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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Birth Control Experiences: The Pill (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Birth Control Experiences: The Pill
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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For those looking into the different methods of birth control to find what's right for them, here's one of several threads where users can report their experiences with a given method so that other users can get a more personal idea of what using a given method is like when they're looking into what might work best for them.

If you have used or do use the birth control pill, please report on it in the following format:

Pros: List what you have experienced as the pros or benefits -- the good parts -- of using this method.

Cons: List what you've experienced as the downsides or cons of using this method.

Ease of use: Talk about how easy -- or not -- it's been for you and/or your partner to use, access and afford this method, how it's worked out in your relationships, etc.

Effectiveness: Talk about how well this method has protected you from pregnancy, and if it ever has failed, note that, including any explanation of how or why, if you know or suspect how or why.

Feel free to also add any extra notes, hints or tips!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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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KittenGoddess
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I was on the pill for a 3-year period a while back.

Pros: I really loved the ease and control that this method afforded me. I originally started the pill for non-contraceptive reasons and it really preformed well. My acne subsided somewhat and my periods became shorter and came "on schedule". When I did begin using BC as a backup for condoms, I found that it gave me a sense of security. Even if something went wrong with the condom, I'd still be protected. Before being on the pill, I'd also been prone to pretty significant mood swings and exhaustion just before my periods, all of which stopped when I started the pill...which was a huge blessing.

Cons: Initially, I would have said that there were no cons to my experience with the pill. However, after a couple of years, my body started doing funny things with the added hormones. I started gaining weight (I'd put on a few pounds when I started the pill, but I was THRILLED about it at the time, because I had been underweight), my withdrawl bleed started moving around, and I just didn't feel right about what was going on in my body. I could have tried a different pill formulation (which likely would have solved the problems), but I was at a point in my life and my relationship where I felt comfortable utilizing only condom and accessing EC should a condom failure occur.

Ease of use: I felt like the pill was really easy to use. I never had a problem taking it at the same time, each day. It was nice because it really gave me a great level of control over my own reproduction. Cost was not an issue while I was on the pill, as I was on my parent's insurance (which actually covered the pill) and then was at college (where I had access to the pill very cheaply via the student health center).

Effectiveness: I really felt like the pill protected me well during the time I took it. We always used condoms (for all contact) with the pill and only once had a condom problem, so I never really had need for the pill to be my primary protection. However, I always felt like it would have provided an excellent level of protection should I have needed to rely on it.

Other hints: One of the things I've heard lots of people complain about is that it's hard to remember to take the pill. I never really had a problem with that, and I fully believe it's because I made it a priority for me. I'm generally awful about taking medication everyday, I have trouble remembering to take a vitamin. But I made it a point to make the pill a priority for me. And by really focusing on how important it was, I was easily able to remember it.

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Sarah Liz

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Heather
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I should weigh in on this one, too, and condoms.

I used the pill for about six years, from my teens through most of college. I'll pre-empt this by saying I did NOT have a good pill experience.

Pros: The initial reason I went unto the pill was because I had all-out debilitating periods (and given, this was before we had some of the pain meds we have now) and in that respect, it did its job. I did feel protected by it, whether I was doubling up with condoms or not. I also experienced that being on the pill provided an extra level of security for myself as well as my partners.

Cons: One thing I should likely say before I start my long list of cons is that I was put on the pill at an early age -- I know other girls now start it at 14, but the jury is still out on how cool that is -- and when I first started taking the pill, they weren't as low-dose as they are now. I had a hard time sometimes taking the pill on time, especially when juggling a lot of school stuff, jobs, social life, other projects. I had a history of migraines, and the pill made them TERRIBLE: mind-numbingly terrible. No one told me for a long time that women with migraines often find the pill makes them worse. The pill also amplified my breast size by a good cup, which made me feel pretty self-sonscious, since I already had larger breasts than most of my peers. It made my depression worse, it really screwed with my moods. I also had some vaginal imbalance and libido loss issues while on it. To boot, when I couldn't get public aid to cover it, is was very hard to afford with my level of poverty, so I'd often get pill packs late because I couldn't afford them. I have to say, too, that while I don't yet have a solid answer on this, I have some reason to think that some health issues I have now may have been influenced by the pill. I also started to feel, towards the end, like the pill just distanced me from my body, cycles and sexuality in a way I really didn't care for.

One other problem I had was that with partners I had a harder time being assertive with, getting them to use condoms when they knew I was on the pill was now and then an argument I had to have, when I've otherwise never had to have those arguments. And I think now and then it also gave me a false sense of security, in that with a partner I was reluctant to have the condom discussion with, I could sometimes just let myself not have it, figuring that at least I wouldn't get pregnant.

I'm afraid to say that for me, finally getting off the pill left me feeling better than ever, and my age and other issues notwithstanding, for me, personally, no one could pay me enough to use a hormonal method again.

Ease of use: Taking the pills was no problem. remembering to take them on time very much was for me.

