Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Pill & PCOS

pcos, polycystic ovaries syndrome, experience, the pill, birth control, rigevidon

Hey everyone! Today is a bit of a different one, as you can probably tell from the title and the above photo. I wanted to have a little chat about that thing we call birth control, and how it affects me, a lady with PCOS. I'm really glad bloggers are getting more personal and talking about experiences like this, and I really wish I'd known these blogs existed when I was making my decision about which birth control to use, because I wasn't all that clued-up about it, and I didn't really want to discuss it with my doctor. The NHS site is so impersonal when researching these things, and when you're making decisions like this, you kinda just want someone to talk to and someone's opinion. So, today I just wanted to talk about how it's been for me ever since I decided to go on the pill.

I've been on the pill for about two years now (woah, time flies), and it took me a while to make the decision to go on it. As a sixteen year old, I'd heard so many horror stories from my friends, like, "I knew a girl who went from a size 8 to a size 16 as soon as she went on the pill!!!" I'm sure you've all heard those terrifying rumours that are of a similar vein, and the idea of no longer fitting into my favourite skinny jeans filled me with sheer dread! I bet I'm not the only one, either. So what's it really like being on the contraceptive pill? How does it affect my PCOS? Well... Let's cover some background stuff first.


I've never been someone with regular periods. They were on and off, and mostly scarce, my entire life until I decided to go on the pill aged twenty. But when my period did decide to show itself before that, oh man, it let me know it was there. The cramps were awful, the pain unbearable. I had a super-heavy flow, and sometimes the pain was that bad that I threw up. It's no wonder companies are getting their shit together and doing this whole women need time off on their period thing. I could definitely use that even now. Back then, I was glad my period didn't come every month because I couldn't imagine feeling so awful, in so much agony, for an entire week every month. It was my worst nightmare. Eventually, around age seventeen, my mum took me to the hospital for a blood test. She's suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (also known as PCOS) her entire life, and she suspected that I was suffering it too. Not just because of the periods, but also due to the acne I was dealing with and the fact that I put on more weight than I ever seemed to be able to lose. They always say a mother's instincts were right, and my mother's were bang on. I was diagnosed a few weeks later, and I was offered some suggestions, one of which was going on the pill to regulate my period, and lessen the pain and flow. I said no, because to be honest I didn't really believe the doctor! I figured my period would still be as awful, and I'd have to have it every month! Why would I want that?! 

Honestly, I wasn't shocked to be told that I had PCOS. And even now, I feel so... distant from it. My mum says it's because I currently have no interest in children, so it's like, I don't really have to face it or deal with it. I think maybe that is part of the reason, but I suppose I'm also hopeful because my mum conceived two wonderful (that's more me than my brother, haha) children, so I guess I figure I'll be able to do the same if/when I decide children are something I want in my life. Besides, there isn't really anything I can do about it for now, so it seems like unnecessary stress to think about it too much.


Getting pregnant strikes fear into my heart like nothing else - not spiders, nor the Slender Man. It's not something I think I will still fear the same way when I hit my thirties, but the idea of getting knocked up now, at such a young age, or in the next couple of years, is something that makes me feel ill to just think about. I'm in absolutely no place to be having children, not financially, nor mentally, nor emotionally. Maybe I'll be ready in the future, but it's not something I want out of my life right now. They are financially draining and require so much responsibility. I already find it hard to be a responsible adult in terms of a finding and obtaining a job, never mind looking after another human being. 


I looked at several different methods before I settled on the pill. While the implant seemed so much more practical in the long run because I wouldn't have to worry about taking it on a daily basis, just reading about the procedure made me squirm in my seat. I'm squeamish about things like blood and the human body. I blacked out when I had my blood taken at the hospital for my PCOS diagnosis, because seeing my blood outside my body like that made me feel so ill. It's safe to say, it didn't take long for me to decide that the implant wasn't for me.

