19/01/2020

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Combined pill

1/5

About the reviewer

Age
26-30
Time used
3 - 5 years
Had children
No
Height
5'4"/162.5cm
Weight
45kg - 50kg / 7st 1lb - 7st 12lb
Currently using
No I've stopped using it

Experience

I took Melodene (75 gestodene/ 20 ethinylestradiol) for about 4 years between the ages of 23 and 27. After a few cycles the first the most noticeable side-effect was the extremely heavy menstrual bleeding, much heavier than I experienced on my already heaviest days during puberty. After I took two packs continuously (without taking the placebos, thus skipping the withdrawal bleed) the next bleed was lighter. I continued to skip the placebo pills every few cycles to control the bleeding, it was less this way but still a lot more than was usual for me. I also experienced headaches for a few days with the onset of my menses, which was also unusual for me. Additionally I experienced fairly regular night sweats on this hormonal contraceptive. This contraceptive had a very negative impact on my mental and sexual health. These effects were gradual and it took me years to notice, even though it had reduced my quality of life significantly in the mean time. I experienced a gradual reduction in sexual desire and gradual increase in vaginal dryness, depression and anxiety. I believe that the negative sexual health effects were a direct result of this contraceptive’s effect on my mental health. The depressive symptoms I experienced was different from depression I experienced before, the constant felling of gloom and being cut-off from yourself was there, but it felt different so I had trouble recognising it. I steadily lost all interest in sex, I didn’t even have a desire to masturbate (I used to almost daily) after about two years, experienced severe vaginal dryness and in the rare instances that I became aroused I could not sustain arousal for more than a minute. This exacerbated my emotional distress greatly. I didn’t have any good sexual, mental or regular health information at the time and doctors were dismissive of my symptoms. Were I body-literate and more aware of my physical and mental self I would have noticed the symptoms much sooner, and if I had access to sound health education and information I would have had the tools and confidence to discontinue this contraceptive sooner. * PS. Use of hormonal contraception triggered Psoriatic arthritis for me personally. I started experiencing joint pain soon after first starting hormonal contraception (a different formulation).

Impact whilst taking

Mood
Very negatively
Weight
I don’t know / can’t tell
Periods
Heavier periods
Sex drive
Loss of sex drive

Side effects whilst taking

Headaches

Increased sweating

High blood pressure

Enlarged breasts

Spots or acne

Back pain

Tender breasts

Vaginal dryness

Womb cramps

Impact after using

Mood
Very positively
Weight
I don’t know / can’t tell
Periods
12-18 months
Sex drive
Increased sex drive

Headaches

Spots or acne

No effects

Experience after taking

After stopping Melodene my periods were immediately much lighter and the night sweats and pms symptoms (including headaches) went away. It a took a while for my cycle to regulate, I started charting my cycle and it has changed some over the past 3 years since discontinuing hormonal contraception. I started to experience premenstrual and ovulation spotting in the year after stopping. I still get spotting with ovulation, which never occurred prior to hormonal contraceptive use, and intermittently experience luteal phase spotting still. My mood started to improve within a week after stopping the pill, and after about six month’s I started to feel like myself again. It has taken much longer to remedy the sexual health effects, but I would say my desire for sex returned within the first year and I could sustain arousal long enough to have enjoyable sex again. However, it took at least two years for me to deal with the trauma from the whole experience and return to my full mental and sexual health. Now after three years I have my mental health and sexual functioning back entirely.

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