My Experience With Contraception



Before I begin, I’d just like to add a little disclaimer that this is just my experience, obviously everyone has different responses to medication, and every contraceptive decision you make should be made with the help of a medical professional.  (Unless it’s my current GP.  She got it all wrong.)

My contraceptive journey started at the ripe age of 18 (and a half).  I was moving to England for university in a few weeks, and my mum came to the GP with me as it was she who wanted me to start on the pill.  I can only assume she had nightmares consisting of me having one too many skittle-bombs at Freshers and accidentally winding up “with child.”  Bearing in mind I’m from a small town in Northern Ireland, the experience in the Doctors’ Surgery was equally painful for all three of us.  It was decided that I would take Logynon, as that’s what my mum used and apparently that’s how medical decisions are made.

Logynon
Logynon is a combined pill, consisting of Levonorgestrel and Ethinylestradiol.  I had an okay experience with this pill on the first run, as there weren't any noticeable problems, but nothing great either (except for the fact that I didn’t get pregnant, which I guess is a plus).  I had hopes of my boobs growing (I currently have the chest size of a prepubescent boy) and of my periods being regimented to army time each month (maybe it was, I didn’t really count).

Contraceptive Implant
As I’ve said, the combined pill was working fine for me.  However, after about a year on Logynon, due to a flatmate’s amazing recount of the Contraceptive Implant and the complete disappearance of her periods, I decided to move to this form of protection.  Hell ensues.
Far removed from the glorious ideal of amenorrhoea, while on the implant I was instead bleeding every day, which strongly inhibits both your outfit choices and your confidence.  I waited for my bleeding, depression, stress and all around bitchy mood to disappear, and when it didn’t, I went to the doctors to talk about it.

Contraceptive Implant + Logynon
I wish I could say they helped, but instead they told me that to regulate the bleeding, the best thing to do would be to start taking Logynon again, whilst still having the implant in my arm.  I should note that they completely refused to take out my implant, which is completely disgraceful and against my bodily autonomy.  From advice I’ve had since then, THIS IS FUCKING MENTAL.  The months I spent on both forms of contraception were hell, and enhanced all of the problems I was having before.  I was miserable, a complete recluse, extremely dependent on my then-boyfriend, and still bleeding every day.  The only social interaction I had was while working at a bar, which I thought was okay because it was easy.  I didn’t go to anything at university because my social anxiety and stress about workload had boiled up to the point where I would wretch at the idea of being asked a question in a seminar.  I also experienced loss of libido, and combined with the problems I’ve mentioned above, this led to the complete breakdown of a relationship.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to get help if you feel this way, and stand up to your doctor if you don’t agree that what they’re prescribing is best for you.
After finally getting a double slot GP appointment (I turned up for 3 that the doctor didn’t bother coming to), I had my implant taken out.  Firstly, the nurse didn't apply local anaesthetic in the right area, so it really fucking hurt.  I also have a scar, because the implant was imbedded in my muscle, and instead of carefully removing it, the doctor just hacked away at my arm.  It’s quite symbolic of how my entire experience on the implant was - hacking away at every good part of my life.

Logynon 3.0
After taking the implant out, I stayed on Logynon, hoping it would be similar to my first experience with this pill.  It wasn’t.  All of the issues I had when on the implant were still very real issues.  But I was so used to them by this point that I thought it was just how my life would be now.  Note - never settle for this.

Cerazette
Cerazette is a POP pill, or the mini-pill as it’s sometimes called.  It contains progestogen and desogestrel.  After a long time suffering in silence I went to speak to my new (and current) GP about my situation, and desire to change contraception.  If you ask my boyfriend how I felt after that appointment, he’ll say it was the most positive about anything I’ve been since he’s known me - but I shouldn't have been.  I had confidence in this young, friendly, female doctor who told me she would help, and that this pill would bring back a regular bleeding pattern, libido, and stop my hormonal mood swings.  I was so excited and straight away started taking the three-month pack she’d prescribed me.  Aside from finally stopping the bleeding (I didn’t have any bleeding for the whole three months), everything else stayed the same.  I was unable to get a GP appointment after over a month of trying, so two days before my last pill of the pack, I visited the Ambrose King walk-in centre in Whitechapel on a windy Friday morning.  It’s part of the Royal London Hospital, and is a free sexual health clinic.
Aside from being forgotten off the list and so having to wait over an hour to be seen, my experience at the Ambrose King Centre was amazing.  I’d gone to get a repeat prescription of Cerazette, but after recounting my experience with the doctor I was seen by, she was immediately against it.  Unlike the GP from before, she actually knew what she was talking about.  I had been asked by my GP if I suffered from migraines, which I do, quite terrible ones in fact.  Due to this, she should never have prescribed me Cerazette due to a high risk of blood clots.  Cerazette is also a bitch for causing dryness and lack of libido.  Hearing all of this finally allowed me to realise that everything I had been suffering with was a side effect - finally I knew it wasn’t my fault.

Micronor
After my lovely doctor in the Ambrose King Centre and I had a long discussion about other options open to me that were safe and reliable, she consulted a colleague who agreed that Micronor was my best option until I made an informed decision about another route to go down.  Micronor is also a POP pill, containing norethisterone.  Although it’s not perfect, after just 8 days taking this pill I already have noticed a difference in my behaviour and in my body.  I doubt I’ll stick with this pill in the long term, but it’s definitely an improvement on the hellish situation I was in previously.

What Next?
A lot of research, basically.  On recommendation from the lovely doctor I’ve spoken about above and my own reading, I think I’m most likely to move to the Contraceptive Injection.  It’s an injection once every three months which doesn’t affect your hormones in the way a pill or implant does.  All I know is, I should have sought and demanded help sooner.

I hope this account is in some way helpful for you, and if not is at least a little entertaining (if that’s possible).  I believe it’s so important to discuss these issues, as more often than not it’s seen as taboo and “disgusting” to speak about what’s affecting your body and your mind.
Have you had any positive or negative experiences with contraception?  I’d love this to start a discussion in the comments!  If you have any recommendations for myself or other readers, please let me know.

Again, I’d just like to mention the disclaimer that this is solely my experience, and shouldn't be taken as verbatim when making important decisions about your body - although I think my advice is better than most of the doctors I dealt with..


Emma x

Emma Louise

LVNGLDN is the alias of Emma, a 20-something Irish law student living and working in London.

2 comments:

  1. Girl I've had the same kind of struggles! I started on the combined pill which gave me headaches and nausea every day for more than 6 months, then got mirena twice (it fell out both times!) and now i have the implanon implant, so far so good with this one so keeping my fingers crossed! It seems so unfair that some of us have to struggle so much to find something that works! Loved reading this post though-you're not alone! :) x

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    1. Exactly! Thanks for sharing, it's great that people can talk about it and take charge of what's happening :) x

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