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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Possibly Switching Birth Control Pill Brands (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Possibly Switching Birth Control Pill Brands
copper86
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Hello;

This is a connection to one other thread of mine, but since I have specific questions about switching brands and when, I decided to post this message here.

I've been having a bad problem with breakthrough bleeding since last Wednesday. The flow was always light and almost regular on the fourth day; then tapered off. So, the following Wednesday, I started my placebo week and I all of a sudden bled regular and then heavy; so I'm assuming I'm now on my bleed. This has never happened on this pill brand before; and I'm now seriously considering switching.

I'm currently taking Linessa 28, and have been for 11 months. I really love this pill, and I'd hate to switch; but I really can't stand bleeding for almost 11 days and feeling very scared and worried for my health. My mother and I are calling our family doctor on Monday, and I'd like to talk to her about my options if I were to switch brands.

My pill is a triphasic pill and so I know that the hormone levels change every week. I've looked at the amount of estrogen in the pills, though, and that always stays the same while the other hormone gradually increases. I was on a triphasic pill last time and still got breakthrough bleeding; so could I ask her about a monophasic (sp?) pill brand?

My last question has to do with when I take my new pack of Linessa and switching. I'm supposed to start my new pack this coming Wednesday; so I want to see my doctor before then so I can switch to my next cycle if I do decide to switch. If I can't see her before Wednesday, I will start my pack anyway; but that would mean that if I did switch brands, I would have to wait an extra month to actually change, right? I'm not sure if this will be a one-off cycle and I won't bleed like this until my placebos; but I am scared to wait it out. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know I can't just take a few Linessa pills and then jump over to a new brand the next day. I'd just really like this problem resolved. Thank you for reading this long post!

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Robin Lee
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Hey Copper,

Your doctor would be the best person to ask all of these things. [Smile]

No, stopping a pack in the middle isn't what you want, particularly since you're using it as birth control.

I don't know whether it would make a difference or not, but certainly you can ask your doctor about monophasic pills.

Knowing how much anxiety you've had around your pill, I'm wondering if you could use this appointment to discuss other birth control options?

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Robin!

I will definitely ask my doctor. I'll probably make a list of questions. What I meant was not stopping my pills at all; but I'd be nervous to make the switch and keep on taking Linessa for another month and only then start a new brand. I want to ask my doctor as well if she thinks this particular cycle of mine was a random thing or if it will persist; because I love this pill and it's the first time it's happened.

I will as about monophasic pills or just about what dosage she thinks is best. I know you have to experiment with different pill brands to find the best one; so I'm going to try and be optimistic.

Have you ever heard of someone bleeding for this long? I've searched forums here and have seen cases similar to mine, which made me feel a bit better about not being alone with this.

I can always bring up IUD's and talk about prices and stuff, but I really do like using the pill as contraception. Since my mother does not know about my sex life, the doctor can't in any way relay this information to her, correct? It'd be pretty horrifying to explain myself to the doctor privately and then my mom walks in for an update and she just discloses everything.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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No, the doctor can't in any way relay anything you talk about. To make extra sure, you can let her know that when your Mom comes in, you don't want anything about your sex life talked about.

I hope you know me well enough by now to know that I say this with the greatest gentleness, but I'm a little baffled to hear you say that you love the pill, when you've come here so many times feeling panicked about it. *gentle smile*

As I think we've talked about in other threads, there's a lot more that controls menstruation besides what the pill does. Knowing that, having this kind of bleeding occur occasionally isn't all that unusual, or all that indicative of something being horribly wrong, so long as you're up to date with your reproductive health care in general. Just checking: are you still bleeding?

Perhaps you can talk a little about what alarms you so much about this bleeding?

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Robin

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Robin Lee
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Hey Copper,

and..as I was washing my face, I realized too that your Mom doesn't even have to come into the exam room for an update unless you want her too. You're an adult, and, given where you live, she's not paying for your medical care, so....everything about your medical care is entirely up to you.

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Robin,

I know what you're saying about how I'm acting hypocritical in a sense. I guess what I mean is that taking the pill - now that I know when it gets absorbed and what can affect its absorption - feels like a good fit for me. I meant also that I really like this brand of pill... Until more recently, I guess. I was trying to work on being less panicked about it, but this didn't really help. I will still talk to her about other options too; especially the IUD.

Yes, I'm still bleeding now. When I checked last, my flow was regular and not heavy like yesterday. That is why I think it's my bleed.

