Today, there aren’t many girls which AREN’T on some sort of hormonal contraception. So many young girls are put on to the pill by their GP from the age of 14-15. Often not even for contraception but to regulate periods or prevent acne. This can cause complications later in life because rather than fixing the original problem such as irregular, heavy or painful periods, they have simply masked it with the pill.
Here I talk through some of the effects of Hormonal Contraception and WHY I’ve stopped taking the Pill after 6 years..
Hormonal Contraception’s simply prevent you from ovulating which means you cannot get pregnant. However, this also means your natural menstrual cycle stops as well as prevents it from developing. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon for women to come off the pill and find they are having trouble getting pregnant. This is because any underlying issues you had with your menstrual cycle haven’t been treated, just masked by the pill. You also haven’t had a natural period in so long and without a period, you aren’t ovulating.
You must understand that the period you have on the pill when you ‘skip a week’ is not a natural period. It is an artificial bleed and even though you have it for a reason, it is not a real period. This means that when you come off the pill to try to get pregnant, your reproductive system has to remember how to work. This is something which can take months, years or not come back at all and therefore, delay or prevent fertility.
Moods & Anxiety
Not only may the pill affect your fertility, it can also dramatically affect your moods. Progesterone is a hormone used in the pill which your body detects and therefore, stops producing naturally. However, the progesterone which is in the pill is artificial so it doesn’t behave the way natural progesterone would.
Progesterone is vital for your mood, motivation and vitality as well as general bone health. Therefore, if progesterone isn’t being naturally produced in your body you are missing a major mood enhancing hormone. This explains why so many women complain of feeling moody, down and having poor mental health when on hormonal contraceptives.
When visiting your GP, blood clotting might be the only side effect they tell you. However, one of the biggest effects they don’t tell you is depression. The hormones used in the pill heighten your sensitivity to stress on the nervous system. This means that a woman off the pill might not find stressful situations AS stressful as a woman ON the pill. The worst pill for this is the progesterone only pill due to the hormones and its effect on the nervous system. This would be also be the same as the implant which uses primarily progesterone.
Hormonal Contraceptives can also reduce your ability to grow lean muscle mass by 60%. And increase your chances of developing insulin resistance. Some women also say hormonal contraception can cause weight gain, however studies may suggest this is physiological.
If going on a hormonal contraception is something you are considering, I would also consider all this information too. Hormonal contraception isn’t just the pill, it also includes the implant, patch, injection, the intrauterine system and vaginal ring. Non-hormonal contraceptives include the copper coil (IUD), tracking your ovulation using ‘The daysy’ or ‘The natural cycle’ Apps, or the old-fashioned method – condoms.
So, why am I telling you all this? At the age of 14, I went to the doctors complaining of heavy periods and I was prescribed the progesterone-only pill. Within the first month of being on the pill, my periods stopped and haven’t returned since (I’m now 20 years old).
Then when I was 16, I also had the implant inserted because I wasn’t a ‘good pill taker’ and now in a relationship. Even though I had the implant inserted, I was told by doctors to stay on the pill as well to regulate my periods.
Looking back now, I can’t believe I didn’t question anything. But being a 16-year-old girl who didn’t have to have a period why would you?
Throughout my teenage years, I have always suffered with acne and had terrible mood swings. More recently, I have found that I get very stressed and anxious about certain things for no explanation.
So, I decided to research into the pill and the effects it could be having after taking it for 6 years. I was honestly so shocked at how damaging it can be to your body as I was never warned of any side-effects. I was also very concerned about my fertility as although I do not want children yet, I do one day. And after not having a period in 6 years, this is something I want to get back on track.
Immediately I decided that I did not want to be on the pill for any longer, so 1 week ago I stopped taking it. Since then, honestly, I have seen such a BIG improvement in my moods! Pretty much straight away I felt my mood increase and stopped over worrying about things that previously stressed me. I haven’t yet seen an improvement in my skin but I am hoping this is something that will improve over time.
I really want to help as many young women as possible that are in a similar situation. So, I am going to be documenting this journey on my blog and Instagram to talk about any mental and physical changes that have occurred since stopping the pill. My next post will be a month in to this process and I’m will be going into much detail about my mental health, weight, skin, and periods!
Hopefully it will help encourage some of you to make some decisions regarding the contraception you use. So as girls, we can get our hormones and natural cycles back without causing any further damage. Of course, please DO YOUR RESEARCH and ensure that you are taking other precautions to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
I am NOT a doctor or medical professional and all this information is research I have done for myself. I would suggest going to your GP before making any decisions and be sure to weigh up all your options. But, I hope I have helped in some way if you can relate to any of the symptoms mentioned above.
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