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Side effects of stopping the birth control pill - depression thread.

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It took about 6 months, but I feel like I am finally back to normal after stopping the pill. It feels like it will never end, but it does! I did acupuncture during the time my hormones were readjusting and it helped a lot, if for no other reason than it helped to have someone tell me the hormonal imbalance was the reason for the anxiety, depression etc. I'm glad I found this site!
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Really happy to find this site! I got off birth control pills (ortho trycyclen) about 2 1/2 months ago (I was on them for about 7-8 years), & I've been experiencing the worst headaches. The pain is all around my head & at times it really throbs! I have tension in my back & neck as well...even my ears are hurting! My doctor said the recent headache pain is due to a sinus infection that resulted from a cold I had...but I'm thinking it has something to do with stopping the pill.

It seems like a lot of you have felt the same thing.
I'm wanting to know what has helped you with these headaches...and how long, on average, does this last?
Don't know how much more of this I can take!
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Ladies,

I was on Yasmin for exactly one year-since september 07 and stopped taking it in september 08. I cannot tell you how much this site has helped me. My symptoms are severe around my period (starts about 3 days before my period and lasts about 10-14 days) then poof! with the middle of my cycle the depression lifts, anxiety goes away, heavyness in my chest disappears and that "fuzzy confused brain" vanishes. Then it comes back again around my period--with each cycle it gets better but I cannot tell ou how much I have been suffering.

It is the drop in estrogen during our periods that are causing these symptoms. When we take the pill, our ovaries shut down and stop making estrogen completely and we give our bodies estrogen via the pill. When we STOP the pill, we have no estrogen coming from anywhere. It takes about 6 months to fully charge up your ovaries to start producing the same amounts of hormones including the 3 estrogens (vital to regulating heart rhythm, anxiety, memory, mental health, mood, depression, sleep, overall sense of well-being and 400 other bodily functions!), progesterone, and testosterone-mainly for sex drive. I have done a TON of research after being hospitalized for tachycardia 2 weeks after stopping the pill. My internist had an idea--to log everyday of my cycle and keep a journal. Well, I have created my own website (actually my fiance made it for me since this has turned our lives upside down and he just wants his fiance back) and a daily blog of what I"m going through if you all want to check it out and see if you relate and it helps you not feel alone in this. It has been the worst experience of my life, but we all have to remember that IT WILL END and WE WILL GET BETTER. Doctors are tempted to give you anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds but you know our body and noone can tell you what you are feeling and what is "normal" for you.

also, if anyone is interested in being involved in a study-(simple questionaires) that Id like to ask you and get a full on research going (my internist is involved) where we can correlate all these SAME symptoms we are having to coming off the pill, I'd like to shine some light on this never before discussed topic so people like us dont continue thinking that we're JUST GOING NUTS and we can make these pharmecutical companies realize that these symptoms are real and need to be put on the back of the box just like "may cause stroke, heart disease, blood clots when taking this medication".

for a detailed summary of what I've been going through, ck out my daily blog since stopping the pill: bcpsurvivors.com/blog
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I'll add my voice to the chorus of relief--I'm not alone/crazy! Thankfully, I'm not even suffering as bad as some, who I really feel for because my symptoms are enough! Mood swings, bad skin, lethargy, weight gain. Yuck! I was on BCP for 12 years and stopped 4 months ago in preparation for getting pregnant--still not pregant and asking myself if it's worth it! My cycle is finally inching it's way back to normal which may make ovulation prediction easier and then we can get on with it. Or I might get back to normal before pregnancy if I partake of the hope offered by some who have finally made it through... The thing that's worrying me most is weight gain--I don't feel attractive at all and hate the way my clothes fit, but I'm also not into working out/watching my food more than I do already because I want to get pregnant! Should I just accept the extra weight and continue my normal routine (as much as possible) or should I go crazy and get rid of it? Some ladies have said it didn't go away no matter what they did, so I'm thinking option 1. Does it go away eventually along with everything else? For the ladies trying to get pregnant, what did you do? How much of an effect does it have on your chances of conceiving?
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let me initially say that i am ABSOLUTELY relieved to find i'm not the only person suffering from these scary & nearly paralyzing symptoms.

