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angie_21
Hey truthseeker, all your symptoms can happen on the birth control pill, including weight problems and wicked pms. I didn't take any supplements or anything, but I was only on it for 3 years. I would suggest reading up on fertility monitoring so that you can track how well your body is readjusting to being without the extra hormones. If you know where you are in your cycle, it's easier to tell, for exmaple, why it might take 8 weeks to get your first peroid off the pill, and you don't have to be paranoid that you're pregnant. Fertility monitoring websites also usually have some information on herbal supplements to help regulate your cycle until your body gets back into the swing of things, but I can't say much about it because I've never tried.

20 years is a long time, so I think the only good advice I can give you is to be patient. Your body has to heal before it can return to normal, and it can take half a year or more for things to really get better in terms of sex drive, weight loss, hormonal balance, etc. And good luck! I know I am sooo much happier now that I am off BC!
truthseeker
Angie: Thanks -- I'm not sure about tracking my fertility and all, but I totally get what you are saying about my body evening out after going off BC. It has been a long time and honestly I didn't even realize it. I don't feel old but 20 yrs. seems like forever! I'm anxious to go off -- but must first make sure my DH is sterile. We are pretty sure he is, it's been a year since the big V and he's had plenty of times of ejac. but still, we'll make sure first.

So back to fertility tracking, can you recommend any good sites for a total newbie?? Because I don't want to completely write that off just because it's foreign to me.
angie_21
A lot of girls here have had their SO have a vasectomy, but I don't know what thread it was posted on. If anyone does know could someone bump it for us?

fertility awareness - software, info, and message boards

Fertility awareness basic description

herbal fertility stuff and some info this one's a bit out there, but I had fun reading some of the information abyways
truthseeker
Angie: One quick correction just to be clear: I didn't have my SO have a vasectomy, but instead my DH had enough of pregnancy scares and since we were sure we didn't want kids, he scheduled one on his own right away. I'm pretty clear on Vs and what we need to do as far as understanding sterility. Basically he gives samples to a lab and they determine whether he is sterile.

Thanks for the links!

QUOTE(angie_21 @ Jul 11 2009, 06:57 PM) *
A lot of girls here have had their SO have a vasectomy, but I don't know what thread it was posted on. If anyone does know could someone bump it for us?

fertility awareness - software, info, and message boards

Fertility awareness basic description

herbal fertility stuff and some info this one's a bit out there, but I had fun reading some of the information abyways

angie_21
lol, I didn't mean to make it sound like anyone made their husband or SO go out and get a vasectomy done, I just meant that it happened, hopefully a decision they made together. Either way, I thought you might be interested in hearing their stories. I believe it might have been in the "childfree by choice" thread. Hope the test results come back how you want them, anyways!
truthseeker
oh sure, no worries! I just didn't want anyone to think I was one of those women, the kind that actually do force their guys to do it. Thanks for the thread links angie.

QUOTE(angie_21 @ Jul 14 2009, 02:54 PM) *
lol, I didn't mean to make it sound like anyone made their husband or SO go out and get a vasectomy done, I just meant that it happened, hopefully a decision they made together. Either way, I thought you might be interested in hearing their stories. I believe it might have been in the "childfree by choice" thread. Hope the test results come back how you want them, anyways!

designermedusa
I wanted to share an update to my quitting the pill. I quit the pill almost 6 weeks ago, and so far feel better, but no drastic changes. I haven't had any bad side effects. I started my period one week later than I would if I had still been taking the pill (I read it usually takes 4-6 weeks, so that was correct for me). I can't really say about my sex drive because Mr. DM is working on getting his post vasectomy analysis, so it will be another month or two.

I'm glad I made the decision after 10 years of continuous use to quit the pill.
truthseeker
hey, thanks so much for the update. I'm still waiting on my DH post v test results too. Did you have bad periods while on the pill and were they better without the pill --- or vice versa? That's my biggest fear, is that I'll have gawd awful periods when I'm off the pill.

