8:18 am - 02/11/2005

Birth Control Survey/Directory

We get a lot of questions about birth control around here, so the VP Team decided to come up with a poll that could serve as a directory/tool/resource for our members. The idea is that you should be able to come back at any time to check the poll results, giving you instant access to lots of member feedback about all kinds of birth control methods.

If you are currently using some form of birth control/contraceptive, please participate! As poll participants increase, so will the usefulness of the resource! Thanks in advance from all of us at the VP Team.

Poll #435540 Birth Control Survey/Directory

If you use a behavioral method of birth control, which one(s)?

Outercourse (non-penetrative sex)
Fertility awareness-based methods / occasional abstinence
Other (please list)

If you entered "other" for the question above, please elaborate:

Are you happy with your current form of behavioral birth control? Feel free to explain in the comments, listing your specific method.


If you use an over-the-counter method, which one(s)?

Male condom
Female condom

Are you happy with your current form of over-the-counter birth control? Feel free to explain in the comments, listing your specific method.


If you use a prescription barrier method, which one(s)?

Other (please list)

If you entered "other" for the question above, please elaborate:

Are you happy with your current form of prescription, barrier-method birth control? If no, please explain in the comments, listing your specific method.


If you use a prescription hormone-based method, which one(s)?

The pill
The patch (i.e., Ortho-Evra)
The ring (i.e., NuvaRing)
The shot (i.e., DMPA)
IUD (i.e., ParaGard, Mirena)
Emergency contraception
Other (please list)

If you entered "other" for the question above, please elaborate:

If you said “the pill,” please indicate the brand you currently use:

Estrostep Fe

If you said “the pill,” and did not see your brand in the queston above, please choose from the following options:

Loestrin 1/20 Fe
Mini Pill (i.e., Nordette, Micronor)
Nor QD
Nordette 28
Ortho Tri-Cyclen
Ortho-Novum 7/7/7

If you said “the pill,” and did not see your brand in the queston above, please choose from the following options:

Unisex Contraception (GnRH)
Other (please list)

If you entered "other" for the question above, please elaborate:

Are you happy with your current form of prescription hormone-based method? If no, please explain in the comments, listing your specific method.


*Due to LJ Poll Creator restrictions, ParaGard was listed as a hormonal form of birth control; please note that it's actually non-hormonal! Our apologies.

Something else to consider sharing: If you're comfortable, please feel free to tell us in the comments why you're using the particular type of birth control you're currently using and what types of side effects you have (pleasant or otherwise). Or, if you're not using birth control at the moment, you're welcome to share your thoughts about that, too.


And you're done! Thanks for participating; by doing so you're helping us all make informed decisions about birth control.

If you have feedback of any kind or would just like to rant/elaborate, etc., we encourage you to post your comments. As long as the community finds it useful, we'd like to have more polls/surveys/directories like this and the gynecologist recommendations directory in the future. If you have ideas for future polls, please email rockstarbob at bob @ vaginapagina.com. We always like to hear from you! (Please note that technical comments about the poll will be happily noted, responded to, and then screened to make room for birth control comments.)

Lots of cuntacular love to each and every one of you,
On behalf of the VP Team
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lizzvoltage 11th-Feb-2005 07:04 am (UTC)
I hate being on the Pill [ortho tri lo]. It's great because it plumps up my breasts and it makes me have beautiful perfect acne-free, blemish-free skin, but it takes away my periods and makes me have constant yeast infections and borderline-yeast-infections; i taste worse and am excessively goopy. I've been off the Pill for about three months now I think? and my vag is back to normal, I taste spectacular once again, I get strong periods, my breasts are a little bit smaller and I have the occasional chest-zit... I'm happy.
bloodymerry 11th-Feb-2005 07:24 am (UTC)
i was on the pill two years ago. (i don't recall the name, and i do apologize for that. it came in a pink package [though maybe they all do?] and that's all that i remember about the specific brand.) i was only on it to regulate my periods and stop my cramps, but instead of huge cramps for one week out of the month, i had mini cramps frequently every few days. i stopped taking them after about six months.
i'm very happy with my current form of birth control, which is abstinence (from sex with others, not sex with myself). if and when the need arises for a different form of birth control, i'll use condoms before going back to the pill.
bloodymerry 14th-Feb-2005 03:21 am (UTC)
just found an old package, it was kariva, for future reference.
smileydee 11th-Feb-2005 07:40 am (UTC)
I'm currently (unfortunately) using abstinence.

