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Hormonal Contraceptives

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Bridezilla

Hi all! 

I was hoping for a bit of advice and hopefully reassurance. I’ve been on the pill religiously since I was 18 (27 now) as its worked brilliantly for me, no side effects and no risk of getting pregnant before we’re ready. However, I’m starting to question the use of it since hearing a lot of horror stories. I’ve read a lot about hormonal contraceptions hindering the process of trying to conceive. I even had a friend say to me “my doctor has said I’m not getting pregnant because I was on the pill for ten years.” Now as someone whos been on the pill for a long time this is scary! 

Is it just urban myth? We don’t plan on children until I’m at least 30 (quite possibly after due to financials) as I’m a career changer in my mid twenties and we just couldn’t viably afford it until then, but I’m terrified of getting to the stage that we’re ready and then having difficulty. Should I come off the pill and try something else protection wise? What do you use if not a hormonal contraceptive? 

Thanks and apologies for my nervy rant! Life’s hard as a woman wanting a career and a family! Anyone else feel this pressure or is it just me? Haha 🤦🏼‍♀️😂 x

Bridezilla

I used the contraceptive implant for 9 years (so 3 times as each lasts 3 years) and I had no issue. Doctor said fertility return s as soon as it’s removed unlike the pill which can take a while for your body to get back to It’s natural cycle. I too was on the pill from age 16 until earlt Thirties before going back on the pill, mainly for medical reasons. I’ve not been on the pill for a year now and my cycles still aren’t back to normal. I’m eother ridiculously early by a week of late by upto 10 days! I am going to have the implant reinserted as unfortunately I cannot have anymore children 😞

Bridezilla

I can also vouch for the implant and mine’s worked great! I went straigh onto the pill when I was 16 but it didn’t work for me at all! I’m now on my second impant and have had no major issues at all - my periods are very irgular with it, but that is a realively common side effect. It lasts for 3 years and you can forget about it until then, which I like. 

I may be misinformed here, but I’m pretty sure that the implant is a progestin contraceptive, so also hormone based. If you didn’t want any hormone based contraceptions, could you try the copper coil, which I don’t think uses hormones?

 

Bridezilla

Even the copper coil has hormones. But less of the. Apparently it's the best option if you are going hormonal.

I was pit on the pill when I was 13 and then switched yo the implant in my early 20s. The implant actually made me put on weight and I had mild depression. I was so happy when I finally came off it a couple of months ago.

At the moment I'm using Natural Cycles as contraception. It's a completely natural way to do it. But it's a lot of work. You need to measure your temperature every morning at the same time. The advantage is that you get your natural period back and get to know your body. You can also use it once you are TTC.

But I have to be honest the main reason I feel relaxed about this approach is that should we fall pregnant it wouldn't be the end of the world. We are thinking of trying not long after the wedding anyway.

Someone on this forum recommended I read the Period Repair Manual and I just started. It's very eye opening. So I recommend it. She also has a whole section on contraception.

Wedding addict

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/when-periods-after-stopping-pill

This is the NHS take on it... I have heard people say it's taken them a year to normalise though. I've taken the pill for over 15 years with a couple of breaks (not pregnancy related) and I've found my periods come straight back maybe just a week or two out. I considered the copper coil but really hate the idea of something sitting in my body (bit weird maybe considering I'm happy to put hormones in) but it seems like a really good alternative. I've heard the natural cycles thing is very effective if used correctly too. 

Bridezilla

I used the pill from 19 - 29 with a short break at around 25. My cycles returned straight away both times. At 29 we started TTC and it took us 2.5 years. It was never suggested that my being on the pill was to blame (I was having regular periods and ovulating)

For me though, I felt A LOT better when I wasn't on hormonal contraception. There was nothing obviously wrong, but when I came off it I just felt better in myself. It is hard to explain, but I won't be going on hormonal contraception after this baby (my probable last)

I was the one who recommended the period repair manual and would really suggest you give it a read. I also use Natural Cycles as my contraception. I used this after having my son as I was breastfeeding and didn't want to use any hormones during that time. When TTC this baby I switched it to planning pregnancy mode. I will use it again after this baby as our main form of contraception with condoms. I have never worried about it not working, but I am super regular and after so many years tracking my cycles I also really know my body now.

