I just had a doctors appointment, and he put me on birth control. Since it was my first GYN appointment I forgot to ask quite a few questions about it... He put me on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo.
1. What are the side affects? (will I gain weight, feel sick, get head aches, will my boobs hurt, etc...)
2. Is there a way that I can tweak it so I miss my period all together? And if so, is it safe?
3. Does birth control cause reproductive problems down the road?
4. What does it mean to be "sexually active"? My boyfriend is away for quite a few months, is it ok to not take it, and just take it when we see eachother or what?
1. You could possibly have all of those side effects. Then again, you might have none. There is no way to tell ahead of time who will have what side effects, but generally after three to six months of taking the pill, those side effects, if they happen, will subside.
2. You can try, but usually women who try to skip using a triphasic birth control pill like you are on (one where the hormone levels vary throughout the pack) have more difficulty then those on a monophasic pill (one where the hormone levels are constant.) Try if you wish, but also bear in mind that it usually will only work after your body is adjusted to the pill anyhow, so you'll have to wait a few months. You can certainly try, but don't be surprised if you start to bleed anyhow.
3.No, the pill will not cause reproductive problems. For many women, their fertility returns to normal within a month or two of quitting the pill.
4. You are better off to just keep taking it, and not just take it for the months you are seeing your boyfriend. Going on and off will just confuse your body and if you stop for a few months then start again, you will have to wait for a week before having sex without a condom as it takes seven days of taking the pill for it to be effective the first time you start it. Likewise, if you start a pack late, you need to use condoms for the first week. The pill will protect you to it's full ability only if you take it as directed: taking all 21 "active" pills in the correct order, on time, with no infering substances followed by either a seven day pill-free break, or seven days of "placebo" (sugar) pills.
1. side effects differ from person to person, so you just have to try and find out if this pill is ok for you. you probably wont gain any significant weight, and your chest probably wont get a lot bigger, since it has a lower estrogen dose. you might get break-thru-bleeding - which is a little bit of bleeding when you shouldnt have your period. its normal, and it doesnt mean the pill isnt effective, and it doesnt mean you're pregnant. you should keep taking the pill if this happens, because it will eventually go away.
2. because this pill is tri-phasic (there are 3 levels of hormones) it probably wont work very well to skip a period. that is better done with a mono-phasic pill (same hormone dose for all 3 weeks). the side effect would be break-thru-bleeding, but it IS completely safe to just skip the placebo pills and go right to the next pack of pills, and it WONT compromise protection from pregnancy.
3. not that I know of. they say its completely safe to take the pill for years and years, and still have healthy babies afterwards.
4. if you have intercourse in general, you should always take your pill. in general though, once you start taking pills, and if you are careful to take one everyday at the same time of day (i take mine at 9pm everyday), then after 7 days, you are protected against pregnancy from then on. you DONT need to wait 7 days at the beginning of each new pack. In fact, you can have intercourse during the placebo week and be fine, just as long as you took ALL those 21 active pills of the first three weeks.
its sort of a bad idea to go off and on the Pill frequently, because it can screw up your hormones. its BEST to just take a pill everyday, even though you might not see your boyfriend every month. that way, you get in the habit of taking a pill, and your body is adjusted to the hormones, and you never have to worry if you'll be protected when you see your bf. Also, the pill makes your period shorter and lighter, and really predictable.