Effectiveness: I did have one pregnancy on the pill, because I was not told that penicillin created an effectiveness issue, which at the time seemed the most likely culprit. Of course, had I backed up with condoms, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Other hints: One thing that would have helped me is establishing a routine I have for my vitamins and water intake now, which is to keep my water glass and pitcher and the pills in one place where I go every morning (here, they're by the coffee), so that forgetting is really tough. Too, lower-dose pills might have been better for me. But a really big help would have been to have been more informed about reasons I should not have taken the pill in the first place, and informed as to what might make it not work.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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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Karybu
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Pros: The extra protection in addition to condoms, knowing that I was as well protected from pregnancy as I could get, short of being abstinent. One bonus that I wasn't really looking for, but which was nice, was that being on the pill cleared up my skin quite a bit.

Cons: For me, the extra hormones gave me seriously nasty chronic yeast infections after awhile. As well, after about a year it just felt strange and not so great to be putting more hormones into my body. I started missing my natural cycle and my body doing it's own thing.

Ease of use: It was a bit tricky finding a good time to take a pill every day, but once I got that sorted, it was no problem. Cost wasn't an issue at all because of my university's fantastic health care plan.

Effectiveness: I never had any problems with the pill being effective - I used it as my only method of birth control for several months, and never had a problem. I always felt extremely well protected.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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September
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I've been on the pill for nearly three years now, with a break of a few months in between. I started taking it because I didn't feel safe enough with relying solely on condoms.

Pros: I spotted a little during the first month of use, but that was the only side-effect I experienced. The dosage is about as low as it gets, too, so I am feeling relatively okay about putting those hormones in my body. It's easy to use (I've never had a problem with remembering to take it on time), it's made my periods super short and light and predictable and it just makes me feel very safe.

Cons: I know that I don't want to take it forever, despite the low dosage. And now that I've been on it for nearly three years, I've started shopping around for other methods. Also, my health insurance only covers bcp if you're under 18. Since I'm not, that's 30 bucks a month, which is quite a bit for me.

Ease of use: As I said, I've never had any problems with remembering to take it on time (I keep it on the shelf in my bathroom so it's hard to miss, and I get up around the same time every day, anyway). And outside of that, it's just a pill you swallow. Done.

Effectiveness: Never had any problems with it. It's just a back-up method, though, so I've never had to rely on it fully. But I've always felt very safe and protected with it.

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Johanna
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LucysDiamonds
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I've been on the pill for about five months now. I didn't want to have to rely only on condoms, and I wanted to be able to have sex without condoms if I chose. Also, I'm not sure whether to put this under pros or cons, so I'll just say it here: my breasts grew about a cup size, and yeah, I kind of like them - I was a B and now I'm closer to a C - but I now have to go shopping for new bras, which is obnoxious as anything, and it's not like I was UNhappy with my former size. So I'm still kind of ambivalent over that issue.

Pros: Option of having sex without condoms. I also have a really irregular period - I've had it for over seven years and it's still out of whack - so starting on the pill made it MUCH more predictable and easy to manage, instead of me just having a weeklong range when my period might decide to show up.

Cons: Doesn't protect against STI's, of course. Also, having to remember to take it was kind of annoying for a while, but then I read (on these forums [Smile] ) that someone else set her cell phone alarm to remind herself, and I started using that - much much easier to remember now.

Ease of use: Like I mentioned above, remembering to take it was the biggie for me until I started setting my alarm, and now it's just fine. Also the pill is so tiny (I'm on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo) that you can take it very discreetly, which is quite convenient.

Effectiveness: It's worked terrifically for me so far. No failures (*knock on wood*), and there's even a little bit of forgiveness in that if you've been taking it correctly otherwise, forgetting or taking one pill late won't seriously compromise effectiveness.

--------------------
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky
As someone told me lately
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-Lauren-
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I've been on the pill, more or less, for 6 years now. I was initially put on it after a pretty serious emergency surgery for monster ovarian tumors at 13, and was told to remain on them until I plan to concieve to lessen the risk of the problem happening again. Ovulation in my case = a very bad thing.

Pros: Once I became sexually active, the extra backup that being on the pill offered was a major plus. My periods are so predictable now that I know the exact day and even hour that I'll set in. I've always had awful acne, and even though it's never cleared up, the pill does prevent "hormonal breakouts" -- deep painful pimples along the jawline.

Cons: It's made my periods much scanter and lighter, which is a BAD thing for me. My cramping worsened versus improving, and my menstrual discharge is painful during the first few days. I get extreme breast-swelling and pain before my withdrawal bleed, like the type a nursing mama gets. I'm currently switching brands to see if maybe the side effects can be lessened.

Ease of use: I'm not going to lie; I'm a flake. If I don't have an alarm, I forget. Luckily, I invested $20 in a handy, cute little pillcase I found online, that works for a full two years before requiring a battery change:

http://www.pillpaks.com/

Beyond that, simple. Take the pill, you're protected from pregnancy.

Effectiveness: I've actually never used the pill alone save once, but I know it's as effective as it gets. My partner is super-responsible and cautious, so I have no issues with doubling up if I gotta be on 'em anyway. [Smile]

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Leabug
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I've been on Alesse for about a year now.

