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What Has the Pill Done For You?

The birth control pill celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and it's had a roller coaster history.

Most recently, the pill has been implicated in the masculinity crisis, and the moral objections to oral contraceptives have been around since the beginning. On the flip side, there have been studies that show health benefits of taking the pill, including one of the largest ever released this March that found that women who take the pill are less likely to die prematurely from causes such as cancer and heart disease. And while in some ways it changed less than promised, it helped give women freedom from their traditional roles in society. It gave women options — the choice to have children, have a career, or have both.

We read about how other women's sexual experiences were shaped by birth control, but since many of you are on the pill, we want to know about your experiences. Tell us, how has the pill affected your history — sexual or otherwise?

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Join The Conversation
alaskagirl alaskagirl 7 years
Pros: never got pregnant on the pill! Cons: I have a severe blood-clotting disorder that I didn't know about, and being on the pill exacerbated it to the point where I got a huge DVT (deep vein thrombosis, i.e. blood clot) behind my knee and it went into my lungs, causing me to cough up blood and almost die. I don't think that women are truly aware of the risks of blood clots. You hear it and think "nah, not me!" Well, it COULD be you! I never smoked, and I thought that the risks for clotting were only bad if you smoked. Many people have a blood clotting disorder and don't know it. If you are on the pill and have any soreness, tenderness, redness, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, etc. GO TO THE E.R. IMMEDIATELY! I didn't, and I could have died.
Kristensaurus Kristensaurus 7 years
I'm 25 and have been on the pill (first ortho tri cyclen, then ortho tri cyclen lo) since I was 16. My periods and cramps used to be so bad that I skipped school and couldn't get out of bed, so I was put on the pill, which made my periods much lighter and much less painful. I've been sexually active since I was 18 and have not have an pregnancies, so that's obviously a good thing! The pill did nothing for my acne at all, but I didn't gain any weight, so I guess I'd rather not have the weight gain. Since I wasn't having sex when I first started taking the pill, I'm not sure what my "normal" libido is without it. I enjoy sex and want it as much, if not more than, my boyfriend. I want to go off the pill, just to see how my body would react without it, but I'm too nervous about getting pregnant! My boyfriend is supportive of my wanting to take a break from it, but I just can't risk an unplanned pregnancy!
GregS GregS 7 years
What's it done for me? Not a damned thing. But then, I'm a guy, so.... Of course, now I hear they're testing a pill for men, now. That sounds interesting.
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 7 years
It saved my life from bleeding so heavily it was excruciating. Going through 8-10 overnight pads in a day was horrible. But then I went on the pill...and I learned that a period isn't like that, and can be worked through. So, it helped me.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
I tried 6 different formulas of the Pill, none worked great for me. With Yasmin, I almost had to be hospitalized because it gave me severe stomach pain after eating. I didn't connect it to the pill for months and immediately after stopping, the pain went away. With Orth-Tri-Cyclen Lo, I had 3 week periods twice (tried it once, stopped because of the bleeding, tried it again 2 years later, same thing). Loestrin 24 killed my sex drive. For me, The Pill was more trouble than good.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
Runningesq - I know for a fact stopping the Pill made me gain weight because I maintained 112 for 4 years and the month I stopped, I gained 5 pounds. The next month, another 5. I tried dieting and exercising it off, it's not budging at all (even 2 years later). Another woman on here said she experienced the same thing and she's a personal trainer, she maintained the same workout schedule and gained 8 pounds immediately. My body is still out of whack.
Isista Isista 7 years
I haven't gained that much weight, my boobs are only slightly bigger, my periods are almost non-existent (but that's also because I never had really heavy ones before), no change in libido, clearer skin...I don't know, maybe I just picked a good pill, and am just lucky. The only thing that sucks is that my hormones are a little more regular lol, which means that instead of just getting crazy emotional three days a month, I'm now moderately (normal-level) emotional all the time :P
amandachalynn amandachalynn 7 years
I got pregnant on the pill. I never missed a dose, and took it at the same time every day. We did not want a kid, we were planning our wedding. I didn't take the placebo so I wouldn't have a period, and I didn't find out I was pregnant until I was 14 weeks. I got the IUD after, and it was great! I didn't have periods at all for 4 years! Then we had it removed in late Jan, and I'm pregnant now, so it didn't hurt my fertility at all. The IUD is the best choice for me!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
Pro: Regulated my periods and made the flow manageable. Con: the complete annihilation of my libido. RIP. when I was on the patch my libido was fine, but then i got some stupid rashes wherever I stuck the damn thing.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
@ anon 43 My boobs grew a full size on the pill! They stayed that way, too!
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Birth control makes me NUTS! I'm emotional, irrational, and miserable. It makes me feel neutered... I like having a period, I know I'm the only one, but I just love everything about being a woman! I've never had trouble knowing when my period was going to come... I can tell right down to the second; it's actually been many years since I wasn't sitting on the toilet when I started flowing. (too much information) And I gained weight, I was on the shot and the pill and I gained weight with each. Never again! I can't wait for male birth control to come out!
acyl acyl 7 years
Oh and Lambchop: No, taking the pill for whatever amount of time will not prevent you from getting pregnant in the future. It's strictly temporary.
Ac2366 Ac2366 7 years
When it's the only medication you are taking, you haven't changed your eating or exercise habits, you're in your 20's, and you gain 6 pounds in one week it's hard to not blame it on the new pill you're taking. My measurements haven't changed and my clothes still fit the same so I don't even know what to say.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
*I meant to say I CAN'T take the Pill ^^ Runningesq - I know that when I was on Depo ("the shot"), my doctor told me most women gain an average of 5 lbs when they start it because the hormones cause cravings (similar to how pregnancy hormones cause women to have cravings). It didn't affect my weight in the slightest, but looking back, I definitely had stronger cravings for food back then. I don't know if it's the same thing for the Pill or not. The only difference is that the Pill has estrogen whereas Depo is Progeston (sp?) only.
acyl acyl 7 years
I'm 29 now and was on the pill from 19 to 27...I take an anti-depressant and I think the combo decreased my sex drive. However it was nice to be able to skip a period if I was going on vacation or something, very predictable and light periods, and good for the skin. I didn't have a problem with weight gain. And of course, NO pregnancy. I use a diaphragm now, it's kind of uncomfortable removing it, but it's non-hormonal. I can't imagine not being able to have control over my reproductive system. It boggles my mind to think there are still women all over the world who don't have access to any form of birth control.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
To everyone who said the pill caused you weight gain: how do you know this was a direct effect of the pill? Most women gain weight when they age. It's difficult to do a cause and effect unless you were very closely monitering your calories in versus calories out.
mallorycurtis mallorycurtis 7 years
i have been on two different pills, loestrin and yaz. loestrin really messed with my hormones and decreased my libido, and never really helped with my period. switching to yaz has made a world of difference. my periods are super light and short, libido is back, and i'm not pregnant so i know it's working!
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Greenfairy - How bad did it the Mirena insertion hurt? That's the only thing about it that scares me! I can take the Pill because I suffer from migraines with aura :( I wish I could, but it's not worth increasing my chances of having a stroke by 80%.
redchick152 redchick152 7 years
my periods are super light and i always know exactly when i'm going to start. i started taking Yaz about 3 years ago and at first i really liked it, but i'm noticing now that i get some wicked mood swings the week or so before i start. i'm really thinking of trying that nuva ring or an IUD, just b/c i hate having to remember to carry my pills around if i leave town or stay at a bf's house. does anyone have any tips or advice???
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