My Relationship With… The Pill

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The contraceptive pill is something that means a lot of different things for so many different people. It is taken for different reasons, it affects everyone differently, and we all have varying opinions on it. My relationship with it has meant that I haven’t had a period in over two years…

My reasons for taking the contraceptive pill are something that have changed as I’ve grown up and have been influenced by certain lifestyle choices. I started taking it around age 16 or 17, as a direct result from being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This hormonal condition is characterised by many different things and often presents itself by the complete irregularity of periods, and results from hormonal imbalances of oestrogen and testosterone. Having irregular periods, as anyone reading this will agree, is incredibly irritating. I would have to be on guard all the time and prepared for any eventuality. The easiest way to solve this for me was taking a contraceptive pill that regulates periods, which I did.

Luckily, this worked for me and for the first time in my life my periods were as regular as clockwork and easy to manage. However, this was short lived – cue a history of severe headaches which the pill would cause – and I was told to stop taking it. This marked the comeback of irregular periods for a few more years and my PCOS becoming harder to manage.

Fast forward to October 2017 and I started taking the pill again. At this time in my life, my periods were still irregular, but I had also entered into a relationship with my long-term boyfriend and so the pill was a very attractive option. This time it wasn’t just about regulating my periods, but also protecting myself from any accidents, as falling pregnant is not on my agenda. However, I had a different type of contraceptive pill which instead of regulating my periods stopped them completely, making me period-free for more than two years. Though sometimes I think nostalgically about them, for the most part I don’t miss them.

Despite it stopping my periods and handling that side of my PCOS, it wasn’t helping all symptoms that are present with this condition. I was having to find other ways to deal with my hair growth as well as my fluctuating weight, both of which are big ways in which PCOS affects me personally. What it did give me was a sense of security and a way to protect myself from pregnancy, allowing me to enjoy the intimacy between myself and my boyfriend. Both reasons have made the pill a valuable and crucial part of my lifestyle.

My choice to use the contraceptive pill is something I talk about openly and freely and that I advocate for other women to do, however many don’t want to face potential side effects. I wouldn’t say that I have been greatly affected in a negative way by taking the pill, but I can’t be sure as the side effects of the pill I take are also symptoms of PCOS or things that I’ve experienced regardless of either PCOS or the pill. Whilst these things can be irritating, for me, the positives of taking the pill completely outweigh the negatives.

Fortunately, I have a great relationship with the pill, but not everyone is that lucky. However, what I don’t think people realise is that there are numerous types of pills and choosing one is like finding a new pair of jeans –  you just have to keep trying until you find one that suits you.

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