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freebird91

Before I start a BCP...

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Ok, so I have a doctor appointment the 23rd where I'll be getting prescribed a birth control pill. I want it mostly to get more regular and less painful periods but I'm also looking forward to it hopefully helping my acne. I have a couple of questions for anyone who has used BCP's for their skin. First of all, I'm trying to decide between Yaz and Ortho Tri-Cyclen. I know both are advertised as approved for treating acne but I've heard bad things about both...more so about Yaz. I guess I'm wondering mostly about their effect on acne. And is it common for them to cause an initial breakout or is that just certain people experiencing a reaction to a sudden hormone change? Or is that just the already-forming acne running its course, and thus not related to the BCP itself? Secondly, I'm wondering about side effects besides those on acne. I can handle a little nausea or fatigue or whatever but my issue is that I'm going on vacation a week after I would be able to start it, so I'm wondering if it would be better to wait until after I get back to start the pill or if the initial side effects (if any) wear off in a week or less (plus I don't want a big initial breakout right before I leave for vacation..no fun!). Any input from people with first-hand experience would be awesome and much appreciated. I know that birth control pills are very individual and unpredictable in the way they affect the skin and in their side effects but I want some kind of direction since I'm going to a new doctor who doesn't really know much about me or my body. Of course I'll trust what she says and hopefully she can guide me as well but I'd love some advice from all of you too ;)

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hi Freebird91,

I'm not an expert but I can share my experience with BCP with you. You have to take in consideration that when you start taking BCP that you will be changing your body's natural hormones/chemistry. I started taking BCP at the age of 18 for protection against pregnancy. My first BCP was Desogen.

Ther PROS were: it prevented pregnancy and it did kind of help maintain my skin from having an acne break out. I am also very consistent with my hygiene so i think that helped my skin condition a lot.

The CONS: migraines lasting 3-5 days, hair loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, horrible PMS....and I was a real "B" when I was on my period. Now I'm 32 and in hind sight I also think the synthetic hormones in the BCP caused me anxiety and mild deppression.

I've also tried the Nuva Ring (gave me cramps untill i took it out) and Ortho Tri Cyclen (sames side effects as with Desogen)

Recently (within the last 2 yrs), I've been on the Minera IUD, that was the biggest mistake EVER!!! It gave me a full blown cystic acne breakout, you name the acne type and I have it on me. I'm talking about acne on my face, neck, chest back, shoulders and very recently i'm noticing blackheads on my stomach.

So, be very carefull about what you put into your body. You also have to watch out for Doctor's who are "prescription happy writting doctor's". What they give you isn't always what's best for you. There is a reason why the Dr.'s say they "Practice Medicine", we are their lab rats and what they're giving us isn't always a for sure cure.

Good luck!

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I was on Yaz for about a year and loved it. It cleared up my acne completely right away and I just overall felt a lot better whenever it was my time of the month. (minimal cramps, super short periods-like 3 days long) The only side effect I really had was nausea every now and then.

My skin was clear for so long that I decided to drop Yaz because since my acne was gone I didn't need to use a BCP. Well, my acne came back eventually and I went on Yaz about 6 months after being off of it, and my acne never really cleared up that second time.

So, I just switched last month and started Ortho Tri-Cyclen and still waiting on results. So I can't really give my experience on that yet, as I am still healing from initial breakouts.

So...i'm all for Yaz...just don't risk what I did and drop it if clears your skin...keep taking it. :)

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hi Freebird91,

I'm not an expert but I can share my experience with BCP with you. You have to take in consideration that when you start taking BCP that you will be changing your body's natural hormones/chemistry. I started taking BCP at the age of 18 for protection against pregnancy. My first BCP was Desogen.

Ther PROS were: it prevented pregnancy and it did kind of help maintain my skin from having an acne break out. I am also very consistent with my hygiene so i think that helped my skin condition a lot.

