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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Switching Methods

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Author Topic: Switching Methods
crazyhorseperson
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I was on Trinessa for about three years (triphasic combined pill) and decided, because of various factors, to switch to the Depo shot. I only had one shot because I bled the entire three months and started going slightly anemic towards the end. I switched back to Trinessa and I'm on the end of the first pack of those.

From switching back, I noticed the same side effects that I had when I was on Trinessa pre-shot (nausea the first two mornings, tension headaches), except that my anxiety level has shot through the roof. It seems to be related to the placebo week - before I switched to the shot, even when I hadn't been near my boyfriend in a month and there was no chance of pregnancy in any way, shape, or form, I'd have night-long panic attacks (starting the night I started the bleed at the beginning of being on the pill - Wednesday - and continuing until I started bleeding, usually Thursday morning) about not bleeding and it being late and all sorts of things. I can easily tell myself that there's no reason to worry when this happens, I know there is no reason to worry because it gets shorter as time goes on (it shortened by about a day before), but even though I know there's no reason, the panic attack continues for hours on end, and it's really starting to bother me.

Has anyone else had experiences switching back and forth (either from pill to shot or shot to pill) that you'd be willing to share? I noticed that there aren't many threads where people shared their experiences of switching methods.

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Robin Lee
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Hi Crazyhorseperson,

I just wanted to check in about what you've said here.

Are you saying that you're still having strong feeling of panic? If so, is this something you've consulted your healthcare provider about?

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Robin

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crazyhorseperson
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I haven't yet, but I'm planning to mention it at my appointment next week. It never happened when I was on the shot, only when I'm on the pill, and it's strange because I can tell myself there's nothing to worry about and think about anything else, but the panic attack continues. (I can be reading an article about horses, for instance, and be completely concentrated on it, but still have a pounding heart, be sweating and shaking, etc.)
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Redskies
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It's definitely a good idea to ask a healthcare provider about this. They should be able to assess with you what might be going on and what they and you might do to tackle it.

If you're having symptoms that you think might be side-effects from the pill you can always ask your healthcare provider about it and ask about trying a different pill, or a different method of contraception. There's a slightly different balance of hormones in different pills, and different ones suit different people better than others.

Other than for these short (well, not short enough, but still) times, do you generally feel well protected from pregnancy on the pill? When you're panicking this way, are you concerned about pregnancy, or does it just seem to be about your bleed?

[ 12-12-2013, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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crazyhorseperson
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Other than the panicking, I feel pretty good about it. The problem is, the panicking can happen any time of the month, and still be related to the bleed...I'll read things on a forum 'I missed my period help' in the topic line and my brain is like OH NO WHAT IF THAT HAPPENS and bam! panic. When it's not during the placebo week, it's a lot less panic, because it's farther away from the time I'm worried about. It's sort of a mix of panic over pregnancy and just not bleeding (considering I'm as safe as I could possibly be at this point in time), but mostly about the not bleeding and the fact that people (my mom) will notice/find out that I'm not and assume things (she doesn't know I'm sexually active and if she found out she'd slut-shame me for hours, she has before, then ground me and ban me from all types of communication with my boyfriend - I'm 19 and he's 21, by the way), and make me take a pregnancy test, and the what-ifs just keep stacking on until I feel like I'm going to collapse under it. D:

Edit: in the case of this post, I'm sort of having a resurgence of the panic (it was meant to start yesterday, or today, and I've seen a small bit of blood when wiping once so far and nothing else). I know part of it is that I was on the pill, bleeding less and less each day, then switched to the shot (bleeding constantly, but it slowed down as time went on - by the end it was nearly done, only light spotting), then back to the pill after only one shot. I'm thinking the hormones from the shot are still in my body, to some extent, OR the spotting from the shot took all the blood out and now there isn't any left, despite the pill possibly building up the lining for a month -______- I don't know. It doesn't make sense.
I've seen that it's common to switch to the pill and not bleed during placebo-week for a few months, but all those people stopped bleeding on the shot and were on it for years, not only once.

[ 12-12-2013, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: crazyhorseperson ]

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Redskies
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So, it sounds like the panic is about your mom's opinion of you being sexually active and her possible reactions to your period not coming. It's not ok to assume things about someone's sexual activity or to slut-shame them. It's also your body, and you're the person who should get to decide whether you need to take a pregnancy test or not if your period was late.

Do you have any possibility for more privacy from your mom with your period? Some people do prefer to keep it more private, and don't share information about their cycle. At 19, you're also a legal adult, and technically (presuming you are not under any kind of legal guardianship order), no-one can make you take a pregnancy test or stop you from seeing someone. I assume you live with your mom? Is that a living arrangement that you're happy with, other than with this issue?

It also sounds like this isn't connected to the pill, specifically, but just about feelings about your bleed. Likely you didn't have this panic and anxiety while you were on the depo shot because you were having some kind of bleeding most of the time anyway.

