3:43 am - 10/02/2009

Herbal Abortion, Questions about the Abortion Pill

I believe I am pregnant, as my period is about a week and a half late and I always assume the worst. I have been on Yaz for two, going on three months, and never missed a dose. I was on antibiotics for a week or so, around late August, early September, and I am dumb because I forgot these things interact with the BCP.

So, because I don't want to cause myself the inevitable panic attack that a little plus sign would cause me, I'm just doing a preemptive "herbal" abortion. Which consists of megadosing Vitamin C [I'm taking ~6,000mg a day], and potential Parsley perssaries. I have also been tossing around the idea of Black Cohosh on the last day of my megadosing, if things haven't started flowing by then.

I'm wondering if anyone has had any experiance  with this sort of procedure? I might just be hyper sensitive to the overload of vitamins, but I have had minor muscle cramps all day, and its only the second day that I've been taking the vitamins.

Also, on the off chance that this doesn't  work, has anyone ever used the abortion pill? I've done a bit of looking around, and it seems sorta scary. Is there a lot of bleeding/pain? Any info would be loved.

Also, I'm sorry this is worded so... bluntly. I know this is a sensitive subject, and I'm sorry if I came off as a jerk or anything.
anthylorrel 2nd-Oct-2009 08:33 am (UTC)
I have never tried, or known some one who has done an herbal abortion. I do know a friend who has taken the abortion pill, and it worked very well for her. She used it at around 6 weeks, and it was no more dramatic than a very heavy period. She felt a little run down for a few days afterward, but that would happen with any abortion, pill or otherwise.
there_she_went 2nd-Oct-2009 10:04 am (UTC)
Did they give her pain pills as well?
anthylorrel 2nd-Oct-2009 10:25 am (UTC)
They didn't, because se didn't need them. She found extra strength Tylenol sufficient, but her doctor said she would have given her something stronger should she need it.
greedy 2nd-Oct-2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
this.
sandi1743 2nd-Oct-2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
thirded!
doillaw 2nd-Oct-2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
The only reason I'm afraid to take a test is because I've had a horrible panic attack while taking one before. I even get somewhat anxious during the test at my regular gyno checkup.
archangelbeth 2nd-Oct-2009 10:10 am (UTC)
The thing about HBC is that it can totally make your uterus not build up enough uterine lining to shed at all. Lack of a withdrawal bleed is a fairly common effect when on HBC. And antibiotics? Only a few types are proven to definitely compromise HBC -- Rifamprin (and its brand-name versions, such as Rifadin). Google on Rifampin hormonal birth control for more cites.

I would quit with the vitamin C, and I would DEFINITELY NOT take any Black Cohosh!

http://www.answers.com/topic/black-cohosh : "It should also not be taken by those with a chronic disease, or women taking birth control pills or HRT."
http://www.articlealley.com/article_26132_61.html : "Black cohosh may interfere with the action of hormonal medications (birth control pills or HRT)."
http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8513/31402/346466.html?d=dmtContent : "Black cohosh should be used cautiously in patients with a history of blood clots or stroke, seizure disorder, known allergy to aspirin or salicylates, liver disease, or hormone-sensitive cancers or those taking medications for high blood pressure. Cases of liver damage and failure associated with black cohosh have been reported. Dysphoria and "heaviness in the legs" may occur. [...] Because black cohosh is believed to have estrogen-like properties, it is possible that it may alter the effects of hormone therapies, such as birth control pills."

I strongly advise that you a pregnancy test and find out if you're pregnant before putting your body through needless stress.
fatedfuriy 2nd-Oct-2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
I just want to 2nd taking a test and making sure before doing something that could be very dangerous.
1girl 2nd-Oct-2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
To add to the links, it is also possible to overdose on Vitamin C (and you are taking waaay more than the recommended daily value).

http://www.vitaminsdiary.com/vitamins/vitamin-c-overdose.htm : " Vitamin C Overdose can take form in a number of ways. If you are currently taking Vitamin C, and notice any of the following symptoms, decrease your dosage immediately, as these are all minor signs of a small Vitamin C Overdose: Nausea, Strong smelling Urine, Mouth ulcers, Gas, Bloating, Upset stomach"

nonnycat 2nd-Oct-2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting the link to this. I'm not the OP but my dad has been suffering from chronic flus for years, and taking crazy amounts of Vit C to fight them off (more is better, right?). Lately, he's been very very very sick and every symptom fits with the Vit C overdoses you linked. I've sent the info along and hopefully he will talk to his doc about it. :-\
doillaw 2nd-Oct-2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
I've always got an upset stomach, for as long as I can remember.

And I'm covering all the bases with making up for what the C takes out, by altering my diet to include more foods containing copper and B12.

