16 February 2012

Cas + The Contraceptive Pill Aftermath = Let Battle Commence . . {I will beat you} . .

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For the past 3-4months I have been debating whether or not to blog about my experience on the contraceptive pill, but I often came to writing the blog title and then closing shortly after. I don't quite know why, perhaps because it's such a sensitive and personal experience that only my mum knows about. The fact that I am sharing my experience with you today is to highlight that not everyones' experience is as 'hunky dory' as many might assume. But before I start I just want to make it perfectly clear that I am not here to scare, frighten or scaremonge about the contraceptive pill; I am no Dr/Nurse and I am not medically trained. I am purely blogging about my personal experience on the contraceptive pill.

2005 one got into a new relationship and did the mature thing and got onto the pill. At that point amongst my friends and I being on the pill was the 'coolest' thing (yes I know naive -,-) and of course the most safest thing against unwanted pregnancies. Of course the Drs did their usual checks; blood pressure, checked family history, and advised to use condoms as a 'double back up' precaution. Many people I believe never stay on their first pill after having too much trouble and often switch to different ones until they are settled on one they are happy with. I started on Microgynon 30 and stayed with that until the day I took myself off it in November 2010 which was the start of something I am currently still battling today. 

I became very unwell during the end of November 2010, to the point where Drs didn't have a clue what the heck was wrong with me. I was experiencing excruciating leg pains, and I had not long returned from a holiday in the US. Of course, the Drs put 2&2 together and immediately thought Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and I was fast tracked through so many tests and scans to double check all was well (thankfully I was clear). At that point during the investigation no-one told me to stop taking the pill, and of course I was already feeling unwell, anxious, scared and sick with worry, and so for my own sake, I just took myself off the pill and threw out the remaining 8 months supply of pills in the wheelie bin (ta-ta!). After I threw them out, I then realised it was now a matter of playing the waiting game for the return of the 'Phantom Cycle'. Having done internet research (good ol google) and had a brief telephone call with the nurse, I estimated about a month or so my cycle would make a welcome entrace and I'd be back on track . . . but that was not the case. 

Weeks and weeks passed and I saw nothing, so I became slightly concerned and went to my GP, who too said it was a little strange. I was told to give it a further 6months and if nothing happened but to come back where I'd undergo further investigation. Hoping and praying that something would happen, I ended up having several blood tests that showed some abnormality. Those blood tests were repeated again and the abnormality was still present but had risen, and so I was referred to a consultant at the hospital. (I give my Drs credit as they were on the ball, and I only had to wait 6weeks).

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 Having met with the consultant who requested further tests, and an MRI scan of my brain, it turns out I have a teeny tiny growth on my piturity gland which he believes is the main culprit for my absent cycle! Before I was on the pill my cycle was fine, painful but it was fine. But since being on the pill and coming off it, it's gone awol and I am pretty certain it's the pill that has upset the chemical balance in my body and not returned to how it was several years ago. I am now on medication for 3 months which *prays* I hope gets the ball rolling after 18months (yes . . 18months!) of playing the waiting game, otherwise I have absolutely no idea what the next move will be. But right now I am trying not to think about it too much and plod on like normal.

Having done a bit of research into this whole issue, it turns out there are quite a few women out there who too have experienced complications since stopping the contraceptive pill; some women even becoming diabetic and some finding it very difficult to conceive as a result of stopping the contraceptive pill. None of this information when I was in my late teens was ever mentioned to me, and I only wish I had done thorough research before joining the 'cool' wagon many moons ago. I am not condemning the contraceptive pill at all, just that from my experience it hasn't been as good as some women may have experienced. 

So basically what I am trying to say is - if you are on the contraceptive pill or planning on going onto the pill, do your research, talk to your local family planning clinic, go for your 6 monthly checks, and if you're not happy being on the pill for a long period of time - talk with a dr/nurse. If you feel something isn't right, you don't feel right or you experience any sort of leg pain, get it checked out. I just wish I had looked into it all thoroughly before going onto the pill several years ago.

