LET’S TALK ABOUT CONTRACEPTION

We recently reached out on our Instagram asking people to share their contraception experiences; what contraception they use, what worked or didn’t work for them and thought we’d share them with you. In our sex education post, we shared that we were not at all educated on female contraception. We were told about “the pill” (as if there is only one kind…) and that was it. Take the pill, don’t get pregnant, bobs your uncle. Not quite…..

I first went on the pill at 16 when I knew I wanted to have sex with my boyfriend. I took myself off to the sexual health clinic and that was it. I then stayed on the pill until we started trying for our first baby in 2016. I went back on it briefly once he was born but stopped taking it when he was around a year old. Not because I wanted another baby but frankly, it was fucking me up. I needed to give my body a break. After we had our second baby in 2020, I went for my 6 week check and opted for the pill, but I have never taken it. I just don’t want to put that in my body again. We are currently using condoms and I know they aren’t 100% effective (does anyone else think of condoms and automatically think of THAT Friends episode with Ross? LOL). It is so important that you remember what works for you, might not work for somebody else and all our bodies are so different!

Contraception

Now it is time to share YOUR contraception experiences.

RACHAEL SAID…

“I was started on the pill when I was a teenager due to painful and erratic periods which did help regulate my periods but when I got older I got changed to the mini pill due to my BMI. When someone I know who worked as a Doctor in gynaecology recommended the IUS as it’s the most effective form of contraception and you can get pregnant as soon as it’s removed I decided this sounded much better for me.

The first time I had it inserted it was uncomfortable, but not painful. It’s very similar to having a smear test. You have to remove your clothing from your bottom half, lay on the bed and bring your feet to your bottom and let your knees fall open, a speculum is inserted (which I find the worst bit but my cervix is in a weird position) and then a small tube is inserted through the cervix into your womb. I found this bit gave me period type pains which lasted for about 2-3 days after with some light spotting. After that my periods stopped completely and I had no side effects whatsoever. It was changed after 5 years and again I had no issues.

2 years later I had it removed as we wanted to start a family. Simple to remove and no issues at all. There are two pieces of string that dangle down so you can check it’s still in place and this is what they use to remove it. They literally just pull it out.

It was 5 years and 2 children before I had it put back in as I knew I wanted a closer age gap between children so didn’t see the point in having one back in. So this is now my third coil. I have very light periods which, annoyingly, can be on a cycle from 28 to 44 days but this is just my body. I don’t have to remember to take any tablets, if I’m sick it doesn’t stop working and I only need to keep a note of when it’s due for changing (every 5 years) so no need to keep going to the GP for prescriptions!”