let me share my story with you as well --

i'm nineteen years old and have overall had a rough year. i went away to college for the first time five hours away from my hometown, my family, my life. needless to say, that took an enormous toll on my mental & emotional health. being put into a completely new situation, removed from the support system you've known your entire life is absolutely terrifying. going away to college is about finding yourself and who you're meant to be...but can't possibly prove itself a successful transition when you're unhappy & depressed.

at the beginning of spring semester i made the choice to transfer home, which brought much needed relief. i knew 'd never have to stress about being away from my family again. so, the semester flew by and eventually i found myself home...and happier than ever.

it was now that i told my mother about my irregular periods. i would go four or five months without one -- and had been abnormal ever since i had my first when i was twelve. we had discussed it before but she insisted i was merely "adjusting to my own body's hormones". however, she now started taking me seriously. i was absolutely convinced i had ovarian or cervical cancer (i've always struggled with some form of anxiety concerning my health, ever since my sister's friend was diagnosed with hodgkin's lymphoma.) my OB/GYN explained it was probably due to PCOS, which is closely related to diabetes as well as skyrockets your risk of developing ovarian cancer. i had a regular as well as a TV ultrasound, blood tests, etc....all of which came back completely normal. the results were "inconclusive", saying she couldn't technically diagnose me with PCOS considering my ovaries didn't have the "string of pearls" associated with the disorder. so, she wrote me a scrip for sprintec birth control.

i began taking the pill & all anxiety about my reproductive health went away. however, a few months into the summertime, we received some tragic news -- my brother's best friend had shot himself in the head, fatally wounding him. it was an awful month, but we got through it as a family. as the summer months passed however, two more friends/acquaintances of mine died. one of an overdose, another of suicide. i wasn't necessarily close with these people but it required my coming to grips with death & the fact that everything in this life is temporary.

august, september, & october all passed without trouble. we were grieving over our summertime losses, but everything was going well. until november 1st, when i experienced an awful panic attack at work. i felt like my entire body was seizing up...i'm not really sure what even triggered it but it was so terrifying that i had to leave work early. over the next few days i felt "dizzy" or "foggy", like my body was present but my mind wasn't. i felt like everything was fake -- constantly terrified of the next time a panic attack would occur.

afterwards, my anxiety level shot up -- and the only thing i could attribute the dizziness & panic attack to was my birth control. so i stopped the pill, cold turkey and got better for a couple weeks. i felt fine & the dizziness stopped. however, a few days ago i experienced a crippling panic attack, one that made me feel like i was going to die. since then i've been suffering from awful depression...i can't even articulate what's got me so "down in the dumps". i just feel sad ALL THE TIME. like a huge weight is sitting on my chest. i feel better when i'm around my loved ones, but can't seem to shake this feeling that something bad is going to happen. i panic when i'm alone because it all seems to rush at me when i'm by myself.

now, i think it's a combination of grief (up until this point in my life i'd never really experienced death at a conceptual level) and, after having read this post, the birth control as well as having stopped the pill. i don't understand how doctors can disregard how badly this can/may be affecting our bodies. it almost seems logical that we, as women, would experience these types of negative effects after putting synthetic drugs into our bodies for so long.

however, i'm comforted to know that i'm not the only one going through this. up until today, i've felt like i was losing my mind, which only increased anxiety. my mom suggests i see a therapist, but i know i'm stronger than antidepressants. hopefully this all will pass and we'll be able to live our lives normally again. thanks for listening to what i had to say -- putting what i've been going through onto paper has helped immensely. so, good luck to you all and know you're not alone...


