25 Women Talk About How Birth Control Changed Their Lives For The Better And Worse

Birth control (in the form of the pill) has been available in the U.S. since 1960. Countless women have benefitted from being able to take the birth control pill, the shot, use the patch, an intra-uterine device, or the arm implant (along with condoms and so many other forms of birth control) since then.

To showcase how birth control has affected women’s lives, both positively and occasionally negatively, we’ve spoken to 25 Latinas to get their real stories. 

1. The one whose mom encouraged it.


“I started hormonal birth control pills when I was 16 or 17. The primary reason was my dysmenorrhea (horribly painful cramps without reason) but the timing of my mom saying ‘You should do this’ just happened to coincide with the time my (white) teenaged friend had a baby. Since then, I’ve almost always been on it, and many many different kinds, to keep my period away for as long as possible. I tried an IUD for a year, but due to a particularly sensitive cervix, I felt bloated and uncomfortable (and STILL got my period and cramps) throughout the entire year. I’m back on birth control pills now, wishing I could cut it from my life because the hormones make my mood effing crazy.” – Cyn

2. The one who is a fan of Nexplanon.


“My preferred method is Nexplanon but it is not widely available overseas. They’re good for THREE years and I had to have it removed in Costa Rica. The HR person at my boyfriend’s company assured us that a doctor there could do it. Turned out he had just watched a YouTube video on it and had no actual experience. I now have a scar and really great memory of a shitty minor surgery. Fast forward and I’m now living in Istanbul. The OB-GYN I emailed clearly didn’t know what Nexplanon is — she suggested I talk to a pharmacist? — so I need to figure out a way to get it removed because it “expired” last month. When I had it put in, I assumed I’d be back in the U.S. more frequently. Kicking myself for not looking into this sooner because I probably could have gotten it removed or replaced in London. So now it’s back to condoms for me and boyfriend! I’m unclear on whether it’s still releasing hormones or to what degree, so I don’t want to add another hormonal method of birth control on top of it. A larger issue is that it took quite a bit of Googling before I could ascertain what countries Nexplanon is available in.” – Giselle

3. The one whose birth control helps better than antidepressants.

“I have clinical PMS. Past partners and I have been able to know my period is coming on because my depression suddenly worsens. Birth control helps with that more than antidepressants. I also enjoy the freedom it gives me. I’ve never been super regular so not having to worry about having a period at all, if I chose to, keeps me from having anxiety over potentially embarrassing incidents at work. When my longterm partner and I separated, my doctor and I talked about the options available for me considering I now had a family history of blood clots (on the side of my older half-sister). We settled on the shot since I can’t be trusted to take something every day. It’s time to get the shot again. It’s been sitting in my fridge for about a month. I can’t bring myself to inject myself. The needle is super long! I haven’t exactly kept my hookups a secret from my mom, but I feel awkward asking her, or any family member, for help.” – Gabby

4. The one who loves Planned Parenthood.


“Planned Parenthood has always been there for me. As a freelance theatre artist/marketer and now a writer, it was the only constant even while I had insurance. I’ve been on the pill, the patch (which I hated), Depo-Provera (which I loved) and now had a tubal ligation after two healthy pregnancies.” – Michelle

5. The one who had a NuvaRing fiasco in Spain.


“I had a NuvaRing fiasco. I’d been off of birth control for three years but was starting to have sex with men I didn’t know very well after moving to Europe. So I thought, ‘I’ll try the ring.’ Unfortunately, the doctor was awful and shamed me for wanting STD testing. HI was living in Spain at the time and he basically told me that if thought I was prone to STDs, then I was a whore. Still, I got him to give me the NuvaRing. When I asked for instructions, he said you just pinch and insert it. I did exactly that on the same day that I had sex with a guy I had been seeing for the first time. He was Egyptian and very well endowed. He used a condom because obviously I didn’t trust this new ring in my vagina and wasn’t in a committed relationship with him. But next morning, after he left, I found the ring in the sheets. Long story short, I spent like 50 Euro on it and it was a waste because I didn’t even have it for one full day and once it’s out of your body and not in the fridge, it’s basically worthless.” – Lola

6. The one who whose IUD healed her trauma.


“In terms of meaningful, NOTHING helped me recover from the worst of a sexual trauma than that IUD. But in terms of funny, I basically carry around brochures in my glove box to give to friends because I am an evangelist and think they are the GREATEST. The only bad thing about IUDs is you can only have one at a time. I would have four if I could!” – Johanna