Pros:
-cleared up my acne
-eases my boyfriend's mind... really, he was quite annoying and hounded me around the time my period was due, lol, this gets him to calm down, even though i kept telling him we were always being safe with condoms and stuff
-haven't gained any weight or had an increase in cup size, personally
-an increased sense of security, although other health issues i have still make it prudent to use a condom every time as well
-free for me on my mom's insurance, and only $15 a month if i had to use my school's health plan

Cons:
-well, that health issue does make it slightly less effective- it means I can't rely on it 100% all the time
-sometimes makes me feel a little nauseous if I don't take it around the same time as a meal

Ease of Use:
Pretty easy! I set my cell phone alarm (heh, I wonder if that's my thread "How do you remember your pill?" that LucysDiamonds referred to?) and it goes off every day at an obnoxious volume until i go and shut it off, and it works whether i'm out or at home or at work since my cell is rarely far away!

Effectiveness:
-No trouble yet, but as mentioned twice above... interfering health issues require me to be extra safe and double up with condoms.

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Lea

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Ecofem
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I was on the Pill (Ortho Tri Cyclen) for about three years, including a break of a few months.

Pros: It cleared up acne so I was able to stop using prescription topical medication. It gave me (and, moreover, my parents) peace of mind in terms of pregnancy risk.

Cons: My experiences on the pill were overridingly negative.
- I tend to naturally have frequent mood swings and feel a bit down the week before my period. However, on the pill, I'd suddenly start feeling, as if out of nowhere, almost sucidially depressed for a day or two.
- My usually "small-seeming" 32DD chest became very (uncomfortably) prominent
- I also noticed a libido drop and developed chronic BV
- Taking the pill on an almost empty stomach or taking two pills at once would make me sick to my stomach and sometimes throw up. (Which meant getting sent home from school once or twice when I was otherwise healthy and wanted/needed to be there.)

Ease of use: I was busy and on the go, so I had a hard time remembering to take the pill everyday, more less try to take it at the same time. I really resented taking the pill when I wasn't sexually active. I tried to take a break which made my skin and moods jumpy, and meant I wasn't immediately protected when I did become sexually active again. BCPs were free on my parents' health insurance (as were many birth control options), but I'd have to pay (a lot) for it now with my current coverage.

Effectiveness: I had always used the pill as back up with condoms, and when doubling up I did not become pregnant. However, because I wasn't too good about taking it regularly, I would have had a higher risk had I relied on it alone.

In a lot of ways, birth control pills are very convenient and, were I to go back on a low dosage pill, it could be a lot better. However, I don't want to put my body (and mind) back through that again.

Here's where the eco-ness of my name comes in: I had done a lot of research on women and ecology and reproduction issues. On one hand, the invention BCP helped give women control over their reproduction; however, on the hand, it does some "crazy" stuff to your body hormonally, something that seems almost repressive in a way to me. Doctors know there are "better" options out there, but most continue to prescribe the pill first and foremost as a birth control method (if largely out of demand.) I also want to try to avoid taking medicine on a regular basis (although I'm all about taking medicine for migraines and cramps!) as long as possible.

So, while I have some very strong feelings against BCP, I realize it's a great option for many and wouldn't criticize anyone for taking it. [Smile]

[ 01-04-2007, 01:25 AM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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summergoddess
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Pros: you know the week you will be expecting your period, it protects against pregnancy, affordable, you only have to go the clinic when you need more packs (other than the annual physical check up along with the pap smear).

Cons: well the only time that i experienced the cons of this was during the first time around I was using this method so after a while, the pill had become annoying to take at the same time everyday and i would experience pregnancy scares every once in a while out of nowhere. Due to this, I switched to a different horomonal birth control all together. No cons experienced this time around.

Ease of use: The pill has been very easy between me and my current partner. The first use of this was for a year and half (Jan 2002-April 2003) My reminder during that time period was taking it before i started my school day which was at 8 AM. My partner would call to check to make sure i took it. He was my back up reminder for all this time. Aleese 28 was the brand that I have used last time and this time around. The pill was very affordable. I purchased at my sexual health clinic. It has worked out for the entire time I used this method. I returned to this method in September 2005 and still am on it to this present day. Same brand. Same pros.

Effectiveness: It has been very effective, it boosted my sex drive both times of using this method, no pregnancies to report during the first and this current time period of using this method. I have a better time of taking the pill than the first time around. I think when you get older, you tend to be more religious to your birth control, and respecting it for what it does for you and your body.

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~Jules

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etshorty1
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TriCyclon


I got it all for free It's called Planned Parenthood a years supply and the ladies were soooo Nice..
and its all without my Parents knowing..


Pros: knowing that u had that Extra security and not having to take the Plan B method in scares.
Knowing when your period was coming and being prepared...and its all FREE OH and No acne really

Cons: I have only been on it for 3 months but from time to time if I don't have food in my stomache i feel like i have to throw up..

Ease of use: I have my watch and my phone set for my alarm so its easy for me to remember.


Effectiveness: So Far So Good ( knock on wood)

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LadyLuck77
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Pros: My partners really trusted and enjoyed our sexual relationship better when I was on the pill. I knew exactly when to expect my period, which was great, even though I've always been regular. And, naturally, I didn't have major concerns over pregnancy during my stint taking the pill.

