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Old 08-06-2003, 04:56 PM   #1
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pamela3870 HB User
Post my pill experience so far....frustrating!!

Just a quick background...I'm 42, have three children (two teens, one preteen), finished with childbearing, have had PMS since 1988 (after 2nd child's birth), went through infertility treatment with 3rd child, was told by the infertility doc in 1991 I probably had endo, but never got around to the lap (since the infertility drugs worked I had messed up hormones back then, and it's gotten worse as I've aged.

What I have found over the years is that docs are fine when you are pregnant, but now that I've started perimenopause, the standard reply is "Oh, honey, it won't be long and you will be through with this, OR "you are too young to have these problems." Even my long time OB was uncomfortable when I approached him about my increasing symptoms. The standard treatment is TAKE THE PILL. Well, I first tried the pill when I was 23 and newly married. I suffered through severe headaches, and had to stop. I felt terrible all the time. I tried them again after the 2nd child was born, and could not handle the severe side effects (headache, water retention etc.).

I've visited several docs over the last five years, and recently came to this one in January. He suggested surgery, but also asked me to take the pill again. So, I tried Yasmine and lasted only three days b/c I could not function. They made me very depressed and sick. I have to work and take care of a family, so I can't afford to be that messed up with side effects that severe. My symptoms became worse, so I did my own research and found that Ovcon 35 may be a better choice due to a higher estrogen/lower progestin mix.

Ok, I started the pills two weeks ago. The side effects have been water retention (get that really bad before periods anyway), plus a very strange aversion to scents! Food, perfumes, etc. I have "morning sickness" feelings, very tired, noticed I can't see as well with my glasses, etc. I called the doc's office 2x to ask for a diuretic to help with the water retention. They refused. They said they don't give these to any patients no matter what. They don't believe in extra meds. She also said in a very condescending way that I need to give it more time, that my side effects aren't important enough to stop. They speak to me like I'm three!!

I asked for a medical reason as to why *I* am not able to be considered to be able to take any other med that can help me control some of the worse side effects so I can stay on the pill. I also reminded them that BCP's *are* meds, also. I do not like their "across the board" mentality.

Since last night, I have been experiencing dizziness and lightheadedness. I don't feel right at all. I also have ringing in the ears sometimes. So, I am probably going to stop the pill immediately. BTW, I did try a few Aqua Ban's to help the water weight, but never take the whole am't. Maybe one or two pills a day, not every day.

In addition, I called my GP's office (woman), and she wants me in for a complete workup right away. So, I am going in within 2 weeks for that. They did not treat me like the OB's office did.

Sorry so long....just needed to vent. I was hoping the pills would work. I just can't see staying on these when the side effects are so hard.

 
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Old 08-06-2003, 05:02 PM   #2
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pamela3870 HB User
Thumbs down

To add to the above post, I feel like I have huge painful water balloons attached to my chest (sore breasts). I am on Weight Watchers (BMI just over 25), I drinks lots of water, and am trying hard to do things naturally. I also walk about 10 miles per week and do weights.

Many docs do not take us seriously. I guess they make more money off surgeries. Remember, he suggested that very matter of factly. Would definitely get more money out of me

 
Old 08-06-2003, 07:48 PM   #3
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Tyger HB User
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Hey there --
So sorry to hear of your negative experiences...and yes, doctors can be frustrating to say the least. Turning our concerns into trivial whinings isn't exactly what we rely on them for.

Just a thought...have you asked your GP/OB about a different method of hormonal treatment? You don't seem to respond well to pills *at all* if so many different brands have caused so many bad side-effects. I take it you need the hormonal aspect for the pre-menopause, so how about Nuvaring? the patch? I'm not experienced with these, its just an idea. I'm on the pill (Diane 35) and had bad experiences with Levlen and Yasmin (horrible depression, like yourself!).

And even though they tell you to wait out the first 3 months, you should *never* go on if your symptoms are severe enough to be debilitating to your everyday life.

Best of luck!
Tyger.