The CONS: migraines lasting 3-5 days, hair loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, horrible PMS....and I was a real "B" when I was on my period. Now I'm 32 and in hind sight I also think the synthetic hormones in the BCP caused me anxiety and mild deppression.

I've also tried the Nuva Ring (gave me cramps untill i took it out) and Ortho Tri Cyclen (sames side effects as with Desogen)

Recently (within the last 2 yrs), I've been on the Minera IUD, that was the biggest mistake EVER!!! It gave me a full blown cystic acne breakout, you name the acne type and I have it on me. I'm talking about acne on my face, neck, chest back, shoulders and very recently i'm noticing blackheads on my stomach.

So, be very carefull about what you put into your body. You also have to watch out for Doctor's who are "prescription happy writting doctor's". What they give you isn't always what's best for you. There is a reason why the Dr.'s say they "Practice Medicine", we are their lab rats and what they're giving us isn't always a for sure cure.

Good luck!

Thank you so much for your input. I am somewhat concerned about how a BCP will effect my pms because I already get terrible headaches and cramps and moodiness (like crying for no reason whatsoever haha) and I fear that trying to use hormones against hormones will make me even worse. This is why the ads for Yaz appealed to me a lot because it is supposed to help pmdd; however, I've seen a lot of people say it made them more depressed and crazy. This makes me wonder if the hormone balance in it is meant more for people who are already suffering from those symptoms, thus working badly on the average woman. Could that be possible? I don't know but I agree about doctors. They don't always know how things will effect us so really it's a matter of trial and error. I've hesitated to try BCP for a while now because I fear it will make my already imbalanced hormones even more imbalanced, but I'm getting frustrated with my monthly "gifts" and I want the contraceptive benefits of BCP's anyways. For me it's a matter of finding something that will help as many of my issues as possible haha. Thanks again for the words of caution and your advice, it's much appreciated ;)

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I was on Yaz for about a year and loved it. It cleared up my acne completely right away and I just overall felt a lot better whenever it was my time of the month. (minimal cramps, super short periods-like 3 days long) The only side effect I really had was nausea every now and then.

My skin was clear for so long that I decided to drop Yaz because since my acne was gone I didn't need to use a BCP. Well, my acne came back eventually and I went on Yaz about 6 months after being off of it, and my acne never really cleared up that second time.

So, I just switched last month and started Ortho Tri-Cyclen and still waiting on results. So I can't really give my experience on that yet, as I am still healing from initial breakouts.

So...i'm all for Yaz...just don't risk what I did and drop it if clears your skin...keep taking it. :)

I've read that a lot, that going off of the pill sucks and then going back on it doesn't work. You have kind of made me consider Yaz more since you experienced good results with minimal side effects. Did you experience negative effects when you first started taking Yaz or are you only experiencing an initial breakout with Ortho? I'm just wondering since I'm trying to decide when to start taking it (before or after vacation). My guess is that any pill could take a week or two for the body to get used to it but if Yaz didn't seem to make it worse or have severe side effects then that would be awesome. Thanks for your help by the way; you've made me feel more confident about trying a BCP, especially Yaz. If you experience any drastic changes (good or bad) with Ortho Tri-Cyclen, I'd appreciate it if you posted it or let me know since I still have a little time before my appointment and that had been what I was leaning towards before since it's been around longer and doesn't have such a bad reputation. Thanks again for the help ;)

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Hey freebird91,

I recently came off the pill back at the end of April..........and unlike what u might read on here, Im feeling fine and my skin looks great! I took Ortho Tri Cyclen for 2.5 years.........at first things were wonderful, my periods were short, my face was flawless...........then around the 2 year in mark things went downhill, fast.........my face kept breaking out, i was rapidly losing weight, i felt like a bag of hell 24/7, etc. So I decided to switch to a pill called Demulen 1/30. I was only on it for just less than 3 months......it completely dried out my skin, it might have helped a bit with acne but it wasn't anything spectacular. I started feeling very....strange....I went to my GP and my blood pressure was 154/115 which is EXTREMELY HIGH......considering I'm average height/weight and only 25 years old. He immediately withdrew my prescription and told me to get off the pill all together. It was a tough decision.......cuz like I said a lot of ppl have problems after stopping the pill........but so far things have been great (knock on wood).

