Taking Charge of Your Health

It’s an auspicious anniversary for me, this, because I have been off the contraceptive pill for a year.
I was on the combined pills, that’s progesterone and estrogen, and I had been on that for seven years to use as contraception, but also because I had really bad period pain. I decided to come off it for a number of reasons. People were talking a lot about coming off the pill and about how we don’t really know the effects of the pill long term on your body. As far as I’m aware, from actual studies they haven’t found anything terrifying out yet. But yeah, it’s still a thing that’s relatively new, so it is hard to know what the long-term effects are, isn’t it, cat? I’m sorry, I think she can see a bird I’ve heard people saying that it was a bit of a fad, that everyone was coming off the pill. I guess I don’t really see it as a fad, I see it more as like I had never thought about these things, and when people started talking about and I was like, hmm, interesting… The other reason was just for me personally, because obviously having been on the pill for seven years, um, that had just been a big chunk of my adult life, I didn’t really know if I would feel different off the pill. So, anyway, I came off the pill. I didn’t go on to any other form of hormonal contraception, I didn’t get the coil. I was using the good old-fashioned “put-a-crisp-packet-on-it”. No, condoms. I wish I didn’t know for sure that my parents were watching this, but… they are. So this is what I found in one year of being off the pill. My periods are back with a vengeance. “Painful Periods 2: This Time It’s Personal”. “Heavy Flow”, the sequel: “Am I haemorrhaging?” Three to five days before my period I start feeling sick, I start feeling dizzy and really weak and strange. Then sometimes I start having painful cramps before my period even starts. Other times I get my period and I’m not cramping yet, but about 12 hours later, oh, the cramping begins. I have actually thrown up from the combination of the pain and the nausea. My period pretty much consistently wipes me out for a couple of days a month now. By day two I’m usually fine. Also, just, like, how can I describe this? You know the blood scene in ‘The Shining’? You know the blood scene in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’? You know the blood scene in ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’? There’s a lot of blood is what I’m saying. Another thing that I was really interested to see is whether or not it changed my mood or I felt differently not being on hormones. This one is hard to judge, because when I first came off the pill I definitely felt a bit different. It felt like my mood had been quite flat all the time, like everything was just okay. And then I started to feel the extremes more, like I felt more happy or more sad. This could have been coincidental, but yeah, I did notice a difference. Unfortunately, my mental health has not been the best for the past few months, so it’s just really hard for me to judge how that is going, I guess. One thing that I’ve noticed is that on top of all my regular normal anxiety, I definitely don’t have depression, but I’ve had more kind of depressed days. But again, there is no evidence whatsoever that that could be linked to the pill or not taking the pill. I was really hoping that my skin might get a little bit better coming off the pill, because I get a lot of like chin acne and I’ve been told that’s hormonal. I’d say my skin is just as bad, but I have noticed that it gets worse towards my period and it gets better after my period so, you know, that’s something. I’m still getting spots all on my jaw, I’m getting a lot more spots on my forehead, but that could be because of this fringe. Okay, family members: stop listening now. I think it probably did have a positive effect on my sex drive. Again, hard to tell lately, because bad mental health does not have a positive effect on your sex drive. The thing that I’ve actually really enjoyed is getting to know my cycle. I use the Clue app, it’s been really helpful, I track things obsessively, and it means that like when I’m feeling certain things, or I’m in pain, or my skin is particularly good or bad, or whatever, I can look at my cycle and be like ‘huh, that might be why’. Cause it’s often like ‘oh, there’s a reason for this’. I actually noticed that I was getting stabbing pains on one side when I was nowhere near my period and then I looked up and I realized that I was about to ovulate, and I googled it, and people get ovulation pain in the ovary that’s ovulating. Gross! So, moving forward there are a few things that I’m gonna do. People have suggested that I get my period pains checked out to make sure that I don’t have endometriosis or anything else, that’s causing them to be that painful. I have been recommended naproxen for my period pain, which is a drug that I actually already have because of my wrist pain. “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something”. Cause of my incredibly painful horrible periods I am actually considering going back on the pill, but probably going on the mini-pill. I’m really apprehensive about this because I’ve obviously never been on it and it feels like a bit of a risk because I don’t know how my body’s gonna react to it. Like, at least if I was going back on my old pill, I’d know what to expect, but I don’t want to go back on the combined pill because of the increased risk of breast cancer, because we already have increased risk in my family. I’m also considering the Mirena coil, the one that has, like, localized hormones. Obviously people are a little scared about one, ’cause, you know, you have to get it inserted, but I’ve had so much happened to my cervix, that I’m just, like, probably would be fine. If anybody has any recommendations, I would love to hear them, I know that everybody’s body is different, but still, would be very helpful to me. I don’t know what I’m gonna do next, but my periods can’t continue like this. Anyway, that’s what’s been going on with me. What’s… what’s going on with you?

100 thoughts on “One year off the pill | UPDATE | Lex Croucher

  1. I have been on SOOO many of the progestin only contraceptives, and pretty much all of them made my moods go crazy. Apparently with the combined pill, the two hormones can balance you out whereas just taking progestin can affect your moods. Period wise- cerazette stopped my periods and noriday made them much shorter but ultimately more painful, but the pain wouldn't last as long either. I wouldn't recommend the injection to ANYONE EVER. Worst 3 months of my life, 2 weeks in I knew I was reacting badly but there's no way to get it out of your system! My body wasn't even back to normal after 6 months of stopping it

  2. Also, just a recommendation (a temporary solution until you figure things out): taking vitamin C and magnesium tablets just a few days before and during my period has really helped with the pain. Ask your local pharmacy or your doctor if you can take some supplements, maybe you'll be relieved until you decide the next move!

