Has anyone been on the pill/patch/ring/shot/Mirena IUD for 10 years or more and then gone off? Experiences? @skwiggs I think you said you did that recently?
I had absolutely hellish periods and a few ovarian cysts, went on the pill for about 7-8 years, had lots of breakthrough and other side effects, went off for about 1.5 years and it was AWFUL, tried a few other brands of pills (same problems), then tried Nuvaring and stuck with it. I've been on Nuvaring for about 11 years, zero problems. Now starting to have breakthrough bleeding and sometimes irritation. This may be because I am 40 and my hormones are changing?
No one seems to know how long is "safe" to stay on hormonal bc, and there is very little data on Nuvaring since it came out in 2001.
Since strokes run in my family, I am worried about my increased risk by being on the ring. I also don't like that it increases risk of certain cancers, blood clots, liver/gallbladder problems, etc. I also don't want to go back to period hell, so I am not sure what to do. I mean, menopause could be like 15 years away for me. My family doctor doesn't consider herself a bc expert, so she referred me to a gyn who I felt was extremely dismissive of my concerns. My ultrasound was normal, so I don't know what's going on with me and the ring?
That's really helpful, thanks! It is going to take some time to shop around to find a good doctor, but I'll get on that this week.
This is not a medical recommendation, 🙃 but for research purposes, the low dose was Larin Fe 1/20 (20 mcg). The very low dose was Lo Loestrin Fe (10 mcg). Both of those formulas, instead of sugar pills for the off/period week, had iron supplements, hence the Fe. As an old, non-anemic, not bleeding person, I just skipped that week’s pills. I had zero periods with either of these prescriptions. The doctor warned me that could be a “side effect” but it was a welcome one. When I stopped the pills altogether after this two-year step-down in hormones, I had one normal, uneventful period and that was the end of it all. I had a great doctor who was able to coast me into menopause with very little drama. It’s definitely worth finding someone who listens to your concerns and is able to answer all your questions in depth instead of dismissing you.
@skwigg Do you happen to remember the name of the low dose and very low dose pills? Maybe I should look into those. It's hard to know what to do, because *I* am low risk, although my family history is not. The other thing is, I'd rather not have 15ish years of bleeding heavily and being miserable every month, assuming that's how far off menopause is.
I am also in the never wanted kids camp. I am NOT okay with an IUD, which people keep suggesting to me (lower-risk hormonal profile I guess). I know too many people with horror stories.
I do think I should also look for a different doctor who takes me seriously. Thanks for your help!
I took hormonal birth control pills for 32 years straight with no issues. I was low risk as a healthy non-smoker, even as I got older. I know risk does vary with age, lifestyle, and family history. For 30 of those years, I was using a tri-phasic pill where hormone levels dropped each week, and one week a month there were no hormones. When I turned 50, I did one year on a low-dose pill followed by one year on a very low-dose pill. At 52, I stopped altogether. I feel like stepping down the hormone levels gradually over a couple of years helped me through peri menopause with very few issues.
It’s a conundrum for sure. I stayed on the pill so long because it worked so well with no side effects, that and I wasn’t willing to risk pregnancy even a little bit. When I was young, doctors were hesitant about tubal ligation, thinking I would change my mind. Then, when I was old, I became hesitant in case my biological clock started gonging. It never did though. In hindsight, that would have been a good option, I’m talking the real surgery, not the office procedure where they put metal springs in your fallopian tubes. That has some real problems, apparently. I had considered switching methods at various times, but so many women around me seemed to have trouble with implants, injections, rings, and IUDs, that I just kept doing what was working.
I hope you find something that you feel comfortable with. Maybe a different doctor would be more helpful and understanding of your concerns.