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15 Intimate Photos Of Women Show Why They Use Birth Control Pills

  • IWB Post
  •  November 6, 2015


Emma Gray of The Huffington Post writes this article stating the various reasons why women use birth control pills. You will be surprised to read how the pills aren’t just consumed for birth control but also to regulate menstrual cramps.

Emma along with the Photographer Damon Dahlen decided to track down such women who will be ready to share this intimate information with the world. They found 14 such. Read their stories below:

“I started on the Pill, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, when I was 15 due to horrible menstrual cramps. My mom was understanding and helped me get the Pill when I was a teenager, and I was able to continue getting the Pill via doctors and Planned Parenthood. I took Ortho for years until my husband and I started trying to conceive, when I was 27. Between babies we took our chances and after my son was born, I got a Mirena IUD. My periods after two children were horrendously heavy and lasted for days. My clothes were ruined and it was just exhausting. With the Mirena, I have no cramps and can barely tell I have a period. It’s been wonderful. I now realize what a luxury it is to really have been able to plan my family the way that it worked for us.” –Christina, 37
“I first went on the birth control pill when I was around 20. I spent the day at my college infirmary because I was in so much pain from the cramps that none of my painkillers were helping and I spent hours incapacitated and sweating from the pain. My dad agreed that I’d use the Pill, as the doctor recommended, to control it. For the first few years I was on the Pill, it was only nominally contraception — I wasn’t having sex. My insurance for a while was through my dad’s employer, a Catholic entity, so I had to have notes from the doctor saying it was for menstrual issues. Once I got on my own insurance and the new legislation cut the costs of my refills to nothing, it was pretty great. After a couple years I went on the generic of Seasonique because my monthly periods were still extremely painful, and it’s been a lot better. When I got into a serious relationship, I was already set with birth control. At first I was constantly terrified that I’d be pregnant without knowing it for months before my four-times-a-year cycle came around. Plus I’m not great at schedules, so I don’t always remember to take it at the same time, which freaks me out. I’ve thought about trying an IUD but I’ve heard it can be risky to use menstrual cups with IUDs, and I’m not giving up my DivaCup!” –Claire, 27
“I started on [the birth control pill] Yaz when I was a teenager — maybe 18 or 19. I hadn’t had sex yet, but I’d been suffering from dysmenorrhea since my early teens — almost fainting, stomach pains so awful I’d miss school, the whole thing. My sister and I found out that we both have a hormonal imbalance that means our periods are especially bad, so we got our prescriptions around the same time. I’d been on the Pill for a couple of years when my younger sister had a pulmonary embolism when she was 18. It was a mix of a lot of things with no warning signs, but a big factor for her was being on the Pill. She was hospitalized for a while, and she almost died. She can never go on birth control again. It’s one of the most frightening things that’s ever happened to my family. Even though my doctor said I wasn’t at risk for the same kind of clotting, I went off the Pill in 2012 — I’d been taking it sporadically anyway, because I was so nervous. I went back on the Pill (Lutera this time) for good in 2014: I’ve been in a steady relationship for two years, and we were using condoms, so it just made sense. But my main impetus was still regulating my dysmenorrhea. And it’s free now, thanks to Obamacare. I started dealing with my anxiety and depression more actively around this time, too, and birth control pills really help with my moods. Along with my anti-anxiety medication, it’s been a godsend in helping to regulate my moods and health: I don’t have to miss work because I feel weak or in pain, or be laid low by stress or depression for days at a time. In that way, I feel better now than ever. (Also, my skin looks great.)” –Megan, 26
“I don’t take any form of hormonal birth control and never have. Growing up, friends and peers described side effects from the Pill that were more than off-putting to me. My concern about the effect [hormonal] birth control would have on me was overwhelming — so I tucked the idea away and relied on condoms. However, as I’ve gotten older, taking birth control has become more of a frequent thought but I’m so buried in worry, I’m not sure where to start.” –Lilly, 24

“I started using contraception (condoms) at age 18. I have switched only once in my life, to birth control pills to regulate my menstrual cycle. Once my menstrual cycle was regulated I returned to condoms. I have felt stressed in the past when I used condoms because I was fearful that the condom would break while having intercourse — and it takes away from the passion having to stop those 10-30 seconds to put it on. I am not currently using any kind of contraception, because I am trying to conceive. Even though I am 41 years old, I hope to become a mother for the second time.” –Cathy, 41

“I started using birth control (an IUD) at 21. I ended up having to remove the IUD because of bleeding and pain issues. After that I did not use birth control again until I was 23 years old, at which time I started using the Yasmin birth control pill. This was mainly for hormone purposes and keeping my cycle regular. It was very stressful as I had to constantly remember to take the Pill and when I missed then having the fear I would get pregnant. I don’t use contraception any longer as I had my “tubes tied” after having my children. The “tying of the tubes” is empowering as I no longer have to worry about any of the pregnancy scares, although I still need to use the Pill to regulate my cycle. That sucks, but no more worries if I miss one or two!” –Esmeralda, 36

“I started using contraception my sophomore year of college when I became sexually active. I solely used condoms until 2014. I’m on low-dosage [of estrogen] birth control pills now. The condoms were fine but I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to prevent pregnancy. Now that I’m in a long-term monogamous relationship, I’m prefer using only oral contraception. I asked my friends a ton of questions about the birth control pills they were using before asking my gynecologist about my options. I was mostly concerned with major mood swings. Two of my girl friends recommended Lo Loestrin, which I’ve been using for over a year now. Remembering to take the pills at the same time every day is the biggest hassle for me. I’m grateful that I have insurance that covers the pills and that calling for refills is pretty effortless. The pills help me enjoy sex without thinking about the repercussions. It’s also given me more control of my period which I love.” –Joann, 27

