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.

Click here for the poll.Collapse )
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sulingsi many birth control experiences11th-Feb-2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
i have a lot of experiences so i thought i'd add my comments.
i am a 24 year old 5'3" and 125lb medical student, who is into serial monogamy, if that helps for people who are looking for others in their situation.

i have tried condoms many a time, they are great, i use them correctly and have never broken one, have probably used them at least 500 times.

i then went on the pill and i have been on Mircette, Ortho Cyclen, Ortho Tri Cyclen, Triphasil, Alesse, and Necon. With the higher dose pills, i would have a little nausea if i missed one and had to take 2 in one day, but other than that they were great. every brand i tried was fine with me, I think I liked Mircette the best. (my mom's a doc, so i tried whatever samples she had lying around when i needed them)

i am not good at taking a pill every night AT ALL, so i switched to nuvaring and am extremely happy with it! i heart my nuvaring! it causes me absolutely no problems and no stress. i am switching to a mirena IUD next month because i am hopeful that it will be even BETTER! but i will be happy to switch back to nuvaring if it doesn't work out.

p.s. i have also taken emergency contraception and did not experience any strange side effects or problems. thank god for EC.
jasminelily 11th-Feb-2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
I've been on OTC for about two and a half years now, and I've had a good experience with it. For the first two to three months I did notice increased moodiness, especially during my period, but after around three months that ended, and it's been perfect for me since then.
tenlegspider 12th-Feb-2005 01:25 am (UTC)
I went on the pill when I was 17 because my first boyfriend wasn't good with condoms and I was kind of dumb. I quit once but realised I couldn't be trusted to not get pregnant without it. I'm better now, and sleep with less stupid boys.

I use condoms with all but one boy. I keep taking the pill for extra protection and because it's very convenient for me with no negative side effects that I've noticed.
onlyshecanknow 12th-Feb-2005 03:44 am (UTC)
I'm on the patch, and while it hasn't caused problems for me, really, I think that hormonal BC in general (I was on OTC-lo and then OTC for about a year before starting the patch) makes me really moody. I hope to find a non-hormonal method that I can really trust (My boyfriend and I also use condoms because I am extremely paranoid about pregnancy), and get off of hormonal BC for good.
jennifer 12th-Feb-2005 03:29 pm (UTC)
I've taken a LOT of different birth control pills, plus the patch and an IUD: Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Nordette/Seasonale (lumping together because the hormones are the same), Mircette, Cyclessa, Levlite, Apri, Necon 1/35, LoEstrin, and currently taking Ortho-Cyclen.

I'm not happy with hormone pills - I've gained a lot of weight, exacerbated depression, and haven't had pain relief (I have endometriosis and no insurance for more treatment at the moment - Thanks, Bush!).

I liked the Mirena IUD best of everything, but it expelled after only a month. I'd get another if the insertion had been less difficult and painful - I have a small, retroverted uterus along with the endo, and those contributed to the painful experience.

I'm currently waiting for Implanon to become available in the US - I think I'll like it as well as I did Mirena, and the insertion should be a breeze in comparison.
finding_helena 13th-Feb-2005 06:20 am (UTC)
I am currently using Levlen, which is the same as Nordette (which I used to use) and uses the same hormones as Alesse (which I also used to use--those hormones work for me, so why switch?) I haven't had any problems with it. I've also used condoms in the past, but I hate them (problems with them coming off sometimes, general hassle), so now that I am with a long-term partner and we are both clean, no more condoms. Yay.

I told the nurse at PP, when I first went on the pill, that I wanted to take Alesse based on what I read about the hormones here. Higher androgenicity=less likely to kill your sex drive, which is the most important side effect I wish to avoid. Obviously there's a chance that they might work differently for me but I have had no problems. Anyone with interest in the differences in hormones among different brands of the pill should read the page I linked.
juji 13th-Feb-2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
i'm on levlen.

side-effects : better skin. no weight gain whatsoever (i've been losing, not gaining.) lighter periods, for shorter duration (3-4 medium days as opposed to 3 heavy and 3 medium-light.)

so far, so good. no negative effects.

so_cruel 14th-Feb-2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
I am currently on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo and absolutely love it.

