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Drug-Free Monday.

No more The Pill.Today's post is brought to you by the letters "T," "M," and "I."  And also "Y," for "why the heck am I telling you this?"

Because it may not be just me.  So I'm inclined to both share and draw on the genius of the blogosphere.

My period came when I was 13 years old - textbook "time to become a woman" sort of thing.  And it came for the first time at church.  During Sunday school.  Fantastic.  I knew what was going on (health class + MomTalks = educated Kerri), but the timing was a bit entertaining.

For the first few years, my cycle was more seasonal than monthly.  I only had my period once a season, skipping months at a time, but because I wasn't sexually active, it didn't raise any concerns.  My doctors and my parents decided I was going to take a few years to acclimate to a monthly cycle, and since I was only 16 at the time, it wasn't a raised concern.  I was under the medical microscope at that time anyway, being in my teens, having trouble controlling my blood sugars and/or hormones, and enjoying yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and other high blood sugar added bonuses. 

Once I became sexually active at the age of [hey look, something shiny!], I talked with my doctor about starting on a birth control pill.  Being the paranoid peanut that I am, I talked extensively with my endocrinologist and my gynecologist before deciding on a pill, and kept in close contact when them for the next few years.

But then there were some hiccups in the system that made me rethink the regular pill regimen.  First, I entered my late twenties and realized I had been on hormones for over ten years.  Second, I got engaged, which made me think BABIES and made me want to confirm that my reproductive system was in fine working order.  And thirdly, there was the diagnosis of the Factor V gene, which made regular birth control pills a risky choice and forcing me to try the minipill.

So, with all of these factors (literally and figuratively) in play, I've decided to come off the pill.  Effective last night. 

I've come off the pill once before, in college.  At that time, I was between serious boyfriends and wasn't sexually active.  So, under the advice of my doctor, I stopped taking the pill for eight months.  And during the course of those eight months, I did not get my period even once.  I decided to go back on the pill to re-regulate my cycle and it was only after taking a medication to induce my period did I get one.  Once I was back on the pill, my cycle came predictably and without issue.  But this "gap" concerned me, and I want to make sure I'm okay.

With my marriage behind me, my thirtieth birthday ahead of me, and my desire to start a family becoming more of a "now" than a "later," it's time to make sure my body is ready.  And not just from a diabetes perspective.  From all perspectives.

But - FOR THE RECORD - I am not pregnant.  I am not trying to get pregnant.  And I'm not ready to get pregnant.  When I'm there, I'll definitely share that news proudly!  But for now, I'm going to enjoy being a newlywed for a bit longer.  :)

So ... who out there was on the pill for years and came off it?  I am not sure what to physically expect (Will I cycle right away?  Will my body become sore or more sensitive?  Will I be an emotional wreck?  Will my face fall off?) and I could use some guidance.  Or advice.  Or maybe some coffee would suffice. 

Comments

Hi Kerri,

I came off the pill before we were ready to start trying to conceive, and I didn't have any problems. My cycles were normal from the get-go. My blood sugars did something - either went up or down (down, I think) until I adjusted my basals to my new, non-regulated hormonal status. About a year later, I started having a-typical premenstrual spotting, but I don't think that has anything to do with the pill (since it was a full year later).

My best advice is, if you notice something's off, ask your doc about it right away. If he/she isn't proactive in wanting to do testing, then find a new doc. I lived with the spotting for 6 months before I finally switched docs, figured out I had a progesterone deficiency, and now am no longer having the problem. My former doc didn't think anything was wrong with bleeding for 10-12 days/month. I did see something wrong with it, and am glad my new doc agrees!

I'm not diabetic, and my diabetic daughter is only 5, so I can't offer any insight into going off the pill from that perspective, but almost every woman I know who's been on the pill for a long period and then comes off it does go through an adjustment period. Me, my boobs hurt. A lot - I was wearing a bra to bed so they wouldn't move so much when I rolled over, and whimpering when my husband climbed in beside me.

I'd been on the pill for 15 years without a break at that point. (Even when I wasn't sexually active, I stayed on the pill because my cycles were so frustratingly irregular without it.) I went off the pill at the end of a cycle -- just didn't start a new pack after my period -- and the pain peaked when I was ovulating, then faded to mild discomfort for the next six weeks or so (after which I got pregnant, so I don't know how that affected things).

Probably too much TMI, I could've just said "Boobs ow."

I have nothing constructive to add (never been on the pill) so I will just make a joke about how quickly you went from talking about church to talking about being sexually active!

Hey look, something shiny!