  3. Actually the skin thing, I got really bad acne on my chin when I came off the pill and tried something called clear skin complex by viridian and it helped clear up all my acne. It's a supplement and obvs it may not work as well for you but maybe worth a try. I also get really bad period pain and I've thought about getting the coil. The pill and me did not get on but the pain is always really bad and I get the vomiting as well. Thought I might try something called livia tho

  4. I had the implant for a year it made me crazy, everything seemed so much worse I cried I put on weight worst experience. I changed to the 5 year coil and I love it 😊 it seems to have no affect on my hormones and I’m back to being completely regular which I much prefer I’m also obsessed with tracking. The insertion was completely fine for me not like the horror stories I’d heard just period pains but I went into work. And the strings were a bit tickly Making me need to pee a lot for about a week. This all being said my periods were always heavy and the coil hasn’t really changed this I usually have one day that is a write off but I do know exactly when this is coming. Overall I feel like how I did with no contraception with the coil and this suits me, I know it’s there is for five years and works without changing my hormones! I always have to share this story as I was so miserable on the implant and feel like it robbed a year of my life. Hope this helps.

  5. I've had a great experience with the Mirena! I've had it for almost one year now. Cramped a fair amount with and after insertion, but after a nap and some Advil was good to go. My periods are noticeably way lighter, but are much more unpredictable and more chance for spotting in between. I never had cramps during my period before getting it and now I do, which sucks, but they're very light. Would highly recommend overall!

  6. I am also one year off now! 😀 I had some issues since then, but feel so much better in general. But I got a plant-based pill from my doc for period conditions: it is called AGNUS CASTUS. maybe that can help you, cause u know, nature is magic! 🙂 and I also read about special yoga and stretching excercises, that can help with the cramps and pain.

  7. I would recommend the Mirena. The pain of insertion varies HUGELY person to person, but if you schedule it with your obgyn to have it inserted during your period (when your cervix is already more relaxed), take the cervix relaxant, and take ibuprofen beforehand, I didn't find it to be terrible. For me it was probably a 4/10 for pain during insertion, which was probably 2-3 seconds for me, and then cramping and discomfort for a few days, but nothing worse than a normal period was for me.

    After I got it, I had irregular spotting and light cramping for about two months, and superfun dizziness/lightheadedness three or four mornings a week for I think around four months. One other frequent side effect is ovarian cysts, which I experienced, but they were benign and dealt with themselves. The other thing that it can contribute to that I experienced is some vaginal dryness and cervical tenderness, both of which can cause spotting after sex.

    BUT. I had really heavy flow and painful cramps before I got it, and I haven't had to use anything more extreme than a panty liner since I had it inserted, which I'm into. I think it might be having a mild negative effect on my sex drive now that I've had it for a couple of years, but it's pretty negligible.

  8. I have the Mirena coil. Getting it inserted hurt, BUT: the SECOND time I had one inserted, I told the midwife it had really hurt the first time, and she prescribes some pills that you could either swallow OR insert inside your vagina (what. the. actual. fuck.) and bascially they stopped my uterus from cramping during insertion which made it only hurt a reasonable amount. The cramping was not okay the first time.

    ALSO I would like to add that Mirena has has not made my periods go away, although it does for some people. It has however pretty much deleted my preiod cramps from existance. Another thing I think you should know is that it will do absolutely nothing about PMS or moodiness or acne or any other symptom that's not directly in or around your uterus. It is a local thing and does not go all around your bloodstream like the contents of a birth control pill will once it's gotten through the digestion system.

  9. I started the pill at 17, went off it at 18, then went back on it at 21, gained lots of weight so I went off it again. I switched compounds and now at 23 I have been taking it for a year and I am super happy with the one I got now. It took me a long time of trials and error but my periods are essentially non-existent now (I used to have heavy, painful periods with lots of cravings and mood swings) even though I take the 7 day break and it's honestly the best thing ever. I am not experiencing any side effects, but I do worry about it occasionally because like you said, we don't know the long-term effects. But really, being practically period-free, to me, is worth a lot.

  10. Recent studies have shown that the 'localized' effect of the Mirena and other homonal IUD's is actually not that localized. It releases less hormones in the overall bloodflow, but still enough to have the same risks as the pill.

  11. I came off mine too and I'm also not on anything else. I am so much more tearful. I cried at a meme yesterday. My main issue has been a LOT of my hair falling out 😢

  12. I went on the pill because without it, I puke every month on my period and cannot physically move because of the pain but then i had to come off the pill because it made my mood so bad. The periods r awful and the pill was the only thing i have tried that made them better but the depression and the mania are also really bad and constant, and I am already not having a great mental health time and am terrified of making it worse. What do?