I tried Alesse for a few months about a year ago. I went off of it because it really did not control my cycle (the main reason I went on the pill). I had a lot of breakthrough bleeding and my period would come way before the placebo pills.

I also spent some time using the NuvaRing (for about 6 months). The ring was very easy to use. I loved it. However, I found that it dried me out terribly, made my periods nearly non-existant (I didn't bleed enough for even lite tampons), and I had 1-2 yeast infections per cycle. The yeast infections were horrible and could only be cured temporarily by boric acid.

I am now back on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo (which I had spent a year on before trying Alesse). The first time I went on OTC Lo I did gain 8lbs, however I didn't this time. I do notice some mood shifts, but nothing completely unbearable. Overall, I find it wonderful. It controls my periods perfectly, makes them not too heavy and not too light, and I can also predict what day it will show up.

My breasts have not changed at all, but my skin stays farily clear. I'm not dry, I don't have excessive discharge, and NO yeast infections! :)
purple_obsidian 14th-Feb-2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
We (I'm married) used to use condoms on my fertile days and withdrawal on nearly safe days and nothing on the few completely safe days. This worked for a few years then I got pregnant. We were at the stage where a baby wouldn't be a bad thing, but we weren't trying for one... so getting pregnant was a good thing. However we don't want another baby, so we now use condoms all the time and are seriously considering a vasectomy.

I like condoms because I find I usually have a slight stinging feeling when he ejaculates in me (maybe I am sensitive to his semen), but I don't trust them, and sex feels better without them. We've had 2 break and I've had one break with a previous partner. I've used the morning after pill one time we had a breakage, but not the other 2.

I refuse to take the pill (I don't like the idea of drugs/medications of any kind), but I did take them as a teenager (before I was sexually active) to make my periods less heavy and more regular. It made them very painful so I stopped taking them.
smallbutvisible I love NuvaRing15th-Feb-2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
I've been on several methods of BC in my life.

First, I was on Alesse, then OTC, then OTC-lo, then Mircette. All of them gave me menstrual migraines. I'd always had migraines, but they'd never been so frequent. OTC also gave me crazy mood swings, and I spotted for five months on OTC-lo.

Then I decided to get an IUD. Which would have rocked, if my uterus were the requisite 6.5 cm. It wasn't, so I had to go through a really painful procedure with no reward.

Now I am on NuvaRing, and I love it. I've had no side effects, I've lost weight, my migraines are now less frequent. The only problem is that I have very little sex drive, but I'm also on anti-depressants, so they may be to blame. Also, my husband is on Zoloft, so neither of us has much sex drive, so it's not really a problem.

Oh, and we've always used non-latex condoms in addition to hormonal bc, as we really don't want a child right now.
mjzilla Can't tolerate hormonal BC31st-Dec-2005 05:48 am (UTC)
I was on ortho novum 7/7/7 for around 5 years. At first I loved it (knowing exactly when I could wear white pants? awesome), but then it started affecting my moods. The crazy thing was that it happened really gradually until I was a raging lunatic. And my sex drive was gone. So I went in to have it switched and my ex-gyno basically said, "Well, it can't cause those things and switching BC won't help, but you can anyway." So I switched to the Nuvaring and, lo and behold, she was wrong. My moods stabilized. I got a sex drive back, however small of one. Bad things with the ring? I have acne for the first time in my life. Constantly. I'm getting patchy brown spots on my skin. I thought that it was just freckles sticking around, but it's not. I also started getting migraines with it. Some just lasting through my period - others that lasted two weeks or longer. Taking some extra magnesium every day mostly cleared those up, but they come back if I'm under any sort of major stress. Recently, I've started getting a full-body rash the week I start my ring. I also got hit with the crazy stick again a couple of months ago (this time the change wasn't so gradual). I'm going off hormones entirely now. The mental stuff isn't as bad on Nuvaring as it was on 7/7/7, but it's still not tolerable.