I'm not diabetic either but I went on the pill when my oldest daughter was 6wks old and I was on it for 5 years. We had been talking about having another baby and I discussed things with my GYN doc. He told me that I could come off the pill but to expect a few months to get regulated and for me not to get upset if we didnt get preggers right away....welll ummmmm Fertile Myrtle here.... 21 days after stopping the pill we got 2 pink lines!! I do remember when I came off it, it was almost like my body went into "It's time to have a period" mode and I got my cycle and then got pregnant after that. So just because you spent years on the pill doesnt mean that you cant get pregnant right away! ;)

Good luck (when you're ready...haha) :)

I have learned from experience that when we don't "try" to get pregnant, we get pregnant, lol. So, be careful.
I'm sure your face will fall off, a piece at a time. People will stop and stare at you on the street, for they will "know", lol. No, nothing major will happen, but you might be more emotional for awhile, but everyone is different. You're gonna be fine. Good luck!
Kim Robbins

I got my period around that time as well, and mine was very irregular as well -- I'd have nothing for months at a time, and then bleed for two months straight. I went on the pill to help regulate that, but had to change every few years or so when I started to react to them (horrible side effects, instant weight gain, increased mood swingage). I went off of the pill last spring sometime when I felt like it was interferring with my brain chemistry too much (not only am I type 2 Diabetic, I'm type 2 Bipolar as well, let me tell you what a party that is). I'd been on the pill since I was 16 or 17, so I was looking at eight-odd years of hormones. There was an adjustment period where my sugars dropped a lot and my moods were as unpredictable as ... well, they were bad. Worse than usual for me, so near unbearable for those around me. However, it only took four months for me to get pregnant, and we weren't trying at all. Apparently Metformin (Glucophage) makes you fertile, so be aware of that. So yeah ... I'm probably going to do an IUD after this baby because I'm not 100% comfortable with pumping my body full of those hormones anymore, but we'll see. Just hang in there, and if it doesn't get better or other stuff that's uncomfortable comes up, talk to your doctor. :)

I just went off the pill after 15 years (I was diagnosed Type 1 within months of going on the pill for the first time, so my father the doctor at first tried to rationalize it as Gestational diabetes. He's not an endo, and the endo set him straight that it was Type 1.)

Anyway, just after stopping the pill, I too had a lot of "boobs, ow" for the first few weeks, and a little bit of weight gain, but my period has been rock solid and the most predictable it has ever been.

Nice job pulling the goalie. Personal experience is that right after coming off the pill a women is incredibly fertile. Sometimes the body will ovulate several times due to the change in hormone levels. Good luck!

I'm also not diabetic, but I was on the pill for ... oh, I don't know, 12 years. I stopped it, cold turkey, about 5 years ago. I definitely had "boobs, ow!" for a while and I expected something to happen with my weight. Nothing did. 5 years later, and with no birth control in my body at all, I'm also experiencing the rock solid and predictable period that Pam mentioned. Good luck with everything baby and period related!

Can't help from the diabetes perspective but I was on the pill the first time from my late late teens until my first child at 25 so that wasn't a long period of time but coming off was no trouble at all and I got pg almost instantly. The next time I was on from the age of 25 till 31 and again had no trouble going off and absolutely no trouble conceiving. And then I was on it again after Ian for a few years.

Good luck!!! It's an exciting time. :) I remember those times pre-family as magical times with my husband, planning our future, planning our babies, planning our lives. Enjoy them and cherish them.

I think the thing to take out of this is the "you get pregnant almost immediately" thought, so be very careful if you are sure you want to stay the bride for a few more months. I had no reaction to going off the pill after 5 years of being on it. I didn't miss it. But everytime I went off the pill because I wanted to clean-up the chemicals before getting pregnant, I'd be pregnant within a month, with gestational diabetes to prove it. Best wishes for doing it all in the healthy way you want to.

T1, over 23 yrs.

Got my first period around the same times as you. I was in gymnastics, very active. Docs said that was why my period was "sporadic" or seasonal as you describe it.

Through the years as activity lowered significantly, late high school and early college yrs my period was every month but Not predictable, except it was pure hell for 3 days and on the down swing for the last two. For too many years it was like this, with some awful, just plain Awful symptoms before, during, after.

Two years ago I went on the pill. Went off it over a year later (no money) and I was on schedule, same day each month, with Bad symptoms again, for three months. Last two it came earlier, and worse. I went back on the pill.

All in all, every women is different.
No face falling off. Emotions will be affected, they are hormones, we are hormones, fun.

You will be fine. No doubt.
Good luck!

Hi Kerry

I've had type 1 for about 25 years!

I came off the pill after more than 10 years on it with a view of letting my body get it out of my system and trying for a baby a year later!

I was pregnant a month later .... unplanned!!!!! I know we're not meant to have unplanned pregnancies but it happened to me! Had a healthy baby boy 9 months later :)

Good luck!!