LAURA SAID…

“I’ve always struggled with my periods, Knowing When I’m due on when I’m ovulating I’ve always been a bit all over the place. After coming off the pill with my first child it made me realise the “damage“ it was doing to myself.. I knew before I fell pregnant I was in a bit of a difficult place.. but had no idea it could of been down to the pill. I was hot headed, snappy & extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. Even my partner noticed how back to my old self I became once I’d come off the pill. So I knew after my first baby there would be no going back, it scared me actually. So after doing a lot of research I wanted something natural that wasn’t going to be pumping all sorts of hormones into my body. I signed up to ‘Natural cycles’
You pay a monthly fee for an app & buy the £20 thermometer. You take your temperature under your tongue at the same time each morning, your body temperature.. you pop it into the app, so it can identify your fertility status. It gives you a green day or a red day.
As we was trying for baby number 2 .. it didn’t matter if this method “failed” however it didn’t, i was able to track my fertility accordingly and it was a really positive move for us. We’ve just had baby number two & considering trusting the natural cycles again this time to protect ourselves.
RACHAEL T SAID…
“Microgynon combined pill:
I took this for around 3 years when i was in my late teens, 3 horrible years where my moods were full of massive highs and massive lows, mainly lows. Prior to taking the pill I had always been a quite ‘moody‘ teenager and would feel particularly bad tempered in the build up to my period and would often cry, so when my low moods severely worsened after starting to take the pill I actually didn’t think much of it, but when i look back it was like i was in a fog with red mist that would descend. I went to the GP for my contraceptive reviews but over 10 years ago I didn’t have the confidence or the awareness to admit that my mental health was poor I simply said everything was fine and that my periods were fairly regular (if i took it correctly). I used to forget to take it quite regularly which always worried me too, once i came off it I definitely felt much better and more level headed.
Implants – Impanon/nexplanon
I actually only moved to Implanon as I went travelling in my 20’s and after speaking to the doctor and having a greater awareness of available contraceptives, i wanted something I couldn’t forget to take and that would last without needing to seek prescriptions. I got on amazingly well with it my moods were pretty consistent and I didn’t have a single period (which being honest was a non-bloody huge bonus). The insertion was quick and painless, and my removal was very straight forward, 3 years later. When it came to getting my next implant they had switched to a different brand which the Dr said was exactly the same as the previous just had a different brand name. I wouldn’t say Nexplanon was awful for me but i definitely went through some big moods swings for a few months and i also began to have very long irregular periods, so i am unsure really how similar they are, as if exactly the same I wouldn’t have expected an instant change in side effects. I had this implant removed a little early (after 2 years) as we wanted to begin trying for a baby, and was told within days the hormones would be out of my body. We fell pregnant within 2 months of removal.
After having my son I took the mini pill, however I was having really bad headaches and also felt it was really beginning to impact on my mental health and the relationship I was having with both my child and my partner so after a few months I decided to stop taking it, and have now been oral contraceptive free, for the first time since my teens for well over a year. I feel settled in myself and feel I have a greater awareness of my own mood and body, but i think perhaps if we have another child i would look back into long term contraception or speak to my partner about him taking some contraceptive measures.
AMY SAID…
I started on the mini pill when I was 19 and had my first serious long-term boyfriend. I was in London at dance university and went on it completely alone without advice from my mum or friends – Although I was 19 I was still too embarrassed to talk about sex! I was advised by the doctor that the mini pill would be my only option due to medical history. I had no problems with it and set an alarm on my phone so I would take it at the same time every day, this was a bit awkward when it came to show term and I’d often end up taking it late due to rehearsals. Anyway I stayed on this pill till I was 23 and decided with my new boyfriend and doctor advice that I should come off. My reason for this was that I was struggling with my mental health and had started to randomly bleed – when I shouldn’t be getting periods at all. I decided to take a break from contraceptives and noticed a massive improvement in my mental well being – I think my new partner played a huge part in this too. Haha cheese! I stayed off contraception until I was 26 and after my son Jacob was born. 8 months later I had the coil implanted (emergency contraception as the condom broke, I was breast feeding and we were not ready for another baby). Although the doctors and nurses were lovely the whole experience was unpleasant. It was uncomfortable going in and I bled so heavily for the first 6months. I was using two of the most absorbent pads at a time and still bleeding through. I was going through about 3 packs in one cycle! I kept saying I was going to get it removed but with COVID I wanted to stay away from the hospital. Get to month 7 and my periods are back to normal. I can wear tampons again and I my period pains no longer feel like contractions! It’s easy as you don’t have to think about it and so many of my friends love it. Also it can stay in for years and when we are ready for baby number two i just have to get it removed and we can start trying. Not sure if I’ll go on it again once it’s removed but it’s in and working so that suits me for now!
CHARLOTTE SAID..
From the age of 14 I was on the Pill  (microgaynon 30) only to stop my periods as I hated to have them…silly I know! But I became so ill and constantly was bleeding I was bleeding for 9 months straight so then they decided to give me both the injection in your lower back/top of bum, so I had both for a a few months and then they put me solely on the injection which worked great for awhile but then I started getting really fat and bleeding again. So at this point I had to have investigation why I was becoming so ill turns out I could only have either the coil or a certain pill due to family health etc.
So I opted back onto the pill I could have which was Cerelle  this was fine for ages no side effects just never had periods which I was fine with. However then I got ill and was sick and I ended up getting pregnant as pill wasn’t effective due to sickness. So I stopped of course I was pregnant. After my 1st I had the Mirena coil as I never wanted anymore children, so I had this put in  the idea was after 5 years I would be sterilised and all was good was working really well for me but then after a year I had gotten 2 infections and then I kept getting the same recurring infection and had to have the coil removed as I was getting the uncommon side effect however it again stopped my periods which I was fine about. However due to kept getting a reoccurring infection I had it removed.
So I again went back on the pill and I was becoming poorly again I will Lactating even though my daughter was 3/4 years old and couldn’t understand it turns out I’ve been so poorly on contraceptions as they are all hormone based and I was diagnosed with tumours on my pituitary gland, meaning my body already over produces hormones and I was pumping even more into my system which is why I kept getting poorly. So now I’m unable to be on contraception’s but despite all this I do recommend Cerelle or the coil. I just hadn’t realised I was suffering health wise else there wouldn’t of been issues with them. Advice make sure you know your family history so you can get the best contraception for you! And what works for you also some people can forget a pill but in injection is every 3 months and the coil is for 5 years.
AMY SAID…

I have tried various forms of contraception. I started when I was at school with the pill to help ease my period cramps. They gave me the combined pill Microgynon which I took for a while but was getting really bad migraines with aura so stopped that.

