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Author Topic: Birth Control Frustration
polkadots92
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Hi there! So I had a question about birth control and side effects.
I have been taking Levora for 3 months now. I had been on another brand of birth control prior, but I was having horrible break outs and so my doctor changed my prescription. I was still having horrible acne with the new pill initially, but now it is finally starting to calm down a little. What I have been experiencing now that I have never before with the Pill is weight gain and terrible terrible cramps around the time of my period. So bad that I either get sick, dizzy, and am unable to get up from the couch. The weight gain is something that is particularly bothersome for me. I'm 5'8" and I weighed 132lbs when I started taking the pill, and I am now 140lbs. I did train and run a half-marathon, so I attributed some of my weight gain to muscle, but I don't think that I put 8lbs of muscle on. I'm at college right now and it is really hard to contact my doctor and when I do get a hold of her, she doesn't give me explanations of the symptoms or how the medication will help me (other than that it will prevent pregnancy). I have changed birth control pills three times, starting in July. I was bleeding through on my first set of pills, so my doctor game me BC with higher levels of progesterone. I no longer bleed through, but I am not struggling with all of these other side effects. I'm not sure if you are able to answer my question, but I am just incredibly frustrated and feel trapped in a body where everything seems to be going against me.

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Heather
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So, weight gain of more than five pounds actually isn't something at all likely to be due to your pill. pretty extensive studies have been done on weight gain and the pill at this point, and none have found it associated with anything besides very slight weight gain, of a few pounds, and even that is usually temporary.

That given, chances are that the changes in your weight aren't related to your pill. As well, a weight gain of a few pounds like you're having isn't anything associated with health problems. Given your height, it's not like the weight you are now is even flirting with anything that suggests health issues. (As well, gaining 10 pounds or so is pretty typical during the college years, and no, that's not usually just due to people eating more: it's more about shifting into an adult body.)

On the other hand, having an increase in cramping and feeling dizziness and the inability to literally stand up ARE health concerns.

Beyond switching your pills, how has your healthcare provider investigated/explored these symptoms with you?

[ 06-03-2013, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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polkadots92
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Also, I understand that 140 lbs is not an unhealthy weight for someone of my height, but it is not the weight I am used to nor the feeling I desire. My body just feels heavier.
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Heather
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Well, you can certainly talk to your general doctor about that, but what they will likely tell you is that our bodies are going to weigh what they weigh, and rather than get attached to a certain number we feel is okay, we need to learn to accept changes in them, especially such minor changes. As you live in your body over time, these kinds of changes are going to happen, like them or not. And your body will look and feel ways you aren't used to sometimes.

Seriously, an eight-pound weight gain -- especially when doing training that's going to add muscle -- just isn't a big deal. If it really feels like one, what'd likely be advised is that you put your energy into getting more okay with that than with trying to control your weight within such a tight framework. As well, if you're feeling like your whole body feels markedly heavier due to gaining just 8 pounds on a 5-8 frame, it may well be a good idea to check in with yourself about your own body image, okay?

Either way, it's not a health issue, but those other symptoms certainly ARE potential health issues. So, again, how has your doctor looked into those with you so far?

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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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Heather
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(Btw, if at any time you want to talk more about body image stuff, including why a minor change in weight is so distressing for you, we're happy to talk with you about that.)

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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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polkadots92
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Oh ok, well that answers that question. My doctor is very hard to get a hold of and when I do leave a message for her, it can sometimes take days for her to respond. I have an appointment set up for the day after I get home from school for the summer, but after my last period, I called and described to one of the assistants who answered the phone what my symptoms were and her only suggestion was that I take my pills at night, which I didn't understand how that would eliminate the discomfort I was feeling, especially since it only happens when I'm on the inactive pills. I've never really had bad cramps before, even when I wasn't taking birth control. Is it possible that this is also just a bodily change that comes with age?
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Heather
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You did tell the receptionist you were having symptoms like being UNABLE to stand?

(For sure, our experience with periods can change. But being so dizzy you can't stand up would not be considered a normal change, or one that shouldn't be looked into.)

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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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polkadots92
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I know that the weight I have gained isn't an unhealthy weight by any means. I guess I just look back to a few months ago and seeing that my diet and exercise habits haven't changed, I was concerned that gaining the weight that I had in the short amount of time that I did was something connected to the Pill. But what you said about the body just changing with age makes sense to me. I was really confused and frustrated because the problems with my skin and the weight gain happened all at once and I got overwhelmed.
As for feeling dizzy, it didn't prevent me from standing, the pain fromt he cramps would just be so bad that moving was painful and made me dizzy. I would be able to move if I needed to, and I discovered how much Midol helps, so that made things better.

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Heather
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Oh, okay. You had said you were unable to get up from the couch, and I took that as literal.

I'd say if over-the-counter pain relievers are helping, it's probably not a hurry to get seen.

But if the cramps keep getting worse and the dizziness continues, I'd suggest a full, general check-up, rather than just someone switching your BCPs again or only looking that those.

By all means, a couple body changes all at once can be tough: all of us remember that from puberty. Unfortunately, a lot of people have the idea that is the ONLY time that happens when, in fact, throughout life, it'll usually happen more than just once, and most often, I'd say, will happen at least a few times.

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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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polkadots92
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Oh ok, well thank you! You're answers were very helpful [Smile]
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