  13. Mirena. Mirena all the way. Next to no periods, no pain, no remembering to take anything, no hormonal changes, no behavioural changes, just a lil card in my purse to tell me to get a new one in 5 years. In my mind, the slight discomfort of, shall we say, an installation.. is far outweighed by the benefits 🙂 x

  14. I got switched onto the mini-pill after having the combined pill for a while as they realised that my migraines mean I have a high stroke risk on the combined pill, and I am so glad that I ended up switching! Irregular bleeding is one of the main complaints with the mini pill – around 40% of women have no periods at all, and then the rest generally have irregular bleeding or a significantly lighter period. My experience was that for about 6 months I had continuous spotting/v light bleeding – which was obviously not ideal. however, just as I was getting to the point of giving up, my periods disappeared altogether and I haven't had one since! after they'd disappeared for about 6 months, I had the implant fitted, as generally speaking most women find that they have very similar bleeding patterns on the implant as they do on the mini pill, and I quite fancied not having to take a pill everyday! It's been working great for me for well over a year now.

    As a side note – I'm a medical student, and have sat in gynaecology clinics where women have been referred for heavy and/or painful periods – Mirena is often one of the recommended treatments so it really is worth a try. Saw many women have it inserted (even those that had never had a baby or even a smear test!) that didn't find it too painful, but obvs everyone's threshold is different. 
    Other treatment options include naproxen like you said, or more commonly transexamic acid, which you take just after your period starts, for about three days or so, and it gives you a lighter, less painful period – talk to your GP! they may prescribe it for you, or can refer you on to have it prescribed.
    Hope you find your dream contraceptive method soon xo

  15. Hi Lex, similar story to you in terms of the many years blindly using the pill before starting to question it.
    I just wrote you an essay RE: my experience of Mirena as it is overall positive. However, I realized my hypocrisy in saying I shouldn't have read all the experiences online, then sharing my own with you.
    Do the research, make a choice that is best for you, and I advise you to not read all the tales online. For me, they were nothing like my experience, and all they contributed was months of worry and a breakdown in the waiting room beforehand.
    P. S. I concede I am a hypocrite, happy to share my experience if anyone is interested.
    P. P. S. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with mental health at the moment. I really empathize, be kind to yourself and I hope time and positivity will help you manage/overcome it.

  16. I’m currently on the mini pill, but want to come off for various reasons, i don’t want extra hormones and bad had experiences on all other pills I’ve had enough and want a change.
    But one of the reasons I went on it in the first place was because of my heavy periods and extremely painful cramps and being sick, I’ve been given (mefenamic acid) and (tranexamic acid) before and it helped so much with everything, I know one is for the sickness and one is for the pain ,can’t remember which. But they were something I was given when I spoke to a doctor and definitely helped me to function as a human on my period.
    If your thinking about the coil I spoke to my GP about both the copper and mirena coil, as I didn’t want as many hormones in my body i spoke about the copper coil, she advised not to because it can make periods worse and I don’t want that. So suggested a fairly new-ish coil called the Jayden’s similar to the mirena but less hormones and more localised. I’m going to try it and see how it goes as I don’t do well on the pill. 🙃☺️💜

  17. I've been on the mini pill since I was 18. After a condom breakage I was recommended the combined pill by the woman at the clinic, which I took without thinking because what 17 year old questions what the doctor tells them they should be doing (in hindsight I should probably have thought it through more). When I went to my GP about 6 months later I was switched onto the progestrogen only pill because I have a history of migraines and taking oestrogen seriously increases risk of stroke.
    Anyway, I'd say straight off the POP is awesome. I've not had a period in more than 4 years. I don't have to buy sanitary products, I have no cramps, my skin is just fine (not brilliant but fine). But also, my mental health is kind of all over the place.
    I'm really mindful of how taking hormones can affect your mood. I'm anxious to come off the mini pill because I have no idea how my body and my mind will react to it. But am I being overly anxious about it because I'm overly anxious in general from taking hormones? It's a weird one.

  18. i was on the combined pill for about 5 years and changed to the jaydess coil 3 months ago. i didn't have heavy or painful periods before the pill either, while on the pill they were usually very light and lasted 3-5 days. now that i have the coil my periods have stopped completely, i know not everyone reacts this way but i was almost sure that it would happen. getting it inserted was NOT A PROBLEM either, i had it done on the heaviest day of my period (still not that heavy), took an ibuprofen and had local anaesthetics. there was 1 sharp pain during but nothing else. i actually had it done during my lunch break, so i was back in the office 20 min later and it was absolutely fine! i did get some light cramping about 4-5 times in the following weeks, but nothing that would require pain meds. jaydess is actually designed for women who have not given birth yet, it is smaller than the mirena, but can only stay for 3 years. however i heard there is a new one that is also smaller so it is suitable for ppl who haven't given birth but can stay 5 years, i think it's called kyleena. all in all i hesitated about switching for about 1-2 years but no periods was the last argument for me and so far i am happy.

  19. Tranexamic or Mefenamic acid have been bloody life savers for me. I can actually leave the house during my period without the obligatory Shining scene following and pain is now actually at a normal 'take an ibuprofen and feel a bit pissy at the world' level as opposed to 'holy shit there are hot, stabby, devil knives in my gut'.

  20. Please get checked for endometriosis! My story is exactly the same as yours (but I never had painful periods before starting the pill). I was on the pill for 18 months and have been off for a year with irregular periods. This past month has found me in the ER with extreme pain that had been slowly getting worse over the past couple of months. I underwent surgery 3 weeks ago in which they found endometriosis, drained a cyst, and removed my appendix for some reason. Not fun. I now have to go back on the pill as there is no cure and I'm not ready for a baby. Needless to say my mental health has suffered a lot too.

