I agree that it always helps to hear this stuff from other women with personal experience. Like others have said, each female is different so you'll really just need to observe your body's reactions.
1. I took the Pill for 5-6 yrs and I'm SURE I had sex during the 4th week while on the placebos. My body eventually became so regulated that I'd immediately start the 2nd day after missing the "real" pill, plus it shortened my periods to about 4 days avg. No problems whatsoever, but do know that you'll need 2-3 mos of faithful use to get on that reliable cycle. We've all missed by mistake but those misses can take the Pill's efficacy down from 99% to the low 80s. Glad you know about the antibiotics exception too (use other protection during those times)!
2. Totally fine to skip, IMO and experience, but again, everyone will react differently. I didn't feel a difference the few times I did it, just sailed right through. Others, like posted, will feel PMS type symptoms. If you find you really like the reduced frequency of periods, I'd look into changing to a pill designed for that down the road.
3. I only recall having breakthru bleeding during the 1st months, and mostly due to my initial forgetfulness. Mild spotting is normal at first, but anything resembling a regular period flow or continuing well into taking the pill is not. Although once when I moved into an all female dorm I actually had a breakthru PERIOD! I'd been on 'em for 2 yrs, but 3-4 friends on the same cycle was enuogh I guess!
Right. Early in your cycle, your pituitary gland secretes a hormone, FSH, that's required in order for ovarian follicles to become mature eggs. That's where the pill comes in: estrogen keeps FSH hormone from being secreted, so when you're on the pill and have a constantly "high" level of estrogen in your blood, FSH is not secreted.
The estrogen surge that MichBride mentioned comes from the maturing follicles, but since the pill keeps follicles from maturing, you don't get that estrogen spike. Therefore, not only do you not release a mature egg, but also the endometrium doesn't get a chance the undergo the changes that are required for implantation of a fertilized egg.
As far as that "pill period" goes, it truly isn't a real period. During a normal menstral cycle, you have all these surges of hormones, followed by a decrease in all of the hormone levels. The decrease in hormones, especially the sex hormones, causes the blood vessels supplying the top layer of the endometrium to die, which, of course, leads to menstral bleeding (which sheds both the endometrium and the unfertilized egg). Something similar happens when you're on the pill in that you have a constant level of estrogen and progesterone (if you're on a combo pill) followed by a decrease in those hormones when you start the placebos. Thus, you do get bleeding, but it's usually light because the hormones needed to grow the endometrium to the point that it can handle implantation aren't there (that goes along partly with what MichBride mentioned about the estrogen spike), and you're only shedding endometrium, there's no mature egg in along with it.
Wow, I sure got a lot of information out of you all! Thanks.
How about one more concern I have. I havn't actually started on the pills yet because my doctor told me to begin when I get my next period, which should be in about a week-and-a-half or so. That means that I should go through two whole cycles before my wedding (which is good because I want to be fairly well regulated by then), BUT it doesn't really give me leeway for playing around with skipping periods before my wedding, since I'll only have one pill period, and then I plan to skip the second period, which is the one that'll fall right on the wedding day. I guess I'll just have to skip and pray!
Also, I have to admit that, for now, I'm more concerned about having my period on my wedding than I am about getting pregnant! Obviously, FH and I want to postpone having babies, which is mostly due to other long-term committments that we both have right now, but if I do get pregnant right away, I will still be happy! I mean, I'm with the man that I love and want to eventually have a family with, maturity-wise we're both ready to start a family, etc, so how could I be disappointed if our timing ended up being a little off?
On the other hand, I don't care what people say about being too tired to have sex on your wedding night and all that-- I'm looking forward to having romantic wedding-night sex, so I really hope this whole regulating my period thing works!!! Cross you fingers for me, please!
My advise is to call your ObGYN, and ask to speak to either the Doctor or a nurse practitioner (sp) Most likely skipping once and a while will be ok, but make sure they know your doing it, Its very easy and cost free just to call your doctors office, Even though you have gotten some good advise on here "
I would be very curious tyo hear what sorts of BC you gals are ahppy with. I have tried ortho-cyclen,ortho-tri-cyclen, and ortho tr-cyclen low, and I have gotten really emotional and weepy when taking all of them... It isn't like PMS< it's like being a fundementally different person. FH and I use condoms now, but I'd love to figure out another method. I feel pretty wary of depo-provera, everyone i know who has gone on it has gained at LOT of weight.....anyway...this has been really informative post, what are your ladies BC suiggestions?
Snowybride, this is definitely a question you should discuss with your doctor, BUT have you ever considered an IUD? Just from what I know about them, it seems to me that they're usually overlooked but very effective. My doctor and I have discussed the possibility of my using one.
There are a few things about IUDs that you might want to keep in mind. For one, they're generally considered to be longer-term BC (one option lasts 5 years; the other about 10), and I've read some places that it may take a year or so to conceive after having one removed (although I've seen other publications that dispute this). Also, 10-15% of users have it removed before one year due to bleeding and cramping, although those effects usually diminish within a year or so. Finally, there is a slim possibility that an IUD could puncture your uterine wall; such an IUD could end up entering the abdominal cavity around you uterus and causing problems. However, the IUD has strings attached that the user is supposed to periodically check; if you suddenly can not feel the strings, you should call your GYN to have things checked out so as to aviod a bigger problem. Finally, my understanding is that IUDs are generally best suitedfor women who have already had a baby and delivered vaginally, as childbirth makes the IUD easier to insert and less likely to spontaneously expell from your uterus; however, women who have never been pregnant can also use an IUD (my doc gave me info on Mirena).
