In our first instalment of Unfiltered, we delve into the taboo topic of contraception. These Brisbane women share their stories about the good, the complicated and everything in between.
“I have been on the same contraceptive pill for 12 years and I’m terrified of changing.”
I was 15 when I started on the contraceptive pill, Levlen. And 12 years later, I have never changed. To be honest, I’m terrified of going off the pill. I rarely experience symptoms of PMS, I don’t get cramps, my skin is relatively clear, and I sit in this naivety and find comfort in it, because I’m scared of how my body will react if I was to do anything differently. Will my skin breakout? Will my periods change? Who knows! However, I do know that the pill isn’t safe to use indefinitely and could be affecting my health in ways I may never have attributed to my contraception. Or worse, masking other issues that I’m not even aware of yet. And with all the hype in the media about negative side- effects of the pill, I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t scare me.
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MS AU NATUREL
“My husband and I only use natural contraception methods.”
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) back in 2014. It took about 2 specialists and 8 doctors to finally get a diagnosis. In the end, we discovered that the pill (which I had been on since I was 16) was masking all my symptoms because it was giving my body a regular dose of progesterone every month. The doctor’s response to my diagnosis was to stay on the pill until I was ready to fall pregnant, but I knew I didn’t want a band-aid reaction and wanted to treat my symptoms naturally. A Fertility Naturopath completely changed my world by introducing me to the Basal Body Temperature contraceptive method – a natural method where I track my menstrual cycle with a calendar and body temperature. It’s definitely not a fail-safe, but my husband and I have been together for over six years and we’re financially stable, so if we were to fall pregnant, it would be a blessing we would happily welcome.
“My search continues for ‘the one’…”
I’ve dealt with bouts of nausea throughout my six years on contraceptive pills, getting hit with that sick feeling every time I switch to a new pill. Having gone through at least six different pills to date, I still haven’t settled. Testing and trying various strengths and ingredients, each pill has either not had the desired effect or has uncomfortably changed my hormones. I have wanted different results over time, first seeking out the lowest possible dosage, then trying to clear my skin with stronger formulas, followed by wanting to fully skip my period. Now I find myself back at the beginning, wanting to go back to square one.
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“My boyfriend and I split the cost of my pill”
At the age of 21 I experienced adverse side effects to a certain contraceptive pill, which resulted in swapping to a more expensive brand. We’re talking $75 kind of expensive. My partner and I had only been dating for a few months when it came up in conversation. Mid-rant, my boyfriend stopped me and asked, “Do you want to split it?”. I have to admit, I was a little stunned. I’d never heard of people splitting the cost of their contraception. At first, I was a little embarrassed by the fact that I couldn’t afford it on my own, but at the same time felt oddly proud that it was his suggestion. He said, “A kid would be a joint decision, so the responsibility should be shared as well.” “Over two years later and the pill is now just another expense we share, right next to rent and groceries.”
MS PROBLEM SOLVED
“Years of terrible periods made me sceptical of contraception.”
Around eight years ago I went on the pill to regulate my periods. I could have 3-4 months gaps between cycles and then my periods could last up to 3-4 weeks at a time. The pill worked by regulating my hormone imbalances, which worked well for me at the time... until a few years later I was diagnosed with PCOS and everything finally made sense. I wasn’t great at remembering to take the pill (I’d forget for days at a time) and then two years ago a friend told me about the Implanon bar. I was a little sceptical as I heard a few girls who had terrible experiences. It took me an entire year to pluck up the courage to get it and luckily for me, it’s been the best thing ever.
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