I guess I'm so worried because it came at a time when I was not expecting it; then I had a period after bleeding for 8 days; and I'm afraid it's symptomatic of a disease or that I'm anemic. I've had cramps and stuff, but no other abdominal pain or pain while urinating or weird discharge; so I'm hoping it's not an infection. The pharmacist whom my mother called told me that this is common and can easily be stress-related; and the past three weeks have been unpleasant in that regard. Little things piled up and I couldn't handle them.

I really want to see the doctor as soon as possible so she can help me figure out the causes of this and if it's anything bad. That's what really scares me. And I'm kind of afraid I won't stop bleeding, yet I know that's unlikely. Doctors can't examine me until I've stopped, so that too is a factor.

Thank you for what you said about my doctor. I'm quite relieved that they have those confidentiality laws.

[ 08-25-2012, 01:37 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hey Copper,

Please know that I wasn't calling you a hypocrite. [Smile] I was just a little confused. Definitely hear what you're saying about feeling more secure now that you have more education about it.

Doctors can examine you if you're still bleeding if there's a problem they need to look for. They prefer not to do the regular exam when you're bleeding (though a doctor once did for me because that was the only time I could see a doctor for a long while) but that doesn't mean they don't examine if there seems reason to.

Medical researchers are only just getting a good sense of how much stres affects the body, but they're finding that it's pretty potent!

When was the last time you had a pelvic exam? The likelihood that this is a symptom of some larger problem is pretty slim if you're up-to-date on your health care.

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Robin

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copper86
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I know that you weren't calling me one, don't worry! I was merely using that word for my own reasons. [Smile]

I do feel more secure about the pill now that you and so many others have helped me out with my questions and concerns.

My healthcare is kind of a weird event. My first and last pap smear and physical was on December 19 or 20th 2011. She took a blood sample but my urine sample was compromised because I started my bleed shortly afterwards. I was never called back regarding my blood sample but I was told to come back for a urine sample; which couldn't occur because I was no longer a student, no longer living there, and had no access to the clinic or to their student insurance or health services. When she did examine me internally (very strange), she said she saw no vaginal infections. I know it's about eight months later, though.

I'm happy to know that I can still be examined if need be. That's a comfort. I know doctors shouldn't be squirrely about something as natural as a bleed, but I could see how examination would be challenging if I was bleeding.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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I think it has more to do with patient comfort, and possibly with getting the most accurate examination, but I'm not sure precisely. [Smile]

WEll, yes, certainly an infection could start up, though you'd be more likely to have pain or itching and strange discharge than bleeding if you had a vaginal infection.

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Robin

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copper86
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You have a good point! I think it's easier to get accurate and sound information when there is no third party there... And I can ask lots of questions! [Smile]

That does make me feel better. I'm going a little stir crazy waiting to call, but I'm managing. I've had none of those symptoms, but I'm still going to talk to her about it in case.

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copper86
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I was examining my vulva today, and noticed that my clitoris is a bit sensitive. My knowledge of the female anatomy is not very good; but I'm pretty sure it's the clitoris due to its position. Sometimes it can be a little sensitive off and on in my cycle; but it's never excruciating. Is some sensitivity normal? I've read that the clitoris varies in sensitivity, as well.

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Onionpie
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Yep, it's true that the clitoris varies in sensitivity both from person to person, and time to time. Would you like some more information on some basic vulvar anatomy so you're more comfortable knowing what's what?

This is a great article with illustrations to help guide you through the anatomy (just illustrations, no photos, don't worry [Wink] ):
Innies & Outies: The Vagina, Clitoris, Uterus and More

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copper86
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Thank you! I looked at that article a little while ago to familiarize myself with the female anatomy. Now that I think about it, I never touch myself there, and nor does my partner; so me touching it today (and pressing down a little when I found it was quite sensitive) might be contributing to the off and on sensitivity and light pain I'm having in that specific spot.

I've read that wearing tight-fitting clothes can also cause this type of sensitivity sometimes, so I'm going to try and not wear jean shorts for a while; as they ride up and put pressure there. I've read that clitoral sensitivity is normal... Is this something about which I should be concerned? I was talking to a pharmacist about my birth control and she didn't batt an eye when I mentioned my clitoris.

[ 08-26-2012, 05:34 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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Karybu
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The clitoral glans (the bit you can see) has a huge number of nerve endings, so it's possible that prolonged pressure on that area could cause sensitivity. Unless it goes beyond sensitivity/mild pain, and/or is painful all of the time, I'd not sweat it.