7. The one who was raised Catholic but still tried birth control.


“I was raised Catholic and we were always told no birth control. When I got married, the priest said I had to use the family planning method but I used Implanon. I chose that because it was easy and I wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting to use birth control. I used it for a couple years but ended up getting blood clots, gaining weight, and having my period for like two or three weeks at a time. I got off it. I’ve been off birth control for three years now. I feel like it affected my body so much. I don’t think I’ll ever get on it again. I do think women have the right to chose and if they don’t get side effects, then they should use it.” – Vanessa

8. The one who got an IUD… and is now on the pill.


“My health insurance was about to expire last summer after I switched to freelancing, so I got an IUD so I wouldn’t have to take the pill while traveling. Well, after a year with it, my PCOS symptoms went haywire (acne, hair growth, etc.) so this summer I had to go back on the pill because there’s not enough hormones in the Mirena. I was going to get the IUD removed, but they couldn’t find the strings so I had a very invasive ultrasound and they saw it’s still in there, but the appointment to get it taken out wouldn’t have been for another two months so now I’m just going to keep it in another four years. But since I’m now on the pill too, my emotions are quite heightened from all the estrogen. So you could say the last year has been a trip,  birth control-wise.” – Samantha

9. The one who was on the pill for 15 years.

“I originally went on birth control pills when I was about 16 years old because I was diagnosed with ovarian cysts and had had a couple burst (which was incredibly painful). I was raised by a strict Catholic mother, so that’s pretty much the only way she ever would have allowed me to be on the pill, to be honest. I struggled with them (nausea, mostly), but took them diligently for more than 10 years until I was ready to have children. I went off them when I was 28, promptly got pregnant, and then went back on them until I was ready to have my second child. Because I’d gotten them as a teen, I stuck with the same prescription for over a decade and never had an issue. I did pay for them out of pocket when I was a college student because I had no insurance, but they weren’t expensive, and then when I got married, my husband had amazing insurance through work, and they were covered 100 percent. I didn’t have issues with weight gain or anything, but after my second child, I told my husband I didn’t want to take them anymore because at that point, I’d been on them mostly for about 15 years and I wanted to stop. He got a vasectomy and I haven’t taken them since.” – Kari

10. The one whose IUD literally saved her life.


“Getting pregnant can be a life-threatening issue for me and the baby. Because of my medical condition, I can’t use just any form of birth control. After almost dying from a blood clot related to taking oral birth control, I found out about IUDs and they have literally saved my life. I’m able to get pregnant by choice, under the care of a doctor, and prevent potentially deadly situations for me or my baby.” – Anne

11. The one who loves the Depo Provera shot.


“I suffered from age 13 with menstrual cramps so bad that I would black out from pain. I was losing close to a pint of blood a month, over a seven-day horror show and passing clots the size of chicken livers. Oral birth control made me horribly ill and aggravated my stomach ulcer. At age 24, after my first child, my doctor suggested Depo Provera, which utterly transformed my entire existence. I didn’t have periods at ALL. It was HEAVEN. I went off twice to become pregnant with my other two children and went back on immediately after their births. Unfortunately, I am sans birth control now due to spinal collapse which puts me at high risk for clots, But, on the plus side, I’m 44 and hopefully, menopause will come soon, AND I live in Uruguay now which has kickass over-the-counter meds for menstrual cramping.” – Grace

12. The one who is all about the Mirena IUD.


“I use the Mirena IUD — no maintenance, low hormone, periods have almost disappeared though I’m still cycling, and insurance covered it. Started my period at 10 1/2 and have always had a heavy flow, intense cramping, 21-day cycles, so when people say, ‘Oh, but your period is good for you, women need to do that’ I’m like, ‘No, thanks!'” – Adriana

 13. The one who didn’t love the IUD.


“I was on the pill from around 17 to around 23 before I realized that the pill was what was causing my horrible mood swings, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I stopped taking it and almost immediately felt like a different person! My partner and I switched to condoms for a few years (which neither of us was crazy about) before I decided to try an IUD. I was in intense, constant pain all the time (plus strange period cycles) for a year and a half years and finally decided I’d had enough and took it out earlier this year. I now have Nexplanon (the arm implant) and so far it’s been the best of all options.” – Nicole

