The ring, patch, shots, implants, you name it, there’s certainly no shortage of methods for birth control, but the pill remains the most common method used by women. Unlike other, the pill goes beyond preventing unwanted pregnancies. With the right pill, it can help reduce menstrual cramps, lighten periods and even help with acne.
While we’ve surpassed the test of time and the subject of birth control is no longer considered taboo, we believe there still isn’t enough conversation going on about birth control pills. After all, there’s no such thing as a one solution fits all. We’ve all heard stories of unpredictable mood swings, intermittent nausea, and the unspoken question that’s lurking inside the back of our mind – will it make me gain weight? We talked with four women from different ages, nationalities and background to share real stories on their experience on the pills.
“I found the pill helpful and reliable” – Bianca, 25
“I was 22 years old when I first started taking birth control pills. At that time I hadn’t gotten the pills prescribed to me but word of mouth suggested Nordette was effective with minimal side effects. I was on it as a contraceptive since it seemed like the most convenient and easiest way. I’m not going to deny, it did take some time to adjust to a new routine of consuming a pill every day at the same time. I think I was able to sustain it as I had my alarm on at 10PM every night to remind me to take the pills.”
“I was lucky enough to not have experienced any major side effects. For me, the pill helped my menstruation become lighter although I did notice feeling nauseas or light-headed at times. During the course of the pills, I also experienced some mood changes and decrease in appetite but not much to raise any concerns. Overall, my experience on the pill is neutral. It did what it was supposed to do, with some perks and some hinderance but nothing that was causing serious red alarms.”
“The pill helped me return to a normal menstrual cycle” – Justine, 20
“I was on the pill when I was 17. Not for the typical reasons of contraception or in reducing hormonal acne but after suffering from body dysmorphia for a year, my body was incapable of menses. After a series of blood work at the gynecologist’s, the test results showed that my female hormones were abnormally low which has been the cause of my amenorrhea. During my time on the pill I experienced withdrawal bleeding when taking the placebo pills without any discomfort.”
“I don’t think I experienced any serious negative side effects. Maybe increased appetite and mood swings – but it was hard to decipher whether that was the pills doing or my body dysmorphia. After three months, I stopped going on birth control to monitor whether my body would produce menses on its own and it did! I was really happy with the result as it regulated my hormone levels back to normal. Since that experience, my period has become more regular and heavier. Without the pill, I noticed more cramping and PMS.”
“It deeply affected my self-esteem” – Emily, 28
“Going on the pill was an absolutely terrible experience for me. I wasn’t aware of all the changes it had on my body and mental health. I was on a number of different birth control pills for four years for contraceptive purposes. Shortly after I started taking it, I had put on a lot of weight. I gained around 10kg easily after only 3 months and it deeply impacted my self-esteem as a 17 year old teenager.”
“It’s worth noting that it made my period a lot lighter but after I had withdrawn from the pill I realized too late that my body was producing ‘artificial period’. With the quick changes to my weight I was less confident and my mental health was down to zero. I also had an increasing appetite especially for pasta which didn’t help with my weight loss journey. While everyone’s experience is to each their own, although it didn’t work for me I think it’s important to get the message across that a lot of research should be done before going on the pill.”
“Birth Control should be an open conversation” – Nicole, 19
“It seemed like everyone around me who were sexually active was going on the pill and it made sense – there’s no such thing as being too safe after all. I started researching on my own on the potential changes to my body and was aware of the possible changes it could have to my body. Luckily, my relationship with my mom is very close and I was able to confide in her. We went through our options with the gynecologist and I’ve started taking Yasmin since.”
“I’ve been on it for a year now and I don’t think I’ve experienced any negative changes. It helped improve my mood swings before my period and cramps. There’s a sort of reassurance in knowing that you are protected against pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease and I think topics of birth control should be more openly discussed since it’s not only a women’s role to prevent unwanted pregnancy. ”