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I hope some of you have found this blog post insightful.


14 comments:

  1. I can not agree with you more on this. I came off the pill in August and haven't had a period since. I'm hoping that my body will return to normal in time (with reduced exercise and an increase in my weight) but I wish I'd never started taking the pill in the first place (I was also on mircogion 30). Women should be better educated about these risks when they start taking it! Thanks for blogging about this!

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  2. I really admire you for writing this.

    I feel that many doctors & nurses sometimes just try and push people into taking the pill without letting people know the side effects and risks. The amount of times I've been told to go on the pill to try and regulate my periods (I have PCOS) it's crazy. I each time inform the nurse/doctor that I have a family history of varicose veins they don't seem to a bat an eyelid and still suggest it.

    I hope that the medication you're on gets things sorted out for you. :) x

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  3. Thank you for sharing this experience and I really hope you get the answers and outcome you need soon!

    I think health care providers push the big pill onto teenagers because then at least they can say well we offered it, we have it, they have the chance to look after themselves and not get pregnant. Rather then being informative and saying things step by step, this might be the outcomes, this might be the side effects. In a way I had this with just antibiotics - they give you it for one reason but don't explain what might happen if you take it [like my huge rash].

    I myself have never been on the pill and I'm 25 and married and have a good sex life. I know condoms aren't cheap but I'm always a little paranoid about the tablets I take and the scare warnings about how you're periods might get once you come off the pill [and I'd only come off it to try and have a baby] and that not happening to plan always put me off. I guess I'm lucky to have a guy that will stop for a minute and stick a condom on too.

    I guess we all try to do the best for ourselves but when we don't have or be given all the information it makes the decisions and the choices even harder.

    Best of luck for you though girl x

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  4. CAS! I am so pleased you have written about this, I was also extremely naive and I think young girls need to have the risks and side effects of the pill drilled into them. I started on the pill 5 years ago, I can't remember which one it was but my nurse soon changed me to Microgynon 30, up until October of last year I had no problems. From October onwards I missed 4 months worth of periods, I went to the nurse and she said she couldn't understand why and advised me to come off, just to give my body a bit of a 'break' and see how things went. I've been off the pill for a month now, all I can say is, I don't quite remember being in so much pain at that time of the month, but I don't think I'll ever go back on the pill again, I feel much happier and more safe knowing I'm not using them. I hope the medication works for you and your back to normal soon, thank you for sharing this! xx

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  5. Poor you! Microgynon 30 is a high dose pill, I dont know why docs/nurses are so quick to put women on this one. Madness! Hope things get back to normal soon hun xx

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  6. Microgynon 30 i understand is the cheapest available to the NHS therefore as women don't pay for the contraceptive pill this is the one Dr's are more likely to prescribe in the first instance. I am sorry for your problems though and they should highlight the risks better when issuing them, though it is probably all written in small print hieroglyphics somewhere for us to search for ourself :)

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  7. I was on 'the devil pill' microgynon until i took myself off it around 3-4 years ago now...it made me have terrible mood swings and put on weight. I didnt have a normal period for about a year but they did get back to normal eventually however i would never take the pill again and would definitely suggest other alternatives to those who are considering contraception. x

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  8. Sorry to hear about the problems you've had. I've been on Microgynon for the last 2/3 years and so far had no problems.. I have to say I am a bit paranoid about the pill so occasionally give myself a few weeks break. I've now got moved onto a new type, but made by the same company. This has made me wary though I'll be sure to look in to other types of contraceptive, maybe switch it up a bit for a while.

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  9. Thank you for writing this post. I'm on Microgynon and although I've never had any problems, I also understand that it's the cheapest which is why it is so commonly prescribed & this worries me slightly. I've started experiencing some severe headaches during my pill free days and have been advised to use three packs back to back- does anyone have experience of this? I like the control that the pill gives me but am aware that to have the effects, it's one powerful little pill that I'm putting into my body every day.

