Let’s talk contraception…
I always had VERY heavy periods. TMI I know – but I’m talking changing a super-plus tampon every half an hour heavy. And they lasted for eight days too. Hell is the only word I have to describe those 8 days.
I started my periods quite young, aged 11, so by the time I got to 14 they had got progressively worse and they had caused me to become anaemic. My doctor recommended I go on the combined pill to try and regulate my periods a bit more.
Let’s get to the science
For those that don’t know, there are two types of contraceptive pills. The combined pill, containing a combination of the hormone’s oestrogen and progesterone. Usually you take this for 21 days and then have a 7-day break where you bleed. Alternatively, there is the mini pill which is a progesterone only pill. This pill you take every day without a break. All women react differently, some can still have regular periods, some spot bleed irregularly, and some have no bleeding at all.
Whilst on the combined pill, my periods started off the same as they were before. Long and heavy. They then got progressively worse until I ended up bleeding for almost 6 months straight. At which point the doctor suggested I switch to the mini pill in the hope that I was one of the lucky few who did not bleed.
Thank god (and touch wood) I am.
Let’s get down and dirty, what does it do to you?
No periods! The main benefit of not having a period means that I don’t have any of the hormones that come with having one. I don’t have a week of the month where I am a bit more touchy than usual, I am very much the same every day. Which is nice!
However, the mini pill is obviously a hormonal contraceptive. I do, therefore, have hormones that are not created by me, in my body. It is well known that this can have a number of side effects such as nausea, increased appetite, decreased libido and acne. Usually the chance of side effects of the mini pill is much lower than the combined pill as it is only one hormone. From my experience, this is the case.
When you first begin a contraceptive pill, you have a three-month transitional period where your body must adjust to the new hormones. This period is the time you are likely to have an increase in side effects. Personally, I experienced very little side effects. Bearing in mind, I was switching from the combined pill to the mini pill, so in theory I was actually decreasing in hormones.
I’ve been more content, happy and positive since being on the mini pill as my emotions are regulated. Having just one hormone, and a steady stream of it, has cleared my acne and calmed my anxiety.
What are the negatives?
Hormones aren’t for everyone though, depending on your own natural levels of hormones, the addition of news ones can have varying effects (there are non-hormonal forms of contraception for example the IUD). You also have to remember to take the pill every day. Forgetting for just 1 day means you are completely unprotected and have to start the cycle all over again. If you don’t think you can stay on top of this, then this may not be the contraception for you.
It’s always important to remember that the pill does not protect you from STDs or STIs. Always use a condom if you are not in a relationship with the individual.