Medical Questions > Womens Health > Birth Control Forum

Hormonal Birth Control Problems/Concerns.

I am a 26 year old female and I have a lot of concerns about taking hormonal birth control pills. A few years ago, I had started taking Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo. I was only on it for a few months, taking the pill on time (though I missed one and doubled up the next day). I ended up getting pregnant while using the pill and had an abortion.

Immediately after the procedure, I began taking Ortho Cyclen, as the doctors were concerned that the low dosage of hormones was not enough the first time around. With Ortho Cyclen, I felt horrible: bad cramps, extreme mood swings, bloating, etc. My period was coming early every month, before I even started the Placebo pills. I felt so horrible most of the time and was afraid it wasn't working (due to the early menstruation) so I went off the medication and switched to condoms.

After using condoms for about 2 years, I ended up becoming pregnant while using a condom (no noticeable breakage or leaks) and had another abortion procedure. I have been put on another pill: Microgestin Fe 1/20. I have not had many of the side effects as before, but I also did not get my period this month. I was told at the clinic that if I took the pills on time every day (I have done this RELIGIOUSLY) that I would start during the week of placebo pills. I did not and have had feelings that are typical for me when I am ovulating. My concern: I thought I was not supposed to be ovulating?

I am concerned that (1) the hormonal birth control pills are not working effctively. If I do NOT get my period during the placebo pills- does that mean that the dosage is too low and the pills are failing to do what they are intended to do. I am overweight (190 lbs.) and have read that this can affect the efficacy of the pill. Is that what is happening?

I have resorted to this, because every time I see a doctor they assure me that everything is fine and just recommend another pill or another method. I am tired of repeating this process. I just want to know that I am protected. I am in a long term relationship and we currently have no sex life whatsoever.

How do I know if these pills are working? What can I do to properly protect myself? What questions should I ask my doctor? What tests can I get done to determine if the pills are working and if I have some sort of hormonal imbalance that causes difficulties with this form of birth control.

Please help!!!
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replied June 25th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
Sometimes pills fail. That's just the reality of birth control is that nothing is 100% yet.

If you are overweight then birth control pills can be less effective and higher dosages of hormones isn't always the answer.

Continue taking your pills, assuming they aren't making you ill, and pair that up with condoms (with spermicides). Back up methods will lower the risk of pregnancy. If you feel that you are ovulating, then I would buy an ovulation test to be sure. Not getting your period does not mean you are or are not ovulating.

Also, you can consider other options like IUD.
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replied June 25th, 2009
Experienced User
It sounds to me like hormonal birth control might not be the best choice for you. I'm sorry things haven't been working out, it sounds like a difficult situation.

Being even slightly overweight can actually adversely effect how your body absorbs and uses the hormones in your pill. It is very possible that you have not undergone a treatment with enough hormones to keep you from ovulating.

It might be worthwhile trying different forms of hormonal contraception before giving up on it completely. Pills are great, but things that are out of your control can effect them. Sometimes, if they are not properly absorbed in your gastro-intestinal tract, the pill can easily loose its efficacy.
Have you thought about the shot? NuvaRing? Even the implant? If none of those seem like good ideas, or might be risky because of your weight, I would seriously consider the IUD.
You can get a non-hormonal copper IUD which is very effective when preventing pregnancy. You can also try a hormonal IUD. These stop ovulation right from the source. It might be a worthwhile idea to consider if nothing else seems to be working.
Best of luck!
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