 
Old 08-06-2003, 08:43 PM   #4
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pamela3870 HB User
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Thanks for replying! Yes, I have checked into other options, and unfortunately, the patch still delivers the same hormones, just in a different way. I think Diane 35 is available in Europe (I don't know about the U.S.) I don't know much about Diane 35 otherwise. I think I'm one of those people who are just very sensitive to hormones and certain meds in general. I was hoping the Ovcon 35 would be better (I will say I don't get the bad headaches with this one), but the other symptoms aren't getting better so far. Depression runs in our family (my oldest son had been hospitalized in the past more than once due to this chemical imbalance). I am a very positive upbeat type of person who hates to feel bad!!! I also like to surround myself around positive people where we can have a sense of humor about our "growing older" afflictions My mother had a horrible time when she went through menopause (she's now in her upper 60's), and she was done around age 45. She has always been a very negative person, and didn't get better after the change. I DO NOT want to be like that as I get older. I have tried Zoloft in the past for PMS, but I gained alot of weight in a short time. So, my thinking is if I can be successful with Weight Watchers and get my weight back to normal and healthy, it may go a long way in helping. I agree with you about not waiting three months if the side effects are bad.

In the meantime, I will check out the internet for info on Diane 35. How are you doing on that pill? Thanks!

 
Old 08-06-2003, 11:09 PM   #5
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Emi001 HB User
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Hiya! IT's me EMi.. Thought i'd come in here and check it out.
Wow the things we ALL have to go through.
I live in Ohio too.. I know a few good Doctors.
I have Qual choice so some of the good ones I was seeing wont take my INS anymore.
Anyway I got this new Dr.
She's nice. As I said in my msg, I will see her in Sept but on the phone she's really nice.
The male Dr I used to see was really good but heck you know how it is u go where you're covered.
It sucks!
Emi
If I were you I would NOT wait long to go get this all checked out.
You're the only one that knows you
Body and if they make you wait to take you in i go else where. you know?
Hang in there!

 
Old 08-07-2003, 08:05 AM   #6
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Emi001 HB User
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Hi.. on the other msg I signed my name without
finishing my msg..haha
Anyway wanted to tell you that in the first magazine it said U can put a cup of salt in the tub and take a nice bath and makes you relax and make that puffyness go down. BUT this is only for once a week it said. I tried it and it was nice.
Emi

 
Old 08-07-2003, 10:08 AM   #7
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rubydolphin79 HB User
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Sorry to hear you have such bad problems with "the pill". I take Ovcon 35 as well, and I am doing fine with it so far, this is just my first month though. I was taking ortho tri cyclen lo, and had the depression you were describing in your first post. So I know what you were going through, I was on OTCL for about 3 months, and during that time all I did was fight with my boyfriend. It even got so bad, I tried to break up with him for no reason! Hope everything go's good for you on the new pill, who knows maybe the problems you are having will go away. They say it takes 3 months to know if your body can handle the pill or not. Then again, if you can't handle it for 1 month probably should stop taking it or try another pill. Good Luck!

 
Old 08-07-2003, 06:14 PM   #8
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pamela3870 HB User
Cool

Thanks all for the replies. I stopped taking the ovcon 35 last night. I had a terrible headache today, but that could be b/c I didn't get good sleep. My DH snores and moves around too much in bed! I slept on the couch with the cat Cats are funny....they KNOW when you don't feel well, and try to make things better. My cat kept my feet warm all night while purring like crazy.

I also noticed I had more PMS feelings today, but it was a relief to not take the pill. Maybe I felt a bit nervous today since my 17 year old son just bought a truck, and I had to put the thing in my name until he's 18!! That would make anyone feel more PMS, LOL!! He doesn't have his license yet (still working on it), but he did pay for the truck all by himself. He has a job, and saved all the money.

Now, I wonder what this will do to my cycle. Technically, I am midpoint, so I don't know if I'll start in two weeks or in a few days. I don't plan on calling this OB again b/c I have a physical in 2 weeks with my GP, and I'll ask her for a name of someone she thinks would be good for me. Otherwise, I'll check into getting my annual pap tests and such with the GP for now. Some do that. I hope mine does.

