A common health topic these days for women is birth control. I have decided to write about this because A) I have tried several different forms of birth control and B) I recently changed my method of birth control. The very first birth control that I ever tried was the Depo-Provera injection – when I was fifteen years old. Over the years, this has been my go-to method regardless of others that I have tried, so I am going to start there.
The Depo-Provera injection is administered either into the upper arm or into the hip. I personally find it more bearable to have the injection administered into the hip. For one, if you have a fear of needles like I do this eliminates having to see the needles, which is rather large. Having tried both, I have always favored the hip because it is also less painful and the general soreness doesn’t last quite as long as it does when having it administered into the upper arm (in fact I have only had it injected into my arm once). The things about the Depo-Provera is that it isn’t the needle itself that hurts the most, it’s the actual medication being injected, which is kind-of like the thickness of egg whites. I have not experienced many negative side effects of this medication which can include things like abdominal pain, acne, breast soreness, decreased interest in sex – like many of the other forms of birth control available. I have experienced two main side effects: weight gain (negative), and my period stopped completely the entire time I was on it (positive). For me, this was one of the best forms of birth control out of the ones that I have tried.
After the birth of my first son I wanted to try something different, currently I cannot recall why, however after discussing different options with my physician I chose to try Ortho Evra. This specific kind of birth control is administered through a patch that you apply to your upper arm, chest, lower abdomen, and a few other select places. I always chose to place mine on my chest. The patch is worn for three weeks and then taken off for the fourth week in order to produce your period. This is a good option for those of you who do not favor taking a daily pill but feel it is necessary to have a monthly period. For me, I tended to change my patch depending on my schedule so that I could have my period when I wanted to – this isn’t recommended! The side effects are much like all other birth controls but tend to also cause nausea, menstrual cramping (which was already a problem for me to begin with), and skin irritations (which became a huge problem for me). The skin irritations are one of the reasons I chose to go off of this birth control method and my periods (which are abnormally heavy and painful – no shame here!) is why I chose to return to using the Depo-Provera, once again.
In 2014, I suffered from a very large ovarian cyst (about the size of a small orange) that hemorrhaged and causes internal bleeding, due to this my gynecologist required me to go off of the Depo-Provera and instead go on the pill. This was by far the worst birth control method I have tried, and that may be due in part to the underlying medical issues. It was very stressful to have to remember to take a pill at the same time every single day. I have always been a very busy person and so this created havoc in my schedule. On top of the general inconvenience of this method itself – I started my period about a month into stopping Depo-Provera and starting the pill, and I remained on my period for four months after until I finally refused to take it any longer and insisted on going back on the Depo-Provera. Aside from what I’ve already discussed, the side effects were terrible for me. Decreased sex drive, abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, breast soreness, weight gain, headaches, etc.
The last and current form of birth control is the Implanon, which I had inserted in Decemeber 2016 – so about four months ago. I was on the Depo-Provera prior to this change and in fact that form of birth control was still active for another two months when I made the switch. I must say, this form of birth control is not for the queasy (I will share pictures) but it is ideal when you want a long-term birth control and are not okay with something being inserted into you fallopian tubes. Now, four months ago, I wouldn’t have said that. In fact, I would have recommended against this new form of birth control because in the first two weeks I HATED it! The pain was unreal and unexpected so if you are going into this, know that it is painful. The Implanon is placed into your arm with a device that looks like a very large hollow needle – which leaves a scar, FYI. The doctor will numb the inner, upper arm with a local anesthetic THANK GAWD! After you’re numbed he will insert the needle and then release the birth control which is basically a flexible plastic rod about an inch long, just under the skin. This can take a minute or two because he/she will slowly insert the needle because it has to go just underneath the skin tissue in order to stay in place. To clear up some things on this: I don’t ever really notice it being there now, you can rub it and it will not bother you, the main side effects that I have experienced are abnormally fast hair growth (which is great for my head but bad for everywhere else!) and weight gain. I cannot advise you on the removal because I won’t be having it removed for nearly three years but, I have heard that it can be pretty bad.
I hope that this review is found to be helpful to at least a few different people. To some of us birth control is highly important. For me – I am married and would love to have more children but I can’t due to my oldest son having a fatal disease. But as many do, I LOVE sex so abstaining isn’t an option either. Please keep in mind that this review is based only on my own personal experience with each method of birth control and know that every person and how they react to any given medication – is different!