PS- i don't see the MAN thread for this BS. screw being a woman & having awful hormonal fluctuation. :-)
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callshea wrote:

Ladies,

I was on Yasmin for exactly one year-since september 07 and stopped taking it in september 08. I cannot tell you how much this site has helped me. My symptoms are severe around my period (starts about 3 days before my period and lasts about 10-14 days) then poof! with the middle of my cycle the depression lifts, anxiety goes away, heavyness in my chest disappears and that "fuzzy confused brain" vanishes. Then it comes back again around my period--with each cycle it gets better but I cannot tell ou how much I have been suffering.

It is the drop in estrogen during our periods that are causing these symptoms. When we take the pill, our ovaries shut down and stop making estrogen completely and we give our bodies estrogen via the pill. When we STOP the pill, we have no estrogen coming from anywhere. It takes about 6 months to fully charge up your ovaries to start producing the same amounts of hormones including the 3 estrogens (vital to regulating heart rhythm, anxiety, memory, mental health, mood, depression, sleep, overall sense of well-being and 400 other bodily functions!), progesterone, and testosterone-mainly for sex drive. I have done a TON of research after being hospitalized for tachycardia 2 weeks after stopping the pill. My internist had an idea--to log everyday of my cycle and keep a journal. Well, I have created my own website (actually my fiance made it for me since this has turned our lives upside down and he just wants his fiance back) and a daily blog of what I"m going through if you all want to check it out and see if you relate and it helps you not feel alone in this. It has been the worst experience of my life, but we all have to remember that IT WILL END and WE WILL GET BETTER. Doctors are tempted to give you anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds but you know our body and noone can tell you what you are feeling and what is "normal" for you.

also, if anyone is interested in being involved in a study-(simple questionaires) that Id like to ask you and get a full on research going (my internist is involved) where we can correlate all these SAME symptoms we are having to coming off the pill, I'd like to shine some light on this never before discussed topic so people like us dont continue thinking that we're JUST GOING NUTS and we can make these pharmecutical companies realize that these symptoms are real and need to be put on the back of the box just like "may cause stroke, heart disease, blood clots when taking this medication".

for a detailed summary of what I've been going through, ck out my daily blog since stopping the pill: bcpsurvivors.com/blog