“I started taking [birth control pill] Yaz when I was 19 and first dating my college boyfriend. It did the job, but not without a cost. The Pill caused my formerly normal periods to become erratic and frail, often arriving nearly a week late and lasting barely two days. Around the same time, my moods took a dive and I started experiencing more anxiety. I suspected it was because of the Yaz, but it was difficult to tell since there were so many other changes going on in my life at the time. It took a long time for me to work up the courage to quit the Pill for good. I had heard horror stories about the hormonal transition, and two failed attempts at ditching Yaz left me with breakouts and mood swings so bad that I felt I had no choice but to go back. Last year, I finally took the plunge for real and now have been pill-free for nearly 11 months. The difference in my cycle (not to mention my mood) has been night and day. For the first time in nearly seven years, I have healthy, regular periods, and I feel more positive and even-keeled than I have in a long time. To prevent pregnancy, my boyfriend and I practice Natural Fertility Awareness. I track my period using an iPhone app, and then use either condoms or the withdrawal method based on whether I’m at a fertile or non-fertile point in my cycle. At the risk of sounding totally granola, it’s incredibly liberating to finally be able to trust my body and be in sync with the natural rhythms of my cycle.” –Carolyn, 26

“I was 15 years old when I first started using contraception. My nurse practitioner Connie back in South Carolina read this study that concluded that the Pill might help to rid me of my migraines, and it worked. Birth control literally saved my life! Once I became sexually active, my mother and I decided together that it was in my best interest to continue with the Pill. Between homework and an active social life, it was pretty hard to remember to take it each day. But not getting another migraine was my motivation. Today, I’m still on the Pill and I also use condoms. I feel empowered to know that the Pill allows me yet another way to be in control of MY body.” –Dana, 30

“I started taking the birth control pill at 17 when our family doctor asked if I was sexually active. I continued taking the Pill after going away to college and I got it through Planned Parenthood. I switched to the Norplant after the birth of my two daughters and just prior to moving to Saudi Arabia. We were there for a year because of my then-husband’s job and I was unsure if birth control of any kind could be found. Now I am not using contraception because I can no longer get pregnant. Who knew there were perks to menopause?” –Melani, 54

“I started the birth control pill when I was 16. At the time, I was put on Yaz to mitigate symptoms of PCOS. I had no problems with Yaz, I loved it. But it carried a higher risk of blood clots and by my mid-20s, I was constantly worried — convinced every ache or pain was a sign of a life-threatening blood clot. The anxiety wasn’t worth it, and my doctor also suspected I no longer had the hormone imbalance caused by PCOS that required a pill with more estrogen anyway. I switched to a pill with a lower dose of hormones about a year ago. There was definitely an adjustment period. I had some mood swings and weight fluctuations for about six months. Even after switching to a pill with less hormones, I started having extreme anxiety at around the same time every month. Recently, I discovered that’s caused in part by a gene mutation that makes it harder for my body to remove estrogen and other excess hormones. That I take a birth control pill with estrogen every day probably doesn’t help. I take special vitamins to prevent the buildup of hormones and other symptoms of anxiety caused by the gene issue. I also take baby aspirin when I travel to reduce the risk of blood clots. I started the birth control pill to improve quality of life, not to prevent pregnancy. Ten years later, I take the Pill to prevent pregnancy and have to carefully manage side effects that can affect quality of life. I’m considering switching to an IUD with less hormones. I’m very lucky, and feel very empowered, to have access to information to help make that choice and safe spaces to discuss it.” –Amanda, 26

“I first started using the birth control pill at 19 when I was living abroad in Israel because I had long periods and terrible cramps. Since then, I’ve changed pills three or four times because of negative side effects: weight gain, cramping, things like that. I ended up going off of the Pill for about a year, and then once I was better educated and had spoken to more women about their experiences, I went back on a different pill that had a lower dose of hormones, which was great. Once I left college, I wasn’t on my university’s health insurance anymore and that pill was no longer available to me, so I went on the generic version. Since then I’ve switched pills twice more — every time I’ve switched jobs and therefore insurance plans.” –Adina, 27

“I first went on the Pill (Yaz) when I was 18 and living abroad. I also started to get chronic migraines when I was 18, and those migraines got especially bad around my period. Eventually my doctor suggested that the hormones in the Pill might be making the migraines worse, so I switched to a progesterone-only pill, but that caused other negative side effects. When I was 20, I went off the Pill completely because I was just so exhausted with the whole thing, and depended on condoms and (very occasionally) Plan B until I was 27. Then I started hearing more women I knew talk about the IUD, which somehow had never been suggested to me. I spoke to my gynecologist and got the Mirena IUD 9 months ago, which will last for five years. My insurance covered the cost, and it’s been awesome. With the IUD, for the first time I feel completely in control of my reproductive health. “–Emma, 28

“I started taking Lutera birth control pills when I was 20. I got them at the Student Health Services center at my college. I still take the same kind of pills I started with, four years later. I didn’t have any bad side effects. I got my period when I was 11, so I had really painful cramps most of my life and since taking the Pill I don’t really anymore. “– Caroline, 24

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