Thursday, July 23, 2009


Anyone averse to a little female TMI? Skip this one.

A few basic facts:

1. I believe life begins at conception.
2. The primary goal of an oral contraceptive is to prevent ovulation. A secondary goal is to thicken the lining of the uterus before menses in order to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting. Therefore, I don't want to go on birth control.
3. I get terrible, terrible PMS, often starting before ovulation and not ending till after my period has begun. PMS is Not Good for people who already have an established history of depression.
4. I cannot use any anti-depressants. I have tried many, and had bad reactions to all. Just saw my psychiatrist today and he's trying me on a new one, but I have zero hope.

Something's gotta give with my PMS though, man. I get depressed and angry right around ovulation time. If I'm lucky, it lets up for a couple days then Hurricane Bitch arrives a solid week before my period is due. Anti-depressants keep me from sleeping, they make me want to eat, they make me want to clean (okay, yeah, not terrible, but I get obsessive), and they make me want to shop.

I keep seeing this commercial for a birth control that can treat PMS from hell. I am certainly intrigued, but to what extent do I want to compromise my morals? I know when I'm ovulating, so I could always avoid sex in case the birth control fails. I could also just avoid sex during the 2nd week of the pill pack. We generally avoid sex during that week anyway, cuz I ain't EVEN tryna get knocked up. I could double up on the preventatives. But there's still always that small chance, and I can't stand that, dude.

I just do not know what to do. Awful, awful mood swings for half the month, or go on birth control, which I have avoided from a moral standpoint for most of my married life?

Blah. I'm gonna give this new anti-depressant a try, but I reckon I just won't sleep for a week then I'll go off it. It's happened 6 other times. Then comes the very real possibility that I will go on the Pill. Shoot.


Allison said...

I'm on birth control and I'm sorry but I just don't feel guilty about it. My cycles were TERRIBLE before I went on the pill. I used to take Ortho Tri Cyclen but I think I was moodier ON it than off of it. I'm now on Seasonique, a period every 3months and my PMS symptoms are much better too. I can't be bedridden for 2 or 3 days every month.

Melinda Barton said...

Lucky, Allison. I can't take any form of birth control b/c of the heart thing. Obviously, I have no fear of getting preggers, but I would LOVE to have 3 or 4 cycles a year. The ovary-busting cramps alone are horrid.

Ask your doctor. There has to be something other than birth control for the emotional part of PMS symptoms.

Katy said...

You know, the Catholic church says that the morality lies in the intention. I know you aren't Catholic, but I thought I'd just throw that out there.

HEATHER said...

Honey, rather than looking at the pill as contraceptive, look at it as what it is-a hormonal suppliment. I have hormonal issues as well so I do understand where you are coming from with this. With my FMS usually the only day of the month that I have any energy is the day right before my period, but somehow I can't make any doctor understand it. Hang in there honey! You and Ace are in my prayers.

Erin Steele (previously Domeyer) said...

I also feel horrible about birth control but have been on some sort off and on since high school. They can help PMS but some do make them worse. I took the shot for a year and i was borderline suicidal...ortho trycicline worked for me for almost 10 years..not i am on mirena(IUD) and i hate it! Many reasons...i think it is what makes you comfortable...also being on the pills could alter your normal ovulation dont expect it to be exactly your second week...I got pregnant from hailey while on the pill!! Many meds affect the pill so you could get pregnant...look into all options.

What?! said...

Personally I think birth control is the devil, not for what it's SUPPOSED to prevent (since it doesn't do that for me anyways)....but cause I ain't no better on it than I am off....I'm tired of having PMS 3 weeks out of the month....but I'm searching for another solution. Maybe some vodka, gauze and a butterknife. hmmmm......
I'm with whoever said,"look at it as a hormone supplement"....
Good luck with whatever you decide!

Emily said...