Alternatively, I looked at the injection as it was another method where I wouldn't have to think about it everyday, but I could handle an injection a lot better. However, I dismissed this idea quite early on because of the side effects - potentially irregular, heavier, and/or longer periods. That certainly wasn't what I wanted - things were bad enough as they were. And it wasn't like a pill, I couldn't just stop taking it for the side-effects to disappear.

Once I read up on the pill and realised the doctor had told me the right information, that the pill would make my periods lighter, less painful and more regular, I realised it might be the best decision for me after all. It's not like there was really any escaping having regular periods, so I was gonna have to suck it up. I figured it had to be worth a shot.


While it's rumoured that the pill makes you put on weight, according to the little leaflet that comes with the meds there's no evidence that this is the case. In my experience, I don't think I've put on weight as a result of the pill, and I've no idea if/how much weight I've put on in the last two years but if I have, it's definitely bound to be from my own lifestyle. Before my fitness kick, which I started in January this year, I used to eat chocolate and fizzy juice on a daily basis, as well as as many calories as I could muster. And then I wouldn't really work any of it off. 

I don't suffer from headaches or breast tenderness either. If anything, the only really common side effect I suffer is moodswings, and not only have I done so my entire life, but usually now it's around the same time that I'm on my monthly, so it's not really too much of a surprise. I admit I'm incredibly hormonal then and cry really easily (although I'm a bit of a cry baby in general). Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm happy crying or sad crying! I'll be laughing really hard at something, then start crying, and then I'll be proper weeping and no longer laughing hahaha.

I also want to note that my period is a lot more manageable now. I still feel like I'm being stabbed in the ovaries, but I don't throw up any more. I find hot water bottles and naps tend to help with the pain, and I no longer need to use prescribed painkillers and can instead reach for paracetamol. I still feel incredibly ill and in pain, but it's definitely a step up from how I once felt.

Another big bonus for me is that my skin actually cleared up once I'd been on the pill for a few months. I've always been acne-prone around the chin and nose since I hit my teens, and while I did have a gel that helped to clear it, I no longer need to use it. I'm relatively clear-skinned now, and my only real breakouts are usually of the hormonal kind.


I may have been taking the pill for two years now, but I still rely on my phone alarm to remind me to take it, otherwise I forget. Sometimes I dismiss the alarm before I've taken it, then get distracted writing or reading a post, and then forget until, like, half an hour later. Oops. 

Another plus of the pill is that you have the ability to delay your period for two months - it's not recommended you delay it for any longer - and I find this to be really handy if you're due to be on holiday during your time of the month, or if work is going to be really busy - for example retail during Christmas time is not the time I want to have a hormone-related breakdown. I've only ever delayed it for one month at a time, and it can lead to my period being a little more painful and heavier the following month, but it's still manageable.

My boobs got a bit bigger going on the pill as well hahaha. 


My experience on the pill has been a rather positive one, and I'm happy I decided to go on it. It definitely feels like the right choice for me as my body has felt nothing but positive effects since I went on it. 

I hope this post was helpful and informative for anyone deciding about the pill or wanted some opinions on others' experiences with it! It's probably TMI for some folk, but I don't really see the taboo in sharing my experience with birth control as it's so important. Stuff like this you never get taught about in school (or at least I didn't) which is so stupid. You get taught about condoms but you don't get taught anything else. I mean, I was an adult (supposedly!) when I went on birth control but I'd never have had the nerve when I was younger to ask my doctor for information, or for my chosen method, fuck that, it's intimidating! Going on something like the pill or getting the implant can be a terrifying choice to make for a teenager, and for me, as an older teen, I didn't have girl friends to ask about it either so I felt sort of alone in the situation. Anyway, the lack of information given to girls could be a whole other blog post in itself, so I'll leave it there for now. And, of course as someone with PCOS I thought it doubly worth sharing my experiences. 

Feel free to ask any questions and share stories, and I'll see you guys on Friday for a new channel upload!


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