When I got my first long term boyfriend I tried the contraceptive jag, I didn’t notice much side affects with this except weight gain. I then went on the mini pill which was okay, but I was having severe mood swings, and irregular bleeding. I was advised the implant would help so opted for that, again severe mood swings, low moods & it was really itchy in my arm like my body was rejecting it. After I got it removed Istuck with the one mini pill but ended up with really bad adult acne when I came off it when I split up with my then boyfriend.

Since having my little girl I decided to give the mini pill another try and it could be a coincidence but I was diagnosed with PND 3 months after starting it and was bleeding irregularly again too. I’ve since came off that too and I’m going to give my body a break and I feel much better. I know people who have had positive experiences with these forms of contraception but my body doesn’t agree with them.

SOPHIE SAID…

A few years ago, in between having my second and third children, I went for a routine smear test. Whilst I was there, the nurse started asking about contraception etc and she mentioned that I might like to try the mirena coil. This wasn’t something I had previously considered, but I did at some point want to stop relying on contraceptive pills.  I took home the information she gave me and had a read; after discussing it with my Husband I decided that I would like to try it and so I booked myself in with the doctor to have it fitted. The fitting was easy and painless and the GP made me feel completely comfortable.  She did warn me of a few side effects, such as mood swings, but said these were very rare and that the vast majority of people didn’t experience any adverse effects. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. The day before my next period was due, I experienced one of the worst migraines I have ever had. I had a really strong headache behind my eyes and every time I stood up I felt like I was on a moving boat. I also felt really nauseous. I didn’t automatically relate this to the coil and it had passed by the next day. However, the same thing happened before my next two periods, along with some very irrational mood swings throughout the months. Three months after having my coil fitted I was back in with the GP demanding that she remove it.  She was extremely reluctant and kept telling me that headaches aren’t a usual side effect, she also seemed fairly concerned with regards to me being left without contraception as she wasn’t willing to prescribe more pills for me due to my age and recent headaches. I was very insistent though and she had no choice but to remove it for me.  It seems crazy to say, but I felt almost instantly better. Safe to say, I will never be having a coil fitted again!”

BETH SAID…

“I started taking the Pill when I was 19 and Ryan and I had been together for a few months. And then I just never stopped, considered the side effects, or considered any other form of contraception. In my early twenties I began to realise that a lot of my low moods were down to taking the Pill, it had never occurred to me that piling my body with all those extra hormones would effect me! I began discussing with doctors about other methods of contraception due to the hormonal impact and that I was fairly useless with taking it regularly…cue our surprise pregnancy and our daughter Rosie! Post-partum, I knew that I would never go back to the Pill. I decided on the Coil as it was a hormone free method (ideal for me as I already struggle with anxiety and low moods), I could forget about it for up to five years, and unlike the pill I couldn’t forget to take it one morning and have another surprise!

