I don’t need hormonal birth control (HBC) for the usual purpose; Mr. Chickadee has graciously ensured through surgical means that we will not be surprised with an unwelcome bundle of “joy.” However, I do have polycystic ovaries and the GYN wanted me to try HBC for a few months to see if it would reduce the cysts, since some were quite large. Supposedly this would have other potential side benefits.
I was very leery of trying HBC again, since my last experience with Ortho Tricyclen (a triphasic pill) back in the 1990′s was disastrous. To reduce the likelihood of completely flipping out, I was provided with a very low-dose monophasic HBC pill, Lo Loestrin Fe. Monophasics provide the same dose of estrogen and progestin throughout the cycle, so they have fewer side effects – a very relevant consideration if hormonally triggered mood swings are a problem (and they clearly are…)
It’s been a mixed bag.
I do have lighter periods, which is nice, but that came with frequent miscellaneous spotting. Rather annoying but supposedly normal when starting HBC. Cramps seem much less fierce after a couple months, and that’s a definite improvement. The vicious depression that I was experiencing prior to my periods is completely gone, but that could be the sertraline; it’s hard to say until I try discontinuing it.
But. I’m not loving having two (or more) periods per month with random timing. Unlike the usual expectation that HBC will better regulate periods, this is completely disrupting an otherwise clockwork cycle and making it utterly unpredictable. I haven’t gone more than 2 weeks without bleeding since I started this stuff.
Even with reduced cramps and fewer mood issues, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. I’ll have to talk with both the GYN and the psych, see what the next round of ultrasounds shows, wait to see if the frequent random periods thing improves in the next month, and possibly try another switch in meds to see if a different pill might make a difference. Unfortunately, it can take several months to evaluate whether a switch in HBC is a good or bad thing due to the cyclic nature of the beast. If you don’t hit on the right one the first or second time, it can take the better part of a year to get that ironed out, which is much slower than psych meds and very frustrating.