Hey everyone, a little something different from me today, I’ve had this in my head for ages that I wanted to write about my journey since coming off the contraceptive pill and while I haven’t used this blog for books for a while I did want to use it to share this.
There will be A LOT of TMI in this post and if menstrual cycles creep you out, then you really need to grow up it’s literally a natural bodily function.
For those of you that are still sticking around, it’s a long one!
This should go without saying, but I am not a medical professional and everything within this post is my own experience and is no way meant to replace medical advice.
I am now into my 7th month of being contraceptive pill free, after a little over 10 years of being on it.
For a bit of background… I was put on the pill aged 15 after going to my doctor with heavy and painful periods. While the Dr did discuss with us that it was used as contraception my main purpose for taking it was to regulate my cycle and help me with the period pains and heavy flow.
And admittedly, it did help with these issues (more on that below).
Yearly after this I would go to the doctors for a check up of my weight and blood pressure before being described another years dose. My appts were a bit like this…
I do want to say that I never thought I had any issues while I was on the pill, I just thought that everything I was experiencing, mentally and physically, was perfectly normal and just something that everyone with a uterus went through. It’s only been in the last 7 months that I realised how much of this wasn’t normal.
But I’ll write more on that a bit further down…
Early in the pandemic, I started thinking about coming off the pill, but for various reasons, I decided against it. It was mid-way through then when I had a routine check-up and was prescribed another year’s dose, I went on my merry way to the chemist, only to be told that my contraceptive pill was incredibly hard to get hold of and they had no stock (apparently the same company were helping to produce the vaccines sooooo can’t really get arsey about that bit tbh🤷♀️).
I called my Dr to explain and without any warning or discussion or plan in place, I was changed to rigevidon. Until this point, I had been on brevinor, and my Dr did assure me that they were much in the same and I would be fine as I hadn’t had any issues in the last 10 years on my current pill…
And there began the worst 5 months of my life.
I experienced some of the worst physical side effects, constant headaches (in the same place consistently and painkillers would make zero difference), constant spots, constant sore boobs, regular nausea, excessive bloating, a change in appetite, alongside mental side effects including depression and extreme mood swings. At one particularly low point, I was having suicidal thoughts.
It was because of this that I decided to come off the pill.
I started with natural cycles, I placed an order and after taking my last pill packet in October and having a withdrawal bleed I started taking my temperature every morning and logging it into the app, along with details about my sex drive, my skin, any pain, and my moods.
I was dubious at first, I’d only ever really known the pill and having regular periods, but natural cycles has changed my life.
It’s encouraged me to read about how my cycle affects my mood, about cervical mucus (and let me tell you, I did not know that you could learn about variation in fertility through your discharge, my life was changed honestly), and just generally more about my cycle and how to treat my body at the different stages of my cycle.
At the grand old age of 26, I finally feel more in control of my cycle and my body.
Now I’m aware this part may be TMI for some people, but I wanted to highlight some of the differences between when I was on the pill and now I’m off the pill soooooo…
Also, side note, I am now obsessed with talking about my menstrual cycle, like I’m not just bringing it up in conversation randomly but I am so much more open about it in general and will not shy away from conversations about it.
WHILE TAKING THE PILL:
Yes my skin was clear and I could skip my withdrawal bleed if I wanted to, but I also had incredible period pains on day 1 and 2, to the point I’d be doubled over (something that my pill was supposed to help alleviate) and the bloating was off the chart and crazily uncomfortable.
The main things, that looking back I should not have let myself suffer with for so long, were intrusive thoughts, an incredibly low sex drive and a lack of emotions. I was numb to everything, I didn’t feel emotions, I felt as though I was behind a brick wall and nothing was coming through.
SINCE COMING OF THE PILL:
My skin isn’t overly clear, but it has pushed me to look deeper into my skincare routine and add extra steps – which is only a good thing! I get cramps, sort of a day before my period is due, but that’s it and the bloating is limited, it still happens but it’s manageable and I know my triggers for it.
And I actually feel things… while my emotions were initially all over the place after coming off the pill, they are now way more in line and I actually feel THINGS. I never used to cry, ever, but even TV adverts with puppies and I’m sobbing. It feels bizarre but also, after being so numb for so many years I feel like it’s just my brain releasing everything. Also, my sex drive has increased hugely, I would literally jump my bf’s bones every second of the day if I could lmao.
I just feel like a better person since coming off the pill.
I truly believe that being on the pill for 10 years was affecting my body and mind negatively. I think my body was telling me it was ready to come off and try something new, to give it a break from artificial hormones and just let her be free.
I feel more alive, I feel things, I feel emotions properly, I feel happier, I feel like me.
It’s definitely been a journey and a learning curve and I’m still learning things about myself and the whole process, I’m only 7 months in to being pill free, but I can hand on heart say I would not go back onto the contraceptive pill unless it was life or death and every other available option had been exhausted.
Oh lordy, that was a long one, though not as much TMI as I thought, unless I’m just immune to it lmao.
As I said before, I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice it’s simply my experiences of being on and now off the contraceptive pill.
I will say if you are considering coming off the pill, go for it. I came off mine midway through a yearly dose, so that I was able to go back onto it if I needed to, I had a back up supply so to speak. But, when tidying out my medication box the other day I finally threw those extra packs away and I am fully embracing the pill free life.
I’m also more than happy to chat about this in more detail so if you have a question don’t feel embarrassed to ask! You can see me on twitter too, if you want to DM instead of leaving a comment, I’m @WhatEmsReadingX
And thank you, if you read the entirety of this post, I know it was long but I needed to get A LOT out of my brain. Thank you, so much.