With the kind of panic you're describing - repeated, long-lasting panics that are obviously distressing and debilitating to you - the best recommendation we can make is that you seek out some mental healthcare. Those are the kind of healthcare providers who are best equipped to help with something like this. Do you feel able to do that, and do you need any help with it?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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crazyhorseperson
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Thanks a ton for being so patient with me, I know I've been rambling. (and more to come, just a warning:)

My mom tends to make assumptions that she thinks will protect me. She was pregnant with my sister at age 17, while on birth control (this was in the 60s/70s, and I've heard the pill wasn't as effective then), so she's extremely paranoid that the same might happen to me (to the point where when she saw me with my boyfriend doing a bit more than kissing, she sent him home, slut-shamed me to the point of tears, told me I would end up pregnant and he would leave me, that if he left me I deserved it because I was obviously a person without morals, etc., etc.).

I really don't have a possibility of privacy from my mom, because she doesn't have a sense of personal space (the old 'I've seen all your parts before' nonsense) and if I ask for any, she assumes I'm hiding things (which I haven't given her reason to think). I live with both my parents; my dad sort-of-knows that I'm sexually active and has just mentioned being careful in a roundabout awkward way, I mentioned that I am, and that was that. My mom on the other hand...I know I'm a legal adult, but I feel like she forgets that. I don't mind her, I know part of it is that she's going through menopause and her doctor refuses to put her on hormones, though she needs them badly, and I don't mind living at home (I live on campus at college and come home every other weekend during school).

You're right, I was bleeding constantly on the shot, though toward the end the bleeding turned into spotting so light I didn't need any sanitary products, hence me thinking there might just be no blood to come out at this point.

I'm going to mention to my doctor and ask if I can get a referral for counseling, or see if there's a way to have counseling sessions on break with one person and during school with another (there are counseling services offered at school, I've just been toughing it out because the people who go to the counselors have challenges that I perceive as 'more important' than mine - I think that's partially the pill and partially just me), because I know counseling will help me, especially because my fears are baseless. The trouble will be explaining to my mom the issues I'm having, but if I simply mention that I had very long panic attacks because of no withdrawal bleed, despite no risk of pregnancy, and this happened even before when I was on the pill (incidentally, it seems worse when I'm at school, possibly because I see my SO less and he seems to be able to calm me down just by his presence), she might be more accepting of the idea that I need mental help. (I already mentioned that the pill can cause depression, and she whirled around and practically shouted, 'But you don't have depression RIGHT?' and glared until I said no I don't...I don't want to bring up those sorts of things because of how she overreacts). Or, I'll mention it to my dad, without the 'graphic' specifics, because he'd be way more accepting and probably able to take me to said appointments, as he's retired.

Thanks again for helping and listening to me - it's super helpful. [Big Grin]

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Robin Lee
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I'm sorry to hear that your Mom has been putting her emotional stuf on you.

Since you are a legal adult, can you fill me in on what makes you feel like you have to explain your need to get help to her? are you needing her help in getting to appointments, or for insurance purposes?

While I know it doesn't feel like it, you are allowed to get any sort of medical (and that includes mental health) services without explaining yourself to your Mom.

Oh, and for what it's worth: Panic attacks are a huge deal, and any healthcare provider, whether doctor or counselor, worth their salt will tell you so and help you find ways of dealing with them.

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Robin

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crazyhorseperson
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It's because I don't have a permit/license so I can't drive, and when my dad worked, my mom was the one to drive me to appointments. Now, I might be able to have my dad drive me, so it won't be as much of a problem.

However, I might be going back to the shot after my appointment; I had my first (at least, the first I can remember) migraine with an aura last night...my face was really tingly on one side and I thought I was getting a sinus infection until the migraine struck. Since this is the first migraine of that type (I've had migraines before, but not with auras), and considering that I was on the shot for one shot, then returned to the pill and if I go back to the shot I'll have switched three times in four months...do you think that's a good idea? I'm already not getting a withdrawal bleed on the pill because of leftover Depo effects, but I'd rather use the shot, which has a higher effectiveness than the progestin-only pill, and I can't use IUDs because if my 'normal' period gets much heavier or crampier, I'd probably pass out. :\

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Redskies
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I'm glad that talking with us is being helpful to you [Smile]

If you feel like your dad is someone who could and would help you out with this, that's a really good avenue to try. He might even have suggestions about how best to navigate the whole issue, or at least your trips out to appointments, with your mom.

People often think that maybe they/we should just tough things out because some people somewhere have it "worse" than us. Maybe so, maybe not - I don't know how we'd even begin to compare all the different kinds of things there are in the world. If we've got something going on that's bothering us, it's totally worth looking at what help is available. None of us should feel that we're stuck with a health problem, whether it's small or large.

With regards the contraception, the best idea is to write down all of your different concerns and symptoms and discuss it with your provider. The two of you should be able to discuss what might be the best option for you. Switching hormonal methods frequently in a short space of time can make the cycle wonky and have more side-effects, but that doesn't rule out switching if there's a strong enough reason to. After a lot of switching, it can also take longer to settle in to a new method to find out how it's really going to feel long-term.

As an extra piece of information if you needed it, while copper (non-hormonal) IUDs are associated with possible heavier bleeding and cramps, people with hormonal IUDs - the Mirena - experience on average less bleeding and less pain. Some people find that their bleeds stop or become very rare, which is a benefit to some and a worry to others. There's no guarantee what will happen for each individual, but that's the broad picture. If you're wanting to re-assess all your possible options for contraception, we have info on them all here Birth Control Bingo!

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

Posts: 1786 | From: Europe | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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