When I was having lots of sex, I was very, very happy with Ortho Tri-Cyclen. It's the only thing I've ever been given and it's been great for me. I feel kind of lucky in that regard.

I did get on Depo (the shot) once, and it was horrid. I started spotting and didn't stop for more than 6 months.
eras3r 11th-Feb-2005 07:43 am (UTC)
For the past nine years I've used four different brands of oral contraceptives. They include Alesse, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, and currently Mircette. The only one I had instant problems with was OTC Lo. It caused severe nausea. I switched from OTC to Mircette in September '04 due to heavy bleeding (14 days with heavy period for 3 months). Other than that, I had no issues with OTC. I was on it from '00-'04.
bitchness 11th-Feb-2005 08:02 am (UTC)
I used depo provera for 9 years, it was great for me, I experienced no weight gain or loss, I stopped having a period altogether (no breakthrough bleeding, no spotting, nothing at all), it seemed to have no affect on my complexion either way (except for around the week I was due to have the shot, I'd have some minor breakouts), I had very few mood swings (again, around the week I was due, every 3 months),no nausea, nothing major at all. The lack of a period though, was due to the lack of estrogen, which apparently also facilitates the absorption of calcium, and causes bone density loss, it is not yet known if you can recover the bone density lost in this way after you stop using depo, but it does stop decreasing when you discontinue. Depo is not recommended for anyone who can use another method, and not recommended to be used for more than 1-2 years at a time. Because I was on it for such a long time I'll never be able to use it again, especially since osteoporosis runs in my family. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has a history of problems with hormonal birth control, or who wants to keep having a regular menstrual cycle.

I'm currently on Desogen, just started it at the beginning of this week, so no side effects have really made themselves known yet.
emmieslost 11th-Feb-2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
i don't know if you've ever seen my posts about what depo did to me, but i was on it for almost eight years and it deteriorated my uterus due to lack of estrogen. i bled for almost five months, and i was losing my own blood not having a period. it sucked. i do miss depo and i wish i could still take it (cuz i have endo and i can't skip with the pill) so i don't suggest anyone take if for long periods of time with out taking breaks. the bone loss thing is no good as well, i wish i would have known about that years and years ago!
neko_san 11th-Feb-2005 08:16 am (UTC)
I use condoms and love them; not only birth control, but helps prevent STDs, and also nice since i have a semen allergy and it keeps the itchy rash causing goo away from my skin.
I had always been leery of hormonal birth control; the one time I was given artificial hormones, I reacted extremely badly, so now they are on my permanent avoid list.
thephotofaerie 15th-Aug-2005 09:03 pm (UTC)
how do you know if you're allergic to semen? i think i might be
kimberkid 11th-Feb-2005 08:35 am (UTC)
I got the Mirena IUD in December 2004 after trying Lunelle, (which I hear has been dropped from the market) Depo Provera (I'd rather be hit with a two-by-four after each sexual encounter than do that again) LoEstrin (found out that remembering to take a pill every day does not work for me), and condoms (which were just not good, and made random unplanned sex very difficult).

While the insertion was the most painful thing I've ever experienced (although the tattoo was a very close second) it's the best investment I've ever made in my sex life and peace of mind.

I've had no emotional side effects, my weight is stable, my sex drive is still firmly intact, I find myself more responsive to stimulation, and my period is extremely light and very short...

It's the happiest I've ever been with birth control.
ryf 11th-Feb-2005 10:04 am (UTC)
I have been on the pill for over two years, I got it prescribed because of my acne. I have been on Valette, Leios and now Microgynon 30, brands that probably noone outside Germany uses :)

I do experience some moodiness, decrease of sex-drive and natural lubriciation, but nothing that really makes me want to get off the pill.