QUOTE(designermedusa @ Jul 24 2009, 05:55 PM) *
I wanted to share an update to my quitting the pill. I quit the pill almost 6 weeks ago, and so far feel better, but no drastic changes. I haven't had any bad side effects. I started my period one week later than I would if I had still been taking the pill (I read it usually takes 4-6 weeks, so that was correct for me). I can't really say about my sex drive because Mr. DM is working on getting his post vasectomy analysis, so it will be another month or two.

I'm glad I made the decision after 10 years of continuous use to quit the pill.

designermedusa
truthseeker, before I started taking the pill at 19 I had really bad periods, heavy bleeding. With the pill I had light periods, and now the first period post pill has been a light flow. Also, I had some cramping with pill, but hardly any cramping with my first period post pill.
truthseeker
OK, well, let's hope for the best for me. I have horrible periods. I've been on it so long I hardly remember my period before. I'm just done with the pill.
MadameHooch
I've been toying with the idea of quitting the pill, because I have doubts about how safe man-made hormones can really be for your body. However I realllly don't want to go back to using condoms with my boyfriend - once ya get that real dick, you aren't so quick to go back, you know? Haha. I am not sure about how many options are out there without fucking with my body. I've been considering giving the cervical cap a whirl, but I've heard mixed things. Does anyone have any opinions on using them, or know of any other alternatives to the pill that might be good for me?
angie_21
hey madame.. despite my boyfriend being 100% willing (and even encouraging me to quit the pill) we had a lot of trouble switching back to condoms, including some fighting and crying during sex. It took a little while to get used to it again, but yeah, you can go back even if you don't really want to. It's still better than being on the pill, and it's better than being preggers! I feel like I've tried everything under the sun, and condoms are the only thing that don't srew with your body in one way or another. I tried and IUD once and hated it, but a lot of girls here have them and love them, there's a thread about them somewhere if you want more information. Modern IUDs are quite safe and effective, and really very cost effective. Just keep in mind that any brand of IUD promising to get rid of your peroids will be injecting hormones straight into your uterus!
candycane_girl
madame, I'm having the same doubts as you.

How the hell do iud's work anyway? I would never not want to get a period because that's my way of knowing that I'm not pregnant. Also, aren't they painful for women who have never had children? Would I still be able to use tampons or a diva cup?

I'm seeing my doctor this week. Hopefully he can help me out.
angie_21
Here's the IUD thread:

IUD Reviews?

It's pretty pro-IUD over there, so I feel compelled to warn that not everyone has as great an experience as the lucky ladies on this forum have had. It was one of the worst things I've ever done to my body, but between having a tilted uterus and sensitive bladder, I think I was a special case to begin with lol

You can still use tampons, a diva cup is iffy but some girls do it. They're not painful specifically to girls who haven't had kids, but they can be to some people, and certainly were for me. It also hurts like $%#$ to get put in, but the pain only lasts a second. The standard copper-T irritates the uterus and prevents an egg from implanting once it's been fertilized. It can also block sperm from getting to the fallopian tubes. The mirena is less irritating, but relys more on estrogen that it releases over time into the uterus. Because it's so close to the ovaries, I guess the hormonal doses are lower and so they're not supposed to cause the same emotional side effects as the pill, but since it still screws with your ovaries, I'm not so sure I believe that. I just looked it up out of curiousity, because of course the mirena website doesn't even tell you, but about half of women using mirena still ovulate, and half don't. And 20% of women trying to conceive after using the mirena, won't in the first year.

