The hormonal truth

posted 3 years ago in Wellness
  • poll: What method of contraception do you use
    Long term hormonal - patch, jadel etc : (11 votes)
    17 %
    The pill : (29 votes)
    46 %
    Barrier methods - diaphragm, condoms, cervical cup etc : (11 votes)
    17 %
    Natural methods - Rhythm method, standard days, cycleBeads etc : (7 votes)
    11 %
    Go with the flow, no plan : (5 votes)
    8 %
  • Post # 3
    7664 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

    ??? What confuses me is the idea of “pill residue inside the uterus”. Which is physically impossible… because that’s not how the pill works.

    Anyway… if you go on the Catholic board here, loads of bees use NFP, or Natural Family Planning. It can be quite intense though… you have to check your temperature every day, record your cervical mucus… the lot. And you have to be prepared to abstain or use condoms during your fertile days.

    Everyone also seems to recommend the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” which I have not read. However, it comes highly recommended.

    Post # 4
    1327 posts
    Bumble bee

    Don’t use hormones if you don’t want to mess with your fertility.  I have a copper IUD and it’s fantastic.  The spontaneity and peace of mind it affords me is priceless – not to mention it’s super cost-effective when you calculate how long it will last.  It’s extremely effective, you never have to remember to take anything, and you can be intimate any time without any prep, without worrying.  The only down side is it makes my periods slightly heavier, longer, and cramps a bit worse but it’s not a huge difference and nothing a little Advil can’t take care of.

    If you don’t mind using hormones, the hormonal IUD (aka the Mirena) is an excellent choice.  It contains a very small amount of hormones, and it will lighten or even stop your periods. (I prefer the copper because I want to keep getting my periods though.) 

    Insertion is painful but it’s quick.  Even though I had a harder time with it than the average person, I still highly recommend it!

    Post # 5
    2878 posts
    Sugar bee

    @Nyasha:  Everyone I know who’s been on the pill for 10+ years have conceived successfully after 1 or 2 months off the pill. Don’t let personal experiences take over scientific facts. The BC pills has been used for many decades, my generation’s mothers used them, and we’re all there to testify they didn’t become sterile. They would know by now if there was any issues like the one you describe.

    I decided not to use hormones for other reasons, because it made me feel sick and I had all kinds of bad effects (mood swings, 0 libido, bloating, headaches, etc.). I went for a IUD (non hormonal) and it’s great, only, I do tend to break out more since I’ve stopped the hormones.


    Post # 6
    1381 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    I have Endo, so hormonal birth control for me! No periods = no new growths = no pain.

    I was off birth control for around 6 months or so and had crazy hormonal swings, migraines around ovulation (that would last 3-9 days), and crazy heavy periods (bleeding through super tampons in an hour or so)

    I have Mirena now and love it. I’m one of the lucky ones who does not have a period, my migraines are much, much, better and no crazy mood swings. I know some people hate it, but it’s working really well for me so far. I’ve had it for 9 months.

    I will add the first 3 weeks were HELL!

    Post # 7
    5460 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    I have been on various hormonal birth control pills/shots/patches and never had any issues at all with it.

    I decided I wanted to be off of hormones a while during marathon training and just before TTC, so we switched to barrier method (condoms) and I started charting as well.

    We never had any issues using condoms while we were preventing pregnancy.

    Post # 8
    371 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2000


    You didn’t put up a poll option that would cover the dopper-IUD. Just like @ChicFoodist: , that’s what I’ve rocked for the last 11 years. I’ve had it switched once (they’re good for 10 years, so this was necessary) and that’s it. It’s effective once it’s put in, and your body returns to being able to concieve once it’s taken out. Like immediately. 


    Post # 9
    470 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    @Nyasha:  Just, no. Millions of women use the pill and go on to successfully conceive within a short space of time after stopping. In fact I know of two women in my friendship circle alone that concieved WHILE taking the pill, and they both have healthy children. Which doctor told you that your uterus would need to be scraped? Lol. Just use condoms, they’re safe and effective.

    Post # 10
    11668 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    There are plenty of pros and cons for using hormonal methods. If you’re not comfortable with it, then don’t use them but please educate yourself on them first.  There’s no such thing as pill residue needing to be scraped out of someone’s uterus. 