Emi, what part of Ohio are you from? I live in the southwest part. Maybe some of the good docs you know are close by!!

Thanks again for the replies, they are appreciated

 
Old 08-07-2003, 06:15 PM   #9
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pamela3870 HB User
Cool

Thanks all for the replies. I stopped taking the ovcon 35 last night. I had a terrible headache today, but that could be b/c I didn't get good sleep. My DH snores and moves around too much in bed! I slept on the couch with the cat Cats are funny....they KNOW when you don't feel well, and try to make things better. My cat kept my feet warm all night while purring like crazy.

I also noticed I had more PMS feelings today, but it was a relief to not take the pill. Maybe I felt a bit nervous today since my 17 year old son just bought a truck, and I had to put the thing in my name until he's 18!! That would make anyone feel more PMS, LOL!! He doesn't have his license yet (still working on it), but he did pay for the truck all by himself. He has a job, and saved all the money.

Now, I wonder what this will do to my cycle. Technically, I am midpoint, so I don't know if I'll start in two weeks or in a few days. I don't plan on calling this OB again b/c I have a physical in 2 weeks with my GP, and I'll ask her for a name of someone she thinks would be good for me. Otherwise, I'll check into getting my annual pap tests and such with the GP for now. Some do that. I hope mine does.

Emi, what part of Ohio are you from? I live in the southwest part. Maybe some of the good docs you know are close by!!

Thanks again for the replies, they are appreciated

 
Old 08-09-2003, 06:24 PM   #10
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Lithiate HB User
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Pamela -

- Do you get cold a lot when you should be reasonably warm otherwise (like, it's 76 degrees outside and you're bundled up with freezing feet and hands?)

- I noticed you mentioned in one of your posts that you're on WW with a BMI of 25% (which isn't so bad for a woman, actually). Have you had trouble with weight in the past, like being unable to stop gaining no matter how much you excersize or diet?

- Do you have dry skin or have you noticed changes in your hair, like it thinning, or getting coarser? And you may think this sounds crazy, but what about your eyebrows? Are they starting to thin out or disapear on the outer 2/3rds?

- How's your blood pressure? Is it unusually low or high?

- Do you fatigue easily? Are you tired a lot and can't figure out why?

- Do you experience mood changes like depression or anxiety more frequently than you have in the past?

- Have you ever been prescribed an antidepressant but found it doesn't help with anything it was supposed to help with?

- Do you have brittle finger nails? Are you "moons" disapearing or completely gone?

- Have you noticed changes in your period, such as unusually heavy and clotty periods, or light or nonexistant periods? Both?

- Have you ever been checked for a thyroid disorder? If not, GET IT CHECKED NOW. Your "pre-menopausal" symptoms might very well be thyroid related if you've looked at some of these additional symptoms and identified with a few more of them.

HealthBoards has a great thyroid disorders board if you're curious about learning more. You're right in the "prime" age group for hypothyroidism, and it's exceedingly common among women of almost any age. My whole maternal side of my family has it. My mom was the youngest to be diagnosed when she was in her late 30's, until I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis a few months ago (I'm in my mid-twenties).

And back on the original topic: The birth control pill is a quick fix solution to the medical establishment. It masks all kinds of problems like hypothyroidism, PCOS, anemia, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc. but it does so by screwing up your own hormones and delaying diagnosis of the underlying problem. I think you should consider yourself lucky that your body won't tollerate it... It knows something your doctors don't: That it's not going to "fix" any of your problems. Follow through with your GP and ask her about getting your thyroid tested (as well as your other hormones. It's quite possible you have other deficencies).

Good luck!

 
Old 08-10-2003, 01:10 PM   #11
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endosister HB User
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Dear Pamela,

I agree with everything in Lithiate's post. Also, you said something early in your own post about the possibility that you had endometriosis, but didn't have the laparoscopy. If this is true, then it could be responsible for a lot of the hormonal issues and different medication responses.

