Discussions that mention ortho-cept

Thyroid Disorders board

Quote from Sky77:
My doc has recommended that I go on ortho-cyclen (not ortho-TRIcyclen) for light menses, mild acne, and because I am in a relationship. I have never taken BCP and have heard many horror stories. For those that have taken BCPs or are on BCPs I would be extremely appreciative if you can tell me:

1. what side effects have you experienced?
2. do you know what are the long term effects of BCP?
3. does it mess up your thyroid more if you have a thyroid problem?
4. what are your personal thoughts on BCPs? would you recommend or not recommend them?


Hi Sky,

From what I have been reading, I believe that BCP should be spaced from the time you take your thyroid med. For example, taking the thyroid med in morning and the BCP in the evening.

I have also read that when on the BCP (those preparations containing estrogen) one may require higher levels of thyroid medication.

I have been on Ortho-Cept for treatment of endometriosis for at least 5 years now and in the past as well. There can be many side effects with it or few. Usually, it is recommended trying a particular one for 3 months to see if troublesome side effects will disappear over that time. There is often an adjustment period to them. It took me 3 months before I saw relief from some of them. The worst side effects for me were emotional (cry at the drop of a hat) and nausea. Nausea may be less if taken before bed, so as to sleep during that time. Night dosing is often recommended for that reason. It helped me to take them at night and then fall asleep. Rarely was I awakened by nausea. I would still feel some in the mornings, but it was tolerable. There can be other side effects like bloating, edema, weight gain, headaches, breast tenderness and more. Some may just be mildly uncomfortable and some more so.

It can take trials on different brands to find what works best for you, and for some, they just can't tolerate them.

There can be many different side effects, with different degrees of discomfort. It is not recommended to take them if you smoke. There is the increased risk of stroke and blood clots with smoking and also as one gets older while on them. High blood pressure can be a contraindication to taking them also. Since hypothyroidism can raise cholesterol levels, this can be another consideration for those that are hypo, as BCP's can also raise cholesterol, mainly the triglycerides, one doctor told me.

There are the possible long term side effects of cancer, such as breast cancer, for one. On the other hand, there is decreased risk of ovarian cancer.

I hope this has helped some. You might want to read at one of the prescription web sites to see the side effects listed for BCP's. I am not sure if it is allowed for me to post a link like that, so I have not.

For me, the BCP was not much of a choice, as I needed it to contol as much of the very painful endometriosis symptoms as it could. I could not endure the degree of pain without them, so I would not be a good one to have input on recommending them or not - since I took them for different reasons than you are considering it for.

I have not taken BCP along with thyroid medication yet, as my GYN wanted me to stop the BCP at this time for 2 months to see how I do without it (I am 50, but still not menopausal) in regard to my endometriosis. I have just started treatment (today is my first day on Levoxl) for hypothyroidism, so the two meds did not cross paths. Just the timing that occurred. I wonder what my body will think of the 2 changes at once, hmmm.......

Best wishes to you as you ponder over what is best to do for you!