Hi! I just wanted to let you know I checked out your site and I think it's great. I also wanted to let you know that I have experienced just about everything you write about. I too was a normal happy confident person and the pill just about wiped me out. I am on my 5th month pill free and it does get better. I'm certainly not 100% but I too now realize that the only way to recover is through time (I just wish that that time would be shorter and pass more quickly!). But at least now I am having more good/neutral days than bad ones and all I can do is wait for the days when I have all good days. Thanks for sharing your story!
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I am so relieved to have found this forum. I was on ortho tri low for approximately 4 years and two months ago stopped. On Nov 5th while at work I felt my heart race and immediately when to the health unit. At that point the rate was 120, I chocked it up to too much coffee and lack of sleep. It happened again exactly one week later and since then has occured every now and then. On top of the palpitations I wasn't able to sleep at night and began to feel extremely anxious. This all lead to bouts of very bad depression where I stayed in bed for as long as possible and refused to eat. I thought I was going crazy. My family noticed a change in me as well. I could no longer function as a wife and mother. I couldn't even go to work. I've been to the ER a number of times had 6 EKGs, wore a heart monitor and had 2 echo cardiograms and a number of blood tests. Thank God they all turned out normal so my doctor now has me on beta blockers and anti anxiety meds. I never thought I'd be the type to her meds on my bedside table. My fiance works in the medical field and suggested the problems could be due to my stopping the BC pills but my doctor quickly dismissed that idea. It wasn't until I went to see a cardiologist that she had seen cases where that would be possible and now I find this site where people are going through the exact same thing so I know I'm not going crazy. I've recently started back on the pills and hopefully it will help balance out my hormone level and bring me back to normal. I'm currently on modified medical leave and able to work from home. I still have times of anxiety and have to force myself to go out and get some fresh air but reading this lets me know there is light at the end of the tunnel. It has also forced me to change my eating habits drastically. I have cut out the processed sugar and only eat fish, fruits and veggies. I am still on the anti anxiety and beta blocker meds and hopefully will be able to stop within a few months. My husband and I want to try and have a baby at the end of this year but I will definitely have to find a holistic way to regulate my hormone levels before going off the pills again.
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Hi everyone I just wanted to let everyone know how helpful it was to read this forum!! I thought I was chemically imbalanced and needed pills or something! I've been on birthcontrol since I was 14 I'm 21 now and I just went off the pill a month ago. I started having debilatating anxiety attacks to the point it was interfering with me be able to go to school. I have constant mood swings, i constantly feel down and like everything is wrong, i'm agitated and confused i've been forgetting a lot of things and I feel like I am constantly in a dream. I feel so much better just knowing that I am not the only one who is experiencing these kinds of symptoms. OMG this is so scary to think what we are putting into our bodies and what it is doing to us!!!Wish you all the best, take it one day at a time and know that you are not alone!
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Like many of you, I'm happy to have found this site. I was on the pill (yasmin) for 22 years, am now 40, and wanted to get off it. I had no idea that it would be this bad. I have been off it one month, but I don't manage to sleep at all, look like a real zombie, can't focus. I am normally a very active person with a job that involves lot of travel to tough spots, and I can hardly drag myself out of bed. My back has never hurt like this before, my neck seems blocked most of the time, and I get depressed. I had read getting of the pill would increase my sex drive, it certainly has NOT been the case so far, quite the contrary..... Am meeting this weekend with my acupuncturist/homeopathic doctor, hoping she can help in some way. But it has been a relief to find this website and I hope it will indeed get better, though six months is a long time to go.....
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I am so happy to know that im not the only one that beleives that it's my birth control that has made me a mess. I'm 33 and was on Loestrin or actually the generic for almost 3 months 4 days away from my placebo when out of no where I experienced a horrible panic attack. I had never had one in my life and it terrified me. Needless to say that I could not sleep for the next 3 nights and was afraid I was going to wind up going crazy. I went to an emergency clinic where i was handed a quiz with 5 questions that said I was depressed and this gave the NP the okay to prescribe me "Prozac". I knew I wasn't depressed but that something was wrong. A friend of mine said that more than likely my hormones were out of wack because of the Loestrin I was on was to strong for my needs. I followed up with my PCP on Monday and then again on Wednesday because I felt like a complete mess. He agreed that he did not feel I needed the Prozac but that i should return to the pill and game me samples of Mircette. I cant make up my mind if I want to start taking them or not. I really just want to go off the pill all together but its so hard and from what I'm reading I dont think its going to get any better for a long time. I'm the mother of 12 year old boy and the thought of not being able to take care of him because of something that is beyond my control infuriates me. I feel like things will never get better....
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I know everyone starts off with "I'm so happy that I'm not the only one..." and I giggled to myself, but as I read I do have to say, I am so glad I am not the only one and that there are others out there too. This is my third jump off the pill since I was 13 (once at 27, once about a year ago, and now switching to the UTI w/o hormone)s. I am 31 years old and remember getting off the pill to conceive my daughter and between getting off and her conception I was reaching levels of what I would consider depression in terms of crying, not being able to pick myself up off the floor, and cutting myself to relieve the pain (actually just making small hole size indentations since I am deathly scared of blood)... and this is not to say that I don't have a form of mild depression perhaps, however it had never been that bad.

Although these episodes that I seem to be steam rolling me over are enough to make me feel like I'm going through puberty again (crying, anxiety, irrational thoughts about the poor significant other). I am glad to hear that there is an end to this and I don't have to seek professional help in terms of medication.

My OBGYN is a great doctor and covers the whole gammet, however this was one area that I do have to say she forgot to tell me about. The last time I got off the pill and I told her about the anxiety and depression that I was going through, she handed me a card to the a local mental health practitioner (which I didn't have time to go and see seeing that I am a single mom with a then 2 year old).