  21. I wouldn't be too worried about any inserted contraceptive! I super small in all respects and I felt one sharp cramp getting an IUD and 1 heavy period with a bit of swelling. Obviously everyone is different but I'm EXTREMELY small (like had to get a second smaller measuring instrument kind of small).

  22. The mini pill (which I'm still on) has done nothing for my period pain. I still have incredibly painful cramps that knock me out, and it made my hormonal acne worse. It did shorten my periods from 7 days to more like 5 days, and stopped my ovulation pain for the most part. I love that it keeps me from getting pregnant, but honestly that's about it. It's stressful that you have to take it at exactly the same time every day, including when you change time zones, travel, etc.

    The only reason I'm not on a combo-pill of some kind is because I get migraines with aura that are triggered by estrogen. I would look into a different balance of hormones in your combo pill, you're more likely to get benefits (clearer skin, minimized cramps, etc) from a combo pill, and most doctors will recommend you a combo pill because it's much less prone to user error and has more benefits. Many people I know have found that different balances affect them very differently, so it's something to consider.

    The Mirena is great if you want a long-term option, but I would also consider the contraceptive implant if you haven't already!

  23. i'm not gonna lie i'm on the combined pill and I get so anxious when people talk about how we don't know the long-term effects because my boobs went up two cup sizes on the pill and it's really shallow of me but I love the accidental hormonal boob job i've received so i don't ever wanna go back lmao. also my cramps are no longer a deal-breaker on whether or not i can do things like walking around and talking to people so i think that's pretty cool

  24. i have the mirena, and everyone says the fitting is awful but mine was okay? like, it felt weird, and i had cramps for like two days (which was odd for me because i never normally get cramps) and spotting for like three months, but after that it’s been fab. i haven’t had a period since, and occasionally get a few twinges that feel crampy but go away in minutes, and that’s it?

    and i used to have super heavy periods (like, i’d get through a nighttime pad per hour in the first day, and my period was every three weeks, and someone told me the other day that period blood isn’t supposed to clot which was a fucking revelation for me) so not bleeding has cured the anaemia i had before i started using hormonal contraception

    idk what the effect on my mental health has been – i got the implant for three years before the coil, and i’d also just started my second year of uni, but my mental health took a nosedive at that point and then when i changed the implant for the coil it improved a bit? but i was also making loads of lifestyle changes at that point too so i don’t really know what had the effect

  25. In my country there are two types of hormonal coils. One smal and one bigger for women who have given birth. I have the smal one and I prefer it to the pill.
    I don't think the pain is bad, if you have painful periods, I would say in my case it is like a bad period.

  26. After being on the pill for 15 years, with what I thought was no side effects, I've now been off it for almost a year. The single best decision I have ever made in my life. It wasn't until I stopped taking my pill that I realised it had been causing my hair to fall out. A side effect no one tells you about. People also reference the 'good' side effect of hormonal birth control as being '& I don't or rarely get my period yaaaaay' & I think that is such a shame. It is a bodily function which helps to indicated that we are healthy and everything is working ok. It's inconvenient and for some painful, but at 32 I am seeing friends, family and colleagues struggle with fertility issues and now I'm just grateful that everything seems to be working fine for me. We can't suppress our reproductive system for years and honestly believe it has no consequences. Women (or those who have periods) are fertile for only a few days a month. Men (or those who don't have periods) are fertile all day every day. It's time we stood up and demanded other options. We shouldn't have to fuck our bodies up for years when we aren't even the 'most' fertile sex.

    I know use a device called Daysy. It's a basal thermometer with a complex computer inside of it. I pop it under my tongue every morning & it takes my resting body temperature. It then flashes red if I'm fertile, green if I'm not & purple when I'm going to get my period. As for period pain now I'm off the pill and actually having a real period (what you have on HBC is not a period in any way shape or form) I have found the book The Period Repair Manual to be invaluable. I also use either a menstrual cup or reusable cloth pads. Disposable period products contains chemicals which draw the fluid from your body. This pulling makes your flow heavier and more painful. Reusable products allow the fluid to flow from the body at its natural rate.

  27. 1) I love that your generation talk about these things like this.

    2) Ovulation pain, yup, that’s a thing! I think I started being aware of it around your age too. Sometimes it’s low level but sometimes I’ve full on winced or folded over a bit because of it. And just now it’s just as well I’m not sexually active because I’m pretty sure most months both ovaries are releasing eggs. My friend had twins and while it’s cute being “Aunty” to them, there’s no way I want to go down that road!

  28. I can, as many are also doing in the comments, highly recommend the Mirena IUD. Yes, the insertion is extremely painful if you've never given birth, but that is only something you have to worry about once every 5-7 years. It immediately made my periods shorter, more infrequent, and less painful, and over the past 6 years I've had mine it only became less and less. I haven't had a period at all for the entirely of 2017.
    I would get another one but I'm actually going for sterilization next year, so I'm just gonna let it sit because they take it out during the operation so that's just easier and less painful.

  29. Be sure to get your cervix dilated with medication before you get anything inserted. They tried to insert my IUD both with and with out the dilation meds, and without was SO MUCH WORSE. DON'T DO IT; GET THE MEDS.