Also, from that site:
"Diarrhea is also a sign that you are taking too much Vitamin C; however, doctors suggest using this sign to gauge your absolute maximum Vitamin C intake. Diarrhea resulting from excessive amounts of Vitamin C is considered just below potentially dangerous levels..."
And I'm having nothing of the sort.
i_make_gray 2nd-Oct-2009 11:04 am (UTC)
You may already know of this website: Sister Zeus (www.sisterzeus.com). I find it has a wealth of information on a whole range of topics relating to fertility management.
nassima 2nd-Oct-2009 01:21 pm (UTC)
I would agree with other posters in that it's entirely possible (and even likely) that you're not pregnant. The impact of doing a pregnancy test on your physical health would be much smaller than any abortion treatment you could try. Pregnancy tests give a reliable answer 14 days after ovulation at the latest (which translates as 19 days after having sex if you take into account the time sperm can survive), so if you're more than one week late the result should be reliable.

Now, if it turns out that you're pregnant. I don't have any experience with herbal methods but I have with the abortion pill (misoprostol, also known by the brand name Cytotec). I had to take it twice, once to evacuate an arrested pregnancy (the embryo stopped growing but my body didn't realise it was over) and once to dilate my cervix before a surgical procedure (I wasn't pregnant).

The bleeding and cramping in an early abortion doesn't depend only on the method used: even in spontaneous miscarriage, there's more bleeding and cramping than in a normal period, just because the uterus needs to evacuate the pregnancy and the uterine lining is thicker than usual.

From what I was told and what I read online, misoprostol works by mimicking the action of the prostaglandin hormone, causing the uterus to contract and the cervix to dilate. It works better in the first trimester of pregnancy; later, it often stops the pregnancy but some products of the pregnancy remain in the uterus and have to be mechanically removed by curettage. It also works better when the pregnancy has stopped developing (missed miscarriage) so my experience might differ in that you might need a higher dose or repeated doses. The vaginal route appears slightly more efficient but the oral route also works and physicians don't seem opposed to it.

In my case, one dose taken vaginally was enough to evacuate the embryo. I took it in the evening and some hours later during the night I began having strong, painful cramps accompanied by heavy bleeding, heavier than in a period. In the morning, I evacuated clots and bits of tissue which turned out to be the pregnancy (I had a curettage later in the day that didn't find anything any more). If I compare it to the spontaneous miscarriage I had another time, I'd say that the cramps were probably slightly more intense and frequent with misoprostol but the evacuation happened faster, in 12 hours instead of a few days. Both were painful, more so than a period, but I have endometriosis and an "irritable uterus" as they say, so maybe my experience was more extreme than what other women would feel.

I also had cramps, pain and bleeding when I got to take it outside of any pregnancy (I wasn't near my normal period), but once again it looks like I'm among the 15% or so that respond the best to the medication (meaning : intense cramping...).

During both my miscarriages, I met a gyno who checked that I wasn't having a septic abortion (no fever, no infection) and had a follow-up with a gyno who did an ultrasound to check that I had evacuated everything. That's a possible reason to go the medicated route instead of the herbal route : while an abortion or a miscarriage aren't dangerous in themselves, it might be good to have someone check there aren't any of the (rare) complications. In my case, it also helped me feel less alone with the physical pain : being reassured that it's normal made me feel better! But I leave in a country with socialised medicine so there weren't any expenses to take into account.
sarahbear1 2nd-Oct-2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
Have you taken a pregnancy test yet?
dlb5367 2nd-Oct-2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you and I are pretty much on the same birth control cycle with Yaz, I started my third pack about two weeks ago. My withdrawal bleed was practically nonexistent. I AM NOT PREGNANT; I took two tests to be sure of this. A wonderful vper reminded me that Yaz makes it so that your uterus doesn't allow for the build up of lining, therefore there is less or nothing to be expelled, therefore no withdrawal bleed; this makes you think you are late because you had no bleeding. Before you harm yourself thinking you are pregnant, please take a test. :)
anthylorrel 2nd-Oct-2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
There is Plan B, which does not abort a child, and there is an actual abortion pill. They are two separate things.
betterbebalboa 2nd-Oct-2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
The abortion pill, otherwise known as RU-486, DOES abort a fetus. It is known as a medical abortion. The morning-after pill, otherwise known as plan B, does not. People in this post are talking about RU-486 and not plan B.
betterbebalboa 2nd-Oct-2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
No worries! It's always good to have an opportunity for clarification :)
x_memoirs 2nd-Oct-2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
I thought a medical abortion is where they... take the fetus out surgically?
x_memoirs 2nd-Oct-2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Hmm, okay, then. Thank you for explaining that to me. Are medical abortions more common? From everyone who posts to VP, I see "medical abortion" more often when referring to abortions.
harro_der 2nd-Oct-2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
It's a personal choice women face when they choose to get an abortion. I don't know any real statistics (and google isn't helping) but it comes down to which effects the woman is more comfortable with.

