your own body. Note down any side effects you get, how long they last and if they’re a problem, head back to your GP to discuss it. Make sure you follow the instructions and take it as you should and don’t spend hours googling your symptoms! Because you will find forums with horror stories. It’s important to know the risks but it’s also important to remember that everyone will react to any contraceptive pill very, very differently.

I hope you enjoyed this more personal post from me! Do let me know if you’d like me to do more of them. Are you on the pill or ever been on one? What’s your experience been like? Let me know!

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47 thoughts on “My experience with…

  1. Great that you are sharing a very important post about female sexual health. I watched a programme on TV last night about teens and sex. It was very enlightening! I try to be very open with my daughter. I went with her to the doctor to get her first pill – and thereafter she went on her own. I sensed she was having sex (not sure exactly when she started!) and using a condom and I just wanted her to be safe and avoid pregnancy. The doctor congratulated me on bringing her! Which was nice. My mum was the same with me, open and non-judgmental so it’s nice to pass on that discussion about sex to the next generation.

  2. I was on the pill for a looooong time. I went through several versions of it because my university’s health center kept changing the brand they would give/prescribe. I found some that worked (Yaz! RIP) and some that didn’t (Loestrin turned me into a hormonal, raving lunatic). I went off it for a long time and now have the arm implant (can’t remember the name, but it’s the one the NHS provides). It’s good for 3 years and I don’t need to think about it! I also have been forever terrified of getting pregnant and this is the first time in my life I’m not using condoms. The only reason for this is that I’m with my fiance whom I trust completely and we are both clean!

    Thank you for talking about things like this. As a blogger with your reach, you’re helping educate younger readers on sexual health and normalise this kind of talk!

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment, my only aim was to share my personal experience so people know that everyone is different when it comes to these things. What works for 1 person, might not work for someone else! What a pain they kept changing yours! I’m glad you found the implant works. That’s always been in the back of my mind but honestly, the thought of having it put in makes me cringe so bad! I kinda like being the one in control – actually having to take the pill every morning because I feel like I’m putting it in my own hands.

      • My problem is that I always forget to take the pill! I can set alarms, put it next to the bathroom sink, carry it with me, but I somehow always forget!

        There have been some side effects. My periods tend to last a lot longer (7-10 days instead of 4-5), but for me the trade off of never thinking about it is worth it.

  3. I’m on an extended-cycle pill and I love it. I only get my period four times a year, they’re much lighter, and the cramps are much more manageable. I hear so many horror stories about birth control pills on the Internet, its nice to hear from someone who is happy on their pill for once.

    • Thr horror stories are bloody awful aren’t they? I get that you have to be cautious and do your research but the main thing is to talk to your OWN doctor and see what’s that for you!

  4. Great post, thank you Jenny. My daughter is experimenting with different types of pill at the moment and hates them all, and is really struggling with the side effects. Sharing this with her has been really helpful. 😀

  5. I could never go on the pill because my family (both mom and grandmother) have blood clots. My mom has been hospitalized twice because of them dislodging and causing heart attacks. It was a pain in my youth and it’s a pain now, since I had a hysterectomy and could use them to balance out a lack of hormones. Oh well. I know there is controversy, but I think (as with most things that are under controversy) that we need to do what is best for us and ignore what others think. People are way too pushy when it comes to other people’s lives. Ugh. good luck with this new one. I hope it works for you. A dermatologist might be able to get you a face soap that will counteract the pill’s side effects. 🙂

    • That’s a great idea about the dermatologist. I’m going back to the doctors next week for my 3 month review so I might bring it up with her then! Agh that’s a shame that you can’t and have never been able to go on the pill but for very good reasons and you definitely can’t risk anything which such a strong family link to BC.

  6. I was on the pill very early to help with the pain, but when I was diagnosed with endometriosis we changed my medication and now I’m happy I don’t have to remember to take it and when, and which week is off… I don’t remember side effects, I might have been lucky on this case! 🙂

  7. I had a similar experience with the Depo shot. I started it when i was 15 and I stayed on it until I was about 19. Once I got off, I had that same stomach pain and I thought I was dying. Turns out, my periods were just so backed up from not having them for 5 years. Once I did have my first period afterwards (about 6 months) I felt great. I did try to take the pill but, I just could never remember to take them at a certain time or with me if I was going to be spending the night somewhere other than my place. As of right now, I’m not on anything and I’m fine with it. I’m not seeing anyone anyway so I’m just enjoying being “normal” I guess lol. I really loved the Depo because I didn’t have to deal with periods but, it’s whatever. That’s part of being a woman. Thank you for this post and being so open!

