I'm Coming Off The Contraceptive Pill After 5 Years
Like a vast majority of females in the UK, I’m on a contraceptive pill.
I was originally put on the most popular pill, mycrogynon which contains oestrogen and progestogen. This is the most common form of contraceptive pill as it agrees with a wide variety of women. The pill is taken every day for a month, then you have a 7 day break for your period, then go back on the pill again. It didn’t agree with my body, so I was instead given what is nicknamed as the POP pill, simply because it only contains the hormone progestogen. The difference with this contraceptive however, is you’re required to take it at the same time every single day and you don’t have a 7 day break. There are two forms of this pill, a 3 hour one and a 12 hour one. This relates to the time gap allowed if you miss your pill. Both pretty explanatory, the 3 hour must be taken within 3 hours of missing the pill and within 12 hours with the 12 hour pill. Some women do experience periods on this pill, it might be a lot lighter than usual but a small percent (including myself) had their periods stop altogether.
As a woman you might be thinking ‘holy shit Melissa that’s one of the best things, sign me up!’ and yes generic female voice I’ve just created, it’s pretty cool and I thought the same. But, coming up to 5 years and approximately 60 nonexistent periods later, you start to wonder whether what you’re doing is good for your body.
All forms of contraception have side effects, the most common on the POP pill are as follows according to the NHS website: ‘acne, increased or decreased sex drive, weight gain, stomach upset, nausea, mood changes and migraines’ to name a few. For the most part these side effects aren’t that threatening and a huge concern. But on the flip side, there are also risks (again like any other form of contraceptive pill) which are increased by having this hormone in your system continuously. The two that are highlighted by the NHS are ovarian cysts and breast cancer. There are no direct links, but women have been known to be at a higher risk of developing ovarian cysts (which for the most part aren’t required to be removed but can cause pelvic pain) and breast cancer. It states on the NHS website, that if you are on a contraceptive pill then it will take 10 years for your increased chances of developing breast cancer to return to normal. Now I don’t know about you, even though the increased risk is small, that’s still rather discomforting.
Although those side effects aren’t ideal and the risks can be lethal, it isn’t the reason why I’ve decided to come off the pill.
Not having a period in 5 years is my main concern. You know, obviously the menstrual cycle is a natural thing that occurs in women, your ovaries produce eggs which then travel down the fallopian tubes, while the lining of your womb becomes thickened, the egg then waits there to be fertilised and when it isn’t, the womb shreds the lining and thus you have a period. Well my body hasn’t done that for 1825 days. The way this pill prevents pregnancy is in two ways, firstly it will cause the mucus in your cervix to thicken up, which makes it harder for sperm to move and reach the egg. The second way, which is known on the 12 hour pill, is ovulation will stop (you don’t release an egg) so in turn there’s nothing for the sperm to fertilise. This is common in the 12 hour pill opposed to the 3 hour pill, as it contains the hormone desogestrel.
A couple of months down the line and I could be cursing myself for making this decision, but I feel it’s time to give my body a break and a chance to return to it’s natural state. I have no external reasons to be pumping extra hormones into my body, being single and all. Plus, I’ve found that being on the pill makes some guys sloppy when it comes to safe sex. So in a not so aggressive way, it’s now either put something on the end of it or risk a baby popping out.
No, but in all seriousness it’s been something that’s been playing on my mind for a while now. You’d be surprised how annoying it is to make sure you take one pill at the exact same time, every single day especially if you don’t actually need it. I plan to track the journey on here, so I guess the next update will be when I’ve started experiencing PMS and have a withdrawal bleed.
Don’t think I’ve ever known my uterus to have so many words dedicated to it.