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  10. Heard so much bad stuff about this pill :) Liked this post, I seem to of started all these posts off after my implant :D
    Great post!

    Lucy
    http://lucyywrites01.blogspot.com
    xx

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  11. I'd like to mention that, much like when you first started having periods, your body can take up to 6 months to settle into a routine when you start, switch or go completely off contraceptive pills. Changes to your contraceptive method where the pill is or has been used can & often do cause all the usual problems that a lot of girls go through when they first start their periods. I recently switched pills from Microgynon (the combined pill) to Cerazette (the mini pill) & I've had a continuous period for the past 3 weeks. This is most unlike me, as mine used to be bang on one week before I was on the pill, then went down to four days when I was on Microgynon. However, I also know this is very normal for myself too. Before settling on Microgynon, I tried Dianette, I didn't last very long on it as I suffered with cramps on which is a common side effect. I get period pains a lot, but for whatever reason I wimped out & took myself off the pill. I then went back on the pill, this time trying Microgynon & stuck with it for 2 years. Each and every time I've started or come off or switched my pill, it's messed my periods up for a little while.

    Now I'm not saying that Cas' story isn't important - it is. But, it is worth being aware of what is common. It is common to suffer a side effect & end up switching pills to find the right one for you, the pill is just like any other medication, it's not a one pill fits everyone idea.

    However, if you do think you're suffering from a side effect, it is worth informing your Dr. They can tell you if there is any need to be concerned & direct you from there. Without wanting to scare anyone, medicinal drugs are not tested on humans on a long term scale. All drugs have to pass testing to prove they are not immediately harmful, but longterm damage is only discovered through prolonged use. If a patient goes to their Dr suffering from a side effect of a medication they are on, their GP must make a note of this. Certain side effects are considered a higher priority (the usual obviously dangerous ones, struggling to breathe, chest pain, etc). If a patient reports a high level side effect then their GP must fill out a specific form which then informs the manufacturer & the health authority. If enough people report a side effect, the drug will be investigated, BUT that a) rarely happens & b) is the only way prolonged problems are discovered.

    In any case, for most women it is purely the fact they are, to put it bluntly, messing around with their hormones. For some women their body doesn't like it much OR you could have an undiagnosed issue with your hormones. Either way, there's no harm in knowing what's normal for yourself & keeping your Dr informed of any worries.

    Steph xx

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  12. Also, from reading people's comments, it's clear a lot of GP's & nurses are VERY lax on the explanation of medications which I find shocking!

    I always go to my local sexual health clinic to get new pills as it's easier & faster. As it is nurse led, they pretty much toe the line as they don't have the same legal protection as GP's. So, when my blood pressure started rising, I was told the pills I was given would be my last unless I went through my GP. Everytime I've been to collect pills or had any conversation really regarding the pill, my GP or nurse has gone over the possible side effects & the risks involved. I now feel very lucky that I have always been kept well informed as from what I've heard, not just from comments on this post, a lot of GP's & nurses are being bloody lazy. My advice, I'd your GP or nurse is trying to get you to take something, make sure you get them to tell you the possible risks & the side effects. Don't let them fob you off with 'oh it's all in the leaflet' as by that time you'll have paid for or just wasted a prescription & meds you may not use. Get them to do their job & inform you properly.

    Also, it's adsvised that you don't stay on the pill for longer than 5 years, including if you've changed pills. It's advised you'd come off the pill for at least 6 months-1 year & use an alternative method if you have been on the pill for 5 years or longer. This goes for both the combined & mini pill.

    It's also true that Microgynon is the cheapest pill available on the NHS, which is why it's most GP's first port of call. It has been known to cause mood swings & cramps BUT can also do the opposite (which it did for me - thank God!). If you're thinking of changing pills, I'd say do your research, ask other women if any of them are on the pills you're considering & then go to your GP & asked to be switched to a specific pill. It might sound bad that I'm suggesting you do a GP's job for them, but really, no one knows your body better than you.