14. The one who got an IUD put in because of Trump.


“Birth control was never something that my mother discussed with me, so I had to figure it out for myself. My first experience with birth control was when I was in college and in my first grown-up relationship. I attended a Catholic University that didn’t prescribe birth control, so I went to a Planned Parenthood clinic. The clinic was not in the best neighborhood, and there were a lot of security measures to prevent attacks from anti-PP groups. Everyone was generally helpful, and I went on the pill for a few months. The pill wasn’t the best fit for me. I had awful cramps, and because my schedule was all over the place, taking medicine daily was not ideal. Now I realize that I could’ve tried different pills and that there can be a long adjustment period, but I didn’t have a dedicated gynecologist to help me work that out. While I was in a stable relationship, we went without hormonal birth control. That relationship eventually ended, but it wasn’t until Trump was elected that I decided to find a solution for my birth control. I ended up getting a copper IUD. My insertion was literally the day before Trump’s inauguration. So far, it’s been a good choice for me. Everything was covered by insurance, which is wonderful because it’s an expensive cost upfront. I am glad I found a non-hormonal option. My periods were usually pretty regular and light, so it made sense to go with an option that didn’t rely on hormones to regulate my cycle.” – Sarah

15. The one who thanks her pill because it lets her avoid a period.


“I use the pill to not have my period. It’s amazing. I have little side effects (although I had to try several ones to get it right) and am basically happy with it. And not only do I not have my period, my mood swings have gotten less as well. I love my pill (although it gets a bad rep at the moment). And, obviously, that’s on top of the very important reason for taking the pill which is to not get pregnant (hey, I already have three kids, that’s enough!).” – Olga

16. The one who had a bad IUD experience, and now uses Nexplanon.


“I use the arm one (Nexplanon) because of a kinda funny, definitely not-fun-at-the-time attempted IUD implantation. Here’s what happened: I spent 45 minutes at Planned Parenthood and they couldn’t get it in because my cervix is apparently too strong. Two different people tried to shove it in there. Meanwhile, I spent the full 45 minutes with their big metal thing hanging out of me twiddling my thumbs. Eventually, they gave up and I got the arm implant instead.” – Bri

17. The one who can’t take hormonal birth control.


“I have four children and cannot take any birth control due to blood clots. I’ve also had a stillbirth and an ectopic pregnancy. I was raised in a very Catholic household and, although I did use it for a time, also just feel conflicted about it now besides the health issues. I’m no longer religious but I am spiritual and I know there has to be life before birth as well as after death; that just makes sense to me. I don’t know that this baby will be my last. I would rather he not be. Where two eat, three can eat. We’re okay. We will make it work. Not interested to debate. Personal choice goes both ways. I choose to have the baby and I do not need assistance or anyone’s help really. I office out of my home so daycare costs aren’t an issue; those would’ve been prohibitive previously but they’re not a factor at this time. Flexible work and care options have been more life-changing than the availability of birth control in my case.

I would like to add that the above isn’t a popular view within the Latin community. Families are very concerned about their family size and related stereotypes. My in-laws keep hinting at birth control and vasectomies. I have had both doctors and pharmacists inside and outside of the U.S. prescribe/sell me pills I shouldn’t be using. I read my former OB the riot act about it because I have blood clots. The kind that kill you. The kind that make women at risk for embolism and stroke. The kind they should know better than to prescribe. She backpedaled quickly but I still came home with a sample ‘in case you change your mind.’ What, about not dying? No. I’m so glad to have switched OBs and not have it pushed on me. I wondered what kickback she was getting from a drug rep.” – Callie

18. The one who loved taking the pill, and only stopped to get pregnant.


“I started taking the pill even before I started having sex, just in case. I was in my early 20s at the time; I had been a ‘wait until marriage’ person, but I also didn’t want to be stupid and naïve, especially since my boyfriend and I had very good chemistry. I was still on my parents’ health insurance at the time (thanks, Obama), but my OB-GYN had already brought up the pill during a routine exam. So, when I was ready, I simply contacted her, she set up the prescription, and I began receiving it in the mail (especially awesome because I lived out of state). I kept using the pill until my husband and I had been married a couple years and were ready to start a family. I was lucky to not have any noticeable side effects from the hormones, although it was really nice to know exactly which day my period would arrive. And it was easy to simply stop taking the pill when we were ready to get pregnant. We used condoms in between kids because I didn’t want to add extra hormones to my postpartum body or accidentally forget to take a pill.” – Maria