I don't know much about Yaz......I know it's "newer" technology than Ortho......Ortho is an older pill.....Also Yaz has a lower estrogen dose in it, and you take it for 24 days I believe.......Ortho u take for 21 days. I had no weight gain on the pill (some ppl do get this tho....water retention). Migraines are common......food cravings are common......bigger boobs can be common lol.....and some people have worse acne being on the pill. Make sure you watch ur blood pressure....it's a sign of heart attack.......and watch the migraines if you get them, that's a sign of blood clotting.

I hope this helped a bit. Remember everyone's bodies are different and will respond differently to different types of meds. I hope whatever you choose works well for you!

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Hey freebird91,

I recently came off the pill back at the end of April..........and unlike what u might read on here, Im feeling fine and my skin looks great! I took Ortho Tri Cyclen for 2.5 years.........at first things were wonderful, my periods were short, my face was flawless...........then around the 2 year in mark things went downhill, fast.........my face kept breaking out, i was rapidly losing weight, i felt like a bag of hell 24/7, etc. So I decided to switch to a pill called Demulen 1/30. I was only on it for just less than 3 months......it completely dried out my skin, it might have helped a bit with acne but it wasn't anything spectacular. I started feeling very....strange....I went to my GP and my blood pressure was 154/115 which is EXTREMELY HIGH......considering I'm average height/weight and only 25 years old. He immediately withdrew my prescription and told me to get off the pill all together. It was a tough decision.......cuz like I said a lot of ppl have problems after stopping the pill........but so far things have been great (knock on wood).

I don't know much about Yaz......I know it's "newer" technology than Ortho......Ortho is an older pill.....Also Yaz has a lower estrogen dose in it, and you take it for 24 days I believe.......Ortho u take for 21 days. I had no weight gain on the pill (some ppl do get this tho....water retention). Migraines are common......food cravings are common......bigger boobs can be common lol.....and some people have worse acne being on the pill. Make sure you watch ur blood pressure....it's a sign of heart attack.......and watch the migraines if you get them, that's a sign of blood clotting.

I hope this helped a bit. Remember everyone's bodies are different and will respond differently to different types of meds. I hope whatever you choose works well for you!

Thank you for your input :) It seems this is way more individual and unpredictable than I ever thought :blink: it's weird that you had such bad reactions after so long on the pill..are you sure it was the pill or was there something else in your life you changed that might have affected it? I mean, obviously if you got off OTC then you and your doctor must have felt it was that but I just wonder if that's a common thing or not. Anyways, I hope it doesn't happen to me :unsure: Thank you for the info on the possible symptoms and warning signs. I'll have to be extra careful since I'm already prone to migraines around my time of the month; I'll have to discuss that with the doc. And by the way, does higher estrogen mean it's better for acne?

Thanks for your help, your post is much appreciated and helpful.

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Oh it was definitely the pill that was causing all my issues.....as soon as I got off the pill I felt great! My blood pressure decreased, face got better, moods were more stable, etc. My doctor said just because a women is on the pill, she still has natural hormone levels that will fluctuate....he said over the years my natural hormones probably settled down and balanced out but the pill was just screwing with them. I also knew the pill wasn't for me anymore when as soon as I got my period my face cleared, no headaches, I felt great being ON my period (weird I know).........and then when I went to go back on the pill, acne came back, and I felt just sick really. Ortho Tri Cyclen is tri-phasic too...so that means each of the three weeks that you take it before you get your period, the hormones in the pill increase and get higher and higher (not the estrogen, just the progestin)........some people don't do well with tri-phasic pills. There are more mono-phasic pills on the market versus tri-phasic........Yaz is one of them, so is Demulen, and Yasmin. There's also IUDs and NUVARING (which a lot of people seem to like).

