I recently decided to take the plunge and go on birth control to treat some side effects of PCOS (mainly incredibly irregular, long periods and unrelated increasingly intense ovulation pain--as in so bad it makes it uncomfortable to exercise let alone try for another kid if we ever wanted to). I haven't been on the pill since college, and never reacted well to it. I was in it partially for BC, and also because I had exercise-induced amenorrhea and several stress fractures so I needed to have some cycling estrogen. I of course can't remember the name of the pill I was on for the longest time that did work well for me (which was prescribed by the campus doc at my college). I had a lot of water retention with one (not weight gain), insane mood swings with another, but it was ultimately relentless yeast infections that sent me running for a Paraguard IUD after I was done competing in sports in college so didn't need to worry as much about my bones. After my second daughter was born is when everything went haywire.
I asked for something low-dose due to my past difficulties, and my doctor prescribed Loestrin 24. About 1.5 weeks in I was hit with exhaustion--the kind you only experience during your first trimester of pregnancy. I have had a few intense headaches (I never get headaches otherwise), slight shortness of breath, and cannot think straight (it seems to go along with the exhaustion). I'm also constantly an inch from flying off the handle.
Has anyone experienced this, and were you ultimately able to find a pill that worked for you? I'm so close to just tossing the pack (don't worry--I'd actually do a drug drop off), but i am also fed up with getting my period every 24-36 days and it lasting for 9-10 days with 2 days of horrible ovulation pain in between. I'd really like to find a pill that works for me. Any suggestions?
clementine / 935 posts
Following. I started the pill for amenorrhea in college, loved the one I was on and stayed on until time for DD. Didn't get a period for the 16 months I breastfed, then immediately started with a very regular cycle but with long periods, serious ovulation pain, and some mid cycle spotting. I don't have PCOS, but my dr suggested going back on the pill to see if that helped with the spotting and long periods.
I tried one of the ultra low dose pills the first month and literally spotted the entire pack. Now I'm on month two of a low dose bill (Nortrel, I think?) and I had a really light short period but now a week of spotting mid cycle. I'm REALLY hoping it gets better in the next few months, or I can find another pill.
Long story basically to say I think it's a lot of slow trial and error (since it can take 3-4 months to adjust to any pill) but if you're really unhappy with the side effects you should definitely ask for a different one! In my case I think I actually do much better with a higher dosage pill, and may even need to step up one more level.
ETA: your symptoms actually sound similar to the symptoms of low estrogen - you might be in a similar boat as me!
persimmon / 1023 posts
I have PCOS and have been on the pill since I was 16. I started with Tri-cyclen and was on that until my early 20's. This is when I was diagnosed with PCOS due an acute ovarian cyst/rupture situation and further testing yielded the PCOS dx. I tried the low dose but it never worked for me. I've now been on Mirvala for like 6 years now and it's the best one for me so far. I hate hormonal BC but it allows me to avoid the crazy cramp/cyst 'attacks' I get without it. IIRC mirvala is a higher dose that is more consistent?
I think it's so highly individualized in terms of symptom management when considering pills, IUD's, etc. I read some people have awesome experiences with IUD's for PCOS and some are worse. Some are fine with low dose pills, some aren't. I don't want to mess with what I have now, but I'm not entirely happy with it (weight gain, mood, libido, etc)
ETA: I have not been pregnant and don't plan on becoming pregnant so I can't speak to any of those changes to symptoms (DW had our son) and my periods have been totally manageable and like clockwork since I took it. 3-4 days and very minor cramping.
persimmon / 1390 posts
Maybe I just need to try a different one. I've had breakthrough bleeding the entire month but expected that. I would do an IUD again if I wasn't nervous about being unsure of how I'd react to the hormones and am a huge supporter of LARC, but also I'm an IUD failure--I got pregnant while on my second one. Apparently when one doesn't stay in place they just replace it, but if it happens again (and you get pregnant like me) you're just not a candidate. I've been nervous of a higher dose this whole time but maybe it's worth trying based on your responses. Thanks!