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Ocella/ BC in general (hair growth)

I've been taking Ocella for about a month. It's the first birth control I've ever taken.

There's been no change in my acne. Its been getting worse, but I want to stick it out for 3 months.

However, I've also noticed an increase in my hair growth. I've always been quite hairy for a female and told that this would help with a decrease in hair growth as well.

I looked at my chin and noticed that the hair is a bit darker and there are extra longer strands as opposed to the usual barely noticeable peach fuzz. Also, if I look at my neck I can definitely notice dark fine strands of hair. Is this normal? (I did a forum search and couldn't really find anything) Anyone have similar experience?

Should I stick it out or does it mean that if there is an increase in hair growth most likely it won't level out and will keep increasing?

Maybe I should switch to Yasmin.

I do not have PCOS.

Any advice would be appreciated since this is my first birth control.

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I don't know if this will help you, but after much research and keeping careful records and notes of what happens to me on different pills (I'm 35, so I've had a lot of practice, lol) I've learned that I tend to respond poorly to pills with high progestational activity. While it's true that Ocella is anti-androgen, it has about 4 times the progestational activity of other pills prescribed for acne, such as Ortho Tri Cyclen/Tri Sprintec.

Like you I don't have PCOS, and I've always had much larger amount of "peach fuzz" vellus hair than most women, and some coarse, darker hair on chin, upper lip, jawline, etc. I've always noticed it gets worse when I'm on a pill with a higher amount of progesterone. Too much progesterone for me causes hair growth, acne, melasma, major tiredness, puffiness, and some mood swings.

The chart in this link is really great for deciding what pills might be good for you and seeing how much estrogen and progesterone each has:

http://www.wdxcyber.com/ncontr13.htm

I was only on Yasmin for a few months (a few years ago, before the generic was available), so unfortunately I can't give you any insight on experience with that, but lots of other people on here probably can. I just know what I've learned about the progesterone component. Right now I'm back on Tri Sprintec, and while it doesn't eliminate the hair growth, it actually works better for me because it has a lower progesterone component overall.

Again, that's what I've learned for me. I think I'm somebody who is ultra sensitive to progesterone. Even the slightly higher overall amount of progesterone in Sprintec as opposed to Tri Sprintec caused me to have major side effects. You may not be as sensitive as I am, and you might just need to give it more time - hard to say since this is your first time using a bcp. But I hope my experience and the link I provided can help you a little. Good luck :)

P.s. The only thing that ever stopped my facial hair growth (literally stopped, which was amazing) was spironolactone. I unfortunately had to get off of it due to suspected side effects (I started to have hair thinning and my derm panicked, found out that a very rare side effect of spiro is alopecia, so he took me off it. I also started to get new hair growth on the back of my neck, sort of part of my posterior hair line, but growing way lower. It looks terrible, and the derm thought perhaps spiro was causing excess estrogen that was triggering hair growth in follicles that were previously dormant. Too bad because otherwise spiro was great. I had clear skin, including my back and chest, and no more dark hair on my face or anywhere else.)

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Question in regards to the article. Are you just sensitive to ones with a higher dose of progestin? Or ones with a higher potency progestin. Cause they were commenting on how a lose dose can still mean a higher progestin potency.

higher potency progestin may be used in a much smaller milligram dose and thus be equivalent to a larger milligram dose of a less potent progestin. For example, desogestrel is a very potent and androgenic progestin but its usual oral contraceptive dose is 0.15 mg instead of 1.00 mg for norethindrone. Its progestin potency compared to norethindrone would be 0.15 X 9.0 = 1.35 times. For androgenicity, it would be 0.15 X 3.4 = .51 or half as androgenic as a pill containing 1 mg of norethindrone.

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The higher potency is what gets me - basically what my gyn refers to as the "progestational activity." I definitely need lower androgen - which is why Yasmin and Yaz bum me out. They have ZERO androgenic activity, which is awesome, but it has about 5 times the progestational activity of Tri Sprintec. Norgestimate is the progestin that has the lowest progestational activity while still having low androgenic activity, and so that's why I've decided to stick with that. Even pills containing norgestral (like Lo/Ovral) give me bad side effects, and it's progestational activity is still relatively low. But it's higher than my body likes apparently.

As for sex drive, I really can't say for Yasmin as I wasn't on it that long and it was a few years ago. But that's my catch 22 - for some reason the higher progesterone pills that make me bloated, greasy, tired and moody also don't really affect my sex drive, while Tri Sprintec (and previously the name brand Ortho Tri Cyclen) are better for both my looks and overall well being, but they do lower my sex drive. Can't win them all though - I guess somewhere along the line, after trying everything under the sun, I learned I absolutely can't fight acne without hormonal help, so I've just learned to deal with the downside of it.

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1) to get the progestin potency do you always multiply the dose by 9 like the example (and for androgen by 3.4). i feel this is wrong but the article was a little confusing in terms of calculating the numbers.

2) any side effects in terms of sex drive on spiro. besides the hair problem i'm currently decently happy with ocella. i was thinking of maybe trying to take it in conjunction with spiro. i have an ob/gyn appt next friday hopefully i can maybe convince her to prescribe it to me. there's just no way i can take any more hair on my body.

