Birth control has made a world of difference for me when it comes to my periods. I’ve briefly touched on how my body reacts to my period. I started birth control my freshmen year of high school. I didn’t have the diagnoses of PCOS and endometriosis, but I’m glad that I was already doing one of the main ways to make it manageable, birth control. I’ve been grateful for it ever since.
At one point in my life with birth control, I had to pay 100% of the costs of the birth control I was on. My former insurance company said they wouldn’t cover it (no matter how many hoops I jumped through). As many of us know, each birth control is different. I wasn’t willing to switch to something else when the current one I was on worked so well. All of this just added to the many costs associated with PCOS and endometriosis, but my new insurance covers it (which I’m very grateful for).
I switched to a new birth control in August of 2016 after the new diagnoses and the almost two month period. We decided that it would be best for my health to not have a period so I use birth control continuously. While I was having this period, I begrudgingly remembered how awful my period was at one point before birth control. I remembered because it was happening again. The pain was so extreme, I usually had to go to the hospital for it.
Birth control has really helped with so much- the general period symptoms, but also for the endometriosis and PCOS (even before I had the official diagnoses, it helped).
What has birth control helped with?
- Acne runs in my family, but we soon realized mine was very intense compared to the rest of the family. My acne has always been awful, and due to my OCD- my desire to pick at it can be difficult to ignore. Birth control with the combination of acne medications helped make a difference for me, but before every period, the acne gets worse. Sure acne isn’t really related to my overall health. You can call it superficial, but acne can really impact self-esteem and in turn mental health (especially during the teen years.)
- (PCOS- well the increased androgen makes my acne severe and not go away during the teen years. Oh yeah, the androgen also includes hirsutism- well that explains why I’m a hairy person).
- Every time my period would come, my need for caffeine increased substantially. The period overall exhausted me, but it also made sleeping difficult the first two nights. I would time my birth control so I would have those two restless nights on Friday and Saturday. I would increase my caffeine intake for my period.
- (Again, the PCOS intensifies this)
Health (exercise and nutrition)-
- Now for some people, exercise really helps with the pain, but the pain was too unbearable. The combination of cramps and nausea was hurdle I couldn’t get past the first few days.
- Then, of course there’s the cravings. Give. Me. All. of. The. Chocolate. But seriously, I want it all- and the fried food- basically I want all of the food that make the nutritionist’s and endocrinologist’s eyes bug out. I believe in moderation, but that goes out the door. Yes cravings happen, but when my period arrives, all gloves are off. Even if I don’t have the items near me, I am one of those people who will go find them.
- With the PCOS diagnosis, I learned that I’m more likely to carry fat around my stomach no matter what I do or how hard I try to get rid of it. It’s also easier to gain weight, and more difficult to lose weight. That explains a lot. It makes me feel a little better about my lifestyle change my freshmen year of college with little impact on my weight. It’s still frustrating though.
- I get the case of the lazy’s, and I struggle for motivation. For emotions in general, I might get more irritable, but not a lot of the other emotions (mood swings, tension, crying, etc). It’s really the desire to be lazy that takes control. But my anxiety intensifies, and I have to constantly remind myself that it’s the period talking.
- (Apparently this can be tied to PCOS- increased symptoms of anxiety and depression).
- I’m already lactose intolerant. So (TMI- too much information coming), it’s basically like I forgot to take my lactaid the entirety of my period- constant bloating, nausea, feeling uncomfortable, some constipation, and often diarrhea.
- Of course, there’s the cramps. A little pain medication sometimes does the trick when I’m on birth control. Before I started birth control, I was often hospitalized due to the extreme, debilitating pain. My pain starts before my period starts and lasts for the entire period. I often describe the pain as if someone is constantly drilling or body slamming on the inside, but occasionally intense stabbing would occur as well (without any warning). I’ve had pain medications for the periods, and I have used many of the tips and tricks out there.
- Besides hospitalization, sometimes the I’d miss school or other activities because movement made it worse.
- (Thanks to endometriosis and PCOS for intensifying the pain associated with my period. I’m sure this has something to do with the cysts all over my ovaries popping, and with my uterus basically being inside out).
- (abnormal thanks to PCOS and endometriosis)
- My period was also excessive. It would incredibly heavy and last long. sometimes the ultra absorbent tampons plus a pad would barely make it an hour. I even had a few periods that lasted about two weeks.
- (This is tied to endometriosis as well).
Finally, my period wasn’t predictable, at all. The time between periods might range from two weeks to two months. There wasn’t a planning or any warning so I couldn’t even prepare for any of the above. (PCOS is to thank for this).
So basically- let’s just intensify all of the symptoms associated with a period, and maybe add some more due to the endometriosis and PCOS.
Luckily, birth control helped me with just about all of the symptoms in my life, and now that I am on continuous birth control- I don’t even have a period. Not having a period, has also helped with my diabetes management.