Cons: I hate to say it, but I had overwhelmingly negative experiences on the pill. This may have just been an individual matter, but yuck, it was not pleasant. For vanity issues: I gained a lot of weight. I've always been fairly slender, and for some reason, I packed on weight excessively. My eating and exercise habits had not changed at all. Also, my skin seemed irritated all of the time, which was not pleasant. As for other issues, I became increasingly MEAN! I would snap at people out of the blue, and would pick fights. You'd have to know me, but that is NOT my style. Also, I cried all the time. Another thing I noticed is that my periods were much heavier and more painful using the pill. This baffled me, so I talked to my doctor. He put me on a variety of different types of BCP, trying to help me find the right type for my body, which actually ended up to my detriment. I developed ovarian cysts, which required surgery, and my current OB/GYN and doctor feel certain that it was due to my constant switching around on hormonal contraception.

Ease of use: I had a few problems remembering to take the pill. My lifestyle was pretty active, so unless I made a conscious effort to take them in the early morning or late evening, there would be a good chance I would forget altogether. But if you do remember to take it, it's such an easy BC method. Just swallow the pill with water and you're done. Nothing else to think about!

Effectiveness: Never got pregnant using it. And that's what it's there for -- to prevent pregnancy -- so I would definitely deem it effective.

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Jakgirl
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Pros: I started with the pill to help control my insane periods, and it's done a great job. The dose I'm on is a lower one, so there haven't been any noticeable side affects, and taking them each morning is simple and means that my partner and I have a bit more latitude in deciding to use condoms on a given day.

Cons: For the first month, it was like having PMS every day, and if I didn't take the daily dose at exactly the same time as the day before, my body would tell me and was NOT happy. After a few weeks, though, this went away and hasn't been back since. Another con is that if I'm stressed in the mornings or rushed, it's harder to remember to take on time.

Ease of use: Taking the pill itself is easy - they're tiny little things, all right there in a series in the packet so you know which one to take, etc. Remembering to take it on time, though, is harder - I've settled on just getting up at the same time every day and taking them first thing, because that's the only time when I know for sure where I'll be. Currently, they're paid for by my parents and through health insurance, which is convenient.

Effectiveness: I've been sexually active on them for about three months now, and so far no problems! My partner and I also use condoms most of the time, because we're each students who don't want to deal with even a single pregnancy scare until well after we're self-supporting and independent.

All in all, I'm glad that I'm taking them. Aside from controlling my periods, they're birth control which is completely under my control, all the time. It's very comforting.

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Inferi
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Pros: Only part of my reason to get on the pill was for the birth control part. My period had gone from regular, but rather heavy, to bouncing around all over (sometimes three full ones in a month) and enough pain and bleeding to keep me home for days. With the pill, i've little pain, i know exactly when it'll start (always seems to be three days from the first placebo), and it only last about 3 1/2 days.

Cons: For the first few months, my weight bounced up and down a little, but nothing big. I also noticed being a bit crankier every once in a while. I will have to say, this has made my already regular migraines even worse, but to my, the pros outweigh the cons.

Ease of use: I've found them relativly easy to use, aside from the few times I *almost* forgot to take it, though I still did within the alotted time. Generally, on the days I feel i have a greater chance of forgetting about it (being busy and whatnot) I just set my cellphone's alarm for it.

Effectiveness: At first it was hard to believe that this tiny pill will somehow prevent me from getting pregnant, but so far so good!

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Fashion Over Function
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Pros: I got on Orth-Tricyclen Lo primarily for horrible cramping, with the added bonus of birth control. I'm pleased to say that it's really worked wonders for me. I've had no noticable negative side effects, no weight gain, no spotting, nothing. At first it threw me off because I wasn't sure if it was working, but I definately knew when period time came around. My cramps are so much better now, my periods come right on time, and PMS is pretty much non-existant. I'm really glad I decided to go on the pill.

Cons: Now that I think about it, I get periodic boughts of nausea that may or may not be caused by the pill. They're not bad though, and completely worth it.

Ease of use: It's so easy. The pills are tiny and effortless to take. They aren't too hard to remember as long as you make sure you keep it at the top of your priority list. I usually take mine at 6 in the evening, but I don't worry if I'm a couple of hours off either way.

Effectiveness: I use a condom as backup most of the time, though I've used the withdrawal method and then no backup method (twice). The pill has served me well so far, though I don't think I'm going to push it so much in the future. It was a little scary with no backup method, and I was almost surprised when I saw that blood, right on schedule!

One of the reasons I didn't use a condom was because it would become uncomfortable, like there wasn't enough moisture. But I bought some lube and it's gotten a lot better, so I'll definately be using that backup from now on.

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snoopy_writer
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i had been taking birth control pills almost since i started having a menstrual cycle because i had bad (painful cramping, heavy bleeding) periods, so this was to regulate them. i started with ortho-tri-cyclen, and was on that for a while. i then tried ortho-lo but did not like it because i had longer periods- over 8 or 9 days each month, then i went back to ortho-tri-cyclen, but because of my insurance had to have generic. i had two different generic brands, tri-nessa and tri-sprintec. i started having horrible migraines and sever depression around my periods. the doctor told me that you don't really know the amount of hormones in the generics because they are only regulated within a certain percent, and that this could be the cause. so i have to stop taking any for 3 months to get it out of my system, and then he is going to give me something different. my current roommate said she really severe depression with a generic, also.
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Gumdrop Girl
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Pros: Keeps my uterus from trying to kill me. Without it, I bleed heavily. And hey, it's one more way to keep me from getting pregnant.