Holy feedback - you guys are so helpful. THANK YOU for all of this information!

For those of you who got pregnant right away, were you using an alternate method of birth control? Or were you just "seeing what happens?" I'm not trying to get pregnant and will be using every barrier method I can find. :) (Whoops, more TMI. But I need to be honest to find out how to deal with this!)

Thanks!!

I was wondering if you were going to use condoms until you start officially trying.

I can't remember exactly when I started the Pill (and for me, it was always a mini-Pill), but I've probably taken some form of oral contraception for ten years or so. I went off it and only noticed that my blood sugars seemed to be better during my periods (i.e., whenever I didn't have the mini-pill in my system). So you may not have any changes at all if you're already taking one.

I guess I'm in the minority here....

T1 for 13 years... similar to your story, I started at the normal time, but was very irregular after I was dx. The longest I went without one was almost a year... and that was just before I went into DKA. I went on the pill to regulate the cycles. Once we were ready to start trying for a kiddo, I came off the pill and immediately went back to irregular cycles. We ended up having to use {four rounds!} of Clomid {talk about horomones!} to get pregnant with our little guy. I am still breastfeeding {he just turned one} and have started weaning to try for the next... but I've only had one period since then and we're expecting to have to use fertility drugs again. Personally, I won't ever go back on the pill - for medical and personal reasons. We use FAM now {it's worth a look into to help prevent pregnancy without the "drugs"}.

Read Jill's comment twice. I'm older than most of your audience and I have seen Jill's comments many times. Good Luck.

I just stopped taking the pill after nearly 12 years on it. (I was diagnosed with type 1 just four years ago, so I've been on the pill that whole time.) But I, too, was worried that my body needed to get back to normal.

I am in serious "pre-pregnancy planning mode" with my endocrinologist, so NOT trying yet. Condoms are the method of choice for now.

My one bit of advice is beware the mittelschmerz! [mit·tel·schmerz (mtl-shmûrts, -shmrts)
n.
Abdominal pain occurring at the time of ovulation, resulting from irritation of the peritoneum by bleeding from the ovulation site. Also called intermenstrual pain.]

I had never heard of this, but after not ovulating in 12 years, the body freaks a little and causes serious cramping at the time of ovulation. Bonus- I'm ovulating! Thankfully I have a friend who is a doctor and also recently married, recently off the pill -- she filled me in on this mysterious medical ailment. Other friends then told me of their mittelschmerz -- one friend's husband nearly took her to the ER for the pain... then they learned what was going on.

Such an adventure this pregnancy planning! Good luck.

Hey Kerri, Just wanted to thank-you for blogging. For just being a steady person I know I can turn to when I need a giggle. With all the wedding preparations I'm going nuts. But I signing to peruse through your blog and got the giggle I needed. Thanks Again.

Jess

There's very little truth to the fact that your body needs time to "recover" from the pill, so yes, you can (and will) get pg just as easily (or not) as you would have gotten pg had you never used anything. For us - the first pg we went off the pill and wanted to try right away so we used nothing, and got pg the first month. With the 2nd pg we went off and wanted to try right away and it took us a whopping 3 months. ;)

But as long as you're using a reliable barrier method (or two) you will be fine. Just remember that your fertility has not changed just because you had been on the pill.

My first was unplanned, but with my second pregnancy I went off the pill and noticed, as many people said, that my basal needs dropped without the hormones. It didn't take me long to get pregnant once we stopped using the alternate method of birth control. I must say, however, that those methods sometimes fail (my daughter is exhibit A of that) which is why I went back on the pill after she was born.

I think it really depends on you and your fertility. For some people it's extremely easy to get pregnant. I'm hoping that it's as easy for you as it was for me. We joke if I sneeze I get pregnant. I'm taking the pill right now and am torn whether or not to get a tubal ligation. I think two kids is enough, but there's a niggling inner voice that says, "HAve another!" I keep having to remind myself that it's not beers I'm talking about but children, and a child hangover lasts A LOT longer!

way to go kerri! i loved it when i stopped taking the pill. my body didnot react much it was almost a "non-event". pregnancy came and then a short but beautiful 16 months later, pregnancy came again. life feels better without the pill. even though you are not trying to get pregnant... i must strongly suggest getting into yoga for when you are ready to conceive, it is a built in pregnancy enhancer - seriously!!! best of fun to you all!

We both know I'm not the typical case here... but I was expecting to adjust when I stopped taking the pill the week we got back from our honeymoon in May. I expected some mood swings and maybe even irregular periods. Which is why I think I was so oblivious when we found out I got pregnant in JUNE. Sheesh! The kidlet is kicking me pretty hard while I type this. Funny.

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