  30. I had a really bad time with the pill, i got put on loads of different one to see if it would help and none did. I dont a lot of reserch on all the different types of contraceptives and i found out about the ring ( i would never go back to the pill now. It is really worth a look into! here is a video of Loepsie talking a little about it (

  31. I get practically narcoleptic before my period and super forgetful. I hate that I have to pretend to be a ditz in those moments because to blame it on your period in the workplace is seen as either making excuses or appear"weak"

  32. I've had the merina coil for a year now and the only bad part about it was the pain after it was inserted. It was the worst cramps I've ever felt in my life. I'm pretty sure the leaflet I got for it mentions that the merina is good for those with heavy periods and bad cramps. Over time for most people their periods become lighter or stop altogether and it definitely helped with my cramps. I still get them every so often but not as bad as I used to. 🙂

  33. Have you tried natural remedies at all? I‘m fortunate enough to not have a lot of crampimg going on, but a friend of mine used to die once a month – until she started taking different natural powders, as in teas and stuff. I‘m not entirely sure what it is exactly, but might be worth looking into before going back on the pill! Also, for another friend, using a menstrual cup took away quite a lot of the pain (and it‘s amazing in general). Sorry that your body makes you feel like crap once a month! X

  34. I have the Mirena IUD. While having it inserting was intensely painful and I did feel slightly ill for the next few days, my period life since has been amazing. I did bleed frequently in the month that followed (the doctor telling me that was the IUD getting rid of residual uterine lining, but I have not bleed at all since. I got very lucky with that, I think most users continue to have periods of some form (most very light and short). But I recommend Mirena to everyone because once it's in, that's 5 years where you don't have to worry about periods and birth control. I can't feel it, no partner I've ever had has been able to feel it, and I definitely will get another one when it is time.

  35. i have really heavy painful periods and get them every two weeks (love my life) but had to come off the pill as I was getting migraines… been getting the injection for almost a year and ADORE IT… no more periods, can’t forget it, and despite the first month or so having bad skin i now have the clearest nicest skin ever!

  36. I'm watching this on the night of a day of vomitting, screaming from pain for hours, falling asleep because of the tiredness of all, and finally resting with the "normal" kind of pain people have. No doctor has been able to find something wrong with me. I do not have endo, I have perfectly regular periods, no hormonal problems, nothing. Just this killer pain on the first day that makes me shit and vomit like crazy until I pass out from pain. I'm not comfortable with the pill option, I just want to find what's wrong with me and have it fixed. But surprisingly, even the best doctors have gotten nowhere further than "try this pain killer". It's frustrating to have something ruin your work life, social life, everything and science has NO CLUE..

  37. I've had three Mirenas (before and after my children) and have loved it. It lightens your periods to almost nothing. I used to get sick like you every month and spend at least 2 days in bed cramping and throwing up. With Mirena, it's completely changed.

  38. The pill ‘the duo one’ gave me vertigo! The injection didn’t work for me. I was on the mini pill for years and it worked so well for me- I’d get like a period every 3 months and it wasn’t super painful. I’m now on the implant and I get some spotting but that’s really it and it’s personally my favourite because I haven’t got to remember to take a pill everyday. I don’t know if my little review will help at all cause everyone’s different but best of luck to find your shark week bliss 💖

  39. I have the implant in my arm, and I honestly love it. It only has progesterone, which I've found that the combination pills tend to make me incredibly sick so my doctor switched me over to that. It stays in your arm for about 3-4 years. When I initially got the implant, I got it about a day before my period, after that I didn't bleed, but two weeks later (right before I was visiting my boyfriend might I add), I ended up getting my period. It wasn't heavy, it didn't hurt, it just spotted lightly for about 2 1/2 weeks, which my doctor said was normal, but to come back if it continued. But it stopped, thank goodness. Since then I've either had light spotting, or no period at all. Occasionally I will get cramps, but not anything I can't manage which is lovely, and I still get little hormonal flares. It did affect my sex drive for about a month, but I find that I don't really have a problem with wanting to have sex while being on the pill, I get actually pretty horny. (A little TMI but I thought I would add).

    Also another great thing, it starts working as soon as you put it in your arm, while/if you're on your period. If you're not on your period then it should go into effect in about a week.

  40. I have never been on the pill, and I think you should know that that amount of pain is not normal. At all. (That amount of blood, maybe. I have no medical background, but as long as you're not bleeding for more than, say, ten days, you're good. Even ten days is kind of long. I think normal is four to seven.) My doctor has recommended that I go on the pill because I have dysmenorrhea (look it up; it sounds like you could have it -but don't discount anything else before you see a gynecologist), but I haven't gone on it for a variety of reasons (not least because she said the only side effect is high blood pressure, which I really doubt). I do recommend that before you decide on anything, you have an open and honest conversation with a gynecologist you trust. Good luck.