Medical is much more private, you often take the pill at the doctor or at home and then complete the process at home. Surgical is just that, no cutting though and completed before you leave the medical center.
macabre 2nd-Oct-2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
It all depends. Medical abortions are only done when the woman is before 8 or 9 weeks pregnant, I forget which. If the woman is further along, she needs a surgical one.
buzzboomsplat 4th-Oct-2009 04:21 am (UTC)
It probably depends where you live, too. Here in Australia medical abortions aren't available yet.
lilium_vitiate I've Tried It.2nd-Oct-2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
So, I've got significant amounts of paranoia which have led me to try herbal abortions before (often for no reason.)

Vitamin C overdose (which will not harm you in any significant way) WILL cause all sorts of cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and overheating. You're totally going to feel like crap warmed over.

Also, as well as parsley pessaries, I'd suggest fresh parsley tea. Sugar it up and gulp it down when you can!

Black cohosh/blue cohosh made me feel sick as a dog and gave me a lot of heart palpitations and I thought I was going to die. I don't recommend it.

I've also taken the abortion pill- I threw up the second pill but it still took (don't take on empty stomach!!) and I had a few days of heavy cramping/bleeding/lying in bed. It was more painful, and also more expensive, than a surgical abortion.
beslap 2nd-Oct-2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
What if you are actually pregnant, but fail to abort with the vitamins? I haven't done any research on this, but I feel like it would have done a lot of damage when you finally give birth to the child. Just something to think about.
archangelbeth 2nd-Oct-2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
If she were pregnant, and her attempts to miscarry didn't work, then a surgical abortion would likely be the next step. Essentially, any time one attempts a medical or herbal abortion -- and the latter can be very dangerous, since the line between "induce a miscarriage" and "toxic overdose" is very thin with many herbs -- one needs, for one's own health, to have a doctor check to make sure that A) it worked, and B) it worked completely.
littlemissalien 2nd-Oct-2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
I started on a vitamin C + parsley pessaries route when I was 9 days late. Parsley tea usually worked after 1 cup for me, and after I'd drank about a litre of the stuff over 12 hours with no results I decided I'd better take a test to be sure. It was VERY positive so I stopped what I was doing to talk to my partner and try to work out what to do.

We decied to go ahead with it and our son is fine (now 2 years 3 months). I don't know if this is because the pregnancy was well-established (I was symptomatic from implantation but in denial) or because I didn't get too far into the vitamins process, but both the vit C and parsley methods are more effective at inducing periods rather than abortions (in fact, I've since read that these are pretty useless, even combined, as abortificants).

I would definitely suggest taking a test and seeking medical advice if it's positive. If you are absolutely set on a herbal abortion I have heard black cohosh or dong quai are more effective abortificants, but I cannot stress enough that you must be careful when taking herbs.
cathubodva 3rd-Oct-2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, parsley isn't abortifacient on its own, but will only induce a late period. And vitamin C works better as an emergency contraceptive.

I'm glad everything worked out for you.
frolicnaked 2nd-Oct-2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
While I agree that an unsuccessful herbal abortion can have harmful effects, I do want to point out that after a failed herbal abortion, the next step wouldn't necessarily be to give birth. In fact, because of potential complications, people knowledgeable about herbal abortion recommend, "Don't attempt herbal abortion unless you are in good health - with no liver or kidney problems, AND know you can go through with a surgical or chemical abortion if it doesn't work."
frolicnaked 2nd-Oct-2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering if anyone has had any experiance with this sort of procedure?

I don't have experience with herbal abortion, but I do have direct experience with some of the herbs that can be used both to induce periods and to induce abortions. (I was using them when I wasn't sexually active, so I'm sure I was not inducing abortions.)

First, I do think it's important to note that, while the data that exists is pretty anecdotal, under the best of circumstances, herbal abortions work roughly half of the time. Under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., further along in pregnancy), the effectiveness decreases from there. Additionally, some of the herbs used as abortifacients have the potential to cause damage to the liver or kidneys as well as cardiovascular complications.

For any herbs taken in sufficient quantities to induce abortion -- and especially, especially for some of the more potent plants -- I definitely suggest talking to an herbalist. Since we're talking about amounts of vitamins and herbs that have the potential for some serious harm, I think it's important and helpful to find someone who has a strong working knowledge of the specific type and batch of herbs you'd be using -- in other words, not just someone who can say, "I'm familiar with black cohosh" but rather, "I know about this batch of black cohosh, grown at this time and in this place and stored under these conditions."

But, after all that is said, I also concur with people who said that it's entirely possible that you aren't pregnant. The first few cycles on HBC can be especially wonky, and it's not uncommon even for people who've been on HBC a while to skip periods. As archangelbeth said, one of the effects of the progesterone is to thin the lining of the uterus; sometimes, the pills are so good at that part of the job, you see no bleeding at all.
caustic_sofa 3rd-Oct-2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
I've had a medical abortion (RU-486) at 5-ish weeks. It was honestly nothing more than a heavy period.
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