Cons: No cons really, unless you want to count $5 per month as depriving me of two Starbucks drinks per month? Not a real issue. I had been on stiffer formulas that made me really prone to weight gain. But I'm on something much better for me now.

Ease of use: I generally don't forget to take my meds. $5 per month on my insurance. Spiffy! And I can pick them up at the pharmacy in my supermaket.

Effectiveness: No problems thus far. No pregnancies thus far. So far so good.

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daria319
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Ortho-Cyclen

Pros:Shorter,lighter bleeds(most of the time); TINY pills, so very little trouble swallowing them; great protection against pregnancy

Cons: Remembering to have water at my bedside so I can take the pill as soon as my alarm goes off and either get dressed or go back to sleep.

Ease of Use: I have no problem remembering to take my pill -- worst I've ever been off is about 2 hours, and that was thanks to me oversleeping anyway.

Effectiveness: Well, I'm not pregnant, never have been, so pretty darn good!

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"You owe me two lifetimes and a pair of perfect blue eyes."

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Andromache
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Pros: I'm on Seasonale. I love the more infrequent and easily predictable periods - it helps me plan my life and my schedule more effectively. Also, it just takes a huge burden off of my mind given that I'm sexually active - I know I'd have worried too much just using condoms alone, but with two kinds of birth control, I can relax and feel safe.

Cons: The spotting can be annoying. Also, the discharge has been a little more colorful and prolific, which squicks me a bit. However, I've experienced no significant weight gain, no yeast infections, etc. And the spotting really only happened during one pill cycle where I was very forgetful, so.

Ease of use: I have a terrible time remembering to take my pill at the same time each day, because I'm a featherhead like that. However, aside from that, it's wonderful, and I know that both I and my BF feel better about the fact that I'm on the pill.

Effectiveness: I have had so far complete effectiveness pairing Seasonale with condoms.

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Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

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Carolyn
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pros: easy to use, lighter regular period, very high effective rate, no negative side effects for me
cons: have to take a pill every day at a relatively regular time, you can have negative side effects but I haven't had any, I'm quite happy with the pill and I've been on it for 2 years
ease of use: my big thing is access, especially since I need confidentially and have no insurance, the pill is very easy to get ahold of. I have a one year perscription so I only need to go in once a year which is convenient as a busy college student. It's worked out in my relationship because we are less stressed about the possibility of preganancy and no longer have the financial burden of securing other bc methods (condoms). (disclaimer: we have both been tested, are in a serious relationship, etc. etc. I know there is the possibility of preg. but we choose to only use the bc pill)
effectiveness:I have not gotten pregnant so I suppose that shows a high effectiveness rate, I take my pill every day so that lessens the risk as compared to accidentally forgetting a pill every now and then

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Stila
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I am currently taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen and it has been growing great for me:

Pros: I haven't had any problems taking the pill on time.. and because this pill is the only one clinically proven to help clear moderate acne vulgaris I can definitely say that my acne is almost gone! For some reason I also feel like my boobs got bigger and I've actually lost about 3 pounds since I started the pill 3 months ago

Cons: None really. I really only experienced nausea for the first week and breast tenderness for the first month. Ever since then I feel as though I don't feel any effects of the hormones.

Overall experience: I believe the pill is not for everyone. It really depends on how your body will react to the brand and the hormones. So I say if you're scared, give it a try. Most physicians recommend a trial for the first 3 months, and if its not going so well for you, just switch to a different brand or try other methods of contraception.

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Siloriel
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Pros: I've been on the pill for two years. I like it for a couple reasons; it allows for complete spontaneity, and if you've taken it correctly, you have no reason to worry when period time comes around. It was a great moment when I got my period the first time after I had had sex without a condom, with only the pill to rely on. Not that I generally advocate sex without condoms.

Another great thing is that the pill regulates my period to about a one hour window on the exact same day in my pill pack every month. It's really great, not having to wear pantyliners for like three days beforehand the way I did before I was on the pill.

Cons: My emotions went pretty crazy the first few weeks. It's hard to tell if that was my anxiety about taking the pill/knowing it was one step closer to having sex, or the hormones actually affecting me. After I got used to it though, it was fine.

Ease of use: Fine. I just take my pill every night before I go to bed (11 pm to 1 am, generally). Since I get three month supplies, it's pretty easy to get a refill in time.

Effectiveness: Still not pregnant : )
The Pill has become just another part of my life. Not weird, just habit. Does a pretty damn good job of eliminating those aspects of stress (aka pregnancy, or not knowing when a period will strike) from life.

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daria319
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Addition to my experience with the pill: I've noticed I have to use stronger antiperspirant. Beforehand, I was fine with the store brand, Suave, or something pretty cheap. Now, I'm using the Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant/deodorant. It's not a really huge deal to me, because it's happened slowly -- I went from Suave to Dove to Degree to Secret, increasing the strength every time. It's a little...kooky, but I really like the smell of this new stuff, and I wouldn't have even tried it if I didn't need it, so I'm not particularly complaining.

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"You owe me two lifetimes and a pair of perfect blue eyes."

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acs79
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I've been on the pill for a while now, both Yasmin and OTC-Lo. Overall, I've had a pretty positive experience, though not without its drawbacks.

