Ok so before we get into the blog, HOW the hell are there only 29 days left of 2020? It seems as though it was only yesterday that it was March and I was told to stay at home for 3 weeks, as we all needed to self-isolate and alas, here I am writing this blog in December, in yet another lockdown.
Let’s look on the bright side though, it’s nearly Christmas! (my favorite holiday) and if you’re a total Grinch then I guess my riveting way with words is going to have to be your only satisfaction I’m afraid.
A little life update before we begin: I’ve started my new role at work as an experienced specialist adviser which means that I have to undergo four weeks of intense training. I’m currently on week 3/4 and it’s that intense, that I wake up in the night with it on my mind and when I do get back to sleep, it’s interrupted with thoughts of work! Writing this blog already feels like a comforting outlet and should offer me some small, but much needed respite.
I’m coping much better with lockdown 2.0 as I’m still able to go to the office three days which provides some sort of normality at least, plus I’m with Sam most days so he helps to occupy me. I really hope that everyone else’s second lockdown hasn’t been too hard either.
Admittedly, the titles a little crazy but only because the topic I’m discussing this time round, is Contraception, so I thought we’d have a lil fun with it. When else can we have fun when it comes to Birth control?
It sucks that as women we have to put up with so many things in our lifetime and men seem to be let off scot-free. Puberty, periods and then pregnancy, never mind all the bits in-between. Whilst I’m on the subject of periods, did you know that Scotland have now made all sanitary items FREE?!
Scot ladies are no longer paying £4.60 for a box of a blood plugs. How amazing is that? Scotland seems to be moving with the times (not that periods are a new thing) but the fact that women have to pay for sanitary items because we bleed through no fault of our own, is an absolute scam and clearly outdated!
Contraception plays a big part in a woman’s life and I don’t feel as though we get the recognition we deserve for having to deal with it. It’s our jobs as women to ensure that we find a birth control method that suits us in order for us to prevent unwanted pregnancies either for ourselves, our partner or both. Essentially, the owness to stop any babies is very much upon women and to be completely honest, that provides a whole load of pressure.
I can almost guarantee that every sexually active woman reading this, has had a pregnancy scare, maybe multiple. It’s the day of your period and it hasn’t come. Your boobs are sore and you’re feeling tetchy and hungry. Day two comes and still nothing. You have slight cramping but nothing major, just a few twinges here and there. Day three comes and there’s still no sign of Mrs. P and now you’re really starting to worry because normally you’re like clockwork.
The more you think about it, the more stressed you become, you’re eating every hour because you’re constantly hungry. Day five comes and you’ve convinced yourself that you’re pregnant. Your belly feels bloated and you’ve backtracked to the last time you had unprotected sex, your mouth goes dry as you think of all the ways you’re going to tell your partner.
You wake up on Day Six to find blood in your panties accompanied with a whole load of belly cramps, Surprise! She shouts.
I admire that there’s various forms of Contraception that we get to chose from. Taking into consideration our routine, lifestyle and most importantly, our bodies.
From daily pills, to year long coils, we really do get to have the pick of the bunch.
What works for one woman isn’t going to be the same for the next and likewise, which makes it even harder to find a means of birth control that we can actually vibe with.
I first started my Contraception journey when I was 16 years old. I’m quite lucky in the fact that I could speak to my mom about these things and although we didn’t have a sit down ‘birds and the bees’ conversation, she’s always been very open and understanding in me making my own choices.
I didn’t explicitly come out and tell my mom that I had become sexually active, but as we all know, moms just know and so she advised me that it would be wise to take a look into forms of Contraception.
I went to the clinic on my own, (my mom had offered to come along but I felt more comfortable alone) and I left with the pill. The pill I started out with, is where you would take 1 pill once a day for 21 days and then have your period for 7 and then the cycle would start over again. I’ll be honest, it was that long ago now that I’m not sure what side effectsI had, but I know for certain, that I would always forget to take it…
I stopped the pill when I was 18 and then decided that I wanted to try the Implant, now this was more my thing, as I had this form of Contraception for a total of 6 years (taken out September 20) so I will go into this, in a little more detail. The Implant is placed at the top of your arm (either left or right) with a small incision. The nurse cleans and wipes the area, numbs the pain with a needle and then, inserts it. The pain is very minimal (my pain threshold is real low) and I found that when I was having it removed, this was actually more uncomfortable than getting it inserted, as after three years the implant tends to get buried into your body.
The aftercare is really low maintenance and didn’t provide me with any pain. The only thing I found, is that my arm felt slightly heavier and had bruising where the implant had been inserted. Your arm is wrapped in bandage which you have to keep dry for 48 hours and you can take the whole bandage off including the plaster after a week. You also have to be careful not to do any heavy lifting, or go to the gym for a week(that suited me down to the ground). As it starts to heal, you’re left with a small scar where the incision was, but it’s nothing too major.
