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The Birth Control Thread!

the Doctor

TRIBE Member
When you do miss two periods, does the buildup of uterine lining accumulate to 2-3 months worth, making the periods you do get abnormally heavy?
Exactly the opposite actually!

I think its important to quickly review the way combined oral contraceptives (estrogen and progestin) work to suppress pregnancy.

The role of continuous estrogen is to prevent ovulation. By providing a steady state of estrogen, the body is actually tricked into thinking it is pregnant and so the complex cycle of hormones is temporarily shut down. This means no eggs mature or are released while on the OCP. And you can't get preggers!

The role of progestin is 3-fold:
  1. It alters cervical mucous, making it harder for sperm to enter into the uterus
  2. It somehow alters the natural movements of the fallopian tubes which bring eggs to the uterus (if they are released),
  3. and lastly, it prevents the uterine lining from building up to any appreciable level which would allow for egg implantation (again, if somehowm they are released).

This last point is the real reason for breakthrough bleeding while on the pill: your uterine lining is actually thin and fragile, which may allow small blood vessels to break and bleed. This is more so the case with lower estrogen preparations (like the ring), as estrogen stabilizies the uterine lining.

After doing back to back pills/patch/ring, your preiod should be no more heavy than it has been previously. It may just seem that way since you havent menstruated in months!
 

ila

TRIBE Member
Very interesting.

One last question (if you or anyone else has time):

Do you use each Nuvaring for 4 weeks back-to-back or for 3 weeks back-to-back? So when I'd normally take my Nuvaring out, do I put a new one in, or leave the old one in until the week I'd normally be menstruating is up?

I'm going to assume the Nuvaring is like the pill and that it's only effective for 3 weeks.
 

starr

TRIBE Member
I think I've only done it once. So when you normally take your ring out you put a new one in right away.

AFAIK, it's only effective for 3 weeks, but if The Doctor doesn't get back to you, your pharmacist should/will be able to answer this question definitively as well.
 

the Doctor

TRIBE Member
I'm going to assume the Nuvaring is like the pill and that it's only effective for 3 weeks.
This one is off the record.

So in clinical trials, the nuvaring was found to have sufficient hormonal levels to prevent ovulation for up to 5 (five!) weeks. This will not be universal, as the higher your body mass index, the more hormone you will need for the same effect.

Generally speaking, I would recommend using it as specified, 3 weeks. This is not to cost you more $$, but to save you the tragic side effect of unwanted pregnancy. The worst thing would be that the hormone levels dip and then you ovulate! And .... you're pregnant.
 

ila

TRIBE Member
I should probably read the pack first haha.

I've just been really against the idea of missing periods - because I assumed it would cause some kind of torrential downpour when I did have a period and that I'd break out for the entirety of the skipped month(s) - so I haven't looked at the instructions on the pack concerning this.
 
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ila

TRIBE Member
This one is off the record.

So in clinical trials, the nuvaring was found to have sufficient hormonal levels to prevent ovulation for up to 5 (five!) weeks. This will not be universal, as the higher your body mass index, the more hormone you will need for the same effect.

Generally speaking, I would recommend using it as specified, 3 weeks. This is not to cost you more $$, but to save you the tragic side effect of unwanted pregnancy. The worst thing would be that the hormone levels dip and then you ovulate! And .... you're pregnant.
Great, thanks for your help. Much appreciated!

Pregnancy prevention is pretty key so I'll stick to three weeks when and if I decide to try this.
 

ila

TRIBE Member
Don't want to jinx it, but last cycle I doubled up on Nuva Rings and "missed" a period with no problems. No spotting, no zits, no mood swings. When I did get my period after the second ring, I noticed it was a little heavier and I was a little more crampy than usual but no big deal.

So hopefully this works again for my trip to Jamaica next week!! Thanks for the information, Doctor!!
 

skyparty

TRIBE Member
Don't want to jinx it, but last cycle I doubled up on Nuva Rings and "missed" a period with no problems. No spotting, no zits, no mood swings. When I did get my period after the second ring, I noticed it was a little heavier and I was a little more crampy than usual but no big deal.

