Pillow Talk

Four years ago, I started taking birth control, but my perception of it was a lot simpler than reality. I thought I would be prescribed a pill and take it until I wanted to stop taking birth control. What I didn’t know was it only works out that way for a handful of women. For many others, including myself, taking birth control involves many trials and even more errors.

Menstrual irregularity, fatigue, mood swings, weight changes and more side effects had me switching through six pill prescriptions over the next three years. By then, I was becoming tired of not knowing the right option for me. That, combined with the effects of a four-month-long period, led me to set up an appointment to consider other nonpill options.

After researching possibilities, I decided to get an intrauterine device (IUD) — a small piece of plastic with copper or hormones used to prevent pregnancy and alleviate period symptoms. I liked the idea that you didn’t have to worry about it until six years down the line when it needs to be removed.

However, complications with insertion left me without an IUD, in severe pain, $300 down and frustrated that my struggles with birth control were far from over. Before I could consider other options, I was unexpectedly thrust onto one. Due to the severity of my symptoms with the pill I was on, my doctor administered a birth control shot to immediately stop my period. From before I was even given it to a few months later, I knew the shot wasn’t for me. So, I decided to give the IUD another try.

So finally, after a successful insertion of an IUD, side effects put me out of commission for over a month from work and nearly every other activity that involved standing up for longer than two minutes. I was miserable and not yet satisfied that my hunt for a birth control option was over, as my body started rejecting the device after the first two months I had it.

Birth control can seriously mess with someone’s body, and finding the right option is frustrating. While everyone’s experience is different, I know the process can be disheartening and cause other complications. It can have an effect on mood, motivation, relationships and one’s sex life. It is important for people who don’t use birth control to understand how difficult it can be on those who do. However, it is even more crucial for people who do use hormonal birth control to know no one is alone in the trials and tribulations of it.