So thank God or Buddah, or all the Goddesses for all of your voices and for the internet because my next step was my doctor for some of those happy pills.
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Add me to the list of people who are happy to see this forum. I've jumped off Orthocept a few times over 17 years. This last time, I'd been on it for about 3-4 years and went off because I got married.

For the first month, I had mostly physical symptoms - horrible bloating, digestive issues, cramps, weird abdominal pains, and fatigue. In month 2, the physical symptoms got a LOT better, but they've been replaced with anxiety and facial breakouts. I've basically turned into a hypochondriac with low self-esteem and no motivation. Also, I've only had one weak attempt at a period and I'm about to enter month 3.

I will say this: all of my symptoms seem to be slowly getting better. My husband and I were both starting to worry about the anxiety, but it's gone from a 10 to a 6, and is still headed downward as of week 7. And I haven't had a yeast infection since day 1 (yay!).

So hang in there. I haven't taken any additional supplements... just forced myself to exercise and get some cognitive help for the anxiety.
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..and another one :-)
My story is a bit different. I started having a whole load of symptoms while I was still on the pill (13 years). The most significant was the horrendous depressive mood swings which made it impossible to function. I went on holiday to mexico to give myself a break and saw a doctor out there. He gave me an accupuncture session and tested my hormone levels. My oestrogen was at 11pg/ml (reference range minimum 18pg/ml). His reccommendation was to stop the pill immediately as this was the most likely cause of the problems.

So I stopped but didn't see any improvement. I had a whole host of symptoms from nausea, headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure, tachycardia, eye twitches, tiredness, dizzy/spacey feelings, confusion, "brain fog", weight loss and massively depressive or aggressive mood swings. I went to 2 different gps, and 2 specialists (gastro and endocrinologist) trying to find the cause of the problem. None of them said it was to do with the pill or female hormones even though they knew the previous test results.

Fortunately after 4 months of absolute hell and normal tests (none of them tested anything other than FSH which was always normal), the symptoms suddenly started resolving themselves. Next, they started occurring in a 28 day cycle (as pms) which made the link back to it being caused by female hormones. So now, I feel much better, plus I have a good idea what caused the problem as well as knowing that it will go away with time. I just have to grit my teeth through it for a bit longer.

The improvement in symptoms came after having accupuncture sessions. Whether this was the reason or coincidence I can't say but it is definitely worth a try. I now take evening primrose oil every day and magnesium with B6 during PMS time. Does it help? Not sure as the symptoms are changing all the time, but I'll keep trying.

I also have started increasing my intake of phytoestrogens as this is supposed to help balance female hormones. This means I just make myself a bowl of miso soup with soya beans nearly every day. I'm hoping this will speed things up.

I still get frequent mild headaches, tiredness, mood swings although much milder and some weird stomach feelings. But i can function and often feel like my old self (albeit a little battered).
I couldn't have got through it without the help of friends and family and a sympathetic doctor who was at least prepared to help me find the cause of the problem and not just prescribe anti-depressants.
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I'm obviously also glad to find this site, but more because it makes me scared! It has been nine days since I was supposed to start a new pack of TriNessa. My partner and I recently broke up and, in my post-breakup daze, I just forgot to start a new pack. Once I realized, I figured this is a good time to take a bcp break so I haven't taken any more.

I've always been a bit anxious and tend to get depressed -- have been on SSRIs for about nine years -- but many members of my immediate family have struggled with depression and chemical imbalances, so I like to think I validly need my medication.

Anyway, I have noticed decreased appetite, but attributed it to my breakup. Now I'm thinking maybe it's the bcp?? Other than some noticeable changes in my discharge (sorry), any sadness and crying bouts that I've experienced have seemed logically related to breaking up with my longtime bf. My real issue is a bit different -- I tend to be a little bit of a s toner and now I'm stressing about whether I should stop smoking too, as this clearly can exacerbate paranoia and/or depression. Then, I figure that taking another substance away from my body right now is not likely to help anything.

I will try to come back and post in a couple months with an update. I know that soon enough I'll want the contraception aspect but now I may be too scared to back on the pill %-)
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