Just for clarification, my "hit with a crazy stick" involves severe mood swings (from suicidal depression to hypomanic symptoms), paranoia, anxiety, sort of the works. It's cycle-based, but came at different times of my cycle on 7/7/7 vs. the nuvaring.

I've had break-through bleeding on both methods. Again, stress was to blame, but my break-through bleeding was usually a 2 1/2 week long period (as in, normal amount of flow), followed by the normal "period" during the off week.

I really think hormonal birth control may be great for some people, but mine's going to be burned up in a firey blaze : ).

Now we're going to condoms. I hate condoms, but my sanity's kind of important to me : ).
firefoxx66 26th-Jun-2006 05:24 am (UTC)
I have been using Ortho-Evra (the patch) for about a year now, and I love it. It has eased some of the pain from my periods (though I still have to take prescription pain-killers) and has made my periods wonderfully regular. I have not suffered any major side effects such as spotting, mood-swings, random cramping, or weight gain. The patch is a great option for the more forgetful among us! (I couldn't take a pill every day if my life depended on it... So I hope it never does!)

However there are some things about the patch that irk me some. Firstly, the adhesive that holds the patch to your skin sometimes extends a little past the backing, and can stick to underwear on the first day or two of putting the patch on. This is usually only noticeable when you undress or go to the bathroom and the adhesive pulls off easily and does not damage clothes. These same 'edges,' can also pick up lint from your underwear, making your patch look a little grotty by the end of the week.

Appearance-wise the patch is not so hot. It looks like having a band-aid on your butt/thigh/arm, and visually is not so attractive, even when new. It bothers me a lot less than I thought it would, but if you are a very appearance-oriented person, it might bother you.

The patch also leaves a small reddened area on my skin after I remove it. This usually fades, but I have experienced on and off a little hardened skin where I put my patches. It comes and goes on me, but I expect could be easily remedied with a pumice stone. It's not visible, but you can feel it.

Lastly, if you live in a hot climate (I'm from Texas) then the patch might not be for you. I experience no discomfort from sweating while I'm wearing the patch, but it can affect the adhesiveness of the patch. If you are sitting on, say, a plastic seat, and it's really hot and you're sweating on your butt, the patch may slide to the side, revealing the adhesive, which will stick to your clothes. I've found that wearing the patch on the upper part of your butt (the part you don't sit on or only sit on a little) is the remedy for this - don't put the patch in a place where you are going to sit on it directly.

Overall, I'm really happy with the patch. It's easy to remember to put it on once a week. It's cleared up my skin and my periods are wonderfully regular. I can skip periods as easily as putting on another patch. I'd recommend it to anyone.
teknoferit 12th-Apr-2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
I used the Patch for about a year and just quit it. Most of the time I was really happy with it, because it a) made my periods really light, b) i could check it easily and always know whether or not i was protected (unlike the ring or some other methods), c) i only had to change it once a week so it was easy to remember.

But recently I read some reviews of the patch and its side effects and realized that it was actually having major side effects on me: a) I was anxious and really nervous all the time, b) I was irritable and easily angered, and really moody, and c) I cried constantly and at the drop of a hat.

I've been off the patch for a week now and I feel much better!
nicole_bitchie "Pulling out" and VCF films3rd-May-2007 09:04 am (UTC)
Normally, my boyfriend and I use the "pull out" method. I'm not encouraging that method and I know that that's a pretty irresponsible method. He knows his body very well and we're in a long term, monogomous relationship. Like most couples, we've had our scares.

We've used the VCF spermicide films on special occasions where we want to be closer, more intimate, when we want to climax together with no pull out. We like the VCF films very much. They've proven effective and I have had no pregnancies to date.

The VCF films are folded twice and put on the finger, inserted as far into the vagina as possible. The films have to be inserted no less than 15 minutes before sex, no longer than 3 hours before.
The downside is that two times, the film has stayed stuck to my boyfriend's finger. He inserts the film for me because I'm quite short and have small fingers, I figure he can insert the film farther than I can.
So in this case, we've had to use two films but the price is good so it was no big deal.