The life of the implant lasts for a period of three years after which you need to get it replaced. It provides an efficiency rate of 99% and for the duration of the life span, your periods can either get shorter, heavier, longer, more irregular or completely stop. My periods for the 6 year span, completely stopped and I was ELATED. With any forms of Contraception there are disadvantages and I found that the Implant really did intensify my already existing and every crazy mood swings.(I’m a Libra OK!)
During the six years, I didn’t have any issues and for me this was a great choice of Birth control, or so I thought anyway. I don’t suffer from Acne and so my skin remained the same and there was no obvious weight gain or loss. I also didn’t have the stress of remembering to take a pill and I didn’t have any periods or pain, so I absolutely loved my implant!
I had the implant removed in September and I was actually kind of yearning for a period as it had been so long. I expected it to return instantly, so when it didn’t, I was really panicking. After 8 weeks, my period returned and that yearning feeling no longer existed when the cramps began!
It was up to the three year mark and I was debating whether to continue with the Implant, or to take a look into other forms of Contraception. I found some information online about the Implant that I had not previously known and it got me thinking against it.
Had I not known these things because I was not previously warned by the sexual health nurse, or was I warned, but just decided to be ignorant against it as I wanted to make my partner happy to have sex without protection?
It’s true that as women we aim to please our men and as even younger women, we get caught up in doing this quite often. We sometimes neglect our views and choices, in order to make our other half happy and in turn, make them love us more?
We allow them to “just pull out” because it’s more satisfying for them, than putting on a condom, but it’s US that have to make sure we get the morning after pill in time, (you can now take this 5 days later, I know wth?) to prevent having a baby.
Now, I pride myself in being as transparent as possible and although I didn’t have almost any known side effects from the Implant, there was a MAJOR hormonal imbalance in my body (still till this day, I can’t find it on any website under side effects) which meant that I was prone to getting BV 60% of the time I had sex, whether this was with or without a condom. (If I’m oversharing and it’s making you uncomfortable, please skip past as I have no qualms about opening up). Evidentially, this would get me down a great deal as no matter what tablets, gel, home remedies I tried, it was reluctant to come back.
After years of trying different remedies, I quite frankly accepted it and just thought that maybe it was just how it was with me, maybe I was sensitive or had a mad PH balance as this didn’t seem to happen with any of my friends. That’s when I came across an online Forum, where a lady had been explaining that since having the implant she had persistent BV and although she had spoken to her doctors about it, they didn’t connect this with anything to do with the implant.
I was exceedingly grateful for this Forum as it gave me great comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone and there was method to the madness as to why this kept on happening. Thank god for online Forums! (It hasn’t returned since having the implant out in September). This is why I can’t stress enough, the importance of doing your own research as you can’t always rely on sexual health professionals, they’re only human and sometimes they won’t inform you of every detail.
I understand there are sexual health professionals that don’t know everything there is to know about Contraception as there are constant new developments, granted. However, it’s scary to know that if we aren’t advised properly or at all about a form of Contraception, then we’re left out in the dark about what we are really putting into our bodies. Therefore, I want to make sure that women are educated around the immediate/long term side effects of Contraception and why it’s important to do your research.
Slightly out of context – I’ve recently downloaded the ‘Flo’ app now that I have periods again and it has completely changed the whole menstrual game! When has there ever been a time that you can track your periods through an app? You can track your periods (and log your symptoms for more tailored information), see the days you’re most fertile, the days you have a lower chance of getting pregnant and so on and so forth. It’s practical AF and personally, I think every woman should have it.
My mission in these blogs are to inform, educate (as well as entertain) people on the information that I wish I had known and to give you an insight, into my experiences. With this particular topic, as I can only really speak about the implant, I was keen to get in some feedback from five cute ass women about their first hand experiences on Contraception, in the hope that it will urge you to do some research for whenever you’re in a position to decide.