Some people believe the higher the estrogen the better the pill is for acne. But higher estrogen pills come with their own risks and cautions....more so than a lower estrogen pill.....they have an increase risk of causing blood clots, strokes, etc. A lot of doctors (including my own) won't prescribe a 50mg estrogen pill....too high of a dose of hormones. If you're interested though Demulen 1/50 is a high estrogen pill.

Specifically for acne a lot of women like Diane 35 (that's what it's marketed as in Canada, not sure where you're from). They say it'll clear your skin.....but there's a lot of lawsuits going on with it because of it's increase risk of blood clots and stroke. It has ethynial diacetate in it....which is very good at blocking androgens therefore good for acne and oily skin.

Check out these websites.....and if you have any questions feel free to email me. I spent over a year researching pills, hormone components, looking at reviews, etc etc etc:

http://www.dermadoctor.com/article_Acne-An...rmones_225.html

http://women.emedtv.com/birth-control-pill...trol-pills.html

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

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I was on the generic ortho tri cyclen for like 8 months I had a horrible IB that never really seemed like it went away, I used to get my period every other month or so and with that pill I got it every month but sometimes with really bad cramps that I didn't have before and it would last like 7 days. I took it at night since I heard it will help deal with any side effects but that didn't help for the first month and a half or so I was nauseous, my boobs were so sore it hurt to wear a bra and to not wear a bra to move at all anything they freaking hurt. I don't know why I waited so long but finally I stopped taking it and then after a little less than a month I started YAZ. I didn't get an IB with YAZ or any side effects at all. And the first month I just had spotting no period, the second I had a very light period for a day and a half, and the third I had a light period for 3 days (probably too much information but you did say you wanted to take the pill for your period too so I thought it might help) YAZ also helped with my skin because on the other pill two weeks before my period I would breakout really bad until after my period then I would start to clear for the one week before it would breakout again, with YAZ I don't break out more because of my period. But they just made a generic for YAZ =/ and I just started that, so my love for YAZ may change....if you can afford the brand name I say go with YAZ...

Oh and I didn't gain weight on either pill and never got the bigger boob side effect which would have been nice....actually it seems like my boobs got smaller after I started taking bcp >=/

I forgot that after 6 months on the Ortho generic I started getting really bad headaches and mood swings. Nothing like that with YAZ but its only been 3 months...

Edited by ~Amber~
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Thank you Jessica, those websites really helped, but somehow I never came across those in my research! And Amber, thanks for sharing your experience as well :) I have heard better things about the brand names than about the generics so I'll definitely make sure to try to get brand name if I can. Thank you everyone for the help! My appointment is tomorrow morning so I'll keep all this info in mind when I talk to the doc and I'll let you know what I end up with :surprised:

Thanks again!

Peace ;)

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Sooo I went to the doctors today! :dance: When I was discussing the different bcp options with her (while playing with the example NuvaRing she gave me... :eh: ) and she mentioned that certain types are good for acne, she actually said "Not that you even have acne". ^_^ It made me feel really good (thank you regimen) but I explained that I breakout before my period and she understood. She decided to prescribe me Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo, because according to her it should give me the same benefits as regular OTC but with lower doses of hormones, which almost makes me feel better because I don't want it messing too much with my body besides keeping the hormones more stable. So yeah, it went great and I hope it works well once I start it (I have to wait until next month since my period just ended...booo). I went to the pharmacy to pick it up anyways because it won't expire or anything and then I won't have to worry about getting it later. Good news is it was totally free with my insurance; I don't have to pay a cent for it and its name brand so I'm happy! Oh but bad news, I have to get a mole shaved off in a few days...it's literally called a shave biopsy. I'm kind of scared but whatever, it's a weird mole so better safe than sorry.

Thanks again for everyone who gave me advice and stuff, I went feeling much more prepared than I would have. I hope it goes well for me but now I know who to ask if I have any questions!

ps. if anyone has ever had a mole shaved off, did it hurt? was it horrible? haha

Peace ;)

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