    Steph xx

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  13. Bless your heart for sharing your intimate battle with us and I pray you find the ideal medication so you can return to full health. I actually came here looking for makeup entries (Illamasqua reviews to be precise) and I am glad this caught my eye instead. I have suffered from dysmenorrhea (very painful periods) for over a decade now, started with Microgynon several years ago as part of a treatment course prescribed by my private gynecologist, after promises that it will be the cure to all my complicated pms issues. He was WRONG! Years on and several pills later (cerazette, yasmin, norithesone and other hormone balancing pills) I am still battling my symptoms and my body is far from adjusting to its natural (albeit very painful periods) state. I swallowed my last mini-pill last September and haven't looked back. I had severe bleeding for months after that and decided to take matters into my own hands, researching all sorts of alternative treatments for PCOS, severe PMS and heavy painful periods. I am not quite near normal health but I am much closer than I would ever be if I stayed on the pill. Back in October, a GP put me on a three month course of Microgynon AGAIN! I diligently walked out of her consultation room and ripped the prescription. I know everyone's body is different and that is why I now listen to my body more than my GPs or nurses are willing to. Like you, I suffered severe leg pains, I gained significant weight (from a size 6/8 to a full size 12 notably around my waist, face and breasts), I was suicidal, came close to losing my job, had no stamina or sex drive, lost my zeal for life as well as a few relationships and friendships thanks to my terrible mood swings and basically chose a life of solitude as I couldn't bare to tell people what I had to go through every month. But your story has really touched me and your positive attitude about it all even more encouraging. I wish you the best with your health and I hope you will be inclined to do an updated post when all is back to normal. Thank you and all the other ladies who have shared their personal experiences. As they say, "a problem shared is a problem halved"

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  14. Im so happy i stumbled across this post, its fantastic that u have shared ur issues with us as it may inspire the rest of us to get sorted. I hope you get sorted soon and everythign returns to normal xx

    I went on the pill a good few years a go, had bad migranes from it and the doctor changed me to a progestrone only pill which work wonders, the migranes stopped. When i was heading travelling he recommended that i get the contraceptive injection which for the first 2 months made my periods go a bit haywire but settled down and did well with it for the duration of my travelling. I came home and decided to get the implant in my arm as my blood pressure had gone slightly higher than normal and the new lady doctor i got was really helpful, explained all the pros and cons. Went ahead and got it, WORST MISTAKE EVER it made me slightly mental, my hair and face were a big grease ball and I had a constant period, and I mean constant... It was horrendous, i gave it three months hoping it would settle but i nealry ran back to get the doc to pull it out. She put me on yasminelle. When i moved to the uk from ireland and went to the doc she told me that i had obv 'made up' this yasimelle as she had never heard of it... EH WHAT.... are u kidding me... So instead of listening to me she prescribed me yasmin, i told her that i thought this might be a bit strong for me as i am prone to migranes and she simply brushed off the comment. I took this pill and suffered the worst migranes i have ever experienced, lasting three days long each time, my boyf tried to drag me to the hosp one night it was that bad. I knew it was the pill and went back to take the head of the doc for not listening to me. Lucky for her I saw another male doctor, he didnt give a fook that my head was close to explosion from the migranes, said it could be a number of things, eh what do u not want to find out what the cause of them is, he laughed at me and said its nothing serious like a brain tumour... JESUS MARY AND JOSEPHINE i nearly killed him right there and then. Why i filled the prescription he gave me for a new pill is beyond me, but i needed to have the contraception so am currently on micronor... dont know much about it but have had a bit of breakthrough bleeding, hoping it will settle. So basically the moral of my storey is find a doc that listens to u and makes an effort to find u the right pill cause at the end of the day its your health and wellbeing at stake!!

    Woah sorry for the long post.

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