!
If you do this more often, I promise you the flow will get better :)
 

r6bikerchick

TRIBE Member
K, so I'm reviving an old thread (a really old thread, actually, but given how long it's been around and active, I guess there's no end to the craziness of us women and our cycles).

First, I'm super-jealous of all you ladies who have stopped the BCP and gotten normal periods, right on time. I took my last BCP on April 30 and now it's June 11th...no period. I'll spare you the math - it's been six weeks. I don't think I'm preggers, but if I am, bring it on - this is the most asymptomatic pregnancy I've ever heard of (no breast tenderness, no bloating, no cramping, no weight gain, no nausea, no morning sickness...you get the point). I'm a candidate to end up on that show "I didn't know I was pregnant!...until I was having the baby" (I love TLC).

More likely, I think my system is rusty/dusty from misuse. I was on Triphasil 21 for 8 years and then switched two years ago to Yasmin. I guess the grass can always be greener though, as I *never* had any of the problems with either pill that you have been describing throughout this thread. About a year or more ago I started getting uncomfortable with the idea of years of synthetic hormone use and no natural monthly cycles. I finally convinced my man that I needed a break. I wish he was as supportive of this move as some other guys seem to have been, although I wasn't bitch-on-wheels manic crazy while on it either, although I did experience a few major bouts of depression over the years (funny that doctors never suggested I try stopping the pill to help...no, they'd rather prescribe anti-depressants and get me spending $ on twice as many pills).

Anyway, I'm hoping that my period will show up soon (hard to believe I'm looking forward to cramping, bad skin, and water weight). I used to work out like a superfiend and although I've cut back lately I think this could be part of what's taking so long to get my cycle going. Anything that I can do, naturally, to bring about ovulation? I eat pretty welll, I take vitamins and mineral supplements, I work out moderately on a regular basis and I try to have sex frequently (although loverman seems to be in the mood a lot less lately - I think he's totally terrified I'll get pg even though it doesn't appear that I'm ovulating yet).
 

r6bikerchick

TRIBE Member
So, funny that in less than twelve hours from posting that, I JUST got my period (sorry if that's a TMI newsflash) and I am so relieved. My body actually knows what to do without synthetic hormones!! Hallelujah! My back is a bit sore but I'm hoping the hellish cramps and heavy, week-long flow of teenagerdom is behind me.

And of course some of you are probably wondering "who the hell is this new person and why are we hearing about her menstrual cycle??" Lol...sorry. I've really been enjoying this board so far and figured I'd chip in my $0.02 on threads that I could relate to.

Happy weekend!
 
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rubytuesday

TRIBE Member
Good to hear r6bc! Having a longer than average cycle isn't unhealthy (if that's what ends up happening).

My bf likes me better off the pill even though I'm a ticking pregnancy bomb. We are both prepared to have an oops baby though, otherwise there's no way I'd be off the pill.

When I was on the pill my body was held at roughly the same hormonal state for 3 weeks (monophasic bcp). Now there are distinct phases, we both know when I'm fertile and he knows a bit earlier than me when I'm about to get my period (I'm not fully conscious of my death glares but he is).

I've been off bcp for about a year now. My boobs are the same size, my weight hasn't changed. My skin is a bit worse, because of the monthly hormonal shifts, and because of increased androgenic activity (the bcp I was on, marvelon, lowers androgenic activity). And this is tmi but while I didn't have a problem producing lube when I was on the pill, the difference between on and off is noticeable.
 

r6bikerchick

TRIBE Member
Ha, second forum I've been on where I've been dubbed "r6bc" (not that I mind - it's a long handle and really better suited to motorsports forums. I'm generally too lazy to change it, with the exception of ravelry, where I'm "r6knitterchick" :D).

