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.
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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