Learning About The Contraceptive Pill And My Experience

More and more people are becoming aware of the many ways you are able to stop becoming pregnant. After all, unplanned pregnancy doesn...

More and more people are becoming aware of the many ways you are able to stop becoming pregnant. After all, unplanned pregnancy doesn't always go down well with the people around you or maybe even yourself. But these birth control methods can be used for other uses which can help us OR even make us ill.

Today I'm talking about the contraceptive pill or also known as birth control pills. So, here is some information on the pill that I have in a leaflet. The contraceptive pill is a great use of birth control as it is over 99% effective when taken correctly. Although, it isn't 100% effective so there is at least a 1% chance you can become pregnant so, be careful. There are two types of contraceptive pills - the combined pill and the progestogen-only pill. 

The combined pill contains hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) which are produced naturally in women's ovaries, however these are artificial versions. This pill tries to stop an egg and sperm reaching eachother, so the hormones inside the pill will prevent a woman's ovaries from ovulating (releasing an egg). The combined pill can also be used to ease painful periods, make periods lighter, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and endometriosis. 

In order for the combined pill to work you need to take the pill for 21 days and when the pack is empty, you need to stop taking them for 7 days, where you have a period without ovulating. You then restart taking the pill for 21 days after the 7 day period (no pun intended). The pill needs to be taken at the same day every day and if you don't do it you have more of a chance to become pregnant IF you are involved with someone sexually. Also the same goes for if you miss a pill or become ill and withdraw a lot from your body.

There are side effects to taking the combined pill. Some people will get them and others may have one or two effects or not at all. These include mood swings, breast tenderness and headaches. Some women have suggested that they have gained weight during the time of taking the pill, however there is no hard evidence that it is the pill that does this. There are more serious side effects, however these are low risk effects and it is very uncommon that you will develop blood clots or cervical cancer. The combined pill isn't suitable for those over 35 who smoke or with certain medical conditions. 

The progestogen-only pill only contains one artificial hormone, progestogen. Unlike the combined pill which also contains oestrogen. It thickens the mucus in the cervix which stops sperm reaching an egg, but some do stop ovulation too. It can be used for women who cannot use a contraception that contains oestrogen. 

The progestogen-only pill needs to be taken every day, there are no breaks between packs of pills. Unlike the combined pill, women who smoke and are over 35 are able to use this pill. The pill needs to be taken at the same time each day or if you are taking it more than three hours late, the pill may not be effective. Same goes for severe withdrawals from your body (e.g vomiting). And also some medicines may effect the effectiveness of the progestogen-only pill.

Side effects may be: periods may stop or become irregular or more frequent, or some may become lighter. You can also develop spotty skin and breast tenderness but these effects are said to clear after a few months of taking this pill.

*Please note that both of these pills do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The only way you can protect yourself from STI's is using a condom. PS: make sure you get checked for any STI's if you have slept with someone without the use of a condom and ask a new partner if they have been checked for any before taking any risks.

We are all friends here, so I also want to share with you my experience using the combined pill. I originally started using the pill last June/July because my relationship was starting to get pretty serious, but not serious enough to get pregnant. Condoms are extremely important, there is no denying that. But I just wanted to be extra safe and start going on the pill, where if anything did "accidentally" happen, I wouldn't become pregnant.

So, I made an appointment with my nurse and told her I wanted to go on the contraceptive pill. During my appointment, the nurse asked me routine questions - which I won't deny were quite embarrassing and made me feel quite anxious. After all, my sex life is my sex life. She started asking me questions like "How often do you have sex", "Do you have one partner or more", "When you have sex do you....", that's enough for me. Anyway, she then went through the different types of contraception, such as the contraceptive injection, contraceptive patch, IUD and IUS (there are more). I was certain I just wanted to take a pill every day as having a coil in my arm scared me and I most definitely didn't want any injections. The nurse then prescribed me with the pill which she though best suited my body, the combined pill.