  41. The Mirena was fine for insertion, painful at the offset, but I guess I have a high tolerance for pain, I walked around business as usual with some light crampin g the next couple of days the first period I had was horrible, but I had never has cramps before, after a few months of random spotting I just stopped getting my period and mood wise feel more myself than I have in years! My friends with the copper coil had really painful experiences and worst pain afterword. There is a fantastic forum on Livejournal called IUD Divas where lots of women share their experiences and ask "is this normal?" Highly recommend

  42. It's crazy how much of an effect BC can have. I came off the pill about a month ago, and I have noticed such significant changes. I went from being irritable ALL the time to hardly being irritable at all (there's only been one day that I felt truly irritable, and there were significant reasons behind this, so I kind of don't count that day), and my sex drive deeeefinitely changed for the better. It's also much less stressful now that I'm having consistent periods; I was going months with no sign of a period while on the pill, and I hated that inconsistency. I've been learning a lot about the negative effects of BC – even the other forms of contraceptives, like the implants – and am set on staying off BC for as long as possible. Luckily I have an understanding boyfriend who is perfectly fine with this decision and doesn't put up any sort of fuss about wearing condoms, so that makes it a lot easier on me. It sucks that you have such intense periods, though 🙁 I wonder if there's some sort of natural supplements that can help with that? I just started taking supplements for anxiety and depression, and it seems like there are supplements for everything these days, so maybe you could look into that?

  43. I have the Mirena and I love it! I've had it for a year now and I rarely have a period. When I do, it is just really light spotting. The insertion process isn't pleasant, but I certainly had cramps that were much worse and it doesn't take very long. I also have a lot less cramping when I do have a period. My period also effects my mood much less now.

  44. Is the Skyla IUD (or coil I suppose y'all call them?) available in the UK? I really like mine. My schedule is so inconsistent that finding a good time to take an oral contraceptive pill was basically impossible, so I got the Skyla. In particular it's a good fit for me because it's smaller than the Mirena IUD and apparently I have a small uterus. It's so nice not having to take a pill every day, and my period comes only once every few months now, with a significantly smaller volume than it did before. It's also good for 3 years. There's also a copper IUD, but it sounds like hormonal options might be better for you due to your high menstrual flow, pain, and acne. Just trying to offer my thoughts, thank you for making a video about this! It's so nice to see women making videos about reproductive health. Best of luck Lex!

  45. I feel super stupid about it now, but the first time I went to an obgyn she just immediately prescribed the pill despite me telling her I'm not even having intercourse – 'just in case'. So I took it 'just in case' (and never had intercourse) and what did happen is that I lost my interest in sex / started to have trouble getting aroused and my discharge changed in that I couldn't find 'fertile discharge' anymore but was having a lot of white discharge (which is ok, but I hate it because I didn't have it before (at least not that much). I stopped taking the pill after only a few months (sorry body), and only after about one and a half years of coming off the pill did I start to have egg-white discharge and to very rarely get aroused again.
    Might be all a coincidence and linked to other stuff (I'm not so much for conspiracy theories) but I definitely don't feel too comfortable about the pill. I also have fairly light and usually not at all painful periods with just a bit of being very sensitive right before it starts, so the pill isn't useful for me in that respect either.

  46. Thats interesting to know… I've never actually considered getting into pills, (being a 3rd yr pharmacy student and quite a virgin) first time I've heard about pills was from my eldest cousin who told me the ones she takes gets all her acne off and does the job, but she forgot to take one for a whole day then got preggo lols. but yeah hormones are scary especially those contraceptive implants.. I've heard some people get their period far worse than not having it.. it lasts for years but nobody still knows its side effects.. who knows I mean companies can hide what they can tbh… I'm glad you decided to do it though x

  47. I was on a combo pill for about 3 years, and it was totally great. My already light periods barely changed (just got thicker) and I would say I had the opposite effects on my moods, everything seemed heightened, which was totally tolerable. But at about that 3 year mark I started getting really bad sex drive problems. Just completely dry and i would get extreme cervical pain on insertion. And I was also getting recurrent yeast infections and other vaginitis problems. My doctors couldn't figure out what was going on but my body was telling me it was the birth control.
    So I switched to a lighter dosed combo pill and was on it for about 2 years. Everything went back to normal, I felt great, sex drive was up but I was consistently and constantly gaining weight. And I felt like I wasn't building or maintaining muscle which is a big problem for me as an athlete.
    I did my research and I decided that I wanted the copper IUD. Estrogen can have a big effect on the oxygen absorption in energy production in muscles which may have been why I had been feeling so fatigued after work outs and normal practices. So I've gone off the pill entirely currently because in my country it takes several months to get referrals and appointments with doctors and I just couldn't handle being so bloated and large and weak any more.

  48. Hey Lex, have you looked into the Implanon contraceptive bar? It's the little rod you can get inserted into your arm and it lasts for three years. It releases the same hormones as the mini pill – but you don't have to worry about taking it at the same time every day… or at all in fact! I've had a really great experience with it, I've basically had no periods at all, and haven't had to think about taking the pill in over a year. I'm not really sure how /if it affects my moods and all that, as I went straight from the combined pill to this. Even putting the rod in was very simple, just like getting an earlobe piercing – a quick pinch! My friend didn't have a great experience with it because I think the nurse messed up the inserting process. It got infected and she had to have it removed. It completely turned her off which is understandable, but is really disappointing as it could have worked for her. I think she got unlucky with the nurse who did it! Hopefully this isn't the case for most people!

