Taking My Life Back: My Journey With Birth Control

Article Media

Editor Note: People take birth control for so many reasons! This is a great story from one teen about how they were able to manage their health with birth control. Although it’s great that SG could go with a parent, California law does not require it and there are ways for teens to get free and confidential birth control services. Things might be a little bit different now with shelter-in-place orders, but you can call a clinic near you to find out what options are available for you to start birth control.

JUNE, 2017: I wake up on a Saturday morning and I already know what’s coming. My body is swirling with a combination of pain and excessive heat. I rush into the bathroom and feel the cold tiles of the floor before I vomit profusely into the toilet. I spasm in pain as my digestive tract continues to purge my already empty stomach. Once the misery passes, I take a bath in an attempt to soothe the cramp flare up and then climb back into bed, exhausted. For me and many others, this is a “normal” period symptom. At least, this time, I didn’t vomit in front of my classmates. As I lay in bed, I pledged this was going to be the last time. Heavy limbed from that morning’s episode, I called out to my mom from the couch,

“Can I go on birth control?”

I had been researching a potential remedy for my condition for some time. The pill promised a lighter period, fewer cramps and maybe even acne-fighting properties. My mom had the same experiences as a teenager, yet she was suspicious that the pill would cause my hormones to become more out of whack. Even so, we went to the doctor and we agreed that the pill would be worth a try.

I began my three months of Sprintec, and although I calculated the benefits of the pill before I started, I was amazed by the effects. My skin was glowing, I had less PMS symptoms and most of all, the awful vortex of pain in my body had ceased. My periods were lighter and manageable, I no longer had to worry about the next attack my body would launch against itself.

Maybe you’re wondering what was causing my pain, or you feel as if you or someone you know is experiencing this same disorder. My doctor diagnosed me with primary dysmenorrhea – a condition where you may experience extremely painful cramps, pressure in the abdomen, soreness/pain in hips, lower back and inner thighs, and vomiting. Dysmenorrhea is most effectively treated (I say effectively because some people get relief from ibuprofen or naproxen but it is not reliable for everyone) using hormonal birth control such as the pill, IUD, the implant, and many others; this treatment is called hormone therapy.

Today I use Mirena, a long-term hormonal IUD that lasts for more than 5 years. Using a long-acting reversible contraceptive method is ideal for a student like me because as my life gets busier, it makes it harder to keep up with the one time dosages of the pill. I've had quite a good experience having the Mirena inserted, although the actual insertion itself was painful, but manageable with ibuprofen.

I'm writing this blog post for those who are also experiencing these symptoms or know someone who has. I hope that, with a doctor visit, you too can take back your life.

To learn more about birth control options that might be right for you, whether you are using them to prevent pregnancy or something else, check out TeenSource!