I had it fitted a couple of months after I gave birth. Whilst I think the coil is amazing, having it fitted was a bit trickier than I expected. I think I was feeling really cocky after recently giving birth, I thought a tiny coil would be a walk in the park! It was fitted quickly, easily and it was pretty much pain free (like a smear). I got straight up off the bed and walked into town to meet my boyfriend and daughter, and passed out in a tub chair in Waterstones and we had to stagger home, leaning on the pram the whole way. So my advice…clear your day of plans and take it easy! I was fine the next day.
I know every body is different and not everyone has had a good experience with the coil, but I would encourage you to try it out for a few months if you’re unsure. Fitting and removing is really quick and simple. I think it’s flipping wonderful!”
JACQUI SAID…
“Over the years I have tried out a few different contraception options. Firstly came the pill or the oral contraceptive. It was fine, I’d went on it to help with heavy periods when I was in my mid teens and I was generally happy until I was probably about 18 when I started getting really bad migraines. At this point I came off it completely and as I was in a relationship at the time we chose to then use condoms as contraception. Condoms are not the most glamorous of contraceptives but they do the job very well and despite killing the mood a few times over the years haven’t let me down (touch wood). A few years later I decided to get the contraceptive implant into my arm. Initially it was amazing – didn’t have to remember to take anything and I was sorted for 3 years! The side effect for me like many was weight gain which I hadn’t really anticipated. I easily put a stone on for every year I had it and I would occasionally get very random and sporadic periods. I got it removed after about 2 1/2 years. At this point it was suggested I go back onto the pill but with the side effects I’d had previously I was pretty reluctant. After a consultation with my GP we agreed on the mini pill cerelle. This worked very well for me. No break weeks to remember just take one a day and well that’s it really. I’ve know been on and off this particular mini pill for about 6 years and always find it works for me – as long as I remember to take it. I always usually keep it in my bedside drawer and take it just before bed as I’m always in a rush in the morning and forget. It sometimes takes a while to find the best contraceptive for you and my journey with it has been more than a decade now. Different things work for different people and also different points in your life. It’s tell trial and error til you find what suits your and your body.”
SIONED SAID..
“I’ve had nothing but good experiences with my contraceptive methods. I first used the Depo contraceptive Injection. This was a small pain free injection I took for roughly 4 years every 12 weeks. There was the odd month I missed the injection just for my sanity to see a ‘period’ but I always went back to it. The Depo did make me heavy bleed to start with but eventually everything stopped, even my hormonal monthly migraines. I went for this option for convenience really and how I didn’t have to worry about it not working at any point.
I did have one course of the pill, but I’m terrible with remembering to take medication daily so this didn’t last long. After years of the injection, they do say it takes time for your body and cycle to come back to ‘normal’ and with me knowing I’d eventually want children I swapped to the implant. Looking back I wish I’d have got the implant sooner as it is something you don’t have to think of once its in. I only had to swap it once before my husband and I decided to try for a baby. I had no side effects from the implant and my periods were light.
Since having my daughter I decided to give my body a little rest from contraception and let my body and hormones get back to normal without being effected in anyway. So I haven’t used anything for almost 3 years now.”
RACHAEL R SAID..
“I was on the pill from the age of 16 to 27, with the odd short break in between, and I only decided to come off it to get my body ready for our plans to conceive our first child. For the 3 years before that I had been struggling a lot with vaginismus- an automatic reaction where your vaginal muscles tighten up whenever penetration is attempted. I had been having talk therapy and that was helping, but the biggest change happened when I came off the pill. Within a couple of months my sex drive had reappeared and I was having very little issue with having sex. After doing some research of my own I found that a low libido can be a side-effect of the pill and I felt frustrated that I hadn’t been recommended to try this sooner by my doctor or therapist. For the first 8 years that I was on the pill I was very happy with it though and I really loved how it cleared up my skin!”

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8 Comments

  1. March 11, 2021 / 7:50 am

    Really interesting! And also funny to see some of my experiences are shared with others! Your post is right, we do need to start sharing our story more on contraception!

  2. March 11, 2021 / 8:18 am

    This post was so interesting to read everyone’s experiences! I went on the pill from the age of 20-23 and although it helped to stop my periods, it really affected my mental health badly, and coming off it was the best decision I’ve ever made x

  3. March 11, 2021 / 8:42 am

    I was on the pill for a very long time and it worked well for me. I know a lot of friends have issues with it. Contraception is not a 1 for all type of fix you need to fin what works for you

  4. March 11, 2021 / 9:29 am

    it’s so important to talk about these subjects in an honest and open way! There’s still far too much taboo around Women’s health. I went on the combined pill when I was around 14/15. Stayed on that for quite some time and then came off, went back on around 18 and then came off a couple of years later. I then went on the mini pill around 4 years ago, which is much better for me and I really like that it’s got less risks too. Although I do miss having a normal cycle!

  5. March 11, 2021 / 12:05 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing all these stories! I think that as much as sexual education, contraceptives are not talked about enough while growing up, so sharing different stories can help many girls and women in choosing and being open about it x

  6. March 11, 2021 / 3:46 pm

    I was on the pill for a long time, due to issues with damaging ovarian cysts. Really, no other method was offered to me to deal with this issue, and while I knew about some other conceptive methods, I didn’t consider them because my main reason for taking the pill was to avoid getting more cysts. Now I am pregnant, and I am not sure what I will do afterwards. Some of the methods mentioned here I have not heard of (coil?) so I don’t know if they are not approved in my country, or what the story is but I would like to rely on more natural methods because the pill is not good for your body overall and I’m tired of putting in meds that I don’t really need. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and these experiences.

  7. March 12, 2021 / 11:51 am

    My sisters and I had a real, honest chat about contraception this week. It’s such an eye opener to hear stories from other people’s perspectives. I think that there should be more support for teens who are clueless

    Rosie

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