  49. I love love love Mirena and I've had mine for over a year. Insertion was probably the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life but it only lasts about 60-90 seconds, and I'm a person who has not experienced much pain before to compare it to (no broken bones or childbirth or anything). Now, my periods are super light. I do still have a little bit of cramping around the beginning of my period. My favorite thing about it is how low maintenance it is. The only thing you're supposed to do is reach up and check to make sure the strings are still there once a month.

  50. I have never taken the pill but I got the marina in September because my symptoms were so bad I have in 3 occasions nearly asked Mom to take me to the ER because I thought I might scream and pass out from the pain. I would spend about 2 week's total of each month dealing with period related problems and then ovulating which was uncomfortable THEN dealing BV which got ESPECIALLY bad during ovulation which is embarrassing and unruly. Long sorry long, marina has helped me a lot, I don't have any negative side affects (skin, mood, etc. all just as bad as before.) The only thing has been dealing with the spotting. You spot for a while after you get it and there is no guarantee your period symptoms go away completely but it really really really helps and I don't have to miss work or school or spend 4 hours throwing up.

  51. Loved this! Thank you for sharing! I've been on the pill for about 10 years now screams – I do really worry about what it's doing to my body. I wanted to come off of it recently because I only started taking it for my skin and I don't need it for anything else (oversharing) but recent bouts of awful acne (it got worse in adulthood. YAY) means that my nurse has recommended I keep taking it.

  52. I currently have Implanon (the contraceptive bar that goes in your arm) and was previously on the mini-pill. They both provide the same hormone, so in theory are basically the same, and I've had a fairly positive experience. The first month or two, both with the mini pill and implanon, I had spotting pretty much every day, but don't have regular periods at all; I've had maybe four periods this year, and this is apparently quite normal, but my periods were moderate flow and a little irregular before contraceptives, so I don't know if this of any help to you. But yeah. Periods.

  53. i'm using the nuvaring which is a hormonal ring that you insert into your vagina and change ever month. i got it perscribed, because i got really nauseous from the pill and the ring doesn't do that, also it uses less hormones for the same effect, which is probably better for you

  54. I didn't mind being off the pill and using condoms as a backup until one of them broke and I was terrified until I got my period. I'm back on the pill because I just didn't see any other options. I'm not happy being on it but at least I don't have to worry as much about pregnancy.

  55. I switched from the combined pill to the mini pill (after being on it for 7 or so years – pcos) and it's a lot better for me. I no longer gets headaches, my blood pressure is stabilising and my periods have stopped. However, I still have acne, weight gain is a thing and my libido is non-existent. My moods are all over the place (which at times makes my mental health worse) too. I'm glad I came off the combined, but I'm just thinking about other contraceptives I could try!

  56. I've had a great time (well, as great as someone can have with a contraceptive device) with the implant, it was extremely easy to have put in and it has one of the absolute highest prevention rates but the best bit is that I can have it removed at any time just as easily as it went in. The implant has a much higher chance of a negative impact to your cycle but given how easy it is to have put in and also taken out again I felt it was well worth trying and it has been amazing. All of the benefits and regulation of the pill without having to remember to take a tablet every day.

  57. So I don't have the merina coil, but the copper IUD.

    In regards to getting it inserted it was quite uncomfortable, verging on painful. I went to have it done at my GPs but my cervix went into spasm so I was referred to my sexual health clinic where I could get local anaesthetic. Apparently my vagina and uterus have like a big angle between them so it was quite a tricky insertion. But either way, it was inserted just fine in the end! Had a couple of days of moderate cramps afterwards and from then on it had been plain sailing!

    Of course my coil is different to the hormonal coil so I can't comment on the quality of period/feelings but either way 10/10 would do again, it's very nice to have a 5 year contraceptive that I don't have to think about!

  58. I have the arm implant, Nexplanon and it has worked wonders. I actually had pretty similar symptoms after I was off the pill for a year or so (I was off birth control completely for about 3 years) to the point where I was also very concerned about endometriosis. As a warning, I had a 10 day period after I first got the implant, but since then I've only had one or two periods (I got it over a year ago). I love it and I highly recommend it.

  59. I used to throw up almost every month on the first day of my period and had awful cramps like you Lex but going on the combined pill for a few months (very luckily) pretty much solved that for me (although I'm not sure how long the effects will last). I'm not really sure what advice I can give you on this 🙁 I know just how terrible it can be and I really hope you find a solution to it soon!! Until then, we're all in this together 🙂

  60. I legit have never heard of ovulation pain but i get pain not during my period and only on my right side and that's probably what it is. Thank you !!! It's probably being caused by a cyst or Endometriosis. I should go to the doctor. ugh.

  61. This was nice to watch because I am literally just starting to come off the pill after taking it for 5 years and I am nervous about how bad my periods will be.

  62. I've never been on the pill or any kind of hormonal contraceptives, and your period sounds very similar to my period. I especially get bad nausea and in my teens, the first day of my period was always puking time. 😞 It's gradually gotten better, I no longer have to puke every single month (more like every 2 months now) and my period has gotten shorter and not as heavy flow as they used to, but that first day (and sometimes the days before) are still terrible.
    Btw I also sometimes feel my ovulation! It can indeed be quite shitty.

  63. I adore my mirena! Getting it inserted was fine, a couple of twinges but nothing like horror stories I'd heard. Bad period pains for a couple of hours after and being quite bloated for about a week but it's fab! So much better than the mini pill which made me put on a stone in just over a month!