I'm not trying to be a party-pooper, since obviously all the girls on the IUD forum who are happy can't be wrong! I just think people should know what they're getting themselves into when they get something this significant put in their bodies!! And I can't believe the mirena website doesn't even discuss ovulation. that creeps me out.
MadameHooch
Thanks for the info, Angie. I'm still not sure what to do...I wish there was just some magical way to not get preggers until you are good and ready, sans all the artificial hormones! There is just something intimate about unprotected sex (with my bf obviously - not random guys!) that I would hate to lose with condoms. Arghh!
angie_21
Well, I track my cycles, and we have unprotected sex - but using withdrawl - during my luteal phase when I'm not "fertile." On the months that I actually keep up with tracking it, anyways. It's a big pain in the butt. It's kind of tricky, I don't recommend it unless you're really dedicated, since if you miss one little sign, you can slip up and end up in trouble. I posted some links on fertility awareness further down this page.

And also.. we felt that way when we started using condoms again, and it's still annoying once and a while just because of having to go through the ordeal of putting the damn thing on, but once we got used to it, we don't notice the difference so much. Well, I think my sweetie notices it more than I do lol, but he insists it's still so much better just because I am happier and more into it now that I'm not on the pill.
candycane_girl
I'm starting to have doubts about quitting the pill. cc_boy and I used a condom yesterday (he had accidentally cut himself while trying to er, trim the hedges) and it was okay but it really does change the way it feels. I don't think I want to rely on a diaphragm because it just doesn't seem that trustworthy to me.

I'm getting really anxious to talk to my doctor. Maybe he can put me on a different type of the pill. Unfortunately, since I'm overweight I need to be on a high dose of bc because low dose birth control is less effective in overweight women.
angie_21
I was fitted for a diaphram, paid $50 at the pharmacy for it, and never once used it. It was too weird, and not only that, they're about ass effective as the rhythm method unless you use them with spermicide! bleah. Good luck, whatever you choose. Hopefully your doctor can help you out with a different brands or ways to handle side effects or other problems. I know mine was clueless about the effects of different brands, unfortunately, but I have heard there can be a difference when it comes to side effects.
likeanyother
I'm wondering how everyone who quit the pill recently is doing? I've been really really wanting to quit after being on it for 2 1/2 years, but right now would be a really bad time to get pregnant, I'm living in a foreign country and have a pretty specific plan for the next 3+ years of my life. For some reason I just don't fully trust condoms, but I was thinking if I combine the fertility awareness method with condoms I should be okay. Not that I'm a big fan of condoms.... Dang, having no good, safe alternative really sucks! But, I'm so sick of the UTI's, the migraines and the lack of sex drive (3 problems I never had before going on the pill). I also just have this really strong desire to get off of it, it's weird, I was reading some earlier posts and someone said that when she forgot a couple pills she felt like her body was sending her a message. I had the same thing happen this month, I never forget, but this month I forgot 3 different times and I can't stop thinking about how I just don't want to put artificial hormones in my body anymore. Well, I have one week to decide.

angie21, thanks for posting those links, I'm going to go do some reading right now...
designermedusa
Here's my update, I quit the pill back in June because Mr. DM got a vasectomy. My period has been a little off schedule, first it was a week late, then it was almost on time, then it was a week early. I'm hoping it gets back on schedule because it's bothersome never knowing when my period will come. I went like a month without having migraines then I started having them again. I'm sure my body needs time to adjust or maybe I'll just always have migraines, I hope they go away though. I was on the pill for ten years, and never had migraines prior to that. My anxiety has been about the same, sex drive too. Even though it doesn't sound like my body has benefited from not taking the pill, I do indeed feel better, but I can't really describe why.
meadowlark
I quit Yaz at the end of July with the support of my fiance. I didn't want to put the artificial hormones in my body anymore. I've gone off bc before but the first two months were awful because of the anxiety. I tend to have some anxiety anyway but this was through the roof. This last period it was nearly gone so I think the hormones are finally getting regulated. I've been taking a lot of supplements (B vitamins and other stuff) which I think helped. I've been getting migraines and too hope that they will resolve as my body takes over. I used to get one a year and now it's almost every period. As far as for pregnancy prevention I do FAM and then use the sponge during fertile times.
MadameHooch
meadowlark, how long was it before the effects of quitting the pill kicked in? I just recently stopped taking Yaz this month, but so far I've just had a few little breakouts. I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst, ha.
I am on the search for a hormone-free method of birth control, so I was really happy to see something about in this month's issue of BUST! I googled FAM and I'm thinking I'm going to give the whole tracking-your-cycle method a try. I also am going to buy Jade & Pearl's cycle beads.
meadowlark
The terrible anxiety came toward the end of my first period off the Yaz. I was also under a tremendous amount of situational stress and ended up getting sick (and having a reaction to the med so I didn't know what was the cause of the anxiety). But then at the second period the terrible anxiety returned. It let up in the week after my period. I just had my third period and thankfully that anxiety didn't return. As far as the headaches/migraines I'm not sure yet since I'd been getting them each cycle for the past year or so. I have the "Taking Charge of your Fertility" book that they mention in this month's Bust and is discussed around here.

