Today’s post is not your typical fashion blogger post… I’m venturing into the land of hormones. Or “hormonees” as Voula would say in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Love that movie!
Many of you know that I suffer from endometriosis. I’ve had it most likely since puberty, but wasn’t diagnosed until my 20’s. After my first laparoscopy surgery, my surgeon advised my only option to keeping the endometriosis at bay was to start birth control. So that’s exactly what I did. I had one more surgery after the initial, but other than that, the endometriosis hasn’t reared it’s ugly head.
Fast forward 7 years after beginning birth control, to this past January. I was experiencing migraine headaches as often as two times per week. My current OBGYN said we had no choice but to stop the birth control, he feared that I may stroke from the combination of the medication and the migraines. So that’s what we did.
I’m sharing the changes I’ve seen in my body since coming off birth control on the off chance that some of my Gorgeous readers are preparing to go through the same experience. This way, you can see what I’ve experienced personally and hopefully either prep you for what’s ahead or maybe feel a little better that you’re not alone. Obviously, I’m not a doctor. This is just what I’ve personally gone through and what has happened to my own body. If you have questions regarding your health or symptoms, be sure to contact your medical provider immediately.
A little background, I first started on Reclipsen and took this oral contraceptive for just over four years. I started experiencing some breakthrough bleeding and my OBGYN switch me to Yaz (I think). I last all of about 2-3 months on this stupid pill. It gave me horrible acne, mood swings and overall made me feel like crap. He then switched me to Nuvaring, which I stayed on up until this past January.
My 10 Symptoms after Coming off Birth Control:
- Acne. Just so I’m clear, I’ve never had acne before in my life. I skipped that stage in my teenage years. I would get an occasional pimple here or there, specifically around/during my period. But nothing more than that. Now? Oh man, now I have regular zits in my hairline and chin. Apparently those two areas are the hormonal break out zones. I get the annoying little under-the-skin bumps as well as the cystic, nasty, need a cortisone shot monsters.
- Blackheads. This would normally be lumped in with acne, but because I have so many, it needs to be it’s very own category. I’ve always had normal blackheads around my nose. Now I have them in excess everywhere. Even in my eyebrows. How does that even happen?!
- Bacne. Again, should be lumped in with acne, but this one is also so major it needs it’s own category. I’ve never had a pimple, white head, blackhead, NOTHING on my neck or back in my life. The clear back days are a distant memory for me. At first I was literally covered from the nape of my neck to my tailbone. Now it’s just mainly around my shoulders. Even though it’s less, it’s still gross. I was getting multiple cystic acne spots on my back that freaking HURT. So painful and not pretty to look at. Of course this nastiness was at it’s all-time worst during summer. And why wouldn’t it be? My open-back tops were kept to a minimum.
- Oil. As a teenager, I had oily skin. But that seems to be the norm. In my 20s, my oiliness evened out. Now the oil is back with a vengeance. My face could easily be considered an oil slick those first few months after birth control. Now, it’s evened out a bit, but still oilier than it was before.
- Oily hair. I’ve always been able to go days in between washing my hair. My hormones decided to pay me back. At first, I didn’t link my oily hair to birth control. I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden, my hair needed to be washed almost every day, when my whole life I washed is 2 times per week. Even dry shampoo wouldn’t hold it over, it had to be washed at least every other day.
- Hair loss. It’s normal to shed hair every day. I know this. But the amount of hair I lose now is insane. My hair is noticeably thinner around my temples. My hair is everywhere. It sheds and I don’t even know it. Talk about annoying. Oh and my baby hairs? It’s as if I grew a new set of bangs overnight. I can’t decide if this is new growth or breakage. Either way, my body somehow missed the memo that my bang days were over in the 7th grade.
- Painful periods. I forgot what cramps were for the most part. Coming off birth control was a stark reminder of what life was like every single month in high school. I mean, I still had cramps even on birth control, but not the “call 911” type of cramps. They haven’t been quite that bad, but definitely worse than I’ve experienced in the past 7 years. I also noticed that my periods stayed on calendar with the same cycle I had while on the pill. I asked my doctor why I didn’t see a change and his response was that my body has changed since I first started the medication 7 years ago.
- Headaches. This one is a major praise. Up until last week, I didn’t have a single migraine in 7 months. When I did get headaches, they were minor and rarely needed even a single Advil. I had my first migraine last week, but I was able to link it back to a new supplement I took (which states the side effect may be migraines) so I immediately stopped taking it.
- Ovulation. I forgot that my body did that. After birth control, you are harshly reminded that this happens every month. The cramps were almost as bad my first few months after the pill as period cramps were. And man oh man, did I get breast pain during this monthly window. I’d never in my life experienced breast pain before this.
- Sense of smell. At first, I thought I had to be pregnant. At certain times of the month, smells would make me so nauseous. I remember being in a car in New York back in March early in the morning. We had driven by a restaurant that was serving breakfast and I thought I was definitely going to vom over the egg smell. Matt thought I was off my rocker, but I couldn’t get the odor out of my nasal passages for miles. It was horrible. Even still, I’ll smell something that will literally smack me in the face and make me feel so sick, but no one else will notice it. And no, I’m not currently pregnant.
After all that complaining, the absence of my migraines makes all of the pain the butt symptoms worth it. Beyond worth it, actually. Migraines were ruling my life. Now they’re in the past, which is exactly where I plan to keep them.
How about you? What symptoms did you or are you experiencing after coming off birth control? Did you experience something I did? Or maybe everything I did? Or did you experience something totally different than I did? I’d love to hear from you!
Photos by Valorie Darling Photography.
This post was originally posted on September 9, 2016.