5:24 am - 08/23/2017

I have started seeing a new doctor and she is recommending that I…

I have started seeing a new doctor and she is recommending that I stop using the pill for birth control and allow myself to go into menopause. She things it will lower my blood pressure so I won't need any medication. I am 52 and have been on the pill for about 11 years. I then scheduled and appointment with a GYN and was given all the options of bc out there, but she could not tell me what would happen once I stopped taking the pill. Both Doctors just shrug and say everyone is different, but in such a way that I feel things may not be pleasant. I am worried about this as I have a job with no real sick time and an open floor plan so there is no privacy for when you are not feeling your best.

Would anyone share their experiences? I know that I eventually have to come off, but I had hoped with a better job with flexibility and not be in such an uncompromising place.
chesneyj 24th-Aug-2017 02:33 am (UTC)
Oddly, I am about to turn 50 and have just been put back on birth control to help with heavy and LONG periods. I had a tubal 11 years ago when my twins were born and my cycles turned heavy and painful. I am on the generic for Yaz now and it is helping with my blood pressure. I have been on HBP meds since I was 31 (the wonders of genetics, not diet/weight). It has been creeping up lately so I have to get it back down. The Yaz generic seems to help.

When my doc put me on it, he recommended it only for 2-3 years. Do you know your family history? When did other women in your family start menopause? Most of the women in my family had hysterectomies so I don't have a lot of data to go on. See if you can find a pattern (if it is even possible) then plan your next few years. Most women seem to start menopause in their early 50's and prolonged BCP use can increase cancer chances.
ravena_kade 25th-Aug-2017 03:04 am (UTC)
my Mom was in her mid 40s when she started menopause but it lasted almost 7 years . She had migraines, back aches, and her period became erratic, heavy and painful. She did not work, but if she did she would have had a problem.

I have 3 cousins that needed to have ablation procedures. They started menopause in their late 40s. One of them bled for 3 years straight and became anemic. She had to drop her employer provided healthcare and buy a more expensive one to even have the option of the procedure.

I just find it odd that I can't get anything from the doctors but a shrug... My insurance may not even cover the tubal and I do not have sick time at my job. I am worried that this may make things difficult for the next few years.
damsie 26th-Aug-2017 03:08 pm (UTC)
I just turned 45 and until last year in June, had been on the pill for close to 25 years straight w/o a break. I started on Ortho Cept back in the 90s and as insurances changed for me, I changed BCs from time to time. The last one I was on was one where you'd pretty much take it daily and not have a period at all. It was lovely!

What's even lovelier is not taking it.

I have felt, in my own estimation that BCs have been messing with other health issues for me for a long LONG while. From my typical, hands in the air, shrugging doctor(s) diagnosis of IBS to my years of odd non-UTI UTIs... difficulty sleeping... etc. I have had so many odd symptoms that got much worse a year and a half ago. Since I've stopped taking BC, I have been much better. It's taking me a lot of time to work with other ways of healing... but no more UTIs, so no more random Antibiotics from doctors who can't figure out what this painful bladder issue of interstitial cystitis. But my gut still has some problems and I've taken other measures for that.

I'd been put on BC for the ever-popular painful/long periods. While BC helped me with that, I'd have preferred that once/mo pain to what I've been really going through for years.

What I'm saying is. I'm happy as a clam to not be on BC any longer and wonder how much damage this has done to my gut and my gut bacteria for years and years and years.

Good luck and don't worry too much about what-ifs, is my advice.
archangelbeth 5th-Sep-2017 05:41 am (UTC)
Would it be reasonable to go off the pill and, if things go weird, go back on? I mean... if you're adding the extra hormones, will it matter much if you go off them briefly? Might be worth asking the doctor.
ravena_kade 9th-Sep-2017 09:09 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I will ask that in my next Dr. visit. I did not know if I would be allowed where I am in my 50s. That and I do not know if you can take that with BP meds, if I need them.
archangelbeth 12th-Sep-2017 05:09 am (UTC)
It's true that if you have high blood pressure -- which hormonal contraceptives can exacerbate or cause -- then HBC is not a good idea. On the other hand, keeping your job is important, and you might want to stress that you need to not be suffering in ways that could cost you your job, so going back onto HBC until you're in a safer place for going through "hormonal withdrawal" would be something you need to have on the table. (Perhaps at a lower dose of estrogen/progestin than you've been taking, for a more gentle let-down? That does have the roll of the dice of What Side Effects Come With These Synthetic Hormones, but some people tolerate changes in HBC better than others.)

Good luck!
ravena_kade 12th-Sep-2017 10:36 pm (UTC)

I do find it odd how I can't get an answer about the possible side effects of coming off. I just get "everyone is different" and I personally don't know anyone who has come off HBC to ask.
archangelbeth 13th-Sep-2017 07:08 pm (UTC)
Well, the normal thing from coming off would be:

1: You have a final withdrawal bleed -- the uterine response to the drop in hormones.

2: Around a month to a few months later, you have a real period, caused by the rise and fall of the hormones around ovulation. This gets complicated by whether you're actually going to be in menopause or not, as menopause is partly dictated by other hormones that control the ones that do the rise-and-fall/ovulation-triggering stuff. My mom was over 50 by the time she started really hitting menopause, so you might have a few years of normal cycles left. It really depends on when you mother and grandmothers hit menopause.

3: Many people who had skin-oil changes when on HBC will get the changes right back. Some people will get emotional effects -- often better (less depression or anxiety for some, more libido for others) but sometimes worse (especially for those who have PMS/PMDD that the artificial hormones were easing). Some people lose weight, especially water-retention weight, while others may gain if they discover their PMS symptoms include hunger. (Me: FEED ME EVERYTHING!)

In your case, you probably want to look to the experiences of your mother and grandmothers, if you know what they are. That would tell you whether you're going to be hitting menopause at the same time your ovaries are going "we can wake up now?" or if you're more likely to hit it at, say, 55 or 60. Their symptoms might also tell you what's likely, though that can be really individual. (My mom had NO pregnancy-related nausea in 4 pregnancies. Me? I had all-day nausea for my one. I wanted to throw up on her shoes every time she cooed about how she looooved being pregnant, but no, she was 2,000 miles away.)

Menopause symptoms can also include mood stuff, as your actual hormones will be rearranging themselves; hot flashes (I got those off a magnesium sulfate IV one time; they are literally BEING HOT, like a flash-fever, and ice chips were lovely); waking up in the night from discomfort, etc. (The hot flashes and tendency to have broken sleep are pretty common, so menopause is unlikely to be comfortable -- but it may be entirely manageable with your job, depending.)

Anyway, I have not yet hit menopause (I'm hoping it'll show up around 55, when my copper IUD theoretically expires, but with my luck, I'll be fertile into my 60s...), so that's about what I know without doing some research into it.

Here's hoping that you can get a doctor who will quickly understand that you're doing a balancing act of Job and Health here!
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