  64. Super late to the party, but came by to give a shout out to my girl – Mirena coil! Genuinely the best decision I made, no blood, much more stable mood (I used to get vv extreme mood swings), painful to put in but if you take painkillers beforehand and take the day to rest up, not too bad. Only negative change has been my skin, which got a bunch worse, but hey, who knows. I have a couple of friends on it too, and we all swear by it (including my one friend who had an awful time with the combined pill). Good luck with whatever you decide, I hope you find something that makes this more bearable.

  65. It sounds like our bodies react to hormones really similarly. The Mirena was great! I really really loved it, but even though the hormones were localized I still felt like they were effecting my body. I definitely had a harder time get aroused in general, and I definitely felt that kind of evening out of my mood that you described. But my period stopped completely, and it's sooooo nice not having to worry about anything for 5+ years. Don't let the pain of getting it inserted deter you at all. It's sooo quick and you can take painkillers beforehand to lessen it.

  66. Lots of women find relief with cannabis. Whoopi Goldberg has a whole line of products specifically for this occasion called "whoopiandmaya"

  67. Mirena coil! Getting it in is obviously pretty unpleasant but honestly only lasts for about a minute… the cramps after getting it in last a lot longer. like, 2 days in bed. a month on pain killers. But I know some people who cramped for far less time than that!
    but a month of cramping is nothing compared to 5 years of non-cramping. Mirena can be a pain but not as much pain as I was getting without it… you get me? COIL.

  68. GIRL GET THE MIRENA. I've had it for a year and I love it. Literally don't get periods anymore. I spotted for a few weeks after insertion, and insertion was VERY PAINFUL, but since then I haven't had any issues with it. Definitely get ovulation pains sometimes, and occasionally I get cramps that feel like period cramps, but nothing an advil or ibuprofen can't fix.

  69. My mom is in her 40s and not tech savvy so I'm trying to do as much research as I can about going off the pill after using it for more than a decade, what I've gathered so far is that in the first six months you'll have varied symptoms from increased libido to painful cramps- after those first six months everything is fine. No big mood changes or anything extreme. Some women don't experience any symptoms at all! After a few weeks ,I think, the pill seems to be flushed out of your system. There are other videos that try to scare you by saying going on the pill is this horrible mess your making w ur body but by the looks of it that's propaganda.

  70. If you're acne prone I'd be careful with Mirena. I had it for about a year and a half and developed pretty bad (to me, someone who never really had acne before bc) cystic acne from it. It might work differently for you but just be aware that when you google best and worst birth controls for acne, the Mirena is in the "pizza face" zone! lol.

  71. I would get on something… I am in your same boat of having horribly, painful periods. I was told a few years ago that I have a small window of time to have children or I may never be able to have them and that's when I started to take more care of my reproductive health. Now, having painful periods not about bucking it up and sleeping through it all, it's being able to have a child someday. I have mirena, which was recommended for me after I was 12 months on Lupron Depot in a drug-induced menopausal state. Having it inserted is probably not more painful that your worst period (from the sounds of it, but the pain really does come quick.) My fiancee (now husband… I use his account 🙂 ) came with me. Plan to spend the rest of the day in yoga pants on the couch doing nothing. That pain will go away after a couple of hours. I have endometriosis and was fortunate to have surgery to remove the lesions. I had lesions all over my abdominal cavity, which for me, explained why I was in pain after eating while I was on my period (literally, I'd just starve myself for a week because that was the best idea). On another note… I can now wear tampons! Yay me! slowly claps and looks around at the silent room

    Seriously though, you should do something. Painful periods don't just mean you're in pain. They can mean other stuff too.

  72. If you want to try the mini pill obviously do anything that you want to do but be prepared for your acne to get worse unfortunately :(. The combined pill was the only pill I’ve found (so far) that settles my skin. The mirena was good apart from the constant bleeding for 6 months (although a lot more minimal still a hella inconvenient) but apart from that it was pretty good. What option did you go for in the end ? – sorry am behind schedule #girltalk 😂

  73. If you do decide to go on the mini pill, be aware it does not have complete effectiveness like the combination pill. I was on it for 3 years and all of a sudden it stopped working. So. Yeah. Just be aware!

  74. I noticed very similar differences in my emotions and sex drive on vs. off the pill. Everything is much more flat/level on the pill and I'm not sure I like that aspect. But I've stayed on because for me, the pill has relieved most of my period pain, lightened my periods, and cleared up my skin a lot.

  75. would love to hear if you had end and how your periods are now.. also did the pill or coming off it give you bloating? p.s love the pink hair

  76. Have you been to see a gynaecologist? I have similar symptoms and I am soon having an investigation for endometriosis – may be worth reading about

  77. This pink hair was really pretty. 🙂 Also curious what you decided to do, and whether your story will be in Hannah Witton's upcoming Hormone Diaries book.

  78. I’ve been on the mini pill for 11 years and am considering going off it to see how I feel. If you are considering going back on though, I’d recommend the mini pill for sure!

  79. Hi Lex. I came across your video by chance just now. I know it's been a while since you uploaded this. Test for vitamin D deficiency. Heavier periods are linked to vitamin D deficiency. I am on the same boat as you. Might be the missing link here. Made a difference in my flow since I have been taking Vitamin D (I did the test and found out I am deficient). Hope this helps! xo's

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