Yeah, Yasmin was a monophase pill and I went on it so that I'd have the option of taking packs back-to-back in case there was ever an occasion where I didn't want to be having a period (amazingly, I think that only happened once and unfortunately I ended up with breakthrough bleeding, so so much for getting away with it, otherwise I sailed through every other major holiday/trip/wedding/etc.). I can't say I really noticed much difference when switching between pills, even though Triphasil was, natch, triphasic. I had a little bit of nausea and my skin freaked out before settling down, better than it was before.

I've gained weight since I was off the pill, but I think that's because I scaled back on the working out. I was feeling pretty paranoid that I had completely destroyed my fertility. Since it appears that's not the case, I'll probably feel a bit more confident upping my running at least, but no more marathon training in the near future.

I'm glad to hear that you and bf are ready for a just-in-case "oops" baby. It drives me crazy when couples have the attitude that it's not going to happen to them just because they don't want and/or aren't ready for a baby, even if they're using zero birth control. Maybe it's a sad commentary on my sex life (which I happen to think is pretty great and as long as it turns out that my hubby isn't up late watcing porn - see other thread, I think he does too), but I've never been so caught up "in the heat of the moment" that I haven't thought about the possible consequences of unprotected sex. Then again, as a teenager I was always the one thinking "I can't have sex! If I do, I'm sure I'll get pregnant AND I'll get AIDS." I wonder what my parents/teachers/whoever did to me to make me think that way? I'd love to have that power available in case I ever have teenagers.
 

girlnextdoor

TRIBE Member
finally!

i have finally found a birth control method that i'm totally happy with...HALLELUJAH!

i got the non-hormonal IUD and it's been fantastic! the first two months brought INCREDIBLY heavy periods so i was worried about how it was going to go but by the fourth month things have now evened out and it's pretty much back to normal. i don't have any cramping or other side effects. i love how carefree it is - i really don't think about it at all and love that it's good for 3 years! the non-hormonal IUD seems to get a ton of flack for bad side effects but that is not my experience at all. i wish i had discovered it years ago!
 

baby_girl

TRIBE Member
So I'm wondering if my pill makes me crazy or is it just me. Wondering if anyone else used Triquilar here.

I went on Triqular over ten years ago. I often wondered if maybe my mood swings and extreme pms was due to birth control but because I had been on the pill so long it was hard to judge.
Recently (four months ago) I finally ended a crazy relationship and decided that I would give my body a break and go off the pill. Soon I noticed my skin was acting up (i attributed this to being off the pill) and I felt "less crazy" than I had since I can remember....Now was this because i was finally away from my ex or being off the pill? Hard to tell. Also I found I was in really good shape (I always worked out but it seemed I was at least 5lbs lighter without trying.....again this could be that I'm not eating snacks regularly with the ex).
I really hoped that being irrational and the 5-10lbs weren't side effects of the pill because I had every intention to go back on it once I was dating again and felt like I gave my body a break.
Well I've been on it for a week and there have been some things that concern me. One is that I've gained at least 5lbs (seems to be mostly boobs and tummy). I don't know if there is this the result of being sick last week and not going super hard at the gym or the pill? I've also cried twice (really unprovoced) over the last week and feel a little emotionally off. Again who knows if this is the pill or maybe it's my own natural sensitivity and emotions making me "crazy".

I'm really really really hoping that I'm just being too sensitive and making a big deal out of nothing because I have a year worth of these pills and I want to be back on some sort of birth control pill.

Any other girls have experience with this pill??
 

r6bikerchick

TRIBE Member
I don't have any experience with Triquilar, specifically, but I've also read this thread in its entirety and it's VERY fair to say that the pill has crazy-making properties for many women and it's NOT just you! I know you don't want to hear that because you really want to be on the pill. And remember, symptoms generally subside and even out after 3-4 months, so yes, you could be having the issues you describe because of going back on the pill, but they will probably go away soon. You might have to work a little harder at the gym, or watch your meals a tiny bit more carefully for the weight issue. As for the emotions, even recognizing them and attributing them to the pill might make it easier for you to nip any crazy mood swings in the bud and feel more in control of them.