One thing I have found really helpful for my symptoms (some of which sound similar to your PMS) is flaxseed oil (health food stores sell it), somewhere between a tsp and a TB per day. It's very healthy in general (omega-3,6 and 9 levels higher than almost anything)and after I took it thinking it might help a skin rash, I found in 48 hours that my endo pain was reduced by about 80%. (at the time, my doctors were considering another surgery for the endo, because I was in such pain) I found out later that flaxseed helps regulate hormones.

As for the pill, I've been on constant BCPs (with breaks every 3-4 months for a period) since my surgery 2 years ago. The one I'm on is Brevicon, and I did have multiple problems with others such as Levlen, Ortho-Novum 35, etc. This seems the most gentle to my body for now, though I still hate that I have to take it.

Hope some of this helps.

 
Old 08-10-2003, 05:41 PM   #12
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pamela3870 HB User
Smile

Thanks for the replies! Some of the things you described does sound like me, but not all. I did have my thyroid checked out two years ago, and everything looked good at the time. I am planning on getting it checked again in two weeks when I see the GP. Funny you should mention the courser hair and dry skin. My hairdresser commented to me that my hair has gotten much courser over the last two years, although I haven't lost any. My skin is also very dry everywhere, even in the humidity. I've always had skin more on the dry side, but it's much drier now. In fact, my favorite cleanser (Paula's Choice) for normal/dry skin is too drying now after using it for three years. I even went out today and got a sample of Clinique's cleansing lotion for dry skin, and bought some Olay cleansing lotion.

I have the book called (I think this is right) "The Thyroid Connection." I don't recall the author as I type this, but I did read alot about the different types of thyroid disorders. My oldest son is hypothyroid, but it's due to taking lithium for his bipolar disorder. I was screened for that my psych., but he was the one who said he felt my problems were hormone or thyroid related. He was the one who ordered my thyroid test two years ago.

I am ALWAYS tired. My sleep schedule is so messed up,too. I can't fall asleep at night, then end up waking up too late. Thank goodness I have a flexible job where I can go in later and work later if need be.

I did start bleeding three days ago, and it hasn't let up since stopping the pill. It took only one day between stopping and bleeding. I also have some cramping on one side.

I definitely feel I am in perimenopause, but there could be some other things going on besides that. I really appreciate all the information given here for me to think about. I wish you all good luck with your own health, and I will definitely let you know how the tests come back in a few weeks.


 
Old 08-10-2003, 05:57 PM   #13
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pamela3870 HB User
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Another thought....yes, I have had way more anxiety lately, changes in periods (heavier, more clots, and more unpredictable). I took AD's a long time ago and gained 25 pounds in no time. I was able to lose it after watching my diet and exercising more. That was almost five years ago. Now, it's harder to lose weight, even on WW. I have alot more water weight for sure.

I just recalled a story a woman who works in one of my favorites stores told me. Years ago, she had a problem with her breasts producing milk when they shouldn't have been. Her OB/GYN told her she was fine, it was normal. She got pregnant, had her baby and nursed. Well, the milk just kept coming and coming, even when she no longer nursed. The doc told her again that it would eventually dry up, it just took her longer than most people. Right about that time, she had to have surgery for a hernia. She mentioned to the surgeon about her breast milk problem, so he took some blood for testing. Lo and behold, he said her prolactin levels were sky high, and referred her to a neurologist.

He then ordered an MRI and found she had a growing tumor on her pituitary gland. It had been there for a long time, and that caused the milk overproduction. Thank goodness it wasn't cancer.

One of the docs in this new OB/GYN practice said I was too young for perimenopause (42), and he said I didn't need any tests before giving me the Ovcon 35. The man never met me (he was filling in for the other doc). I've been to this practice one time so far.

I don't mean to make this too long, but that woman's story really hit a nerve with me. If my gut tells me something isn't right, then I keep trying to find someone who will listen.

It's frustrating. I do know of a clinic in Arizona that specializes in perimenopause/menopause, and I will get an app't and travel there if I have to. My psych. had to send one of his female patients there when she couldn't find a doc here who would listen. Th doc in this clinic has written a really good book, and my doc found her through word of mouth. He really liked her.


 
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