19. The one who still faces a lot of shame from her Mexican Catholic family.


“My take as a Latina is that I had a lot of obstacles having access to birth control. First of all, it was the culture. My parents were traditional Mexican Catholics and not only was birth control never an option for me growing up. Now, as an adult who’s married, there is still a lot of shame when I discuss that I am on birth control. I truly learned about family planning from Planned Parenthood… And then there’s the other issue of not being documented and not having health insurance.” – Ximena

20. The one who didn’t react well to the pill.


“I tried the lowest dose pills and reacted badly to all of them with horrible mood swings and complete behavioral changes so, to be honest, I’ve been too freaked out to try anything else. My periods aren’t bad pain or bleed-wise but it’s always on my birthday/major holidays so I’d like to get rid of them. Forever.” – Camilla

21. The one who loves the pill because it helps with cramps.


“My doctor recommended the pill since I had terrible cramps (my mom had endometriosis and an early hysterectomy, and I was headed on the same path at 16 years old). It’s completely changed my life. I don’t know how people handle periods. They’re the worst. One part that’s not fun, though, is making sure my doctors get the prescription right. It seems like I’ve had to switch OB-GYNs every two years or so due to insurance changes, and I always have to remind them, ‘You need to write the prescription out for MORE pills than normal.’ I’ve worked in remote camps in Alaska for long stretches of time and not having to worry about being eaten by a bear — or deal with period stuff while in a camp with dudes and non-sanitary conditions — has been awesome.” – Linda

22. The one whose life has been deeply and positively impacted by birth control.


“I feel that birth control is very important. I honestly feel like it has made such an impact in stabilizing my mental state throughout the years; a surplus of estrogen definitely comes with its ups (hello, boobs!) and downs (oh, hey crazy mood swings).

Basically, looking at the nice, orderly rows of color-coded pills gives me a sense of hope and… Well, sense about my cyclical mood swings. It spells out that there is an end to my emotional hell week, where there is always one, sometimes two days that self-hatred and depression is at its worst. It tells me why I feel this way and reassures me that this is not going to be a constant status.

On Depo-Provera, I was an emotional, insecure, heavier-set wreck. I was paranoid, jealous, and my mood swings and irritability were unpredictable. I think it was because the hormones were a big dose at a time and not regulated in how it went through my body. I also had breakthrough bleeding and got PID. Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo was the magic formula that did it for me, stabilizing my moods throughout the month, allowing my weight to re-regulate, and helped me feel more in control.

Like I said, the color-coded pills that told me where my hormonal headspace was is incredibly reassuring and allowed me to focus on the “what” and not the “why” when it came to dealing with stress, problem-solving, and feeling in control of what was happening. I was switched to a monophasic once, though, and that made me nuts again. Higher levels of stress/anxiety, which affected my confidence. And I think it was Lutera, a generic OTCLo, that I got really, really depressed, but I don’t remember if it was Lutera or Alesse. So even though it was supposed to be the same pill, its effects were not the same.

I don’t remember how it feels to be on no birth control, but am as afraid to come off it as much for emotional reasons as I am for its main purpose. Honestly, I feel as grateful to being on it as someone who needs mood stabilizers, but as nervous as one, too, when people try to recommend IUD or say it’s not a lifelong long-term solution. I’m scared for the day when I won’t need birth control, to be honest, because it’s such a stabilizing force and security blanket for me! Especially since mood stabilizers zombify me really, really badly and make me think suicidal thoughts that I normally don’t at all. Weird, right? Totally defeats the purpose! But birth control makes me feel much more highly functional moodwise, and like I said, gives me hope and optimism by providing the light at the end of a tunnel visually and tangibly that the depression has a finite span.” – Susanna

23. The one who would get defensive if you tried to take the pill away from her.


“I started taking the pill at age 16 because I had horrific periods and was diagnosed with PMDD. Later, we figured out that I simply had regular depression but the pill made my life so much easier. Before then, I spent every period starting from age 11 being on maximum strength Midol for the first three or four days of menstruation. If I wasn’t drugged up the entire time, I would be hit with devastating cramps. Being on the pill made my periods light and almost entirely eliminated cramps. I will occasionally get mild cramps, but a bit of regular ibuprofen takes care of it. I’m lucky I don’t get bad side effects from the pill. I would punch anyone who tried to take them away from me in the face.” – Mariana

