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Friday, 8 June 2018

Coming Off Hormonal Birth Control?


I've been taking hormonal birth control pills for 7 years now, excluding a short break a couple of years ago for a few months. I was first put on them after my diagnosis if PCOS to control my nasty symptoms and to get me feeling better again. I've had a bit of a strange time on the pill and now it's time to wave goodbye to the artificial hormones for good (hopefully)!
I really wanted to share my journey with coming off the pill because I know it's something a lot of women question for a long time and something women are perhaps scared about. I hope this little series gives you a bit of an insight into my experiences! Lets start at the beginning....


Why did I first take the pill and what reaction did I have?
I was first put on the pill by my GP when I was 16 years old, so I've been taking it for pretty much all my adult life so far. I originally starting taking the pill to manage my PCOS symptoms and I have to say, it did work. Before the pill I had pretty awful skin, my periods weren't regular and the pain I had every month was indescribable. This all changed on the pill - my skin cleared up, my period came every month without fail and the pain wasn't so intense.
I didn't have the easiest time when I first starting popping the pill though. I tried two varieties of the combined pill that made me feel so sick I couldn't sleep at night and I'd spend hours with my head over the sink trying not to throw up! Eventually I found one that did seem to suit my body a bit better and even though I still suffered with the sickness to begin with it died down. I stayed on this pill (called Yasmin) up until I was 21 years old when I decided to have a little break.



Why did I have a break 2 years ago?
I came off the pill a couple of years ago. A year and a half to be precise. I just wanted to give my body a little break from the hormones I was feeding it and I wanted to see if my period would come back naturally on its own. Seven months passed and my period hadn't returned...every month I longed for it to make an appearance (something I never thought I'd say) but it just didn't happen. I went to the doctors who instead of trying to find the underlying cause just put me straight back onto the pill. I didn't really question this because hey, they're a medical professional! But this was also around the same time I'd got together with my boyfriend, so I kind of wanted to be back on the pill anyway.

What happened the second time round?
Restarting the pill was hell. I was prescribed Yasmin again seeing as I'd got on with it so well beforehand, but boy oh boy was it different this time. I had the most awful nausea when I started taking the pill again, the first few days were the worst with hours spend over the sink trying not to be sick and waves of extreme hunger that were really horrible. After a week or so this died down a little, but after about a year of being on Yasmin (for the second time) I still got horrendous bouts of nausea every month after starting a new pill strip. I decided to see the doctor who took me off Yasmin and prescribed Femodette instead, which has a slightly lower hormone level. I've been on Femodette for over a year now and although I don't get the sickness I do feel like my body doesn't like taking this pill all the time. I'm holding more water than I naturally would and I generally don't feel well.

Why are you coming off the pill?
I've suffered with stomach problems for years now with no diagnosis being given. I've undergone so many blood tests, seen gastroenterologists, had scans but nothing has been confirmed. However, it's now suspected by problems could be gynaecological and two doctors have told me it could be endometriosis (which I'm being tested for). I'd been thinking about coming off the pill for a little while now but this has just cemented my decision. My body is clearly in a lot of distress, it's under strain and something isn't right so I want to get it in the most natural state it can be before going any further with tests. I want to see how my body reacts with just it's own hormones pupping around, I want to see if my symptoms change and I want to see if I can get my period back!

My last pill is on Monday so I'll expect my withdrawal bleed to come a few days after as with any other month, but after that I won't be taking any more pills. I'm intrigued to see how my body will react, what changes I see in myself and fingers crossed my period comes back naturally by itself.
I'm going to be writing weekly blog posts called to keep you updated with how I'm getting on and sharing my tips & tricks on balancing your hormones naturally, coping with PMS and of course some fab feel-good recipes for that time of the month.





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