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1) No, those numbers are just an example using the specific progestin, desogestrel. To figure out the progestational and androgenic activity you simply multiply the dose of progestin for the specific pill (found in the first chart), by the figures in the second chart. It's all based on a potency factor of 1.00.

For example, for Yasmin, the dose of its progestin (drospirenone) is 3.0. If you look at the second chart and find drospirenone, the figure in the progestational activity column is 1.5. 3.0 x 1.5 = 4.5. The figure in the androgenic activity column is 0.0. 3.0 x 0.0 = 0 androgenic activity.

On the other hand, the pill I use is the generic of Ortho Tri Cyclen. The dose of it's progesteron (norgestimate) varies (and the chart has a typo, because for the first week it's actually 0.18, not 0.15). So the progestational and androgenic activity of my pill is as follows:

week 1: progestin dose 0.18 x figure in progestational activity column 1.3 = .234

progestin dose 0.18 x figure in androgenic activity column 1.9 =.342

week 2: progestin dose 0.215 x 1.3 = .279

progestin dose 0.215 x 1.9 = .408

week 3: progestin dose .25 x 1.3 = .325

progestin dose .25 x 1.9 = .475

So, as you can see, even though my pill has some slight androgenic activity, the progestational activity each week is still less than 1.0, while Yasmin's progestational activity is much higher at 4.5.

That's why I personally can't use it. I've found I need a pill with the lowest possible progestational activity.

2) I didn't really pay much attention to how spiro affected my sex drive, but I don't think it made it any lower than it already was on the pill.

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I've been taking Ocella for about a month. It's the first birth control I've ever taken.

There's been no change in my acne. Its been getting worse, but I want to stick it out for 3 months.

However, I've also noticed an increase in my hair growth. I've always been quite hairy for a female and told that this would help with a decrease in hair growth as well.

I looked at my chin and noticed that the hair is a bit darker and there are extra longer strands as opposed to the usual barely noticeable peach fuzz. Also, if I look at my neck I can definitely notice dark fine strands of hair. Is this normal? (I did a forum search and couldn't really find anything) Anyone have similar experience?

Should I stick it out or does it mean that if there is an increase in hair growth most likely it won't level out and will keep increasing?

Maybe I should switch to Yasmin.

I do not have PCOS.

Any advice would be appreciated since this is my first birth control.

I believe that Ocella, Yasmin, and YAZ are similar...I haven't tried Ocella but I just started taking YAZ a month ago and I love it. I was taking a different bcp before and it made me have an IB and then two weeks before my period I would breakout horribly. With YAZ I didn't have an IB I didn't break-out more because of my period, I didn't even get the side effects like tenderness, nausea, etc that I had with the the last bcp.

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KCR

- i'm curious as to what kind of hair growth you experienced on BC and did you stop immediately when you saw this new growth or continue taking the pill and what did you witness? If you stop the pill did the hair growth reverse?

update:

still haven’t been able to find any information out there in regards to taking BC and hair growth so if anyone knows anything I would heavily appreciate it. Everything is about alopecia and BC

I've been on Ocella for about 1.5 months now. i'm satisfied with the improvement of my acne. i've definitely seen an increase in my hair growth. both on my whole arms, on my face (vellus hair on my face no dark coarse terminal hairs), chest, other areas. i suffer from hirsutism so i have quite a bit of hair.

i just don't know what do to and i cant find anything out there? is it possible for this growth to just level off after a while when the hormones level off. should i give it 3 months or will i continue to see an increase in hair growth? the biggest thing i'm worried about is because i have so much hair that i'll eventually start getting dark coarse hairs and that will just devastate me. should I just stop taking ocella completely. I have a doc appt in 2 weeks so i was thinking of just suffering from it until then until i can talk to her and see what she says.

Right now, I’m going on the assumption that it can’t get much worse in 2 weeks and that no terminal hairs will pop up and that this can be reversed to the way it used to be if I stop this BC in 2 weeks. I have no idea if this is a big mistake since I can’t find any other experiences like this out there.

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The weird hair growth I experienced on spiro was almost as if it was a continuation of the hairline at the nape of my neck, but it started to grown further down both sides of my neck (not in the middle). So if I were to pull my hair back in a high ponytail, instead of having a clean hairline that goes straight across or even dip down a little on either side, I literally have what looks like "sideburns" growing down the back of my neck.

Like I said, no idea if spiro actually caused this, but it started while I was on it and I never had it before. I stopped spiro almost immediately after I first noticed this, and unfortunately, no, it didn't go away after I stopped spiro, although it hasn't gotten worse.

I hear you on the new growth of vellus hair. In fact, I tried complaining (yet again, for the millionth time in my life) to my Primary Care doc just last week and all she had to say was "That's not male pattern hair growth." As if it's okay to have increasing abnormal hair growth as long as it's not a thick black beard. (Incidentally, I do get a lot of coarse dark hairs as well on my chin, jawline, upper lip, etc, and I've always had a ridiculous amount of vellus hair that is longer, thicker and more noticeable than most people - all over my entire face, cheeks, forehead, chin, neck, between my breasts, etc. Over the years of taking birth control - although I don't know exactly what's caused it, but when I take a higher progesterone it's more noticeable - it's gotten much worse.

for example, after this last mishap of taking Ortho Cyclen and experiencing the effects of the slight increase in norgestimate, I notice I now have quarter-inch long fine vellus hairs on my knuckles that I never had before. Go figure.

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