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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