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Questions regarding restarting birth control


Mystic
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I was on combination birth control pills (tri-femynor 28 tablet) for a long time... like 4ish years. I never had any issues. It went well, I never had to get my dose changed or change types, etc. The very first one I tried was a success.

I recall having some initial spotting when I first started taking them that lasted I want to say around a month. Then it went to only being the "break through" spotting during week 4 (the placebo week).

I stopped taking the birth control pills at the end of 2021. I am now looking at potentially re-starting them.

I'm a little concerned though. If I start taking them again, will I have acne break outs? Will I have a lot of spotting that lasts a month or more? Will it be different since I've used them before and my body is "used to" the medication and hormones in it?

Right now, my skin is okish. I get random break out activity (annoying since I'm an adult), but it isn't too awful. I do recall not having really any acne on birth control before. I would get a very occasional spot and that was it. I'm mostly concerned about the excessive spotting potential as well as the potential of break out action. These would be the exact same pills and the exact same dose I had before.

If I DON'T go back on birth control, are there any other good options to prevent pregnancy OTHER than condoms? What are the best pregnancy prevention methods for women outside of hormonal birth control or condoms? Would it be best to just restart my birth control or try something else?

If I do go back to birth control, are there are good tips on how to keep my skin from going too insane? I really don't want horrible adult acne. I just want to maintain clear skin. Tips on that would be very appreciated as well!

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A key factor you don't mention is whether you're in a committed relationship with a partner you trust. 

The best pills or IUDs in the world don't protect against STDs. 

So if your sex is casual, a condom is important regardless of internal BC methods. 

If your sex is with one trusted partner, then your body is likely to respond to a prior pill as it did before--but since you'll need to deal with your doctor to get back on it, why not raise your concerns to her or him?

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Just now, catfeeder said:

A key factor you don't mention is whether you're in a committed relationship with a partner you trust. 

The best pills or IUDs in the world don't protect against STDs. 

So if your sex is casual, a condom is important regardless of internal BC methods. 

If your sex is with one trusted partner, then your body is likely to respond to a prior pill as it did before--but since you'll need to deal with your doctor to get back on it, why not raise your concerns to her or him?

I am fully aware that birth control does NOT protect against STDs/STIs and that condoms are needed for that.

I already talked to my doctor and they have approved me to restart them if I want to. I didn't really ask about the acne part. Didn't even think about it to be honest. I'm afraid they'd put me on some prescription cream or something that would kill my skin. I have very sensitive skin and I've heard a ton of horror stories regarding prescription acne medication (from really awful reactions to worsened acne). I have always used OTC products that are as natural as possible and it does good. My biggest thing is trying to just prevent them.

I was curious as to if there are any other options for females that are good and safe. I do like the idea of not using birth control to avoid messing with my hormones. I have heard of The Sponge, but I'm a little afraid it may cause TSS. I don't use tampons partly for that risk (and I just don't prefer them). I read somewhere that The Sponge can cause TSS. Any input on that?

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59 minutes ago, Mystic said:

I am fully aware that birth control does NOT protect against STDs/STIs and that condoms are needed for that.

I already talked to my doctor and they have approved me to restart them if I want to. I didn't really ask about the acne part. Didn't even think about it to be honest. I'm afraid they'd put me on some prescription cream or something that would kill my skin. I have very sensitive skin and I've heard a ton of horror stories regarding prescription acne medication (from really awful reactions to worsened acne). I have always used OTC products that are as natural as possible and it does good. My biggest thing is trying to just prevent them.

I was curious as to if there are any other options for females that are good and safe. I do like the idea of not using birth control to avoid messing with my hormones. I have heard of The Sponge, but I'm a little afraid it may cause TSS. I don't use tampons partly for that risk (and I just don't prefer them). I read somewhere that The Sponge can cause TSS. Any input on that?

I hear, and while TSS is rare, you're not likely to feel good about a sponge regardless of stats.

How is your skin currently as opposed to its condition while on the pill?

 Is there a stark contrast?

One hack to try regardless of your BC choice is using fresh towels or pillow cases to wrap your pillow freshly each night. 

This prevents oils and street dirt on your hair the prIor night from contaminating your skin during your sleep each night.

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13 hours ago, Mystic said:

I read somewhere that The Sponge can cause TSS. Any input on that?

Don't rely on Dr. Google or forums for something this important.  You can call your doctor's office and ask for a call back if you don't want to go see your doctor in person.  They are the best resource for reliable medical advice and care.

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12 hours ago, catfeeder said:

I hear, and while TSS is rare, you're not likely to feel good about a sponge regardless of stats.

How is your skin currently as opposed to its condition while on the pill?

 Is there a stark contrast?

One hack to try regardless of your BC choice is using fresh towels or pillow cases to wrap your pillow freshly each night. 

This prevents oils and street dirt on your hair the prIor night from contaminating your skin during your sleep each night.

I always do that. I make sure to change my pillow cases every night and use fresh towels every night when I shower. I've always done that even before I got random adult acne here and there. I've always changed towels and bedding just for common cleanliness. 

Right now, my skin is ok overall. It is pretty calm. I had a really random spurt of breakout activity earlier this year and then again in June. Now, it is looking more normal.

When I was on birth control, I think it did eliminate the hormonal aspect. I usually see a break out or two around my period, and the birth control did seem to do ok to try to keep those away. I did still see SOME spots appear. So the birth control didn't entirely eliminate all random spots.

I've been looking for good ways to just keep random breakouts away in general. It gets really annoying to just get a breakout at random as an adult. I had PERFECT skin as a teen/pre-teen and never used birth control or anything then. I also had a way worse diet back then. So it is really odd how I just randomly started to get some adult blemishes.

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A common misconception is that birth control "regulates or balances" your hormones. But that is not its function. It essentially turns off estrogen production, preventing ovulation, and turns your progesterone up all the way. It doesn't balance hormones as much as puts your body in an artificial state of hormonal activity that will prevent you from getting pregnant, but has a cascade of other effects on the body. One good place to start to learn about this is "This is Your Brain on Birth Control" which is stocked with research and studies about birth control's effects, especially long-term. And, oh my, the process of getting off it healthily and how it impacts your body? There's too much to recommend, but a good place to start just browsing this information is the LearnBodyLiteracy account on Twitter.

You can message me more about adult acne. I dealt with the same, and it led me into a world of research about millions of women facing the same thing after leaving birth control, how all topical OTC *and* dermatological treatments failed me (I was so desperate), and how I eventually healed mine. As for birth control options, most women would recommend the non-hormonal IUD, like Paragard (which is kind of a misnomer; it does not flood your body with exogenous hormones but it still impacts your body hormonally), but there are other BC methods a practitioner can recommend to you and that has been most beneficial for me. Feel free to message me more about that too. 

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