Posts Tagged ‘know’

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Soapbox 12: What Every Woman Should Know Before Taking Hormonal Birth Control

October 13, 2015

Hormonal birth control. It is this magical pill that stops heavy periods and extreme mood swings, but at the same time, prevents pregnancy. What could be better?

This is the convincing logic that is used to push young women who plan to become sexually active into using hormonal birth control rather than contraceptives that do not trick and change the body. I myself was convinced that this was the way I should go when I got married, so without hesitation, I jumped on ‘the pill’ bandwagon.

For the first year, I was severely depressed and I thought it was caused by other things in my life. I was lucky and switched birth control after the year and discovered that with the lower dose of drugs, I could be generally happy again. This is one of the first things that my doctor neglected to warn me about. Taking the birth control can cause depression. If you are on the pill and find yourself unhappy, ask your doctor about changing your medication.

For the second and third years, I enjoyed the benefits of the pill. I had barely any bleeding, I did not have to worry about having a baby and I did not really have mood swings. At the end of the third year, something terrible happened. Regulation forced the company making my birth control into releasing the formula, allowing generics to be made, but instead of making the drug up to the point when the generics would be released, they cut off supply 3 months early, so they would not have any drugs left over and lose money. Because of this, I was up a creek without a paddle.

Rather than going to my doctor, I decided that it might be a good time to get off hormonal birth control. I went off of it cold turkey. This was a terrible decision. My body had been used to drugs regulating it for so long, it had basically forgotten that it could make the chemicals I needed for itself. I fell into a severe depression where I did not want to do anything for days. Simple tasks that normally were no big deal were overwhelming. My world felt like it was crumbling and I could do nothing about it.

My periods came back, but they are not as regular as they were before and my mood swings are far worse than they were before. It took me a full year to get back to where my body created enough correct hormones that I do not go on a long rollercoaster of depression before every period and I could feel normal again.

This is what they don’t tell you. When you get off the pill, be prepared for withdrawl. Your body is changed because it no longer creates the hormones your body needs to self-regulate. I can’t even imagine what type of hormonal rollercoaster I would have been on had my body gotten pregnant in that time.

The bottom line is that we need to be told ALL of the risks of birth control when starting out, not just the good ones. Everyone talks about the risk of stroke, but no one talks about the risk for depression or getting your body back to normal after deciding to go off the drug. Hormonal birth control is not a symptom free cure all. I do believe that the hormonal therapy this causes your body to go through is a huge blessing and even necessary for some, but it is not right for everyone. If you have any history of depression in your family, I highly recommend not taking this drug because coming off of it will make your depression worse.