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copper86
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Thank you so much! It's only mild pain or sensitivity off and on since I messed with it this morning. I have never really touched it before, and I kind of don't want to after this! It has hurt at random points every few months, so perhaps it is prolonged pressure. I'm getting a doctor's appointment soon, so I'll bring this up then, too.

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copper86
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Just for some clarification, I have a few more questions (shocking, I know! [Smile] ) about switching pills. First, if I am able to switch pills during my placebo week, I will still be covered against pregnancy when I start my new active pills, correct (as long as I don't extend my placebo week)? I'm considering asking about monophasic pills or pills that have higher amounts of estrogen (as suggested by the pharmacist at the drugstore where I fill my prescription). My other question is kind of vague and I know there's no "yes" or "no" answer. If I can't see a doctor and get a new presciption in the next two days, I'll have to continue with my same pill brand for the next cycle. Honestly, I'm a little afraid to, in case I start bleeding for almost half the pack. I know some pill side effects clear up on their own, but is it likely that it'll happen again? If I bleed that much again, I'll be worried for my health.

I know I should also wait things out and see if that side effect occurs again, but I know I need to get a consult and see if I should make any changes. It's not a huge issue if I have to keep taking my current pills for another cycle, it's just a little ominous at the moment. [Smile] Thank you for reading!

[ 08-27-2012, 07:41 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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Heather
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I'm going to be a bit of a broken record here, and hopefully you can understand my intent in being so.

We're talking about this WHILE backing up with condoms, right? Since, as you know, your deep concerns about unwanted pregnancy remain seriously pervasive, so relying on just one method,m period, probably isn't sound for you in terms of your emotional comfort alone?

So long as someone doesn't shorten the ACTIVE pill period of the pill -- not the placebo -- when switching pills, then effectiveness will not be impacted by the switch.

In terms of the bleeding, what are we talking about here? Spotting? Light flow? Moderate flow? Heavy?

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copper86
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Thank you, Heather! I'm sorry for sounding redundant! I had assumed that that method of switching was correct; but I was making sure since one source had said to wait a week in terms of efficacy. You're right: I would really prefer more than one method in order to prevent pregnancy.

The bleeding varied from spotting to light flow for about a week; and then a bleed for about five days. I know no one can tell me whether it'll happen again or not; so if I can't switch right away I will be patient and ready to deal with it if it occurs again.

Thank you so much for your patient and always-helpful responses!

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Heather
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So....more than one method is what you're going to do then? Knowing as you and I both do that that's what you need for your own peace of mind?

If the bleeding was only spotting or very light, there's no need to be concerned about your health, especially if it wasn't paired with any unusual or severe pain, or any other symptoms.

[ 08-27-2012, 09:13 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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copper86
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Yes, I would like to use two methods.

That's good to hear! The bleeding was light and only became slightly regular once. The only pain I have is due to gas, but that's a whole other story that is being resolved with fluids. [Smile]

Thank you for your help!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Great. have you made any progress with your partner in terms of his stepping up and getting on board with that?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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To be honesr, I haven't really spoken to him in over a week. This often happens that he doesn't return my messages, so I've been kind of down about that. So we haven't had a chance to talk or see each other recently. I know for a fact that we will use condoms for vaginal sex. I'm now more concerned about STI's.

I have a quick question about blood tests and the Gardisil vaccine. I had my pap smear last December and she saw no vaginal infections. They took a blood test but never called me - does that mean the results were "normal"? The same happened when she took a sample from me internally. I've had two rounds of the Gardisil vaccine. The second was extremely pricely - at least $60-$80. Unfortunately, the last shot I had was last summer. I want to get the third one asap, but since I waited so long, does that mean I have to start all over again in terms of getting the vaccine two more times and then go in for the third? I hope that made sense!

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Heather
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I'd call into your healthcare provider with that question. I'm afraid I'm not that current with protocols around that.

Want to talk about your relationship? I know it's kind of perpetually the elephant in the room, and it's not what you're asking about, but it just seems like rough stuff with it kind of forever sits on the periphery of things, and I strongly suspect it's got a lot to do with...well, a lot of what's going on with you when you're panicked, freaked out or bummed out.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I did ask my pharmacist, and she said that if they did not call, there was no problem. I think the gas pain I have in that area is making me a little cranky. One other question: I have pain due to not being able to go to the bathroom, but sometimes it's hard to pinpoint where it's coming from. I know the vulva's still a muscle; and though it doesn't hurt when I use my fingers, could even part of those genitals or the area around there be a little sensitive from me using so many tampons? I'm still pretty certain the pain is gaseous, as my abdomen and stomach have been doing their usual thing whenever I get these issues.