    Also, for every woman that has difficulty conceiving after using a hormonal method, there is one that doesn’t.  I know quite a few people who got pregnant while on the pill. I personally took the pill for 10 years and conceived the first time I had sex off the pill. Everyone’s body reacts differently to different hormones.  You cannot assume what happened to one will happen to you. That is why you need to educate yourself on different types and choose what is best for you based on your body and life situation.

    Post # 11
    1826 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: December 2013

    @DarlingClementine:  +1

    I have three healthy teenagers after years of taking the pill…AND it was a lot stronger than the ones they have now! Consult a doctor rather than asking in a poll…especially since every woman reacts differently.

    Post # 14
    7664 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

    Having had a look at cyclebeads, this is very much based on the rhythm method, which is a much older form of natural family planning than the one recommended by the Catholic church today. The problem is that many women do not ovulate at the same time each month, and this app assumes they do. This method of assuming ovulation dates is notoriously unreliable as a form of birth control (although better than nothing). The advantage of charting your mucus and temperature is that you will be able to (with practise) learn EXACTLY the day on which you ovulate. That way, you can plan your cycles more precisely and reduce the risk of pregnancy much further. There are apps which also help you with this more accurately than cyclebeads, but I do not use NFP, so once more, you would need to ask on the Catholic board. Lots of Catholics here use NFP, and some of them are very passionate about it, so they would be able to tell you all the tricks!

    Now, the pill… pills contain synthetic versions of progesterone and oestrogen, which occur naturally in the body. They are absorbed through your intestinal wall into your blood. Once they are in your blood, they trigger various processes which prevent ovulation. But the hormones do not, at any point, physically enter your uterus. They stay in your blood. The only way you could get synthetic hormones actually inside your uterus is if you were bleeding internally. Even then, you could not be left with a residue, because anything which is not absorbed into the blood remains in the intestine and is excreted as faeces. Basically… pill residue comes out in your poo, not in your uterus.

    The only reason to scrape someone’s uterus (otherwise known as a D and C) is as follows:

    Dilatation and curettage (D & C) is a gynecological procedure in which the cervix is dilated (expanded) and the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is scraped away. D & C is used to diagnose and treat heavy or irregular bleeding from the uterus. Possible reasons for abnormal uterine bleeding including:

    • Hormonal imbalance
    • Endometrial polyps
    • Uterine fibroids
    • Endometrial hyperplasia (EH)
    • Cancer
    • Miscarriage, incomplete abortion, or childbirth

    D & C is usually performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure (which takes only minutes to perform), the doctor inserts an instrument called a speculum to hold open the vaginal walls, and then stretches the opening of the uterus (the cervix) by inserting a series of tapering rods, each thicker than the previous one, or by using other specialized instruments. This process of opening the cervix is called dilation. Once the cervix is dilated, the physician inserts a spoon-shaped surgical device called a curette into the uterus. The curette is used to scrape away the uterine lining. One or more small tissue samples from the lining of the uterus or the cervical canal are sent for analysis by microscope to check for abnormal cells.

    Removal of the uterine lining will normally cause no side effects, and may be beneficial if the lining has thickened so much that it causes heavy periods. The uterine lining soon grows again normally, as part of the menstrual cycle.”

    It is likely that the women you have spoken to have suffered from one of the conditions mentioned above, and have to have a D and C based on that. Did the pill cause the conditions above? Highly unlikely, but if they feel a certain guilt over taking the pill etc, then they might well blame their fibroids on it, and refer to their medical condition as being caused by the pill.

    Now… local context… as it happens, I did notice that you were from Zimbabwe in that first post…

    … OK, so tell me off if I’m saying something really bad… I’ve only been to Africa a handful of times… and I know a lot about Asia, but less about Africa, and even less than that about non-Arab Africa.

    I have to say, however, that the impression I get is that there is still very much a belief that a woman’s duty is to bear children, especially in the countryside, and there is a lot of misinformation spread by medical centres, even professional ones, to do with birth control. I know there is a lot of resistance to condom use in some places, and I did read a blog which horrified me, which was written by a well educated Kenyan man, about the causes of HIV. Let’s just say that… he was wrong.