I'm probably biased because I really don't like the idea of synthetic hormones FORCING your body into an unnatural cycle, but on the other hand, I was on the pill for ten years so I'd be a hypocrite to suggest you shouldn't be on it. It was an excellent form of birth control for me and I really liked knowing to the day when I was going to be getting my period.

Good luck!
 
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MissBlu

TRIBE Member
i don't think the pill hormones are completely out of your system for at least a year. i was also on it for ten years and stopped completely about a year ago. it had some major effects on my moods, and now i only get all teary eyed the week before my period.

your hormones are probably out of whack a bit and will be adjusting again (4 months isn't really a full break, so your body is probably going WTF)
 

baby_girl

TRIBE Member
You might have to work a little harder at the gym, or watch your meals a tiny bit more carefully for the weight issue. As for the emotions, even recognizing them and attributing them to the pill might make it easier for you to nip any crazy mood swings in the bud and feel more in control of them.
I agree here that I may have to just work a little harder at the gym (nothing new as my body type is the type that has the propensity to gain weight) and I'm hoping that recognizing emotions will help as well. I'm starting to believe more and more that we have more control over our moods and outlooks (I guess I'm maturing) :)

i don't think the pill hormones are completely out of your system for at least a year. i was also on it for ten years and stopped completely about a year ago. it had some major effects on my moods, and now i only get all teary eyed the week before my period.

your hormones are probably out of whack a bit and will be adjusting again (4 months isn't really a full break, so your body is probably going WTF)
This was another thing I was wondering. I have one friend who claims that her doctor told her that it takes 6 months to get out of her system and another who claims her doctor said three months. Before I went off the pill a search on the net answered nothing. I couldnt find ONE consitent or reliable answer. So I'm not sure. A year seems a long time but then again I've been taking this pill EVERY DAY for OVER TEN YEARS.
 

caffiend

TRIBE Member
With respect to the above, it seems a bit crazy to me that it would take 3, 6 or even 12 months to eliminate the OCP from the body. If hormone levels decrease within 7 days to the point that the body can take over and you can ovulate (if you skip pills for more than 7 days), then the majority of hormone is likely gone by a month at the latest. It may take a period of months for the body to regulate menses after coming off the pill, but this is most likely due to endogenous hormone fluctuations, not due to residual OCP.
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
i asked my GP about that, and what she said was that you can start trying to get preggers a month after you stop taking your bcp, however some women's ovaries go into shutdown mode after so many years of being on the pill. so some women have trouble getting pregnant after they stop taking the pill, but it's not because of residual bcp hormones in your system.
 

Silvershadow

TRIBE Member
Popular birth control pills' safety weighed - Yahoo! News

Popular birth control pills' safety weighed
CBC – Wed, 1 Jun, 2011

Health Canada is reviewing two new studies that show Yasmin, the country's top-selling birth control pill, may put women at a higher risk of blood clots, CBC Marketplace has learned.

The studies were published in the British Medical Journal last month and report that women taking birth control pills containing drospirenone have 2.5 to three times the risk of suffering a blood clot than women on the safest pills on the market.

Most birth control pills contain progestin and estrogen, but only a handful use the synthetic hormone drospirenone for the progestin, including Yasmin and its sister pill, Yaz, which are manufactured by German-based Bayer.

In an email to CBC Marketplace, a Health Canada official said the department "is evaluating the recently published studies and is looking at available information to fully assess the risk of blood clots."

The email also said Health Canada is reviewing an announcement made May 27 by the European Medicines Agency that it is updating the product information accompanying oral contraceptives containing drospirenone to inform consumers of the increased risk with Yasmin and Yaz.

For now, however, Health Canada said it "considers that the benefits outweigh the risks when drospirenone-containing contraceptives are used as directed in the Canadian Product Monograph."

