I started taking hormonal birth control pills when I was 18 years old. They worked great for years. I had regularity; I had clear skin; I didn’t cramp—I had very little PMS at all. Then, right around my 21st birthday, something changed.
I don’t know why, but all of the sudden the tiny pills that had helped me for years started to make my body act crazy. I had spotting for weeks and it wouldn’t go away. I also suddenly had the most intense vertigo, which caused nausea and headaches. I couldn’t lie down without feeling like the room around me was spinning out of control. Bright lights triggered headaches. Turning my head or bending over caused the spins. It was a nightmare. So, I stopped the pill cold turkey (the symptoms abated) and went to see a gyno.
My doctor told me she had never heard of the pill causing what I had experienced, and didn’t seem to believe me, but she humored me in my quest to find a non-hormonal birth control option. I settled on the copper IUD—my insurance covered it completely. Seven years of peace of mind for free!
I didn’t give too much thought to the side effects because I thought the trade-off was worth it. I also was told that the worst of it would go away after several months. But, here I am, 26 years old, and I still have the same symptoms.
I have adult acne. Like crazy. I can’t get rid of it, and it flares up even worse around my time of the month. My breasts are swollen and painful for a week before my period. I have cramps so bad I just want to lay in my bed for a whole day. My periods are super heavy and last more than five days. I have long said goodbye to regularity—my cycles range from 28–42 days.
The last two gynos I have seen have both told me my only option for relief was to go back onto hormonal birth control. I don’t buy that. There has to be something. Maybe Fertility Tea? I’m not sure.
But hey, at least there’s a 99.9% chance I won’t get pregnant!
These choices women have to make—they’re not so great.
Image via @designedbyolga