Me and my partner rely only on the pill.
tenlegspider 12th-Feb-2005 01:11 am (UTC)
I'm on Microgynon 30, my housemate's on 60. It's the most popular pill in the UK. Apparently that's what's being marketed as Seasonalle, though I hesitate to check that box because it's just the usual 21 pill packs.
wordsxguitar EC/morning after pill11th-Feb-2005 10:06 am (UTC)
i checked "emergency contraception" as a method i use, because i have had to use it on two occasions in the past. first, i'd like to clarify that the morning after pill isn't my preferred method of BC and i definitely don't use it on a regular basis.

i also had to say i wasn't happy with it, and here's why:

while it was effective in making me not get pregnant, i experienced a lot of really crappy side effects, which included but are not limited to: really heavy bleeding for about a month after using it, severe mood swings and depression, horrible cramps, and general yuckiness.

i also used LoEstrin for about a year and experienced similar moodswings, heavy bleeding right when i started taking it, and weight gain. my blood pressure also skyrocketed while i was taking it, so i stopped and went back to condoms.

now that i'm not in a monogamous relationship, i'm pretty happy with condoms, mostly because if i was using another method of BC, i'd still be using condoms to prevent STIs. my only gripe is that certain brands make my cooter itch after contact.
nznats 11th-Feb-2005 11:26 am (UTC)
I am on the depo provera shot. It used to be awesome for me before I had my daughter, I didnt ain weight, never spotted, didnt get a period and my mood swings were virtually non existant on it. Now after having my daughter and a termination (after getting pregnant a week after my injection) I have gained weight am spotting constantly, my moods are horendous, and it just isnt working for me as it used too. Considering IUD but that costs a fair bit here (for mirena which I need because of very heavy periods and bad bad cramps) and I also dont want to risk weakening my cervix even more (as well as the fact that I have very very rough sex and am worried about dislodgement) I hate condoms and cant take the pill because I am breastfeeding and have a memory like a sieve so the mini-pill would be ineffective.
immaginarylife 11th-Feb-2005 11:33 am (UTC)
i use yasmin(pill) and condoms. i just started yasmin yesterday, so i can't really say if my good mood and strange but nice feeling in my stomach is because of it, but so far so good. i had been on the nuvaring for about 6 months, and it was fine except for some moodiness and a very heavy period.
i also use condoms, and i love them. honestly, i don't like having sex without them. it's way too worrying, the cleanup is a bit of a pain, and usually when i have sex without a condom, it hurts. go figure.
actinide 11th-Feb-2005 11:54 am (UTC)
I'm coming off the shot (Depo-Provera) because of all the side effects I was experiencing: weight gain (about 10 pounds), extreme mood swings accompanied by severe depression, constant fatigue, severe nausea (I know they say it won't cause nausea but in my case it started as soon as I got my shot and has gone away since I didn't get my last booster).

Right now we're using male condoms (Lifestyles and Durex) until my fiance's vasectomy is done. They're not terrible, but I definitely miss being able to have uninterrupted encounters, so I'll be happier after he's snipped ;)
keighleymd 11th-Feb-2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
At the moment I am using condoms when I know that I am fertile- am waiting for my husband's vasectomy appointment to come through- we have 3 kids and that is enough for us. My only gripe with condoms is the smell/taste and the slimyness of them. I will be glad when we nolonger have to use them.

I have never had much luck with other methods of birth control- got a blood clot on the combined pill when I was 17, had very heavy periods with an IUD and had bleeding every few days on the mini pill.
sadeyedartist 21st-Jan-2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
If I may ask, what does a blood clot feel like? I am very stressed out because my mother got blood clots on the pill, and I have so far inherited all of her genetics. Thus I am paranoid that every leg pain possible is a blood clot. Is there a way of definately knowing? (I'm thinking of going off of the pill/patch--I'm on the patch) just to eliminate the stress.
nevermind578 11th-Feb-2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
I was on the Ortho Evra patch for 4 months and began getting yeast infections every other week (never had one before this). I would highly recommend the patch for it's simplicity. It's a lot easier to only have to remember to put a patch on once a week instead of a pill everyday but it just wasn't for me. I know plenty of people who have been on the patch and have had no problems. After 4 months of yeast infections I switched to Ortho TriCyclen Lo and have only been on it for 1 month. So far no side effects from OTC LO. And a full month of no yeast infections!

