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Long term use of the pill

I'm sure this isn't the right board and I know we're not medical experts, but I"m looking for personal opinion. Does anyone have concerns about long term use of birth control? I've talked to my PCP and GYN before and they say there's "no risk" to long term use, as long into menopause, but I never feel that confident. I feel my GYN sort of brushes this off like "why are you even asking this question?" My biggest concerns are things like developing cancer or other major health risks (stroke, heart attack) due to prolonged use. Unfortunately my family isn't great about sharing long term family history, but I'm not aware of any major family history of any of these disorders. I don't smoke which is good, I know that increases risks. I don't plan on having children (hence the contemplation of remaining on some form of BC for a long time.) 

I can't find any real medical evidence there is an issue with long term use. Do any of you ladies have concerns if you plan on or have been on BC for a long period of time, let's say more than 5 years at a time? TMI, I do feel the benefits I get (relief) from BC could outweigh the risk of long term use since I don't see a lot of information saying I'll have an issue. Thus far I've been lucky in finding a BC with side effects that are relatively manageable for what I would face without it. Again TMI ( sorry!) I did try going off of BC about 10 years ago now and had a terrible experience, I didn't last more than 6 months because it was just too much for me. I tried explaining that to my GYN, but she just said "now that you're older the issues you faced (which I explained to her in great detail) won't be as bad." I just don't know if that's true. I guess I'm really scare to go off of it too just to try it and then have to adjust to the medicine again if it doesn't work out again.

Thanks for your feedback. I will be sure to speak with my PCP and GYN next time I have a physical to make sure I'm clear with my concern. I know I should probably switch GYN's too if I'm not that comfortable with her advice, you have to find the right fit.

Re: Long term use of the pill

  • Sorry, no advice on long term affects, I was on the pill from age 15-22 and have had an IUD ever since so I have never "gone off" birth control. If you don't plan on having kids have you thought of an IUD? I just had my second Mirena put in and I love it.. I didn't have any crazy issues, I haven't had a period in almost 5 years and I love not having to remember to refill an prescription or take a pill at the same time every day. We are still up in the air on if we want kids but we know it will be at least another 4 or 5 years until we start thinking that way so the IUD option seemed like the best one for me.
  • I've had the same concerns about long term use.  I've been on the pill consistently for over 10 years. My doctor would prefer to see me off it because I've had episodes of high blood pressure, although they have always sorted themselves out.   I don't necessarily feel good about taking hormones for the next 10, 20, 30 years until I go through menopause but I'm not comfortable having surgery to have my tubes tied.  DH and I have been talking about him getting a vasectomy so I can come off birth control permanently.
  • No real advice from me either but i was on the pill from age 17-30 with no issues. I had a Mirena IUD put in just last March because we aren't planning on having kids and i was just tired of remembering to take the pill and filling the scripts (and paying copays) all the time.  I LOVE the IUD!!
    imageimage
  • I've looked into the IUD several years ago (4 or 5 now.) My old doctor recommended the non-hormonal IUD since I have concerns with being on the pill. The only benefit my doctor could recommend (other than the obvious not getting pregnant) is "losing weight" due to the lack of hormones. I did a lot of research and found that this method would give me all the fun side effects us women get monthly that led me to the pill in the first place and may make it worse, at least for the first few months while your body adjusts. Non-hormonal methods never make your period go away. I also have bad skin. I've battled it since I was going into my teen years. The pill seems to help a little.

    I don't like taking a pill every day and I find it's a pain to have to refill scripts. Have you ladies found that the IUD is ok if you haven't had kids? I did my research probably 4 years ago now (maybe longer than that?) and it was strongly discouraging women who haven't had children against an IUD since your cervix (?) isn't stretched out. I assume they may have fixed the issue over the course of 5 years since it seems more popular now.
  • The insertion of the IUD was alittle painful from the time of insertion for about 24 hours (think bad period cramps) but other than that no issues at all.  Once it is inserted, you go back after a month to make sure that it has remained in place.

    I had also spoken to my doctor about the concern of just how high of a dose of hormones is in the Mirena IUD.  I had one birth control pill that made me crazy (Ortho Tri Cyclen) b/c it was too high and i had then switched to a lower dose, which i had success with for many years.  My doctor told me that the concentration of hormones in the IUD is even less than the pill because the IUD is closer to the area it needs to be so the hormones don't need to be as high. 

    I'm just coming up to a year now with my IUD. I rarely get a period, if i do its a day of spotting. Twice ive had a day of regular bleeding but that was it.  No cramping, rare PMS feelings.
    imageimage
  • A little painful I could deal probably deal with.  I had been considering the Mirena but a friend of mine told me the insertion was very painful which really turned me off.  Maybe I'll consider it again...
  • ab6704a said:
    A little painful I could deal probably deal with.  I had been considering the Mirena but a friend of mine told me the insertion was very painful which really turned me off.  Maybe I'll consider it again...
    it was painful but not anything that couldnt be tolerated. I went to the doctor alone and drove home fine. I would suggest just going home after the appt to rest. I wound up going to the store afterwards because my husband and i were in the middle of an emergency bathroom renovation.  But honestly by the next morning i was 85% better and the next day, 100%. It was just those first few hours after the insertion that were uncomfortable.
    imageimage
  • I know the pill affects everyone differently. I've been on some form of a BC pill since I was 16. I still take it and I'm 34. I've honestly never felt any side effects. My doctor has also expressed to me that I don't have anything to worry about by continuing to take it. 
  • ab6704a said:
    A little painful I could deal probably deal with.  I had been considering the Mirena but a friend of mine told me the insertion was very painful which really turned me off.  Maybe I'll consider it again...
    it was painful but not anything that couldnt be tolerated. I went to the doctor alone and drove home fine. I would suggest just going home after the appt to rest. I wound up going to the store afterwards because my husband and i were in the middle of an emergency bathroom renovation.  But honestly by the next morning i was 85% better and the next day, 100%. It was just those first few hours after the insertion that were uncomfortable.
    I've never heard of long-term side effects from prolonged birth control use.

    I'll add - everyone's reactions to getting an IUD inserted can be different. What I felt was definitely quite a bit more painful than "bad period cramps"....in fact I'd call them more...early labor pains (that was the word my mom used anyway when I described the pain). Insertion was easy, the pain afterwards is the hard part, but it usually subsides within 24 to 48 hours. I have the non-horomonal IUD because my periods before the pill were pretty regular and I never had serious PMS symptoms. There's a newer (smaller) hormonal IUD on the market called Skyla that my doctor also recommended. Like Mirena, you'll eventually stop having periods...but it's the better choice of an IUD if you've never had a baby before.
  • Like Mirena, you'll eventually stop having periods...but it's the better choice of an IUD if you've never had a baby before.
    That was a huge turn off, reading the reviews from women who never had babies. Again it was so long ago things may have changed. I'm all for no-periods, but I'm afraid what happens to your body since a period is "natural" in getting rid of what you don't use. I talked to my doctor a long time ago about the shot, but that makes you gain weight and can make your skin worse, I was discouraged from it. I'm not sure too many people get the shot anymore and the idea of having to go every 3 months sounds like a PITA.


  • I've been on Mircette since 1999, so 16 years now.  Not only is it because I don't want kids, but also because my periods were extremely irregular, which is why I was put on it in the first place.  Now I'm in my 40s and my gyn wants to wean me off of them; therefore putting me on Lo Loestrin Fe to continue to decrease the dosage as he does every year. 

    No side effects from the Mircette after all these years, and because the dosage is so low, doc says it doesn't increase my chances of stroke or other issues.  That, and I just continue to pray for my health.  :)  GL!

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