24. The one whose life was saved by birth control.


“Birth control has saved my life. I have cyclic vomiting syndrome and taking non-stop birth control is the only thing that prevents it. Before the doctors prescribed me birth control, I weighed 90 pounds and had to be hospitalized every two months for uncontrollable vomiting. Dehydration was a constant fear. Anyways, as long as I have birth control, I dont have to worry about it anymore.” – Alexa

25. The one whose PCOS is treated by birth control.


“I was diagnosed with PCOS at 20 years old and have been on birth control for a decade to treat it (regardless of whether I was sexually active or not). It’s been so incredibly helpful to have birth control covered in full by insurance these past years since ACA.” – Sofia

Read: Dominican Fashion Blogger Kyrzayda Rodriguez Receives Support From Fans During Her Absence From Fashion Week Due To Cancer Battle

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The Chilean Government Gave Out Defective Birth Control Pills Which Caused Dozens of Unplanned Pregnancies


The Chilean Government Gave Out Defective Birth Control Pills Which Caused Dozens of Unplanned Pregnancies

Photo via Getty Images

The fight for women’s right to choose what to do with their bodies is a fight that continues to rage on throughout the world. That fight is especially intense in Latin American countries, where cultural attitudes towards sex and abortion are highly influenced by Roman Catholic ideals.

Recently, women in Chile were provided defective birth control pills from the government. The faulty contraceptives have resulted in at least 140 unplanned pregnancies.

The incident happened when the Chilean government–which is the primary method that women get birth control pills–distributed pill packs that were packaged incorrectly. The pill packs–which went by the name of Anulette CD–had placebo (“sugar pills”) in the place of the active pills.

Reproductive health advocates began hearing rumors that the government had issued defective birth control pills, so they did some investigating. One reproductive rights organization, Corporacion Miles, requested a formal inquiry into the rumors. Because of the inquiry, 276,890 packets of birth control pills were quietly recalled in August of last year.

These unplanned pregnancies are especially challenging because Chile, like many Latin American countries, have very restrictive abortion laws.

Unless a woman has been sexually assaulted or her life is in danger, it is hard to get an abortion in Chile. Because of these laws, women have little means to deal with these unplanned pregnancies. Either that, or they can opt for a clandestine abortion, where their lives could potentially be put at risk.

The Chilean women who became pregnant, after taking every precaution to prevent such a thing from happening, are scared. Many of them, already feeling strained from the emotional and financial strains of the pandemic, don’t feel ready to have a child.

“I don’t think people grasp how hard it is to be a mother for a woman who is not ready,” said Marlisett Guisel Rain Rain, a mother of three who became pregnant with her fourth child after taking the defective birth control pills. “You have to rebuild yourself completely.”

Both the government and the contraceptive manufacturer are pointing fingers at each other for who is to take the blame.

The pill manufacturers are claiming that they have had “no reports” of unplanned pregnancies after taking their pills. But they also insist that if the pills were defective, healthcare workers should have noticed the problem before distributing them. In response, the Chilean government is fining the manufacturer $92,000 due to “quality problems”.

“Women were trusting the pills they were given by state-run clinics,” said said Anita Peña Saavedra, director of Corporacion Miles. “The fault is not only with the laboratory but also with the government. They are both responsible.”

The only bright side that reproductive rights activists see is that this debacle might inspire Chileans to reconsider the countries strict anti-abortion laws come November, when the country will vote on a new government and new constitution.

“This is a very emblematic case to show why having [three legal exceptions] is just not enough and why it is always important to have access to free and legal abortion,” said Paula Avila, a human rights lawyer and head of the U.S.-based Women’s Equality Center.

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Women Shared Their Birth Control Preferences and Fails


Women Shared Their Birth Control Preferences and Fails

From shots to pills, when it comes to birth control and ensuring safe sex women have all sorts of options. Still, choosing a method of birth control can be a pretty difficult thing to do. After all, varying types of birth control work in different ways to prevent sperm from reaching an egg but can also have different types of hormonal effects on a woman’s body.