    • Hmmm! My stomach pain couldn’t have been that because I continued to have periods on the other pill. That’s strange. I liked my “normal” phase too. I liked not having any extra hormones in me and having a cycle as usual. You’re welcome!

  8. such an important post, thanks for sharing your experience, more people need to understand the effects of the pill. Mine stopped my periods completely! x (UnderBeautyS)

  9. I love this post! I love personal things like this on something that is important to talk about! I was very uneducated on birth control contraceptives, but I have been on a DepoProvera shot for over a year now, that’s the only one I’ve tried so far.. seems to work well, as I only get the shot every 3 months. The idea of a pill seems scary because I know I’d forget to take it at the same time every day, but that’s good you didn’t experience much side effects!

    • I’ve heard the Depo shot a lot in this post and I’ve never heard of it before! The pill is okay because it becomes just a part of your daily routine, I even put “take pill” on my to-do list JUST IN CASE

  10. This is a great personal post! I agree completely with you that you have to do your research before going on the pill. I tried going on it for 3 months, I was on Rigevidon, and it just made me really angry all the time and a couple of other side effects.. so I decided to stop taking it altogether

    Ronnie
    http://www.veronicabizzarri.com
    xx

  11. I was on the same pill as you when I went on it at 15 and I got awful migraines. I’ve been on marvalon for the last 5 years and I haven’t had anything bad with them I don’t think. I really admire bloggers like you who talk about the taboo subjects of women’s health. Love the post too x

  12. Love to read a personal post. I came off the pill about 1.5years ago and 10years of crippling anxiety has drastically improved.
    Great topic x

  13. After 20 years on the pill, I switched to an Implanon implant. It’s 100% the best thing I have ever did. No mood swings, no horrendous monthly migraine, no random crying fits and (thank God!) no periods. It lasts three years, goes in your upper arm and requires only a local anaesthetic to insert/remove. If you’re in a stable situation and are not planning a family in three years, I highly recommend researching into it. I’m on my fourth one and I intend to keep using it right through until the end of menopause.

    • I went with a school friend when she got hers inserted in sixth form because I was thinking about it then. I’ve heard a LOT about it; mostly positive. It does seem like a totally easy and safe form of contraception but the thing I LIKE about the pill is actually having the control and the responsibility in my own hands every day to have to take it. Which is funny cos it’s the thing most people hate about it! Definitely not thinking about starting a family in 3 years so might consider it further!

  14. When I was on the mini pill my periods stopped to but over time my skin got worse and worse and the other hormonal symptoms I was taking it to mask started coming back so I came off it and haven’t looked back but contraception wasn’t an issue for me because I’m gay.
    I hope it continues to work for you.

    V ❤
    http://sirvikalot.wordpress.com

    • Yeah I’ve literally had exactly the same experience as you… My periods have stopped and my skin is quite bad. Not MASSIVLEY bad like it could be a lot worse but it’s still not ideal is it?

  15. I am so happy you wrote this! We need to be so much more open about this sort of stuff. I stopped taking the pill over a year ago, but I didn’t have too many issues with it really. I am probably going to go back to it soon. Great post! x

    • Glad to hear you didn’t have many issues with it! You seem kinda similar to me, I just didn’t wanna take it anymore. Not for any particular reason or because of any particular side effect! And I agree; it’s not a dirty topic. It’s important and the more awareness and information young girls have, the better, surly?

  16. Good that you’ve found something that works for you. I’ve never tried the pill. I didn’t think I’d remember to take it everyday so got the implant at 17. I’ve had it since, having it replaces after 3 years when needed. It works well especially with travelling and there’s nothing to remember also I have been 1 of the 1 in 5 lucky girls for whom it has stopped all periods. Also very confident when travelling.

    • I’ve heard so many positive things about the implant since writing this post. If the pill doesn’t work out for me it’ll definitely be something I’ll consider. I can imagine it’s great for travelling; you literally don’t have to think about a thing!

  17. I’m so glad you felt confident enough to share this type of post. You’ve got such a great reaction which shows it was definitely worth it. For me personally, I’m 24 and tried not to put any type of pills inside my body but get severe pains every month: will definitely speak to someone about this one you’re on though!

    • Definitely something worth thinking about if your monthly period pains are really, really bad and unbearable! I used to have terrible pains most months. When I was in school, I remember coming home and laying on the sofa because they were so bad and I literally couldn’t get up. The one I’m on can make your periods lighter, less painful and more manageable. It can also make them irregular but I’ve been told that would settle down! Luckily for me, they’ve stopped mine completely!

    • Absolutely not! Just DON’T research horror stories haha! Talk to your doctor I literally turned up with a whole notebook of questions before I agreed to anything. That’s what they’re there for!

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