I was on Depo about 5 years ago for two years. I had no spotting or side effects except for a 15 lb weight gain that spread itself over the two years. The no period was a major bonus.

I was on Ortho TriCyclen 3 years ago for acne and it made my hair fall out. I tried to stick with it for 3 months but the hair loss was becoming too much and finally just decided I'd rather have pimples than no hair.

The only advise I can give people is that there are so many BC methods available to people now. Sometimes you have to shop around to find the best one for you. It's a frustrating and long process but when you finally find the right one it'll all be worth it.
dokuya 11th-Feb-2005 02:27 pm (UTC)
i'm on yasmin and i'm kinda suspecting it having to do with my depression just like every other pill i was on before. i also don't have much of a sex drive left but it's safe so i'll stick with it.
killwinterstar 11th-Feb-2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
I'm on Estrostep FE for hormonal birth control for about two years now, and it works well enough for me. Positive side effects are short (3-4 day versus 6-7 day before), light periods that are predictable to within a six-hour block of time, and a minor smoothing out of PMS-y mood swings (not much, but it's there). My younger sister is on the same brand to control heavy periods, and it helps shorten and lighten her periods. It also helps alot to alleviate her extreme PMS moodiness.

The biggest negative side effect that I've noticed is that it's hard for me to self-lubricate during sex; I can be extremely turned on and raring to go, and not all that wet. Lube fixes this problem easily, though. I think this is related to my OCP; I went on it before I was sexually active, so I haven't had partner feedback to tell. From masturbation, though, I've noticed I've been drier since I went on the OCP.

I also use male condoms for STI protection. I have no problem with condoms as long as they aren't spermicidally lubricated. Spermicide makes my vagina unhappy.
mangofandango 11th-Feb-2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
At first, I only used condoms. But I didn't really like that or feel comfortable with it, and I'm in a situation where I don't need to use them (I'm married and monogamous, etc.) So, I switched to the pill. I was on Mircette (which is, for others' reference, a low-dose monophasic combined pill). It was good for the most part, but I have chronic migraines and the estrogen in the pill seemed to be making them worse (despite Mircette's estrogen dosage being very low). I wanted to be putting less synthetic hormone into my body anyway, so I started looking into other options.

I learned about the Mirena IUD, and decided to get one. It's been the best birth control decision I've ever made! I love it. After the initial insertion (which was painful, but quick) I had random cramping every now and then for a few months. This was accompanied by light bleeding and spotting. These side effects were a little bit annoying, but also very mild - the cramping wasn't very painful, and often the spotting was so light I barely needed a pantiliner. This bleeding and cramping was very irregular. Now (about a year and half after insertion) things have evened out, and I bleed more regularly, usually around the full moon. My periods are lighter and slightly irregular, but they're still there (this is something I worried about, I like my period). Before my IUD, my cramps were really painful - now I only get very mild cramping. I've had no other side effects that I can identify, and I like not having to worry about birth control for a few years (the Mirena is effective for 5 years, then you need to get a new one.)
cailin_t 11th-Feb-2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
no offense, but most people that use FAM don't practice abstinence - that's NFP (natural family planning, has a religious reason) - so the FAM/abstinence option isn't accurate being put together.
jennifer0246 11th-Feb-2005 05:50 pm (UTC)
I do believe that we were thinking of Fertility Awareness Method combined with abstinence during fertile times, not that FAM practicers choose abstinence all the time.

I'll doublecheck with the rest of the group though. Thanks for your input!
asharose 11th-Feb-2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
About 6 years ago my doctor prescribed the Marvelon birth control pill to me, and I've been on it ever since!

Before being on the pill, my periods used to be very heavy, I experienced a lot of cramping, and they would occur quite irregularly (sometimes I'd miss a month, other times I'd have a period twice in one month!). Now that I'm on the pill, my periods are much lighter, there's no more cramps, and I know to expect my period on a Thursday before noon and that it will be all gone by Monday morning. :)

Some of the side-effects from the pill that I do experience occur leading up to or during my period. During my period I should expect to have at least one day where I will have a bad headache; which can sometimes be cured with an extra-strength painkiller, other times I'll have to just wait it out. (Too bad I'm allergic to codeine, I hear that stuff is gold!) There were times in the past when I've actually had migraines, which I never experienced before going on the pill, but I think those were fueled mostly by excessive stress. I will also have one giant zit sprout up on my face at some point, usually right before my period. This happened before I was on the pill too, though.