If you plan on performing oral sex of any kind after the film is inserted, you will be bitterly greeted with the taste of spermicide so it would be wise to perform oral sex before inserting the film.
The spermicide doesn't smell and I like that it dissolves completely with no weird "cloudy" or weird coloring to your own fluids.

In the booklet provided with the VCF films, (which I've since lost) it states that condoms are more effective than the VCFs. So my boy and I use these things only on special occasions.

In all honesty, I don't think I can have children so please becareful when using the VCF films because maybe your body will react differently than mine.

We know that God will give me/us a baby when its the right time. We're ready for whatever happens or if it doesn't happen at all.
tigergir11333 6th-May-2007 03:53 am (UTC)
I'm pretty happy on the pill(first Ortho TriCyclen and now Ortho Novum 7/7/7). I've had some trouble but thanks to this community I've been able to understand and am in the process of figuring out how my new pill is working. So far I'm still adjusting but overall I'm still happy with the pill
mcdhonz Is it safe?13th-Oct-2007 06:19 am (UTC)

I would like to ask if my gf now safe of getting pregrant after taking Marvelon on the first day of her menstrual cycle? Is she totally safe now? This is her first time to take a pill like Marvelon because her doctor adviced her to take Marvelon because her cycle is not normal...so her doctor adviced to take Marvelon....When taking Marvelon, how many days does my GF safe from pregnancy? Is it safe to have sex during her 7 days PILL FREE PERIOD?

Please answer this ASAP....


bandnerd88 21st-Nov-2007 06:38 am (UTC)
I've been abstinent for all of my nearly 20 years. Most of it was forced, because I didn't have anyone to not be abstinent with, but I now have a boyfriend of almost two years and we are abstinent by choice. I'll freely admit that it's hard sometimes, but that's about the only complaint I have. It's nice, because I don't have to worry about anything, and there's no side effects. So all in all, I'm pretty happy with it.
ellc 21st-Feb-2008 07:48 am (UTC)
I'm ambivalent about the pill that I take. I like the ease and the security that I feel with it, but I would prefer something that did not mess with my body so much. Unfortunately spermicide and condoms irritate me and I don't really trust other methods so that's it for me. Hopefully in the future I can use a copper IUD, I would be much more comfortable with that I think.
oddrid 14th-Mar-2008 12:25 am (UTC)
I'm on the pill (Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo), because I don't like the way male condoms feel if my partner uses one during sex. I also have very irregular periods so this helps to regulate me. I've only been on it for about 4 months but I haven't had any complaints so far.
_lovecat 8th-May-2008 12:24 am (UTC)
I have been on the patch, the shot and the nuva-ring. I switched from the patch to the shot after a few months although I no longer remember why.

I had a terrible experience with the shot. I gained somewhere between 30 and 50 pounds in nine months and had severe mood swings including straight-up, unexplained rages.

I was on the nuva-ring for a year or more but recently went off of it as it killed my sex drive and just grossed me out in general. Someone else mentioned that all of the wetness that is produced tends to get caught on the ring and then come off during the day and I had a very similar experience only it came out stuck to the ring when it was removed. It just grossed me out a little too much.

I'm now using condoms as I'm in a long-term, monogamous relationship, but am considering going back to the patch as I experience severe pain with condoms for some reason.
unperfectwolf 23rd-Aug-2008 07:02 am (UTC)
I have always suffered horrid periods (cramps so bad I cant move except to puke for four days a month), so I got on the pill once I found out this could help. I've been on 8 different kinds, and have finally found my savior in FemmeCon FE. It just finally got a generic, so I am trying it this next month -- we'll see how it goes! I have had amazing results with this, in that I am functioning all 4 days of my period and have cramping that advil and a hot pack take care of. It's lighter, too! And I lost over 60lb in the last two years, 1 1/2 of which I have been on this pill and the other half I was on similarish pills. My acne is a lot better, and I feel better. I have bad and good reactions to other pills, of which I cannot name (you try keeping all those names memorized--thats what my chart is for, okay?). The only thing is, I have to take my pill at a weird time because I take a thyroid medication in the morning and at night, and the first time I tried to take the two together I was camping out in the bathroom, throwing up for the next few hours. Aside from that, I always use a condom as well, casual encounter or no. I DO NOT want kids, ever, at all, and as a personal choice have determined until I can get the damned thing out of me, I'm doing everything I can to make sure I never have one. I'm also in the process of maybe getting an IUD. We shall see :)
gwyddfid 8th-Sep-2008 06:41 am (UTC)
I am currently using Microlut (Minipill). I decided to use it because I get migraines with an aura.