The pill I had came in a pink packet and is from the brand Rigevidon. I was given a one month's supply and was told to start taking it after my next period ended. I was also told to go back in a month's time to see how I was getting on. Taking the pill started out great, I had no problems and remembered to take it everyday. The only thing I did forget to do is go to the appointment after the month as I remembered a day late oops. It was quite a disaster as I had run out of my current pack and needed a new pack for the next month pronto! I never ended up having a check up with my nurse and they just supplied me with 6 month's supply of pills. So I didn't really know if I was OK to take them still!

My skin before the pill was fine. I'd sometimes get a few spots here and there but nothing major - however when I was in secondary school, I would take days off because I was so anxious about my spots, but they weren't even that bad! The pill made my face clear (although this may not be the same for everyone), but when I came off the pill for the 7 day period, my skin broke out something terrible. So obviously the pill was controlling my hormones which made my skin better, so when I wasn't taking the pill, my "teenage" hormones came to light. 

My periods before the pill were really bad. Painful! To the extent that I'd have to take about 6 paracetamols a day to stop the cramps because I always felt like I was dying or something! But when I started the pill my periods were wonderful! They were so smooth and light, I barely had any pain - well if I did have any pain at all, it would be bearable. 

I didn't put any weight on when I was using the pill, but I was going to the gym at the time, so I do suggest you exercise just in case and well because you need to exercise to keep healthy. 

Months passed and I started to forget about the pill and started to take them really late in the day or even take two at a time because I forgot the day before. I ended up forgetting so much that my period's were all messed up and my mood swings were quite terrible, I don't know why! I then read something somewhere which made me scared to take the pill, so I just stopped. I haven't taken the pill for a good 5 months now and honestly, it was such a bad decision as my periods are more painful than ever, they are extremely heavy and I am constantly worrying about the thought of being pregnant.

Even though I originally started taking the pill to be protected from pregnancy, I would say it made my life a lot easier when I used it correctly. I would definitely reconsider going back on it, even if I wasn't with anyone. I think sometimes people judge people for being on the pill. I have had quite a few comments saying that I'm a this and I'm a that because I was on the pill and people thought I was "sleeping around", but I wasn't. I thought I was doing a sensible thing for both me and my boyfriend, and I was. Even if you are not in a relationship, I would recommend the combined pill to you if you suffer with bad periods, or even infrequent periods, maybe even give it a try if you have bad skin - it may work for you! But, do see a nurse or GP first and go through your options for whatever your reasons are.

Thank you for reading this very long winded post, but I hope you learned something from it!

Have you been on the pill? Let me know your experiences in the comments! Also if you want to talk about anything which is related to this subject in any way, do feel free to message me. (You can find my contact page here).

Some information I have included is from here.

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  1. Before I was able to use Tampons, I would use the combined pill for delaying my period whilst I was on holiday. It was a good plan, until after the holiday and I stopped taking it. It would make my immune system have no barriers and I would get really bad flu symptoms and a very very heavy period, which always made me feel so bad, especially after a good holiday. That is why I started using tampons instead and I really like using them now, compared to why I first started. I don't think I would use them for pregnancy prevention, but if and when I do want pregnancy prevention, I would probably use a different type, like the patch or coil.
    Katie xx

    1. Oh no that doesn't sound like that's good! That's fair enough! x

  2. I was on the pill for a couple of years but I use condoms as well as I wanted to protect myself against that 1% chance. I did gain weight from using the pill and I suffered mood swings. But when I came off the pill the weight dropped slightly and my mood swings stopped. It was definitely easier with controlling my periods being on the pill, but the scary side effects always worried me. Everything will have a side effect, but I like the pill because having my period is that sigh of relief that I'm not pregnant!

    1. Aw no that's not good. Yes, I agree, the side effects are never worth it!

  3. Hey, I just found this on your blog, and it was way more informative than my doctor was when I went to see about painful periods! I started taking the combined pill about two months ago, and I was so scared of weight gain, but honestly, nothing's changed! Thank you for writing this, I feel so much more informed about what's going on with my body now :) x


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