Let me preface my comment by saying that I've never personally tried this BUT: I was buying my regular arsenal of vitamins and herbal supplements the other day and noticed a new one (at least one I'd never noticed before). 5-HTP. It's supposed to help naturally regulate mood, appetite, and insomnia. (Hmmm... sound familiar??) I remember enough from my graduate physio class to know that 5-HTP is associated with raising serotonin levels in the brain - which is a good thing! It also helps regulate the melatonin levels. It might not help at all... but it's in no way a form of BC and is relatively cheap alternative to other mood stabilizers. I did a quick google search and there are a number of studies both for and against the use. Make sure you research it before you try it. Found a site that listed lots of warnings associated with certain health issues and prescriptions (DO NOT take with other anti-depressants, weight loss meds... not sure what you're taking at the moment).

So... I bought me some. Just got it yesterday and when I got it home I noticed a warning saying do not take if you're pregnant, BFing, or trying to get pregnant. I decided to wait a month or so just to make sure I don't fall into any of those categories. No idea if this will work, bought it on a whim - and I needed an even # of bottles since it was buy one get one free.

Also - you may be way past this but have you tried just melatonin for the sleep when you're taking scripts?? Ask your doc if it's ok to stack them. I'm a BIG fan of the melatonin!!

Jen said...

Ask your ob/gyn about a pill that they have that is just for the PMS and is NOT a birth control. My nurse jokingly called it a "bitch" pill back when I was inquiring about it. I have WORSE PMS problems when I was on birth control than when I was OFF... I took B.C. back when I was single and off of it the minute I was with my hubby...little did I know how much it wasn't doing me any good in the first place.

And, i am surprised you don't want to get pregnant?? but I digress, none of my business.

Do ask your ob/gyn about that pill. I don't know the name of it but seriously..just ask her if there is a pill that is NOT B.C. but will help with your PMS.

I hope this new med might help you out. My friend just started on Pristiq and so far she likes it, have you been on it yet? I know it is real new...just a thought..
much love xoxo

RhondaLue said...

While I totally respect your morals and the fact that you'd like to stick to them, there is another thought to the matter as well.

Lots of people take birth control when they aren't even sexually active. My daughter went on a trial of BC because of her SEVERE cramps, HEAVY bleeding, and PMS symptoms from H-E-L-L! I didn't like the thought of her on it for several reasons but we had to try something. She couldn't function and missed a few days of school Every MONTH, and had to have changes of clothes with her at all timees because she was irregular as well. ANyhoo, we only tried a couple months of the lowest dose hormone and it didn't really help much. We were about to switch to a different kind/dose when hub lost his job/insurance but I'll be getting on that soon.

I think there are many meds that are used off-label. I believe cafeinne is a drug, a stimulant that can be addictive but I certainly didn't mind that my preemie got it in the NICU to help get him over the A's & B's.

I agree that if your intent is otherwise, you are not sacrificing your morals. Might help, might not.

The only other thing I would suggest is to have your hormone levels tested. Maybe you might just need one hormone (not in birth control) or something like that.

I hope you can figure out something that you're comfortable with AND that helps soon! It's miserable!

K Storm said...

I struggled with the same question when it came to the pill...I just couldn't get back on it after my first child was born because of it and I had crazy PMS. I had an antidepressant that did work though. Eventually it has eased without meds...don't know why...maybe my husbands pleas to God were answered. But we did the natural family planning method of BC and wound up with my boy! Look out for surprises!

JesusThroughMary said...

Katy -

The Catholic Church also teaches that artificial contraception is intrinsically immoral, and that no action that is intrinsically immoral may be morally undertaken regardless of intention; in other words, the ends do not justify the means.

I don't know whether you're Catholic, but I thought I'd just throw that out there.

JesusThroughMary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JesusThroughMary said...

"Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception)." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2399).

That's not to say that the drug could never be taken under any circumstance. If you're abstaining during your fertile period until after ovulation and you don't start taking the drug until after ovulation, there's no danger of immorally preventing conception or implantation. The fact that a drug is a contraceptive doesn't ipso facto make its use contraception. Leaving the questions of legality aside, an analogy could be drawn to medical marijuana vs. recreational marijuana, the former being moral and the latter immoral.

(I think that's what you meant, Katy, but I get defensive with regard to the moral teachings of our Holy Mother the Church, since they are under constant attack, misrepresented, maligned and mocked from within and without.)

Whether such a schedule would effectively treat your symptoms, and what if any effect that would have on your reproductive cycle long-term, I am obviously not qualified to opine on.