Post # 1
I have been taking combined birth control pills since 2003 (I was 17), when I was diagnosed with PCOS. I have taken Yasmin, Yaz, Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo, and for the past 3 years, Sprintec. I also take 200 mg of Aldactone every day for my PCOS to keep my skin clear. It’s worked for 8 years, I was one of the 10% Accutane doesn’t help my dermatologist told me back then before we figured out my acne was all hormonal.
I have been getting ocular migraines with aura since 2004, about 1 a year, but last year I got about 3 or 4 mostly due to stress (starting a nursing job will do that to you!!!), but usually there is no obvious cause to my migraines with aura, like the one I got this morning after I woke up which kind of freaked both my husband and I out. I took my Imitrex though when it started and I’m fine now.
I recently learned from this board that I should not be taking combined birth control pills due to an increased risk of stroke. My husband and I are planning on trying to have a baby in about 2 years, give or take and I know when we start trying I have to stop taking Aldactone. I am not interested in an IUD or anything very invasive, I really want to keep taking the pill because I’m an idiot and I really don’t want to use condoms. I really like the ease of taking birth control pills so I’m upset.
I see my gynecologist for an annual appointment next Friday, so obviously I will talk to her then, I think I’m venting more than anything, because I really don’t have a whole lot of options. Can anyone commiserate or does anyone have any advice? Thanks!!
Post # 3
The risk of stroke, while ever present, is relatively little. I get migraines with auras and I am on Cryselle — My doctor recently quizzed me about my migraines and she had no concerns about me using birth control while having these migraines. Mine are medicated only via excedrine, so I don’t have additional medication to be concerned with, but I’ve never had a doctor tell me I was at risk for blood clots or stroke with a birth control pill & migraine.
Post # 4
Have you considered the Nuva Ring? I have no idea how the side effects would compare to the pill, but it’s worth talking about with your doc.
Other than that, you can get great info about all the different types of birth conrol on Planned Parenthood http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm
Post # 5
I also get migraine with aura and my doctor okayed me to be on BC. She just asked me questions about my migraines – their occurances, frequency, triggers.
Don’t worry too much until you actually talk to your doctor. You may find that you are perfectly fine to remain on birth control.
Post # 6
I get migraines with aura as well and have since I was 13; I was on hormonal birth control at age 16 and my doctors never said a thing to me about it. I was on Tri-cyclen Lo.
Post # 7
I also get migraines with aura and I am on the mini pill (POP). Mine is called Noriday but it may be called something else in the US 🙂
Post # 8
I also have occular migraines, although mine are a bit bizarre since i only get the visual aura but almost never get the migraine part. Regardless it’s the aura part that is linked with strokes on OCP’s. I get them a few times a year especially if I am very stressed or consume a lot of caffiene.
I think it’s a relatively newish reccomendation (last 5-7 years) which is why not everyone knows about it. Since being pregnant also increases your risk of stroke I decided for myself that since I have no other risk factors (smoking, family history of clots, older age) to stay on them. I felt that the benefits of staying on my OCP (not getting pregnant, decreased risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer, less acne) outweighted the very small risk of stroke. i’ve had 3 different gyns over the last 5 years and they all were fine with me staying on the pill. You would have to switch to a non-estrogen birth control like the copper IUD to lower the risk of stroke. The progesterone-ony pill (mini-pill)is also theoretically better for stroke-risk but it’s not quite as good as preventing pregnancy which was my primary purpose in taking the pill.
Try not to worry and just ask your doctor when you see them on Friday!
Post # 9
I can 100% empathize. Was on the pill when I had a physical aura (although not properly diagnosed at that time). I was told it was a panic or stress induced neuro event. Had a maternal relative who did have a stroke while on the pill so when the visual auras started again when I went back on the pill in my 20s my Dr. did take me off of it. I went for a while trying different options, I hated all the non estrogen pills, so I have a IUD which I love. My acne has gotten worse with no hormone regulation, but other than that it’s fantastic.
Have you considered the progesterone only pills? I was told you have to be on the minute, but there is no way I could do that.
Post # 10
I, too, get ocular migranes… and because of that, my DR would only let me do the DEPO shot. Now I have heard good and bad about the shot.. and I personally loved it. I would get it every 3 months, and didnt have to worry about remembering every day to take a pill.
Post # 11
Combination hormonal methods are actually not recommended for women that have migaraines with auras. Reason being that migraines with aura are already a risk factor for stroke, and combo hormonal methods increase that risk even further.
It depends if it’s a risk you or your doctor is willing to take. I recently had a GP flat out *refuse* to give me a prescription and instead strongly urged me to consider an IUD. I liked the convenience of the pill too, but it’s not worth the risk of stroke.
http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0915/p621.html (check Table 2 pop-up)
Post # 12
@Duckie731: I feel your pain. Literally. Exactly the same thing. Debilitating pain and pretty much complete blindness in one eye. I would lock myself in a cool, dark and quiet room for hours and try to cry myself to sleep.
Come to think of it though… I haven’t actually had a migraine for a long time!
I am on Microgynon for BC and 10mg propranolol for my migraines (I think the latter is actually used for high blood pressure). I take one propranolol twice a day, every day. It’s an easy habit to get into – I usually just take them before I brush my teeth. No side effects from either, combined or alone.
I’ve also been prescribed Motilium and have these in my purse to take immediately at the onset of a migraine – have never really needed them though, I don’t think. There are times when I have a slight, unusual headache or I look at something and keep looking because it looks strange (i.e. the beginning of aura) and I’ll just take one straight away. All good after that.
Anyway, I hope you can get onto something similar and that it works for you too; I’m sure there’s something. Mirgraines SUCK. Good luck!
Post # 13
progesterone only pill or depo shot
edit – ive only had one migraine with aura in my life (a freak occurrence) but my doctor told me to avoid the ocmbined pill because of it. he said pop was fine