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Sorry, BCP question, but hope you can help

I just started Desogen last Sunday.  I have switched pills a few times this year due to low libido and spotting in between periods a fair amount.  I was a little concerned about the elevated risk for blot clots on Desogen, but don't smoke and try to eat well, exercise, etc.  For the past few days I have been feeling really bloated, my stomach has felt crampy, I have broken out on my face (I have tried some new skin care, but normally do not have a problem when trying new products) and my breasts have felt bigger (not that I mind that so much) and a bit on the tender side and I seem to be itchy, which I know it is winter, but my skin feels much drier than normal and I have not changed any of my body products.   I really want to get off of it ASAP if for no other reason than I have been reading  a lot of reviews from those with blood clots (pulmonary embolisms, DVT, strokes).  I know it is rare and there is still a risk on other BCP, but the nurse that gave them to me did say it was higher with this pill, which didn't bother me at first.  Now I am a bit more concerned, though have not had any symptoms of one yet.  Is it possible to be experiencing side effects this quickly?

Re: Sorry, BCP question, but hope you can help

  • I'm not sure if it is possible to experience side effects that quickly. But if you are uncomfortable/worried about taking it, I wouldn't. Just for your own piece of mind.
  • My other question is can I switch pill brands mid pack or do I have to finish it out?  I am thinking I will have to finish this one, but I hope things will be okay and I don't have any serious side effects.
  • You need to talk to your doctor.  I don't know about BCP but I have experienced sides effects after taking one dose of a medication.  When I called the doctor they told me not to take any more doses and called in a new medication to the pharmacy. 
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  • I believe you would have to stop taking it. Wait for your period and then start the new pack on whatever your start day is (like a sunday).
  • That is going to make DH very unhappy!  We don't want children right now and are very diligent with BC so if I have to stop taking it, I would not feel comfortable only using condoms.  I really would like to get off of it, though.  I think I will call the clinic I go to tomorrow first thing.  I wish they were open today, but they aren't.
  • Not to freak you out, but is there any chance you could be pregnant?
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  • No, I doubt it highly.  I just had my period.  Also, we use condoms and the pill.  We do have sex, so it is not impossible, but I think it is highly unlikely.
  • Talk to your dr. I had to switch pills due to major weight gain and loss of sex drive and I just switched in the middle of the pack with no problem. My doctor said as long as I had been on the other pills regularly and I was positive about not being pregnant, there was no harm in simply switching. 

    Also, have you considered an IUD. If you guys don't want kids right now this may be a very good option. I had one put in after getting frustrated with dealing with side effects from every pill I tried. I had very few side effects with the IUD ( just a little more cramping during periods but nothing terrible) Just a thought :)  

  • That's good to know that switching between pills is a strong possibility.

    I really do not like the idea of an IUD, just my personal feelings.  I really don't mind the pill.  Until this pill the only complaint I had was some light spotting in between periods, which is a little annoying, but better than what I have been experiencing on this pill.  I would prefer to stick with the pill.  I feel more in control that way.  Thanks for the suggestion, though.

  • No one here can tell you if you should or shouldn't stay on this pill, but of course it's possible to be feeling side effects from your body adjusting to the new hormones. You've been on them for a week, that's plenty of time, and all of the symptoms that you describe sound very much hormonal.
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  • Thank you for your reply.  I understand that ultimately the decision is mine and I wasn't looking for opinions on whether or not I should stay on it.  I would really like to switch ASAP.  I am concerned very much about the elevated risk of blood clots and can't stand the side effects.  No BCP has ever caused me this much discomfort and concern.  I appreciate that you indicated that what I am feeling is due to the pill.  It does put my mind at ease to some degree, although I won't be completely comfortable until I am on a different pill.
  • I'll graduate in May with a doctorate in pharmacy, so I can tell you with certainty that there is VERY little difference in the amount of risk for blood clots with the various types of birth control. I actually take the main one that's considered "higher risk" (Yaz) because it works for my body, and because the difference between the various ones is SO small. Please don't let that concern be what makes you switch to a different type. Even my OB/GYN scoffed when I mentioned the recent hype (I have a different health condition that predisposes me to blood clots).

    As far as side effects go, it's very very normal to have fairly noticeable hormonal side effects (bloating, breast swelling, spotting, breast tenderness, etc.) during the first 30-90 days of taking a new BCP. Generally we advise patients to wait at least a month, and often 2 months before changing types due to the fact that the side effects tend to subside over time as your body adjusts to the different type and amount of hormone.