Pros: Well, I'm not pregnant. I always know when I'm going to get my period (though I still get really anxious during the placebo week). My periods are actually heavier, but since before they were only 2-3 days and really light, I can't really complain. Lost weight on Yasmin, gained weight on OTC-Lo. It's convenient to get through my school's pharmacy.

Cons: I haven't had any really terrible side effects, but I have had some. Starting a new pill is pretty hard. The first few months of Yasmin I felt really anxious (more so than usual), had heart palpitations, tingling in my arms and legs, breast swelling (though I'm so small that it's not really noticeable) and have more frequent urination. But with OTC-Lo, since it's a triphasic pill (changes the amount of hormones every week), starting each week was like starting a new pill all over again. Also, the hormone levels in OTC-Lo weren't high enough for me, so my body tried to ovulate, which resulted in ovarian cysts (and spending a lot of money to get them diagnosed). [Mad] Not too fun physically or in terms of my confidence in the pill. So I switched back to Yasmin.

I also get really emotional the first week of the placebos because the hormone levels drop. But it's just like regular PMS without the pill.

Ease of use: I've been on meds all my life, but I've always been really bad about taking them. Not this time. I always take my pill on time every day. If I know I'm going to be out at night, I take the pills with me. It's sort of a hassle, though, to be tied to a little pack of pills.

Effectiveness: It's been effective so far. But I'm always paranoid that it's not (it's my only form of protection, since neither of us really likes condoms, and we're married so we're not worried about STDs).
It's expensive. The drug companies used to provide them at reduced prices to university health centers, but they just stopped doing it and the price jumped from $12 a month to $45. [Eek!] Ouch! I mean, it's a lot cheaper than having a kid, but it's a serious chunk out of my budget.

So I guess I've been happy with it. But it is sort of a drag to take it every day, and it's not 100% effective. I think I'm switching to an IUD, which will be more cost effective in the long run anyway.

[ 05-24-2007, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: acs79 ]

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gubblebum
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I've been on Ortho Novum for 5 years...

Pros: I used to have VERY heavy and VERY painful periods, and that is definitely gone. There are often months when I don't bleed at all now, even though I take the placebo pills as planned.

Cons: Not really any cons that I can think of.

Ease of use: The first year or two I had a little bit of trouble remembering to take it at the same time everyday, but now it's just routine.

Effectiveness: Well I'm not pregnant so I'd say it's working... I also take them at the same time everyday now so I'm not worried about that aspect of it.

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ASargent42
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I've been on Seasonique for over a year now.

Pros : I certainly do enjoy only having a period four times a year. Saves a lot of money on pads (although I've been meaning to invest in a DivaCup)

Cons : I had spotting for a good 3 months, as well as having mini periods for those same 3 months. And i'm quick to spot when I get sick. Also, I didn't have a medical issue to go on a 3-month-at-a-time pill, so i'm starting to wonder if i should switch to a regular 28 day pill. Just because of the lack of knowing about long term effects of period suppression.

Ease of Use : Wake up, take a pill, go for the day. Sometimes i'll forget, and take it a little late, but overall it's been fine.

Effectiveness : I haven't had any reason to believe it's not effective. After all, I get my withdrawl bleed when i'm supposed to, with no spotting inbetween (usually), so i'm assuming it's fine. I definitly like to back up with a condom though, for double protection.

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endall_
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Pros: Great at easing the mind of all worry, as a back up meathod, if using condoms as well

Cons: Doesn't stop STDs, and when first finding the right dosage for you, it's a pain in the butt for the first month or so, due to the hormones messing with your body and in some-cases unpleasent side-effects (all side effects go away, once your on a good dosage though... its just a little inconvenient at the start) Also, If your young, it's harder to get your hands on than just condoms. This forced me to tell my parents I was having sex (but in the end I'm glad I did, the fact that I told them and obviously wanted to be safe, made up for their dissapointment in me. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be, lol.)

Ease of use: Some people worry about missing pills, but if you find the right time for you (I chose at night, before bed, because I wake up at all different times in the morning) I have a tool on my phone that can set an alarm to go off every day, so I just have a pleasent ring-tone go off at 9 o'clock every evening to remind me. It's a great help, and if I'm out, and not at home, I can always pretend I have a call and excuse myself to the rest room to take the pill [Smile]

Effectiveness: The pill is supposed to be extreemly effective, and so far for me, it has. I also use condoms regularly though, I was just always really paranoid and nervous with them alone, so the pill has been really effective in letting me relax and know I'm double protected.

Notes:: I think it takes about a month to get ajjusted to the pill, so remember when you start, your still unprotected until your 2nd pack. Your gyno, or who ever gives it to you should say all that, but I was un-aware untill mine did, so yeah. [Smile]

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meeneecat
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Pills tried: OrthoTriCycl ~8 years; OrthoLow 3 months; Seasonale 6 mos. I started taking the pill for treatment of pelvic pain.

Pros: I was on Ortho (back before the low dose came out) for nearly eight years. I went on it NOT for birth control but because I have Endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and severe pelvic pain. I stayed on the pill for eight years because my doctor told me that it would help my pelvic pain, I didn't question this advice until things started getting worse, and when I discontinued the pill I found that I actually felt better than when I was on it! I don't really have any "pros" about the pill in my experience.

