I completely agree with everyone who has said that hormones react differently with every person, so you really just have to find one that works for you. Having said that, some levels of hormones have known side effects. A lot of times its a trade off – you won’t gain weight but you’ll get acne, that kind of thing. The internet can be a great resource for finding out what are common side effects so you can guage how much those would bother you or how prone to them you feel you are. This website has a lot of good information, though its a bit hard to sort through: http://www.wdxcyber.com/ncontr13.htm
Anyway, you asked for reviews / personal experiences, so here are mine!
– Yaz: It was okay. I didn’t gain weight but I was dieting at the time. I felt a little like a zombie — too far in the opposite direction from PMS. After I went off of it, it took my body a loooong time to adjust – I was very emotional and had problems sexually.
– Alesse: Hated it. Messed my moods up, and I completely lost my sex drive. I feel like it had a permanent effect in this regard. I also gained weight, particularly in my boobs. Went off of it and noticed an improvement in my mood within the month. Fiance would burn down the Alesse factory if he could get away with it!
– Mircette: First of all, crazy expensive, though maybe this won’t be a problem for you if you have good insurance. I was scared to try the generic because I had seen negative reviews online. My sex drive didn’t suffer but I broke out worse than I ever have. It was pretty ugly. I also started getting nauseous after I took it, but part of me wonders if this was related to "finding the right BC" stress.
– Taking a long break from hormonal birth control for the first time in years: Felt wonderful in many regards, but I have very painful periods, and the more times I ovulate, the worse they get. I also recently developed a large ovarian cyst, so ovulating just isn’t for me! Also, its important to be diligant about condoms. This can be a problem for some couples, and that’s how surprises happen! 🙂
– Nuvaring: Just started. So far, so good. No side effects, but its only been a week. I like that I don’t have to remember to take a pill. I feel like since the hormones are local, it won’t have as many side effects. I do feel a tad itchy up in there, but nothing too bad.
Hope this helped!