Part of me wants to, and the other part never wants to, with anyone. I know he's not my boyfriend, so it's not as if we "have" to talk every day or even every other day; but when he doesn't talk to me for over a week, I get worried. This happens from time to time, and I know from his explanations that I sometimes have bad timing when I message him; but it still makes me feel bad. I know we both have our own lives and I like how he's not always hanging onto me or always contacting me; but I still feel pretty value-less when this happens. Usually nothing is wrong but it still drives me crazy. It's strange because he's attentive and pleasant with me in person; yet he's not so prompt with texting sometimes. I think you're right that it's making me so worried and upset.

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Heather
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I hear you saying you know he's not your boyfriend, but it's sounded to me like the place he has in your life, the real estate you give him, basically, IS...well, he's your boyfriend. And certainly it's sounded to me like you've kind of put up with some stuff you probably wouldn't with someone who wasn't. Do yu know what I mean?

Well, the vulva isn't a muscle. The vulva is the name for all of our external genitals. I'm not sure what you mean by "so many tampons." have you been using tampons when you're not menstruating? If not, tampon use shouldn't be creating problems like these. If you know you're constipated and gassy, then abdominal discomfort is pretty much a given with either of those things.

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copper86
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I'm very sensitive and guarded when it comes to my feelings; and I've tried to tell myself that, since he's not my boyfriend, the relationship can easily end. I care for him very much, and it's hard for me to care for him like that but still try and guard myself. I sometimes hate how much I like him because it would make things so devastating if the relationship ended. Rationally I know he's not my boyfriend, but I do see what you're saying that I give him a lot of leeway and a lot of status in my life.

Yes, I have abdominal pain and it's hopefully going to lessen once I can go to the bathroom with more regularity. I use tampons either when my flow is very light or if it's just spotting, and I sometimes use higher absorbancies (sometimes they're all I have or the store only carries one level of flow). I know that's not wise, though I always change them in a timely manner.

Thank you for letting me vent about what's going on. I almost cried when you wrote what you did, and I appreciate your listening ear.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hey Copper,

It sounds like you're worried that the abdominal pain is from something else besides the gas? Since you know you're having the gas and bowel irregularities, it seems sound to work on those problems, and if the pain is still there, then you can work on figuring out what's going on.

So long as you change your tampons every eight hours, or preferably more frequently, you shouldn't have anything to worry about in that regard.

It does sound like this relationship is causing you a lot of upset and unsettled feelings. As I read what you've written, one thing I wonder is what would change for you if you ended the relationship, or at least the sexual part of it?

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copper86
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I am a bit concerned, but the abdominal pain has subsided now that I am becoming more able to use the washroom. I know I have to drink more fluids and eat more fruits and vegetables. Whenever I drink, it's when I take my pill or it's coffee later on; and I know this isn't very healthy.

That's good to hear! I've been examining myself and there's no abnormal pain when I use my fingers (just normal sensitivity that goes away once I relax).

I don't want to end the relationship, but I do understand your point. I would be under less stress, but due to my feelings and how I feel when I'm with him, I would rather not choose that course of action. When these long pauses occur, I try not to do anything rash and just focus on other things. It might not sound like a big deal to some, but it is hurtful to me. Of course, I know he's not prompt at texting back on time and when we have lengthier conversations that way it's almost always when we're planning to see each other; so I know it's in his nature not to always be chatty. My brother is the same over text, and that also hurts my feelings a little (he's rarely home, so sometimes I might not be able to see him for a day or two at a time). I think it depends on who it is and not always the fact that I'm not getting messages, you know?

I feel awkward talking about myself, especially like this; but thank you for letting me have an outlet. It definitely helps to have third parties weigh in on situations like these.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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It makes perfect sense that you feel hurt when people don't respond to you. You have a way you like to communicate with people, and you're just as entitled to that as anyone else is to the way they like to communicate. Have you and the guy you're in a relationship with ever been able to negotiate something that works for both of you?

Also, just checking in: Did you ever manage to make a doctor's appointment?

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you! It makes me feel kind of needy and stupid when I don't get a response. Granted, if the text isn't important, I don't always "need" a response; but when it gets to be over a week, I get nervous. We did talk a bit last night, so that at least made me feel a bit better. We haven't negotiated anything about that yet... I'm not sure how I would start to be honest, especially since he's not my boyfriend and I don't want to come across as needy or annoying.