We scoured Reddit and other boards to get advice from women about the types of birth control they use and the answers were pretty eyeopening.

Check them out below!

“I had Mirena for the full 5 years and LOVED it. I also had cramping from time to time and having it put in was painful. I decided once the 5 years was up I was going to try for a baby and had a perfectly healthy pregnancy. I too am forgetful and it was great not having to worry about periods or getting pregnant for 5 years without having to take something every day or week. Highly recommended!” –EssJayy7

“Lesbianism. 10/10 would recommend. 100% effective and feels amazing.” –

“I used Cerazette, which is one of the “mini/pop pills” if I remember right. It worked well for me, I had no real issues and it stopped my periods completely. The only difficulty was making sure I took it every day but it was much more flexible than the Pill for that (you could take it within an 8 hour time frame per day, something like that, without putting yourself at risk). I think the only side-effect I really had was a fluctuating sex drive.

Due to moving to a rural area, I swapped to the Depo-Provera injection for 3 months at a time. I had this done twice. It was absolutely horrific and I regret this a lot, it caused deep under-skin skin infections that I would struggle to say even counted as acne. They were black and horrible and look months of being off the injection and a good skin care routine to shift, and even now the particularly bad area is much more prone to acne when I am stressed.

It also made me hungry a lot of the time, I was very tired, my sex drive went bust, and my temper was horrific. It all creeped up on me during the months so I only really began suspecting it could be my birth control in my fourth or fifth month of having it active. Never again. My favourite birth control right now is having a girlfriend. No real side-effects right now except a definite loss of sleep.”- TheGentlemanCat

“I like my Mirena, it has it’s problems here and there but I keep it inserted because it has completely stopped my period and I don’t have to remember to take it everyday like a pill change it weekly or monthly like a patch or ring. It’s kinda just set it and forget it. Very effective with typical use over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.” – faytality

“it has it’s problems here and there. If you don’t mind sharing, which side effects have you experienced with Mirena?” –childfree_IPA

“I LOVE my Mirena, second time having it. More spotting the second time around. No issues here. I also tried the copper IUD which made my periods heavier and more painful. Tried Nuva Ring as well, worked fine, no side effects. Just more of a pain in the butt to remember to change it.” –mexican_viking13

“I had the Nexplanon insert in my arm. I get migraines with auras as well as some other conditions, so before that I was taking progestin only pills, from which I had no side effects. I was told the Nexplanon was progestin only. I don’t know how true that was because I immediately had horrible side effects including constant bleeding, migraines 4-5 times a week, loss of vision in left eye, numbness on left side of body, and vicious cystic acne all over my face. I had it implanted in June and removed in September. My symptoms went away almost immediately after (except the acne which was a long battle.)

My roommate actually suggested Nexplanon to me because she had migraines and was very happy with her results. However, she did not get auras.

Point is: what works for one person will not work for everyone, and always monitor your own symptoms. Yes, side effects are common in most birth control methods. However, you know your own body and if you feel seriously wrong, tell your doctor.”- bobfoxsky

“My first ever method of birth control was the Nuva Ring, which I tried for maybe six months when I was 18. Honestly, having the full dose of hormones in my body the whole 3 weeks on/1 week off cycle messed with my moods a lot, but I was also a new freshman in college in an unfamiliar city, so it may have just exacerbated my difficulty adjusting to my new life at that time.

My second method was the pill (I forget what brand, but it was a pretty standard generic that the campus doctor prescribed to everyone without listening to my concerns about mood swings on Nuva Ring) and that was…okay. I can’t remember how long I was on that one.

My third method was the Depo Provera shot (I should have listened to my mother who told me that if I reacted badly with mood swings to Nuva Ring, that a shot of hormones that wouldn’t wear off for 3 months was a terrible idea). I gained a lot of weight and became very depressed/moody on that method. I only got one shot, so it lasted 3 months, my periods stopped altogether and I just generally didn’t recognize my personality during that time. It was awful. I didn’t have a period for 6 months total, even though it should have worn off completely after 3. Everything was off balance!

After the Depo shot, I talked to my actual PCP about all of my birth control experience up until that point, and she put me on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, because she felt that it mimics the body’s natural cycle a lot better than a standard ‘same dose of hormones all the time’ method. My first full cycle of Ortho actually induced me to get my period back after Depo, and it was such a relief to feel normal again.