    If you would like any more information, feel free to pm me or post here! :)

  • Hi! Sorry for the long post, but thanks for the chance to share! I'm an MD... That being said, I can't offer medical advice online, and I should disclose that my specialty is Emergency Medicine, not OB/gyn. I think about blood clots a lot, every day, several times a day, and with every patient who tells me they have chest pain, or shortness of breath (most everyone in a busy ED). I am passionate in my pursuit of blood clots, and find one or two a month (almost always in cancer patients, or people who have had them before). I am not as familiar with Desogen, however, if it is any piece of mind, I will tell you that when I am deciding if someone is "low risk" for blood clots, BCPs do not really factor in. I consider "Wells Criteria" and other such scoring systems for my risk stratification as to who is at risk for a blood clot or not. BCPs may put you at slightly higher risk, but you are still LOW RISK unless: you have had a blood clot in the past, history of cancer or recent surgery requiring immobilization/casts, have a fast heart rate (greater than 100 beats per minute) for no good reason, are breathing fast or need supplemental oxygen, are coughing up blood, or have a pulse. Yes bcp's may increase your risk, but it is not by much. If I take two women with equal "pretest probability" of a blood clot, one who takes bcps, and one who does not, I would not order anything different between the two to exclude a blood clot. By having lungs, you have a slight risk for getting a blood clot in them, about ~1% chance in the general population. Only a very small fraction of the blood clots (pulmonary emboli) that I see are life threatening. Chances are if you get a blood clot and it is diagnosed, it will not be the one that will kill you. You are at a much higher risk of dying in a car accident while taking birth control. (Please wear your seat belt, and a helmet if you bike- better yet, wear a helmet in your car with a seat belt.)


    If you feel that your current meds are causing unwanted side effects, you should see your doctor. (Congratulations, btw, for taking control of your family planning- I see many people who have babies and do not consider the big picture of how it will impact their life and personal resources.)  On a personal note, I stopped my hormones due to low libido- we rely on condoms and guestimating when I'm ovulating. It was nice during certain times of my residency to have complete control over when I would have my period, (and I used nuvaring), working 80 hour weeks, and having to be awake for 30 hours every 3-4 days made taking a regular pill difficult. (yes, I worried about blood clots, and high bp, and all the side effects, even knowing that the chances are tiny. I'm a worrier!). I am hesitant with the IUD thing too, but for most of my colleagues, they rave about how wonderful life with an IUD is. 

     Big picure: Getting pregnant is actually hard- there are only a very few days in the month when it is possible. And then the odds of a sperm actually fertilizing the egg, and having that implant in the uterus is even less frequent. A geneticist once told me that a woman loses 90% of all conceptueses (pl. for union of egg and sperm) with her usual period, or in the first few weeks of pregnancy.  It truly is a miracle when pregnancies happen and are successful. 

     Relax (easy for me to say, right?!), enjoy sex- things will happen when it is time and if it is meant to be.

  • Thank you for your long reply.  It has really put me at ease with the blood clot concern.  I am a world class worrier too, so whenever I feel a slight pain in my leg or chest, I sometimes think "what if it is a blood clot," even though it most likely isn't.  I think I will still switch, but I may wait a little longer, just to see if things get better.  I really hate this bloated feeling and I have read reviews of the drug online and people were gaining a LOT of weight on this pill, though I have also read that Desogen really probably isn't the cause.  I work out every day, watch what I eat, but I feel like I am going through PMS (mainly feeling bloated) and I shouldn't be yet. 

    I have a friend who had to stop taking her BCP and whatever other method they were using didn't work.  She has a beautiful baby now.  We just don't want any surprises.  Children are wonderful, but we aren't ready for them.  We are not in a financial position (I know that people always say that, but we mean it) to care for a child.  Thank you for the medical view.  Sometimes I forget that there are only a few days a month that can actually happen, me being the worrier that I am.

    laclifto, you have a PM.
  • imagemusic83lover2001:

    I really hate this bloated feeling and I have read reviews of the drug online and people were gaining a LOT of weight on this pill, though I have also read that Desogen really probably isn't the cause.  I work out every day, watch what I eat, but I feel like I am going through PMS (mainly feeling bloated) and I shouldn't be yet. 


    People don't often create sites on the internet stating how much they absolutely love their birth control. I was on desogen (and two of its different generics) for 5 years without having any problems. I eventually switched because I stopped getting my period, which isn't a big deal except that I use my period as my assurance that I'm not pregnant. Does that mean it would happen to you too? Sure, but there are no guarantees as to how your body will react with any given birth control.

     Now this isn't to say that you shouldn't switch if you dislike the side effects you're experiencing, but just to wait a bit until things even out (at least a month and generally 2-3).

  • Look into the FAM method (fertility awareness method) using the book Taking Charge of your Fertility. No pills or devices or hormones!
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