Contraception. Back in the day when I was a teenager, the scandal of early teenage sex and how to avoid pregnancy was a big deal. Society was definitely not as daring as it is today and contraception was discussed in whispers and low voices among teenagers and parents alike. Fast forward 15 years or so and there is no shame in embracing your sexuality and talking openly about sex, your hormones and our goddamn curse of periods.
I went on the Pill at the age of 15 partially due to acne. So off to the government clinic I went monthly to get my blood pressure taken and my Triphasil given.
During these 15 odd years of taking the Pill, I’ve only change it once after discovering that Triphasil was too high a dosage for my body. My doctor changed my prescription to Minesse in 2014 which was supposed to be lower dosage. I was unaffected for a good few years, until I had a box jump fail and a fall of my scooter in 2017. The doctor put me on anti-biotics and after 3 continuous courses that’s when my hell began.
I do not want to get into the gorey details too much, I just knew something was off.
I went for a 2nd opinion after the first 6 months when my first doctor did not give much advice. The 2nd doctor advised that a process of elimination is the order of the day while discussing topics such as diabetes and fluctuating oestrogen levels.
He put me on a different pill called Femodene and advised that I cycle my period (this is when you use the pill to skip your period, advising this was 100% safe to do) to see whether the symptoms prevail. This new Pill helped temporarily but it also came with the added bonus of going up a cup size in the boob department. Needless to say, hubby was pretty happy about that.
Temporary relief was experienced only for a few months. I feared that I had reached my last resort, going of the Pill in its entirety.
To be honest, I’ve been extremely against the anti-pill movement that’s reared its head on social media where we have influencers advising people to go off it as it is unnatural for our bodies, making claims that one can heal your body with this and that and whatever miracle cure is popular next. Pill-shaming even became a thing and I found this behaviour disgusting and irresponsible. I am a firm believer that everybody’s BODY is different and when making such a big decision, a doctor has to be consulted. Period.
The Pill has been scientifically proven to help with certain health issues and the last thing you’d want to end up with is an unwanted child or a decision that will weigh heavy on your heart, body and mind. If you are wanting to go off the pill, please do not take social media at face value and do your research, see your doctor, see specialists and make sure you are making this big decision for the right reasons.
My doctor wasn’t happy about me going off the Pill as he knew my stance on not wanting children so extra precautions are being taken in the bedroom to avoid big mistakes. There’s nothing quite like discussing contraceptive options with your partner and talking about potentially life changing choices but I am absolutely grateful for my husband’s support and willingness to try anything that may be needed. This whole situation just brought us closer and forced conversations that we weren’t thinking of seriously before.
Since going off the pill, I’ve been tracking my cycle in the Flo App, reading about the different phases of the menstrual cycle, getting up close and personal with the nitty gritty.
My first period after going off was pretty brutal with it being my first heavy period in years lasting more than 3 days. Within 2 weeks, my cup size went down again, to my relief and my husband’s disappointment (jokes! he loves my body in whatever shape or size it is at any given time).
I want to give my body the chance to naturally produce whatever hormones in whatever quantities it does, to get to the bottom of this problem. If the cause is hormonal, I’d rather make an informed decision going forward than be stuck in a purgatory of not knowing what my body needs from me in order to function normally.
Whether my problem has been solved by going off the Pill, I do not know as yet. My next plan of action is to see an Endocrinologist to test my hormone levels, and to delve deep into genes via DNA Analysis. I am definitely start tracking my cycle and its phases more closely to get to know my body better and even ordered a book called the Women Code by Alisa Vitti. I want to empower my body with the knowledge of knowing what it is capable of and what not.
Photo by Edward Urrutia, art direction by Dijana Maddison, Vogue Australia, May 2015.