Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hormonal Birth Control

What do you know about the long term effects of hormones? (ie birth control pills, the ring) I've been on the pill for 10 years (switching to different ones throughout) and am on my 2nd month of the ring now. I feel like I don't know what my body wants/needs anymore, because its been without normalcy for so long now--how do I know? I know a doctor wouldn't test me hormonally normally at my age (27) but I feel like it might be a huge contributor to my long time (at least 10 years) migraines. How do I know if I need the hormones anymore?? Is there even a test?

Thanks Garnet

Let me preface this with saying I am not a doctor. Your best bet is to talk to someone who is. That being said however, I do have to say that there is a very good chance that your migraines are caused by the pill. There are a lot of side effects to hormonal birth control that a lot of us don't think about since its a pill that is taken every day. Afterall how are you supposed to know the difference if you're never off of it?

Now, I don't know what you mean exactly by asking if you need the hormones anymore. If you're talking specifically about birth control then there are non-hormonal methods on the market. The IUD is even as reliable as the pill if not more so since you don't have to remember to take it. But I would only recommend an IUD if you're in a longterm monogamous relationship as there can be severe complications if you contract an STI.

If you're talking about needing hormones for other things like regulating your cycle or relieving severe menstrual cramps then the only way to know is by going off hormones to see if your cycle is still really haywire or if your cramps are as bad as they used to be.

If you're talking about needing hormones to prevent anything like ovarian cysts or endometriosis then you should consult a doctor. They may decide to take you off the hormones for a period of time and watch you carefully to see if you do in fact need them. But only a doctor will have the tools to do so.

While hormonal birth control can have many benefits there can also be health risks especially as you get older. At 27 you don't have to worry too much, but once you start nearing 35 the risks go up. So that's something you should keep in mind as you start this process.

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