That said, I am also working on my husband to have the snip after this baby and when I am in my 40s I plan to have an abrasion done.

 

ETA: I really think that medical science just decided in the 60s that with the pill they had solved female contraceptive and have just not explored the long term effects or really any alternatives.

Bridezilla

Thanks all! Good to be talking about these things! 

I think I’m just massively forward planning, but I think there’s an element of you go on the pill in your teens and never really get told about the alternatives. 

Thanks for all your thoughts ladies! x

Bridezilla

MrsTwizbe wrote (see post):

ETA: I really think that medical science just decided in the 60s that with the pill they had solved female contraceptive and have just not explored the long term effects or really any alternatives.

Didn’t they stop developing male contraception because of the side effects? But it’s ok for us women to put up with them, it really annoys me.

Personally I am so broody and ready for children but financially we can’t afford it until after our wedding next April. I currently have the implant and toying with the idea of removing it around January time so I can get to know my cycles. But I also really don’t want to have my period on my wedding day. Thinking about speaking to a doctor nearer the time but worried I’ll be palmed off.

Bridezilla

My sister was on the pill for well over a decade. She has two children, her second child she fell pregnant with well under a year of trying.  Being on a hormonal contraceptive didn't limit her ability to get pregnant and to get pregnant pretty quickly. 

There are so many different kinds of hormonal contraceptives with different levels of hormones in them, coupled with the incredible diversity in our bodies, that there's no way of knowing how much or how long the impact of these meds will be. But to make a blanket statement that using one is going to limit or eliminate your ability to conceive is definitely an urban legend.  Those of us who have difficulty getting pregnant or can't at all likely had a pre-existing condition or developed a medical issue along the way that caused this situation.

Bridezilla

KittyFiennes wrote (see post):

My sister was on the pill for well over a decade. She has two children, her second child she fell pregnant with well under a year of trying.  Being on a hormonal contraceptive didn't limit her ability to get pregnant and to get pregnant pretty quickly. 

There are so many different kinds of hormonal contraceptives with different levels of hormones in them, coupled with the incredible diversity in our bodies, that there's no way of knowing how much or how long the impact of these meds will be. But to make a blanket statement that using one is going to limit or eliminate your ability to conceive is definitely an urban legend.  Those of us who have difficulty getting pregnant or can't at all likely had a pre-existing condition or developed a medical issue along the way that caused this situation.

Thanks Kitty, this is what I thought. The scary thing is none of us know our fertility until you start trying, and I've spent my whole life trying not to get pregnant and then I know one day it'll totally switch! Not for a good few years though, but I suppose these things take a little forward planning and thinking about.

Bridezilla

It definitely depends. You might come off the pill and get pregnant straight away - lots of people do! But for me, it did affect my cycle. My periods came back relatively quickly but my cycle was all over the place. I was told by GP not to worry for 6 months or so after coming off as it could still be regulating. I also had a thin womb lining which I was told could be pill related. 

That said, I conceived after four months so it didn’t stop me getting pregnant in the end but the stress it caused worrying about my fertility in the meantime was no fun. I am not going back on the pill until i don’t want any more children!

I think the evidence does not show any long term negative impact on fertility but it might take a bit of time for your cycle to regulate.

And yes a career and a family is a hard balance, you’re not the only one who worries about it!

New bride

There is one form of contraception that can have a delayed return to fertility - the injection. I personally love it, no major side effects and no periods (double win!), but have switched to the Mirena coil so its easier when we start trying. 

I have heard of people coming off contraception early to allow their cycle to settle, so they’re able to predict ovulation better? 

Bridezilla

I had a coil fitted, the IUD, for 8 years (got it replaced after 5) after several years of injection, then a year on implant, then a year or 2 on the pill. I had coil removed a few months before we started trying and we caught on our third month. My periods returned as normal straightaway. They say that fertility returns immediately on removal with the coil, but it may take longer with pill. All you can do is come off it a few months before you want to start trying, long enough for periods to return and start tracking them.

Wedding addict

The NHS suggests that it doesn’t have an effect on fertility. I know a lot of people who have even got pregnant straight after stopping the pill! 

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