Cons: I feel that being on the pill cause my Endometriosis to worsen, it also caused more ovarian cysts. I don't think my doctor was properly informed about the potential effects of the pill on Endometriosis, although it is commonly given for this disease, I feel it made my symptoms worse. When I stopped taking the pill I stopped getting so many ovarian cysts and my pain actually got better (although it was still so horrible that I ended up seeing a pain specialist and getting strong pain meds). I found out later from another doctor who only treats Endometriosis patients that the extra estrogen in the pill can actually promote the growth of Endometriosis. Based on my experience I wouldn't recommend the pill or any other hormonal pill for the treatment of Endometriosis. Unfortunately the only way to diagnose Endometriosis is by surgery (which I have had). However I know that many doctors give the pill for pelvic pain (as in my case) I feel this ended up causing me more problems in the long run. (I have now had three surgeries for the removal of Endometriosis and my doctor has recommended that I not take any hormonal treatments) Thus I have discontinued use of the pill. The pill also caused unpleasent mood changes.

Ease of use: The pill was fairly easy to take, since it comes in a pack with all the days marked.

Effectiveness: I didn't take the pill for pregnancy prevention, although I was active sexually both on the pill and off the pill. Now I keep track of my cycles to track pregnancy risk and thus far I have never gotten pregnant, but then again I think I would have a much harder time getting pregnant (even if I wanted to) given the Endometriosis which can cause infertility in some women.

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-meeneecat

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paranoidgirl16
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Pill: I'm on a low-dose combined pill.

Pros: I'm really paranoid about getting pregnant, so the effectiveness of the pill (99% and more if you take it every day at the same time) makes me feel a lot safer... when I use condoms as well (which is about 90% of the time), I don't worry at all. And when I don't use condoms, it's so nice to get my period during the placebo week and trust the little white pill.
Also, my boobs grew a bit (I'm really flat-chested so, for me, it's a pro). I didn't really gain weight.

Cons: I got really bad mood swings during the first couple of months (like, I got really depressed some days). I also felt a bit strange at first - my breasts were tender and I felt bloated and just "off". Plus, it's stressful to remember to take it at the same time every day, though my cell alarm and keeping the pills on my wallet at all times (I carry it everywhere) make it easier. I get stressed when I throw up or get sick to my stomach because I know it interferes with the pill's absorbtion.
another negative thing for me has been my boyfriend's reluctance to use condoms - he hates them, and he figures that I'm on the pill anyway so the condoms aren't necessary (I, on the other hand, oppose to having sex without them most of the time - and that makes us fight every once in a while).
The cost is not irrelevant either (my mom knows, so she buys them for me, but I guess if you don't tell anyone, it can be a bit hard on your budget).

Ease of use: It's really easy to use, but you have to be conscious of the need to take it everyday - otherwise, the effectiveness drops dramatically.

Effectiveness: So far, no pregnancies for me! (hopefully it'll go on that way for a couple of years at least).

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thisismyscreenname
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I am on my 4th pack of Yasmin birth control.

Pros: Easing my mind about pregnancy risks even though I haven't had sex yet (just in regards to fooling around stuff)...knowing when my period is going to come and having it more regular (I used to get it once every 3 weeks instead of 4 which I hated)...my breasts increased in size a bit (they used to be very small, now they are not quite as big...this may be a pro or a con)

Cons: I gained about 5-7lbs [Frown] , I had sore breasts for the first 2 packs, my acne didn't clear up like I had hoped, and the heaviest day of my period got heavier. I also had more cramps that I used to (I used to have none at all) but they still aren't frequent.

Ease of use: I don't mind taking it everyday, I just set my cell phone alarm for a reasonable time and I'm so stressed about having perfect use that I haven't missed one yet (knock on wood)

Effectiveness: As far as actually preventing pregnancy I'm not sure since I haven't had intercourse, but I'm not pregnant either, lol.
My doctor said it would clear up my skin (I suffer mild acne that I can't get rid of) and it didn't yet.

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Stephanie_1
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I have been on the pill for almost 3 years now

Pros: The initial reason I was put on the pill was because I was diagnosed with PCOS. I had tried many other methods of dealing with the cysts but none of them worked. My obgyn suggested trying birth control to even out my hormone levels and that we would use it in a manner that I would get my period every 7 weeks rather than every 4. Although I still have some issues at certain times … the pro’s definitely outweigh in this situation.

Cons: Because I also have Vaso-vagal syncope (which causes seizures) it’s very difficult for me to be on any additional medications as they may change the usefulness of the seizure medication that I take. It’s a constancy of every 6 months being tested to make sure the levels of my medication are correct and that they’re not hurting any of my organs.

Ease of use: This is an easy thing for me because I always have to take my seizure medications anyway in the morning … so I take them both at the same time every morning.

Effectiveness: The pill as a birth control method for me is effective (though I generally back-up with condoms just to be sure) but with keeping the cysts away … well it’s a hit a miss depending on the month.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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sweetcatastr0phe
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Pros: Unlike most girls, I find the pill very easy to remember taking. I like knowing that I am a perfect user and am providing myself with something that will protect me 99.7% of the time from unwanted pregnancy. The pill has also made my periods much more manageable and has decreased cramps and other PMS symptoms.