    I get the general impression from my short visits to Gambia, and also by speaking to my Kenyan friends (for some reason, I know a lot of Kenyans, LOL), that some doctors can be very sniffy and prejudiced against birth control, and that they do not always research different methods correctly, or bother to completely explain the pros and cons of each method to the woman. I have a feeling this may have happened here. That’s not to say that doctors in the UK are so great either… did you know that, if you are on antibiotics, antibiotics affect your intestines and stop you absorbing the pill? This means that you can get pregnant if you take the pill and antibiotics at the same time! This is such an important fact that you would think it would be on every pill packet and that doctors would tell you immediately!

    They don’t tell you. I even had a friend who got pregnant because of this exact reason. If you go on these boards more, woman from all over the world are complaining that doctors are so lazy when it comes to recommending contraception. They are also so unaware of the different types and what they can do for your body. That’s why these boards are so great for sharing information!

    Now… my husband and I are TTC, but until recently then I swore by the Implanon/Nexaplon implant. It is progesterone only, goes in your arm, and is replaced once every 3 years. Makes your periods so light… stopped mine completely. I chose this over an IUD because you have to think “what would happen if I accidentally got pregnant?”. If you accidentally get pregnant whilst using the pill, or the implant, you just stop taking the pills/have the implant removed, and your baby will be fine. If you get pregnant whilst using an IUD, it can really harm your baby, because it stops the placenta forming properly. This was an important factor for me to consider. It is less important for other people, but it was important for me.

    Anyway, my advice is: – Try asking the Catholic bees about NFP advice. Some of them have been using NFP for over 10 years, and can tell you all about it. Honestly, there are some very nice ones, and they don’t bite!

    – Look into getting a Nexaplon/Implanon implant fitted at some stage in the far away future, to see if it is for you! I can definitely tell you all about the implant, if you want to know more.

    Post # 15
    4698 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    @Nyasha:  The pill doesn’t enter the uterus, and there is little evidence that almost anyone has trouble conceiving after taking it. Please don’t use the anecdotal and very odd sounding stories of a few people you might have known over the scientific evidence of more than fifty years of successful use. The pill is the same in Zimbabwe as it is everywhere else – the same drugs, the same filler, going into the same human body. If a population on Earth was evolving to the point where a medication no longer functioned it would be global headline news.

    The nice thing about science is that it’s true whether you BELIEVE it or not. :-/ It honestly frustrates me when people think that anecdotes and stories outdo decades of consistent medical evidence. Again, whatever happened to your friend was not “pill residue” and any doctor who said it was is either stupid or a con artist. 

    It is possible that your friends are being sold COUNTERFEIT birth control by some kind of scam artist – but the genuine hormonal birth control cannot enter or stay in your uterus and has no problems being flushed out – often women will get pregnant within days of stopping taking it with healthy babies, or even DURING use if they don’t take it at the same time every day. 

    Please don’t eliminate a potentially good option for birth control based on what sounds like either misinformation or some kind of scam. 


    Post # 16
    7664 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

    OK, so I did a bit more research…

    The pill makes women’s periods lighter, and reduces their risk of getting fibroids, which are benign growths within the womb. Apparently, black women are much more likely to suffer from fibroids, although they are very common all over the world. Your risk is also increased if you have a diet which is very heavy in meat… and I know that the African diet can be very meat heavy in the richer areas.

    It seems likely to me that the pill made your friends’ periods lighter and reduced the growth of any pre-existing fibroids. Once they stopped taking the pill, their periods were heavier and any fibroids they had started to grow again. They therefore went in for a D and C in order to remove their fibriods and reduce how heavy their periods were. Fibroids can reduce your chance of conception.

    I think that a lot of doctors can be very lazy. They assume their patients do not understand medical terms, so they just say “meh… it’s an operation to do this”. The problem with that is that it leads the patient to assume (incorrectly in this case) certain things. In actual fact, the pill was probably preventing fibroids, not causing them, and it was the fibroids which had to be removed before your friends could conceive.

    Does that make any sense? I’m just trying to think it through logically, because I know that human beings are very logical creatures, in my experience, and if they say something which isn’t technically correct, there is usually a good reason for it.

    I should also say that the reason you might be getting a lot of flack from the US bees here is that there is a lot of misinformation spread in the US by people who have a political agenda and want to limit women’s access to birth control. The US bees are responding to this because they are aware of the political problems that misinformation about birth control causes within their own country. I have learned so much about the US by being on the bee… it is really very culturally different, and there are certain ideas, concepts and phrases which will really set the US bees off, and can be mystifying if you are not from the US!

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