“I started taking the pill at 18 but I had to stop after a year because unfortunately, I got to experience all of the negative side effects that it come with. I gained weight and I was constantly down and irritable, I had a low libido, but the most serious side effect I inherited was anxiety and depression which still visits me six years down the line. When I first went on the pill, it was because every doctor was recommending it due to my age. I would attend check up appointments and every time more health concerns were being raised. My blood pressure was through the roof and doctors would often re-do my blood pressure 2/3 times in shock and would joke “Did you run to your appointment?.” Each time I went, none of the nurses/doctors flagged any of these negative side effects as an issue, as long as I was practicing “safe sex”. Over time, the side effects of the pill directly impacted EACH element of my life…my relationship took a U-turn and my sex drive was at an all time low, I didn’t even want my partner to kiss me! I quit my job over text due to stress and anxiety and ended up dropping out of uni…TWICE! My experience with the pill put so much fear into me around Contraception, that now I’m scared to use any alternatives! It’s not normal to sacrifice all of these things for such a small gain. Looking back now, I’m sad that I was so heavily convinced to take the pill when I was 18, as it’s had a domino effect on my life ever since. Thankfully, I’m happy and healthy now and I will continue to practice safe sex in a HORMONE FREE way :)”– This woman was previously on the pill, she was not informed of the serious negative side effects and long-term impacts. She now stays well away from using any other form of Contraception and is enjoying safe sex without any Birth control!
“I have been on the patch now for overall 3 years and it is the best thing I’ve ever been on in my life. It’s so simple to use. You put it on for a week, (week 1) take it off for a week, (week 2) put it on for a week, (week 3) (3 times) and then you have a period. Then it begins again with a fresh patch and it’s just the best!” – This woman is on the Patch currently and is really pleased with her current Contraception.
“I was on the implant before having my daughter and bled for 8 months. Some days I would be spotting, other days I would have full periods and would sweat to the point where they’d make me faint but the doctors didn’t check it out because I was too young for a smear. I was then advised, to start taking the pill alongside the implant to maintain the bleeding which stopped my periods altogether. When I went for a check up (with another doctor), I was told that it wasn’t ideal to be on two forms of Contraception before having children which then scared me. I was then told I had cysts on my ovaries which could have been due to an overdose in Contraception but luckily they haven’t grown and I have my daughter now and expecting our son. If you believe that something isn’t right for your body or if something is wrong, trust yourself! Xxx” – This woman was on the Implant alone and then she combined it with the Pill, as advised by Medical professionals – She should have received much better initial advice, as she may have suffered a Contraception overdose due to inaccurate guidance.
“At the age of 14, I was experiencing very heavy periods and my iron levels were so low during the time of the month along with feeling very lightheaded and fainting. If I wasn’t fainting, I was leaking through my trousers which was very embarrassing especially during school hours. This all got way too much for me and I made the decision to see my nurse who immediately recommended the contraceptive pill, the Levest. I had to take 1 pill a day for 21 days and then I would stop for 7 days so my period could naturally arrive. I have noticed several benefits from taking the contraceptive pill such as, my period although still heavy in comparison to other women, has lightened a lot, shortened in days and as a result I rarely leak! My family and boyfriend have noticed the negative side of me taking the pill. My boyfriend often bares the brunt of my mood swings and I find myself not wanting to be affectionate and intimate with him. It’s fair to say my libido is non-existent. I question myself all the time, why do I keep taking this awful pill? Honestly, my answer always refers to having a sense of security and control over my body however I find that I am left with no control over my hormones and emotions and so I battle with myself over what control I would prefer.” – This woman is currently taking the pill and it seems that the good, slightly outweighs the bad. Although she loves the fact that she has more control over her body, she is in a constant battle with the lack of control over her emotions, that the pill provides.
“I initially had the implant in from 2016 to the end of 2018. I had NO previous information provided and was offered it on the day of an appointment and felt pressured into saying yes. This was a substitute for the contraceptive pill which I was worried was making me gain weight. I wasn’t told the implant was infact, the worse for weight gain and I saw this as a quick fix for Birth control. I had the implant removed and after doing my own research online and seeing less negative side effects for the Depo shot, I decided to query this with the doctor and was satisfied with what I was told. I had to have this every three months and it was ideal as it kept my periods non-existent. Once my relationship ended, I decided to take a break as I was worried about the repercussions of not having periods for 9 years. Only THEN, did my doctor tell me that the Depo shot can make you infertile and can cause conceiving issues, as it can take up to one year to come out your system. It took up to 8 months for my period to come back after my last shot and I no longer believe any Contraception is healthy” – This woman went from the Implant to the Depo shot. She was not advised about a main side effect of the Implant, or the long-term fertility issues or delays in periods that you receive with the Depo shot and now she no longer believes that any form of Contraception is healthy.
I really do hope you find this blog educational more than anything, as like I stated earlier, Contraception is a huge part of women’s life and so the better informed we are around this subject, the better decisions we can make for ourselves, our bodies and our future.
I guess if you’re in doubt about Contraception for now or are completely put off after this blog, then grab a vibrator and some chocolate (the chocolate is purely for eating) because 1) you don’t need a man to please you boo and b) because chocolate can’t get you pregnant 😉
Lots of love,