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How Birth Control Helped 1 Woman Find Self-Confidence

How This Young Woman's Birth Control Journey Helped Her Find Self-Confidence

We've partnered with ANNOVERA® to spotlight the reasons why birth control can be an empowering tool for women everywhere.

For many women, the worst part about your period is how it disrupts daily life. If you’re not prepared, you’re left scrambling to find a tampon or pad — not too mention uncomfortable and all-too-common symptoms like cramps, hormonal acne, bloating, and fatigue.

That was certainly the case for Aaliyah Lewis. Growing up in Anchorage, AK, she ate, slept, and breathed soccer — she eventually went on to play at the Division I level in college. So when she hit puberty, started her period, and began dealing with severe menstrual cramps and painful cystic acne, Aaliyah wasn’t happy — especially because it was interfering with her soccer schedule. After just a year, Aaliyah and her mom both knew something had to change and made an appointment to talk to her doctor.


Aaliyah's doctor recommended that she start birth control, which was a big relief. Because her schedule was jam-packed with sports, Aaliyah had a hard time remembering to take a daily pill. After trying a few different options, Aaliyah ultimately found that a monthly birth control ring was the best fit for her lifestyle*.

Plus, knowing when to expect her period made Aaliyah feel confident and in control. “It gave me peace of mind in the sense that I could control what happened with my body,” she said.

Aaliyah said deciding to start birth control at such a young age also helped with her maturity, because sitting down with her doctor to discuss her options made her feel like a grown woman — not an immature teenager. “Now I can live my life the way I wish to live it and be confident in my own decisions,” she said.

Looking back, Aaliyah remembered how helpless she felt before starting birth control and encourages other young women to talk to their parents and doctor about their options. Making an informed decision is key — it’s what ultimately helped Aaliyah feel like her best, most confident self.

*Note: Aaliyah used a monthly birth control ring, not Annovera.

More From ANNOVERA® (Segesterone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol Vaginal System)

Another long-lasting birth control option you can control is ANNOVERA®. It’s a ring. It goes in your vagina. Notice we said “vagina” and not “the v-word.” Because when we talk like that about reproductive health, we’re apologizing for our bodies. So consider this an unapology, from ANNOVERA®.

ANNOVERA® is a first-of-its-kind birth control that's as effective as the pill. It's comfortable long-lasting birth control that puts you in control. You pick it up from the pharmacy. You put it in yourself and leave it in for 21 days. You pull it out yourself and leave it out for 7 days. Then repeat. And, it lasts a whole year or 13 cycles, which is 13 periods for those counting.

Want more info about ANNOVERA®? Click here to learn more.


  • Do not use ANNOVERA (segesterone acetate and ethinyl estradiol vaginal system) if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) side effects from hormonal birth control methods, including death from heart attack, blood clots, or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.
  • ANNOVERA does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • The use of a combination hormonal contraceptive (CHC), like ANNOVERA, is associated with increased risks of several serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Do not use ANNOVERA if you have a history of these conditions, have reduced blood flow to your brain (cerebrovascular disease) or reduced blood flow or blockage in any of the arteries that supply blood to your heart (cardiovascular disease), or any condition that makes your blood more likely to clot. The risk of blood clots is highest when you first start using CHCs and when you restart the same or different CHC after not using it for 4 weeks or more.
  • ANNOVERA is also not for women with high blood pressure that medicine can’t control or high blood pressure with blood vessel damage; diabetes and over 35 years old, diabetes with high blood pressure or kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage, diabetes for longer than 20 years; certain kinds of severe migraine headaches; liver disease or liver tumors; breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to the female hormones estrogen or progesterone; unexplained vaginal bleeding; are allergic to segesterone acetate, ethinyl estradiol or any other ingredients in ANNOVERA; or take any Hepatitis C drug combination containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, as this may increase levels of the liver enzyme “alanine aminotransferase” (ALT) in the blood.
  • ANNOVERA can cause serious side effects, including: blood clots; toxic shock syndrome (TSS); liver problems, including liver tumors; high blood pressure; gallbladder problems; changes in the sugar and fat (cholesterol and triglycerides) levels in your blood; headache; irregular or unusual vaginal bleeding and spotting between your menstrual periods; depression; possible cancer in your cervix; swelling of your skin especially around your mouth, eyes, and in your throat (angioedema); dark patches of skin on your forehead, cheeks, upper lip, and chin (chloasma). Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical care right away if any of these serious side effects occur.
  • The most common side effects reported in at least 5% of women who received ANNOVERA were: headache/migraine, nausea/vomiting, vaginal yeast infection (candidiasis), lower/upper abdominal pain, painful periods, vaginal discharge, urinary tract infection, breast pain/tenderness, irregular vaginal bleeding, diarrhea, and genital itching.


ANNOVERA is a ring-shaped vaginal system with hormones used by females to prevent pregnancy.

ANNOVERA has not been adequately studied in females with a body mass index >29 kg/m2.

The risk information provided here is not complete. To learn more, review the ANNOVERA Patient Information and talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. The FDA-approved product labeling, including Patient Information, can be found here.

You may report side effects to the FDA at or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects to TherapeuticsMD at 1-888-228-0150.

ANNOVERA is a registered trademark licensed to TherapeuticsMD, Inc.

ANVA-20366 10/2020

Credits: Design: Kelly Millington; Photography: Bria Celeste