Cons: I'm on a low-dose pill (Loestrin24Fe) and sometimes this causes me to miss my withdrawl bleed entirely. I freak out that I'm pregnant whenever this happens! On the other hand, I still get heavy periods some months so my period isn't COMPLETELY regulated and I still get some cramps. I guess nothing is perfect! Also, the 0.3% drives me crazy, but like I said, nothing is perfect.

Ease of use: The pill has been very easy for me to use. I have an alarm that goes off on my cell phone each night at 7:55 PM and I take my pill between then and 8:00 PM. Simple! I've never missed a pill or taken one late and I've been on birth control pills for 2 years.

Effectiveness: Well, I've never been pregnant! My boyfriend and I like to back up my pills with condoms just for extra safety. Knowing that I am getting the best protection possible (without remaining abstinent) really helps to ease my mind when I start worrying about statistics.

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Rachel88
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I've been on Yaz for about a year
Pros: I had horrible periods (awful cramps and it would last for around 10 days). The pill has definately improved that, and I feel a lot more comfortable using both the pill and condoms than just condoms alone.
Cons: It took me a long time to get regulated on it (about 6 months). I had a major drop in libido and natural lubrication, and my biggest problem is it is a lot easier to be careless and not use condoms when I'm on the pill.
Ease of use: It's not hard to remember to take if it's important to you.
Effectiveness: I haven't gotten pregnant :-)

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libertinedreamer
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I was on Microgynon 30 for 3 months and have now asked to switch to Femodette due to side effects!

Pros:
Easy to remember to take due to being available in 28 day variety.
I didn't get pregnant.
No nausea (which some of my friends experienced)

Cons:
Headaches
Heavier, MORE painful periods (even though I was promised lighter ones)
Mood swings and depression starting in the second month - this was the worst side effect, as if affected not only me but also my boyfriend. Even though I have always been a very positive person and never even suffered from bad PMS, I found myself extremely tearful, focusing on silly little imperfections in my life and often crying for absolutely no reason. i felt a complete lack of control. My boyfriend, although extremely understanding, also felt that I had changed beyond belief from the happy girl that he met.

Ease of use:
I've never found it an issue remembering to take it in the morning etc.

Effectiveness:
I didn't get pregnant, however i was using condoms as well, so I suppose I can't really comment on this.

Overall, I obviously would not recommend this pill!!

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natwomjap
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Pros: Of course, the fact that in terms of pregnancy, it's stress free. My period, usually very heavy, long, and irregular, shortened dramatically to only two days of light to medium bleeding. I am pretty sure my breasts are a little bigger now, but they are sorer, too.

Cons: There are overwhelmingly more of these. My body just CHANGED after I started the pill - I was almost 19 at the time, had been menstruating and at my adult height for 7 years. I am still on the pill after 4 years, but I have finally decided to quit, against all "scientific logic" and convenience. I feel like I no longer understand my body, and I can't distinguish between the natural and gradual changes that accompany aging and those that were brought on suddenly by the pill (and I am 22 now! I shouldn't feel old yet!). My metabolism is simply different now, as is my body's water retention and weight balance. I was a slender 115 when I started the pill (after my first year of college, and my diet was of the "freshman fifteen" variety all year), and I now sit at around 130. I didn't exercise at all before the pill (when I weighed 115), and I exercise for 30-45 minutes a day (heavy cardio - now that I weigh 130), but it is simply impossible for me to lose weight without making myself crazy. I actually eat healthier and less now than I used to, and I am still always bloated and uncomfortable. My skin is less resilient (indentations sometimes take 10-20 minutes to disappear from my legs) and I have spider veins. Like clockwork - I take the pill at 9 and if I stay up until after 2, I get nauseous and have to go to bed if I want to avoid hurling. This has occurred under many circumstances when I was paying absolutely no attention to time or time-related light cues, and I am convinced it is not psychosomatic. And my libido is pretty low now (some perspective: I was one of those girls who masturbated multiple times a day starting from before I knew what sex was), to the point where my boyfriend has to physically coax me through lots of foreplay to get me lubricated, and orgasming is more difficult now than it was before. And believe me, that was NOT a problem for me before.

Ease of use: Easy for people who can swallow pills and keep a schedule, but there have definitely been many awkward or inconvenient situations when I had to choose between my will to stay un-pregnant and social discomfort.

Effectiveness: Well, I'm not pregnant, so...

Overall, the pill is really a case of "too good to be true." Sure, it sounds nice to be able to control your fertility with a simple daily pill and then have all the sex you want, but it simply can't be safe to be on a permanent hormone regimen. Doctors insist that it's safe, but they were educated on it when they were students, and in most cases they are basing their recommendations on a really old lack of knowledge. I really value scientific studies, but I think it's fair to assume that doctors still don't understand all the mysteries of fertility and hormones. That, combined with the fact that hormones are the backbone of mood, health, and energy, is enough to give me my doubts. The fact that different bodies react differently to the same hormones is enough to allow the drug companies to claim that they don't cause all of these problems like weight gain, etc, but the fact is that we as humans really do have an intuitive consciousness of our bodies that simply cannot be accessed by others. And I think it's too precious to hide under a mountain of artificial chemicals.

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