On Twitter there’s a thread sharing stories about women’s experiences on the pill, under the hashtag #MyPillStory.
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) when I was 16, joy. It’s a wretched condition with horrid, embarrassing and sometimes painful side effects, coupled with colitis, it’s a complete arse.
Basically my body rejected the concept of procreation early on, and cysts form in clusters on my ovaries, stopping them from working. I had periods normally for two years, that then just stopped.
It took ages for the doctor to decide what was wrong with me. Symptoms include sudden weight gain, loss of periods, excess facial and body hair (just what every teenage girl needs), stomach pains.
There is however only one thing worse than having to sit in the waiting room of the maternity building at the hospital aged 16, with a full bladder, waiting for the ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis, being silently judged by a bunch of old women who think you’re pregnant.
That’s being trapped in the lift in the maternity building aged 16, which only goes up to the birthing suites and the screaming, then back to the floor you came from, when you’re desperate for a wee, a creepy male gynaecologist asked you if you were “a good girl” in your appointment and you have to get the bus home because your mum had a meeting and skipped the appointment.
My mum is a nurse and midwife, at that point I needed her to decode the doctor jargon for me. Mostly because being told that the condition you’ve just been diagnosed with could potentially kill you, tends to stop your brain from attempting to decipher anything else.
There seem to be two main ways of treating it – regular ultrasound scans and finger crossing, or hormones in the form of the Pill.
Many women take various contraceptive pills to prevent pregnancy, as my uterus wouldn’t bother with that left to its own devices (without extra oestrogen my periods stop, the cysts return and I risk one bursting and at the very worst, killing me), I take it to treat a syndrome that affects thousands of women.
Everyone’s PCOS is unique, because we’re all unique, and this is only what I know from my experience.
I have tried four or five different pills, with varying results.
Dianette – no longer prescribed for PCOS according to my GP, it gave me crippling period pain and horrific mood swings. Stopped taking it after a particularly bad day.
Progesterone only – you don’t have periods on this type of pill and take it continuously. Not really recommended as PCOS sufferers require oestrogen which this doesn’t contain. Gave me recurrent thrush which drove me crazy.
Microgynon – a really popular brand, my best friend was taking this one and seemed to be doing well, so I asked my Dr for it. Period pain worse than ever, couldn’t walk for crying and curling up.
Yasmin – my current pill pal. So far, three years into taking it, no horrid side effects. I do still get really bad cramps but at least I can stagger around. Does interfere with my gut issues, which is fun, but out of the mix this has been the best for me.
Every woman is different, and every experience unique. For more stories check out the hashtag and maybe share your own experiences.