I also have Dr. Northrup's "women's bodies, women's wisdom" which I used as a guide what supplements might help my body regulate. I found a website by googling yaz where women told their stories (both good and bad but mostly bad).

Hope some of this helps.
angie_21
I've been attempting FAM since January, but have had to fall back on condoms for most of the time due to a completely messed up life schedule that has thrown off my morning temperatures since April, and stress that has lead to weird long cycles. When I was having a regular schedule and cycle, though, it worked great, even on my first month off the pill!

Madame hooch, do keep reading if you are going to try FAM. cycle beads are generally not considered very helpful for fertility monitoring, only as an overall guide for women with no previous knowledge of their cycle. Fertility tracking charts are available on the internet for free, and are much more helpful than beads. What you do need is a basal body thermometer, which you can find in most drugstores in the family planning aisle. Not all women have the same length of cycle (which fertility beads usually assume), and those who do, do not all ovulate on the same day in the cycle, and may be fertile for a different range of days. You need to know exactly when you are fertile for FAM to work (and you sure don't want it not to work!)
MadameHooch
I'm still waiting on my period so I haven't even tried the cycle beads yet - they seemed like such a good idea but when I saw them in person I was a little sketchy about how useful they could be bc of the very reasons you stated, angie (not always ovulating on the same days and such). I don't know why I don't think of these things BEFORE I spend money.

I don't know if it's just me, but I found the FAM website a little confusing. Is there another website you would suggest or could I just do this using a regular ol' calendar.

Meadow, hope everything is going well for you and you haven't had any further anxiety, that's never fun! I still have yet to feel other symptoms besides way dramatic mood swings - I've beeen crying at the drop of a hat lately!
angie_21
was the FAM website tcoyf.org (aka ovusoft.org)? that website is a bit confusing, because it assumes that you have already read the book (taking charge of your fertility), and it's trying to get you to pay for the software, which I don't think anyone needs. I found other websites confusing as well, they do it on purpose either to try to make you take courses and seminars (boo) or to try to avoid legal liability if anyone gets pregnant after reading their website (boo again)

If you haven't read tcoyf, I would recommend it, it's great because she actually explains the hormonal processes that cause everything to happen in your cycle, and has lots of photos, and section explaining problems and perceived problems women have, many of which are actually normal variations in a normal cycle. Cycle beads are really popular with natural family planning, which is christian-based, and I guess because it's more squeamish it doesn't go into the physical details that true fertility awareness gets into. I mean, you wouldn't want to teach women how their bodies and reproductive systems actually work, because then they might start to feel like they have control over them! Oh no!

I bet you could find a way to make the cycle beads work for you though, as part of FAM, once you've established what your regular cycle is and gotten used to it.

