Going Off the Pill

I went on Depo Provera when I was 16 years old. It was the best birth control method in my young mind because I would get a quick needle every three months and it didn’t require me to take a pill every day. The possibility of barely having a period was also attractive. I trusted that if Depo Provera was a bad choice my doctor would inform me. Friends had made comments about it not being safe but I trusted my doctor would outline any negative effects and suggest better options if need be. Several years later I approached the campus doctor after hearing about potential bone loss. The doctor thought that Depo Provera was not a healthy long term option for me and switching to the pill would be best. It has now been 17 years of hormonal birth control, 13 of them on the pill, and now it is time to go off!

As a gal in my mid-30’s I do want to start preparing to get pregnant in the next year or so and I need to understand my natural cycle. I have been altering my hormonal cycle for 17 years – if I have any issues I would have no clue. Of course this is a bit scary too. What if I have reproductive issues? I think it is time to get these out of my system and let my body settle prior to trying.

Possible birth control side effects that I experienced included:

Yeast infections the week following my period. I had my doctor’s office calling after many pap tests that I had an infection but I had not shown any symptoms. They suggested probiotics which made me feel this was a side effect I had to live with. I had to learn what products made it worse including lube, bubble bath, and underwear. This taught me a lot about my own body but hearing from a doctor it was a common effect of hormonal birth control I was left feeling like I wasn’t given all the facts when I started the pill all those years before.

Depression has followed me throughout my teenage and adult years. I often wondered if this mental health mess was influenced by my birth control, if it was physiological, or if it was past experiences and how I was raised. Even to find a slight lightening of the depression will be a benefit of going off the pill.

Weight gain is the possible side effect that confuses me the most. Whether my weight gain was a part of my biology and genes or if it was related to birth control is unknown. I do know I haven’t eaten well or exercised most of my life. I don’t expect weight loss to be part of going off the pill. I started taking these things before my adult body had had fully taken form and this can be said about my brain too. Did these hormones have any negative effects?

The pill was a reliable method of birth control for me but now is time to move on.

I was on 28 day low dose birth control pills. I stopped taking my pills on a Saturday and had my period that week as expected. Come the Sunday I just didn’t start taking my pills again.

This first week without pills was also overlapped with the flu. It drained my energy for almost two weeks. I was exhausted but blamed the flu. There were no noticeable differences at all.

By the third week off the pill I started to question if there were noticeable differences. My vulva and nipples were more sensitive – or were they? My skin was worse – but was that a reflection of new products I had tried? I wasn’t positive if I was just imagining these effects.

By the fourth week I was expecting my period to possibly make an appearance. My vulva and nipples definitely were more sensitive. My bits were sensitive to everything, it almost felt like sensations had been turned up. My period did come along with slightly increased flow and cramping. I am liking the increased sensitivity and hope it is here to stay. I have been taking some steps towards taking better care of myself by doing some un-fun self-care like exercising and eating better which has been making me feel a bit better. I hope that “better” continues and I can start better managing my depression and anxiety.

Eventually I will be trying to conceive and going off the pill was a way for me too feel out and ensure my body is in its best form. This life change isn’t anticipated to be underway for another year or so but it is important to me to be healthy. This will also give me many new things to learn and write about. As a monogamous person I hadn’t used protection in many years. I got tested with my yearly physical and we used the pill as contraception. Our first challenge has been finding condoms that we both enjoy. We have ruled out Kimono’s due to size and so far are enjoying Trojan Magnum’s the most.

Overall, going off the pill was the best decision for me and my situation. What works for others may not be the same. I strongly feel that we each need to educate ourselves and make the best decision for our body and situation. This post is by no means a plea for others to follow suit!

 

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