I still haven't been able to schedule a consultation. The doctor's office my mother is trying to reach has just gotten back from holidays, so they're backed up with returning messages. My abdominal pain has lessened for sure, but I do have a random sting either near my anus or elsewhere; which I'm assuming is due to my issues with not being truly regular yet. It's not constant and I'm feeling better overall. I know I have to finish my new pill pack before I can switch, but I've been doing some research on other pills. I'm currently looking at monophasic pills, or pills with more estrogen (since my pharmacist told me that, since the pill I'm on - and my previous one - were low on estrogen, perhaps I need a higher dose). I have a list of questions that I'll be sure to ask my new doctor about when I meet her, which will hopefully be next week, when we call again on Monday.

Thank you so much for checking in on me! I hope you are doing well!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Onionpie
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Hey copper. You know, the thing about being "needy" -- everyone DOES have needs, and nobody can expect someone else not to. So having some needs =/= "needy" in a negative sense. Even if you're not in a committed exclusive relationship with this guy -- or whatever other definition you might give to the word "boyfriend" -- you and he will both still have certain things you need out of this relationship to be comfortable and happy. Sharing those needs with him doesn't make you needy, clingy, annoying, or anything like that. It just makes you a human [Smile]

Sorry to hear that you're having trouble booking an appointment with your doctor. If you want to talk to a doctor about it sooner than that, while your symptoms are still present, you could try finding a local walk-in clinic. Do you want to try that? We could help you find some near you if you'd like. And writing a list of questions is a really great idea, so that when the time comes you can remember everything you wanted to know! So good on you for that [Smile] And good luck with the new doctor!

[ 08-30-2012, 04:04 PM: Message edited by: Onionpie ]

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copper86
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Thank you, Onionpie. Perhaps I will discuss this with him, and be lighthearted about it as well; just so it doesn't appear that I'm upset with him.

I'm not too sure. The closest walk-in clinic to me is still about a forty minute walk or so, and I'm not even sure if it's still operating or not. I've told my mother about my abdominal pain but she doesn't seem too concerned about it. I have trouble using the washroom and sometimes have painful stools, but have a lot of gas. I'm just worried it's something bad and not just indigestion. It's happened before. My discharge is normal and it doesn't hurt when I urinate. I'm tired of freaking out over every tiny thing that happens to my body! When I don't think about it,I don't have pain.

Thank you so much for reading!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Onionpie
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No problem! It'll definitely be a good idea to discuss this with him. And for sure, if you need to, make clear that it's not about you being upset with him, and just you defining needs you have for the relationship. You can also ask him to voice any needs and wants he may also have in regards to the relationship, as having two-way conversations about relationship models is an important part of communication [Smile]

Hm. I also think that it does sound like indigestion is what's most likely, but it's a shame you don't have (m)any walk-in clinics in your area. Are you in university? If so, if you're currently living in the same city as the university you go to (I know it's summer break so you may not be), you could always try going to the health centre there. If that's not an option, you could try asking your doctor's office if they know of any local centres that would be able to help you out, in case they know a clinic that you weren't aware of.

[ 08-30-2012, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Onionpie ]

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copper86
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Thank you so much, Onionpie!

There are 2 walk-in clinics that are about a half hour walk from my home. It's a bit inconvenient but I did the walk today and it's not too bad at all. There was a health services on-campus when I used to go to school, but since I've graduated, I can no longer use their services.

I have a quick question that is not related to birth control at all. What exactly would a blister on the area around one's mouth look like? I'm not sure if it would be similar to one you could get on your foot. I ask, because at the very end of my mouth on the right side, I noticed a very small red spot. My mom said it looked like an in-grown hair. My facial and mouth hygiene isn't always fantastic: I rub my lips a lot, use lip gloss I've had for a long time, don't wash my make-up off all the time... And I sometimes do get little irritations on my face that aren't pimples but perhaps ingrown hairs. I'm just not sure what it is. It's certainly not a cold sore, but I've just noticed it now. My mother has told me that she has had many, many cold sores; and I can't remember if I've ever had one - but most likely, at some point - so I'm just wondering what this could be.

Thank you so much for your help, as always!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hi Copper,

Not being doctors, and not being there with you in person, it's really imposssible for us to say what that could be.

How about this being a good time when you take some steps to take care of yourself more? Talking to you here I often get a picture of a kind, loving person who doesn't take a lot of time or care for herself.

Taking good care of oneself doesn't have to happen all at once. Even tossing out that old lip gloss and getting a new one is a good first step.

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Robin

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