So, yeah. Being on the pill hasn't affected my weight, breast-size, mood, energy-levels.. or, well, anything really. It just does its job: keeping me from becoming pregnant! *lol* I'm very content with my Marvelon 21 and will continue to stick with it. :)
septembergrrl 11th-Feb-2005 04:01 pm (UTC)
My partner uses a condom. I was on depo-provera for a year and then the pill (ortho tri-cyclen and one other I can't remember) for five, but I had problems with weight gain and mood swings. Right now, condoms are the best choice for us, though -- given their failure rates -- I would never rely entirely on them if we weren't in a place where we could cope with an unplanned pregnancy.
dial_zero pills & nuvaring11th-Feb-2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
The nuvaring is my 4th form of hormonal birth control. The others were Ortho-Tri (regular) Mircette and Nordette. Of the hormonal methods I've tried, I like it the best, but in a few days (end of my 4th cycle) I'm going to quit it. I have no sex drive any more. I can't even get myself off. I can see nothing else in my life that would have caused this. The nurse practitioner told me it would likely make me wetter, but instead I am dry during the sexin' but during the day I'll have big blobs of wetness come out (I guess it collects on the ring and comes out all at once). So I have to deal with that during the day, but during sex (when I feel like it, which is never), no amount of foreplay will get me flowin'. On OTC I had mood problems, breakthrough bleeding on Mircette, and negative sex drive on Nordette. I LOVE the convenience of the ring, and I can't feel it at all--I would be very happy on this method if I ever felt like having sex. :-\ The hormones are low, so I feel like there's nowhere I can go from here. I got it for $10 through my student Health Services. Anyway, we'll be relying on condoms and spermicide from now on,* and I'm going to check out FAM just because I haven't had a real period in so long and I'm looking forward to getting to know my cycle!

Side note, OTC did nothing good or bad for my skin, all hormonal methods lightened my period and took away my premenstrual backaches.

* Until those new male contraceptive methods are available! ;)
dial_zero 11th-Feb-2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
ACK! Nordette is listed as a minipill, it is not (Ovrette is).
misslynn 11th-Feb-2005 05:30 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm lucky -- I went on Ortho-Evra (patch) about 10 months ago and have had very few problems. It's my first and only hormonal BC. I was moody for the first month or two, spent the first month spotting & bleeding intermittently, and have gotten exactly one yeast infection (my first) since starting it. Other than that, I love it. I can postpone my period if I wish, my skin looks good, I've fought off the weight gain (which was minor), I'm having great worry-free sex, and it's very convenient. At this point in my life I'd have a hard time remembering to take a pill every day, so it's a good thing. :)

I should note that my boy and I use condoms most of the time; we don't really need to (as we are monogamous and were both virgins before each other), but it's a little extra peace of mind for him...
bairdyloo 11th-Feb-2005 05:32 pm (UTC)
I was on Depo for 1 year and 4 months and ate like a maniac during that time-I gained 30 pounds. I've been on OTC-Lo since January and I feel much better now.
elysian_spirit 11th-Feb-2005 05:33 pm (UTC)
I've been using Ortho Tri-Cyclen for the past...2, maybe three years of my life. I didn't really have much of a choice in the matter, and my doctor (family doctor)...isn't a very good one, on multiple levels. So basically, my mother took me to the doctor, because she was convinced I was having sex (and I really wasn't, but I appreciate the regulation of my period that came along with it :P), and explained that we'd like for me to go on birth control. I can't remember what happened after that, but I think my doctor gave me like...six months worth of samples (OTC), and then told me he wouldn't give me anymore until I got a pap. Well...he lied, I didn't get one until about a year after that, and...now I'm still on OTC.

I suppose I'm happy with it. It hasn't necessarily caused any major side effects, not that I've noticed, anyway. I may have gotten a little moodier, and as of late, my periods have been much heavier and had worse cramping but...I'm not sure if I can attribute that to my pill or not.
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