On the plus side, IUDs are very convenient; you have them inserted and then you forget about them. Also, the long-term efficacy is really great for some people, and one of the major bonuses is that, since the IUD is actually working inside your uterus, you aren't as likely to get the systemic side effects that you can get with the pill.
Other options you might want to consider may be condoms, NFP (a real pain in the neck though!), a diaphragm, Nuva Ring (but I know next to nothing about it), or others. Express your concerns about the hormonal side effects with your doctor and let him or her know that you'd like to try something besides pills. He/she should be glad to help!
Diaphragms, condoms, no biggie. NFP--at least for me, would mean parenthood! :) And I've heard that IUDs can hurt like hell to have inserted.
I have a serious fear of using something heavy duty and then winding up not being able to have kids when I want to. Sheesh--it really annoys me that there's not a better option out there than any of this crap.
IUDs don't typically hurt terribly to put in, unless you have unusual anatomy. Also they can give you local anestic to help, it's really no worse that bad period cramps. Once you've had a kid they really don't hurt much at all to put in.
I'm concerned that 2 months on the pill might not make you as regulated as you hope, I know I wasn't when I took the pill (it's not uncommon for some people to bleed lightly until their next period). Also, you will probably not be able to skip for your wedding, and skipping doesn't work for everyone, you really need to be able to try it under the direction of a doctor at least once before you NEED it. An IUD is an idea, but a lot of people lightly spot for up to 6 months as it settles (unusual, but does happen), you would probably atleast spot for a couple of weeks and your period might shift. I think you might need to plan for the worst, because you are cutting it really close to your wedding to be starting BC let alone manipulating it. Sorry.
I would not not not start the pill so close to the wedding. If you're one of the folks who gains weight, you're not gonna be happy. That's a very common side effect that (at least in my experience) doctors are not so straightforward about. If 5-10 pounds matters to you (or your dress!), leave it alone until after the wedding.
And, yeah, an IUD is extreme--at least, for run of the mill birth control for young women who have never had kids and who want them in the somewhat near future.
Message was edited by fritz799 on Jul 19, 2006 10:50 AM
Actually outside of the US IUDs would not be considered extreme. It's the most common for of birth control in the world, it's only really here in the US we get all set on the concept of taking a pill daily.
It should also be noted there are large difference between the two types of IUDs (copper vs. plastic Mirena). Overall it can't hurt to be informed and what works for one person may not work for another. That being said, I do think the OP has waited until too close to her wedding to probably get the desired effect of skipping a period. (This should be noted as it amazes me how many women think that the first BC you try will be a perfect fit for you, and don't consider the amount of time your body may need to adjust to it. A lot more people have problems with hormonal BC and finding a good match than the advertisements, and at times doctors, would lead you to believe-I know I've had my fair share of struggles in attempting to find some relief from my periods).
FH and I don't plan on having children for 3 or 4 years, but want to be able to right away when we decide that it's the right time. Honestly, however scientifically uninformed my opinion is, I'm fairly afraid of IUD's. the women in my family are extremely petite, adn 3 of them have had IUD's and it's caused major scarring and endmetriosis ( sp?) and huge complications in pregnancy....so , that considered.... I havea condition called dysthymia, which is like a low level bodily depression, it's related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and I already ahvea much lower sex drive than FH, so anything like the nuva ring that so often lowers sex drive worries me too. I have one friend who uses the patch, adn loves it, but everyone else I know hates it, because it gave them a weird rash. Anyone else have experience with the patch?
When they had those IUDs and the type they were can play a large role in the issued associated with them. There were IUDs in the 70's that were recalled do to major issues, that type is no longer sold. I'm not pushing someone one way or the other, but I feel that at times people have extreme fears towards some types of BC, when other forms they are using regularly carry a lot of serious (at times more serious) risks. However they have either been 'scared' by old horror stories, or swayed by the big push in this country for the pill (you'd think it was perfect for everyone and 'fixed' everyone's period the way they talk about it on TV). Everyone needs to find what works for them, and I think asking advice on a messege board is ok, but I really think people need to do their own research and talk to their own doctor about what probably would work best for them.
As far as the patch, it has one of the highest levels of hormones available, and frankly to me it is one of the scariest forms of BC on the market. Most people receive far more hormones than needed, and it causes an increased risk of blood clots and stroke.
Here's my "conspiracy" theory on the pill: It gets women in to see the doctor regularly because they need refills.
Not exactly a sinister motive--hence the quotation marks...why else would it be pushed (and I do mean pushed) on every college student who walks into a health services department? Good Lord. I mean, yeah, bad drug companies--but this does give women who wouldn't otherwise go to the doctor a leg up in the prevention department. So there are good things about it. But I think the bad things are wrongfully down-played.
I was very curious about IUDs a few years ago--and they have gotten a bad rap in this country. But, hello, Dalkon Shield? It wasn't really unfair. Yeah, they've changed since the 1970's, and that was a long time ago. But I have never heard anyone (let alone someone who's young with no kids) say "I went in, it was painless, and it worked just like it was supposed to. It stayed in, I had it taken out, and got pregnant just like I planned."
Not to say it doesn't happen--but I don't know that it's any better than anything else...like I said before, I think we have a bunch of bad options.
its perfectly safe to 'skip' your period if its for your wedding day- i wouldnt do it every month, but once in a while, or even for the summer, is fine. ive been ont he pill a LONG time (originally for my skin) and i did that for my senior hs prom!
i didnt have breaktrhough bleeding on yasmin, but i was on ortho-tricyclen for 2 years before that and i did. maybe b/c my body was already used to the pill?
i like yasmin, its low estorgen dosage so less side effects like weight gain, and the other warnings they have about the pill, like blood clots or long term symptoms.