I’m currently still on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, though I took about a one year break from it when I wasn’t particularly sexually active/not in a relationship, so I was using condoms only during that time. I love it. I never had particularly bad periods or hormonal acne or anything, and this pill just makes me feel like I’m on my normal cycle. I have an alarm to remember to take it every morning, and use condoms as a back-up if I do forget a pill.

My advice would be not to experiment with a method that you can’t escape from (like the IUD or in my case, Depo Provera) when you’re in college or already dealing with big life changes, because 3 months while in school was a long time , and I almost messed up my grades and was in a really tough spot mentally.” –gingeroh

I have had mirena for the past 5 years.


The most reliable birth control, especially because human error doesn’t really factor into it (I would probably forget about the Pill all the time if I had to take it daily.)

Lasts 5 years.

It’s the lowest dose of hormones out of all hormonal birth control.

Greatly reduces period or stops it completely. I had a heavy period that lasted 7 days before mirena. It gave me iron-deficiency anemia. My doctor suggested mirena so that I’d stop losing so much blood and it worked.

I haven’t gained weight or lost my sex drive or become depressed. My skin is very clear but I don’t know if it’s due to mirena or not.


Spotted non-stop for the first 3 months after insertion. Both times. This suuucccckkks.

Insertion hurts a lot, but it’s over quickly.

Some people have said that it makes deep sex a bit painful. I have not found this to be the case, but I like getting my cervix bumped so YMMV.

I get moody the week before my period. Really moody. I usually have a good cry due to existential angst and the futility of all human life the day before my period. And then I’m fine.” –_lollipoppins

“I also had a terrible 3 months after insertion. I feel as though nobody really told me about the possibility of that but I bled quite a lot and has significant cramps for up to a month after insertion. I got checked out and all is good now and I’m very happy with the Mirena, but just wanted to share that possibility since I didn’t know.”- captainkaykay

“All the pills: won’t ever take them again. There was just so much unpleasantness with having my hormones so messed with. I did really enjoy the punctuality of my periods though.

Copper IUD: love it, kind of. Insertion was NbD, and although I did experience cramps for the first time in my life with it, the non-hormonal, “set it and forget it “ mentality was great. Totally got pregnant with it in though, so that’s not awesome. Now I have a two year old.

Condoms: not being a gooey mess at the end it awesome.” –Lovelyfeathereddinos

“Totally got pregnant with it in though, so that’s not awesome. Now I have a two year old.

Sorry to hear that, that was my first laugh out loud of the day though.” –sideways8

“I have an IUD. I despise it. The insertion was horrible, having it in is horrible, getting it taken out will require sedation of some kind. It’s definitely messing up my internal systems, and the residual pain from repeated invasions is difficult.

I’m not sexually active, I got this because it was supposed to make my periods easier and also the doctor told me she wouldn’t help me if I didn’t get it. It made my periods less heavy, but they last longer, I bleed more frequently, and my cramps have become more in-depth.

Plenty of people have had good experiences, in fact, most people do. But I’m not one of them and I knew that going in. I wish I had just refused.” –Bmoreisapunkrocktown

“I’m… fairly certain doctors can’t say that. Sorry you had a bad experience with it, sounds awful. Bad insertion, maybe?” –ZeketheKnight

“Being gay. It’s the best. Highly recommended. 10/10. Side effects may include increased orgasms, shared emotional labor, doubled wardrobe, cats.”- BaylisAscaris

“I have been on the copper IUD for the past 2 years and it is my preferred method because it is hormone free. I do have heavier periods and more intense cramps, but these were things I have dealt with my whole life so it wasn’t that big of a deal for me.

I started off trying several types of the pill, almost all of which gave me intense mood swings. At one point I thought I found a pill that worked for me but ended up incredibly depressed, which I believe was related to the pill. After that I tried nuvaring which killed any libido I had so I just used condoms until I got my IUD put in.” –significantotter1

“Ortho Tri Cyclen: Did the job. Cleared up my acne. Made my periods regular. Made me gain a bit of weight (like 5lbs or so), made my boobs bigger. I had a hard time remembering to take the pill every day at the same time.