I’m not completely happy with it because I have found that it makes me prone to mood swings, particularly quite bad lows (I do have a history of depression which I was on medication for a number of years ago, although I am not anymore). Apart from this though, I haven’t experienced any trouble with increased occurrence of migraines or headaches and I’ve only had the tiniest amount of spotting mid cycle, which is new for me, but by no means difficult to manage; in fact I hardly notice it.

Another reason why I’m not completely happy with it is that I’m not comfortable using it as my sole form of birth control (which is why we also use condoms or withdrawal) due to the fact that there seems to be conflicting evidence out there about effectiveness rates in women who are overweight. So until there is something conclusive either way I’m not comfortable taking the chance.
fatedfuriy 9th-Jul-2009 11:58 am (UTC)
Before I started the pill, I used a combination of fertility awareness and withdrawal, abstaining from sex all together during fertile times. (I think I should have checked abstinence, too. I forgot.) I liked using this because I kind of knew what was going on with my body, but I felt there was still room for error so I didn't want to rely on it.

I just recently started Ortho-Cyclen, but I've already experienced some side affects that make me want to switch. Even though I take it with a meal, later in the day I start feeling sick to my stomach, or this can be triggered really easily by just using the computer or watching TV. It feels like motion sickness. If I took it without food or not enough, I got sicker earlier and for longer. Luckily I'm not working at the moment, which is good because some of this got severe enough that I would have had to call in.

Earlier in the pack I had horrible mood swings and bouts of depression, to the point where I felt like I didn't care about my boyfriend anymore and got angry at EVERYTHING. It's leveled off, but it felt as bad as the depression I had years ago that made me suicidal. I was really nervous and easy to upset. Little things that set me off.

It's made my breasts bigger, but they hurt a lot, too. Very little sex drive. My acne cleared up for the first few days, but it's gotten worse...as bad or worse it gets around my ovulation and period. I've also felt weak...physically weak since I started it. It almost felt like the weaknesses that comes with the flu or something. Don't have a lot of energy.

I'm only on my first pack and I hope these get better, but if I could, I would prefer a non-hormonal method like a copper IUD.
roxotaku 25th-Aug-2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
My first form of BC was the Today Sponge when I was 19. But my first gyno put me on HBC, Ortho Novum, and I was on it for years, no problem. My next gyno put me Loestrin, and I had no problems with that for years either. But I did go off the pill for a while, and used condoms which was good because I had multiple partners at the same time, but bad because latex burns me. I also get BV/Yeast infections from spermicide so I don't use that or the sponge anymore. I went off HBC in 2001 because my husband and I were trying to conceive. I got pregnant in 2003, and have a son. But I am separated from my husband now and currently have a new BF. His preferred method of BC is withdrawal, which he does well. Almost two years, and no problems. But my friends say it is too risky, yet on VP it seems that others say it is okay if done properly. My BF has been using withdrawal for most of his (very) active sexual life with few accidents - he is good at it and I call him "the King of the Pull Outs." But I am considering a better form of BC, like an HBC, only there are 2 issues: 1) I am 43. 2) I have started smoking again (I know, my bad). My BF says because of those things I should not use HBC. But I am seeing a new gyno soon, and will discuss options. If I have to, I will quit smoking again - I did not smoke for years, it was the failure of my marriage that made me smoke again. Only good thing about smoking was I met my BF, the greatest love of my life, during my smoking break at work...:)
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