Is there a way to upload things to this board? I can't remember where I found the chart I use and I'd love to just be able to post a PDF of it here.
MadameHooch
Thanks for all the help, Angie. Yeah, I was looking at ovusoft.org...I realized that they were trying to peddle their merch, which is so annoying. I definitely am going to take a look at the book asap. I'm actually pretty excited to start learning what's happening in there! I'm not too sure if there is a way to upload things, but one those little boxes right above the text box you type in (where the option to bold, italicize, or underline your print is etc) has the option to insert an image. Is that the same thing?
angie_21
Anything I can do to help others stay off the pill as safely as possible! I actually just found out that I might have PCOS and my doctor recommended I go back on it. Then she saw the look on my face and said, well, the hormonal birth control is really only needed for people with menstrual problems or who want to get rid of acne and other PCOS side effects... not a snowball's chance in hell that I'm going back, ever!

I think I'd have to upload them to some kind of photobucket thing to use that button.. so I realised the easy thing to do was a google image search. Taa daa! Same charts I have, although from a different source. The other website was awesome, it had charts that had different temperature ranges and everythin. Oh well. If you do an image search you'll come up with quite a bit of stuff.

Btw, the ovusoft software isn't cheap, but their message board is free. There's a lot of advice there if you need it, and some support groups.

Basic Fertility Chart This one has both celcius and fahrenheit charts.

The Chart I Use
sassy
So I just wanted to update you guys...I quit the pill in February so its 9-months since I've been on it. I have had trouble with my skin since then, but I think it is becoming more managable now. I really did consider going back on the pill just for my skin to be clear again, but I just couldn't do it. Since I went off the pill I have gradually, without even trying, lost 18 lbs! That has been great! I just don't feel hungry all the time anymore like I did on the pill. I also feel less bloated and my face looks thinner. My sex drive has come back maybe part of the way, but it still has a ways to go. I figure I was on the pill for 6-years so I am just trying to be patient while my body gets everything worked out. Anyway, I feel better than I have in a long time and I highly recommend going off the pill if you are having side effects.
angie_21
Hi Sassy, that's great news! I'm at 10 months, and surprised at how long it's taking for the sex drive to come back. I've found that physically, my body just keeps getting better and more receptive, but phsychologically, I'm still struggling with some sexual issues I developed while on the pill. They're getting better as the physical part gets better (I can actually have orgams again! that really helps lol) sorry it that's all tmi.. but I do think it's important for women to realize what the pill is doing to them, and also that sex is important. It was one of my main reasons for going off the pill!

my skin is also slowly getting back to normal after going crazy at first. I've been using a peroxide medication (perscription) which really helps. I've noticed the hair on my legs is growing faster though sad.gif I haven't lost any weight, but I do look a bit slimmer, I think I'm developing more muscle now and losing a bit if fat at the same time... and yeah, I don't crave carbs like I used to! yay!
likeanyother
Thank you to everyone who responded to my original inquiry. After reading everyone's experiences I decided to just quit and now that it's been a couple much I'm so damn glad I did. No more UTI's, I have a sex drive again, and I can actually get wet again. We're using condoms now which I don't really like, and neither does my boyfriend, but it's still much preferable since I actually want to have sex now and find it pleasurable. I'm going to look into the fertility awareness method that you posted about angie_21, it'd be nice to have at least some part of the month when can have sex without condoms.

meadowlark
Thanks for the well wishes a few months back. I think my body is finally regulating some. I didn't have a period for two months but it just showed up at the end of last week. Unbearable anxiety was gone and it appears from the FAM charting that things are getting back to some kind of normal. And my weight keeps going down with very little effort.
angie_21
there used to be an FAM thread here, but it's long buried and I don't know how to find it. Anyways, the fertility message boards at ovusoft are free, even if their tracking software isn't, and there's lots of advice there if you guys continue with it. We're using it basically to plan when in the month it's safe to use withdrawl for "birth control" since I'm still not comfortable going all the way completely unprotected. Even though my predictions of when my period will come are pretty accurate, my ovulation is tricky because my temperatures make no sense.
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