There are a range of oral contraceptive pills out there for women to “choose” from. I say “choose” because the majority of us just take what the doctor tells em to, without any research. I know because, in my teens, I was prescribed Tricyclen because I was clueless. The doctor didn’t talk at all about the other brands, and Tricyclen was the it pill at the time.
After 7 years of usage, I stopped to try the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), a more natural approach to birth control (and equally conception, if you’re having problems). I personally believe it took a year for my system to regain its natural balance, as my skin went haywire shortly after discontinuing the pill. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep up with FAM due to fluctuating work schedules so I dropped it 6 months later.
Fast-forward to this past year, I wanted to get back onto the pill. I researched long and hard before my appointment to bone up on the available options. It became apparent that a lot of women who were on Tricyclen had side effects that I experienced back in the day, that I just simply didn’t notice or ignored. I’m talking about things like strange sensations in my calves, that I feared were blood clots, angry mood swings, depression, migraines and more. At the time I really thought the mood swings were due to my age, but looking back I’m pretty certain it was the Tricyclen.
So off to the the doctor I went, I knew she would present me with 3 main options: the pill, Nuvaring or Mirena (hormonal IUD). I wasn’t sure about the plastics the ring or IUD was made from, so I opted for the pill. She prescribed Tricyclen-Lo since I had previously used Tricyclen but I didn’t get a chance to tell her my personal observations because it felt like she was hurrying to the next patient (boohoo).
I lasted just over a week on the Tricyclen-Lo. The bubbling sensations in my calves and also my head were scary and I decided to stop. The doc said I was probably having a reaction to the ethinyl estradiol (estrogen) and would switch me to Micronor, a pill containing just one hormone; norethindrone (progestin).
On the Micronor, I lasted about a week. I was fatigued and, near the end, my digestive tract was cramping like crazy. These are noted side effects of this pill, but I’m damn sure that it was the lactose filler that was causing painful problems with my stomach.
A lot of us turn the other cheek when it comes to medications, but I’m at a point in my veganism where I’m 100% lactose intolerant. When I take the care and time to make sure my vitamins and supplements are vegan-friendly, it only makes sense to check the prescribed medicines as well. I see no point in ingesting something that’s supposed to make me better, if it’ll just make me sick in a different way. Tricyclen-Lo also has lactose, by the way. And so did Tricyclen. If you’re curious about any prescription medications you’re taking, just go to the manufacturer’s website and look up the data sheets. It should be plainly stated what filler ingredients are used.
So with this second round of oral contraception behind me, I’ve decided to try and stick to FAM. It’s really a remarkable natural method of birth control (and conception) that makes complete sense. It’s not for everyone, but I really don’t like altering my body’s state with hormones — which is why I had stopped Tricyclen in the first place. Live and learn, I guess.
But I’m not completely against hormonal birth control. I do, however, think it’s insane to make us go through a trial-and-error, trying all of these pills to find one that won’t cause major side-effects! One comment I stumbled upon in my recent research was from a woman who saw an Endocrinologist who formulated an oral contraceptive pill according to her body’s needs. I think this makes the most sense, if considering the pill and are able to consult with such a specialist.