Health Canada's review comes on the heels of an announcement this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it, too, is reviewing new research that raises concerns about birth control pills containing drospirenone.

The FDA safety review covers all oral contraceptives made with drospirenone and will look at the risk of blood clots to women using those products.

All birth control pills carry a small risk of blood clots, but as CBC Marketplace reported earlier this year in Spinning a Pill, there are growing concerns about pills made with drospirenone.

Previous studies looking at blood clots for women taking pills containing drospirenone had conflicting findings. Two reported an increased risk of blood clots, while two — funded by Bayer — found no difference. Now, the FDA has commissioned an additional large study looking at all birth control pills and blood clot risk.

Women interviewed by CBC Marketplace said they wished they had known there was a small but significant increase in the risk of blood clots for those taking Yasmin and Yaz.

Class action lawsuits in Canada and the United States allege that drospirenone birth control pills lead to an increased risk of blood clots. Thousands of women have reported serious health issues, including pulmonary embolisms, after going on those pills. In some cases, deaths have been reported.

Bayer says its drospirenon-containing birth control pills Yasmin and Yaz carry no greater risk of blood clots.
 
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Persephone

TRIBE Member
^ this has been suspected for a while. I'm glad that Health Canada is continually updating its market authorisation and safety advice based on updated clinical research. This issue could be further addressed by setting up a registry to follow patients taking Yasmin and capture clot-related adverse events.
 

mariazmess

TRIBE Member
Got my IUD today. Wasn't the most comfortable procedure, but I feel fine now. The doctor said I might need a ride home and feel really crampy all afternoon, but I felt fine the whole time.

Better safe than sorry I suppose.
 

Dirty Girl

TRIBE Member
I saw something in zehrs the other day.

Feminine protective film.

I think thats what it was called. was supposed to stop you from getting preggie. like a condom I guess, but its like one of those listerine things that you stick on your tongue and it disolves, only you stick this up your twat. WTF ? im I that out of the loop?
 

mariazmess

TRIBE Member
from: Go Ask Alice!: Vaginal contraceptive film

Vaginal contraceptive film (VCF) is a soluble film — a super thin, wafer-like substance filled with spermicide, usually nonoxynol-9 — that's inserted into the vagina before intercourse and then "melts," delivering spermicide (chemicals that kill sperm) into the vagina. Nonoxynol-9 spermicide is also available in jelly, cream, foam, suppository, and tablet forms, and is coated on some lubed condoms; however, these condoms have been found to offer no more protection against pregnancy than those without spermicidal lube.

VCF, when used alone, is far less effective against pregnancy than a condom, which, when used consistently and correctly, offers a 97 percent protection rate. VCF seems to be most effective when used as a back up with another form of birth control. As far as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are concerned, VCF does not protect against them. The only form of birth control effective for STI prevention is a condom.

The following ideas can help increase the contraceptive effectiveness of VCF:

Using dry, clean fingers, insert one VCF sheet into your vagina, making sure it's placed on or near your cervix.
Wait at least fifteen minutes after insertion to allow the VCF to dissolve in the vagina before having intercourse.
Use a new VCF for each sex session as a single application is good for up to only one hour after initial insertion.
 

rubytuesday

TRIBE Member
i have finally found a birth control method that i'm totally happy with...HALLELUJAH!

i got the non-hormonal IUD and it's been fantastic! the first two months brought INCREDIBLY heavy periods so i was worried about how it was going to go but by the fourth month things have now evened out and it's pretty much back to normal. i don't have any cramping or other side effects. i love how carefree it is - i really don't think about it at all and love that it's good for 3 years! the non-hormonal IUD seems to get a ton of flack for bad side effects but that is not my experience at all. i wish i had discovered it years ago!
Do you still love it?

I'm going to talk to my doctor about this at my next physical, I don't want to get pregnant again for 2-3 years and am considering getting one.
 
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