Nuva Ring: I loved it! I chose this one because I didn’t want to have to remember to take a pill every day, but I also didn’t want something as semi-permanent as an IUD that I would need reversed by a doctor (and I was nervous about the pain with insertion). I never had a problem with it falling out during sex or any other time. I would use it continually for 3 months at a time to skip my period, then let myself have a withdrawal bleed and I never had spotting in between. My husband said he could feel it sometimes, but it didn’t bother him. I recently went off of it (3 months ago) because I am ttc, and my periods have yet to become regular.

Pulling Out/Withdrawal method: Did not work. Got pregnant after 8 months. Do not recommend unless you are okay with getting pregnant.

Plan B/Morning after pill: I have used this twice, once after forgetting to take my BC pill properly and once when a condom broke. It gave me a heavier than usual period with some moderate cramping, but other than that no side effects and I didn’t get pregnant so it did the job. Obviously I don’t recommend this for regular birth control, but it’s great for emergencies!” –wicksa

“1. Male condoms. I liked the ability to see I was being protected. Decent rate of protection when used properly as well. I didn’t like the interruption involved in grabbing and putting on a condom. I also never trusted them enough to use them without another method. It was always either condoms + pulling out or condoms + pill + pulling out. 2. Pill. The first pill I was on was Lo Loestrin Fe. It caused me to bleed for a week every other week (so, one week bleeding, one week not, repeat). I stuck with it for a couple months hoping it was just a weird adjustment period, but the pattern continued and I couldn’t put up with that. After that, I switched to another pill, Azurette (or a generic version). I’ve had zero issues with it. The only symptom I’ve noticed is that I get more hungry than usual the first few days of my placebo pills (but this was a symptom I had pre-period normally – it’s just been amplified a bit). Like with condoms though, I’ve never been able to trust the pill on its own and always doubled up on protection. 3. Sterilization. I had a bilateral salpingectomy (tube removal) done a couple years ago. I have zero regrets and would do it all again if I had to. It’s permanent, super effective, and makes me feel secure (my lifelong fear of pregnancy is gone).”- Luminaria19

“Pull-out method and I am now 26 weeks pregnant, so you be the judge. But in all seriousness, I was on your basic birth control pill for about a year. I think it was Junel. It made me emotional, crazy, and caused me to put on weight. I later stopped it on my own, and found out from another doctor that “the pill” generally doesn’t mix well with women with anxiety and depression.

Whoops. Someone really should have mentioned this before. Overall when I go back to some form of birth control, I think I will use condoms. They don’t feel as good, but don’t have a chemical effect on my body. Pull-out method works well too, you just need a lot of self-control. Which apparently I do not have!!” –whimsical_potatoes

“I took an estrogen based birth control pills as a teenager. It was awful. While it did regulate my periods, and my skin cleared up, I couldn’t take the emotional upheaval it caused. Instarted having ridiculous mood swings, where I’d be fine one minute and sobbing uncontrollably the next. I’d argue with people, to the point of screaming, and couldn’t calm down. I felt like I was losing my mind, and I became suicidal. When I started planning how I could kill myself, I stopped taking my pills. I felt better within a few weeks. The whole time, I had been telling my doctor that I was having these problems, and he told me birth control couldn’t cause mental health issues, and I just needed to suck it up. I stopped going to him after I stopped taking my pills.

That experience was pretty traumatic, so I’ve been wary or any forms of birth control aside from condoms.

Condoms are my choice right now, and I’ve never had issues with them. They are reliable, and don’t rely on me remembering to take a pill or get some sort of implant.” –chemchick27

“I have used: Orthocyclen BCP- I had breakthrough bleeding for three months. Had to switch.

Levlen BCP- I took this for almost four years. It worked great in every way except I gained 80lb on it. I couldn’t lose any weight, despite being fairly athletic. Yasmin BCP- I tried it twice. Had to stop within two months both times because of recurring multi-day migraines. Condoms- Tried and true. I used many brands without issue while dating. Spermicide strips- These look like little Listerine breath strips that dissolve in the vagina. They worked OK, but have a high chance of user error due to needing to plan ahead. They’d be a decent backup. Norethindrone (the mini pill)- This is my favorite and my current method. I can’t take the full pill due to blood pressure issues now, so this will have to do. I don’t have cycles at all when I’m on it, and it’s fantastic. No negative side effects, some great positive ones, and no cycles or babies.” – whats_a_bylaw

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