Taking bcp continuously

For those of you who are just beginning this wonderful process, here we can narrow down the symptoms and ask questions like "am I starting perimenopause?"

Taking bcp continuously

Postby Guest » Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:50 pm

In an attempt to stop this dreadful mood swings, labor pain mentrual cramps, and digestive disturbances I'm going to take my bcp for 3 months straight without taking that 4th week of placebo pills. I've spoken with another woman at this site, whose story is so similiar to mine that we could be identical twins :lol:, who now feels 90% better since she's been taking Yasmin continuously. I'm taking Ovcon 35.

This is my second month of taking the Ovcon 35 without taking that placebo week. Last month I skipped one day without taking the pill (mix up at my dr. office in calling in my prescription) and I still had a period. I would not have thought that missing one day would still lead to a regular period.

Anyone else having great success by taking their bcp in this way? What is your period like after the three months?
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continuous bcp's.

Postby cin-d-rella » Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:10 pm

Hello guest,

I have never continuously taken the pills, but I have thought about it many times. I find though, that sometimes I feel worse when I am on the pills than when I am on my week off them.

Tell us how it goes when you do this....but make sure to talk to Dr. Judy on this sight too !!

Cin-d-rella.
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continual bcp"s

Postby pamelabray » Fri May 06, 2005 2:09 am

I AM 54 ( 55 NEXT MONTH) AND MY PERIODS KEEP RIGHT ON TICKING MONTHLY. THE PROBLEM IS THE INTENSITY OF THE BLEEDING,, MOOD SWINGS MIGRAINES ETC.. I REALLY WANTED TO TRY AND GO THROUGH THIS WITHOUT ANY HRT'S BUT I HAVE HAD IT!!! I AM SO SICK OF MY MISERABLE PERIODS . I STARTED THE "SEASONAL" PILLS WHICH ARE LOW DOSE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS IN A PACK OF 3 MONTH'S CONTINUAL
WITH NO PLACEBO. I FEEL SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER AND I AM NOT GOING TO STOP UNTIL MY OVARIES GIVE IN AND STOP HARRASSING ME.
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Postby drjudy » Sat May 07, 2005 3:40 pm

When we go off birth control pills for one week per cycle, we depend on our own hormones to support our brain and body during the time free of pills. As we get nearer to menopause, those weeks can get increasingly awful due to the wide discrepancy between our own hormone levels and the much higher levels provided by the pill.

Many women enjoy the freedom from fluctuations in this 3 months on and 1 week off strategy. Many, however, hate that one week off, and others just don't feel right on the pill. I'm glad that you, Pamela, feel better. I'm sure others can report that one missed pill can precipitate a period though, as our original poster noted.

Judy
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Re: continual bcp"s

Postby Hopefully » Sat May 07, 2005 7:02 pm

pamelabray wrote:I AM 54 ( 55 NEXT MONTH) AND MY PERIODS KEEP RIGHT ON TICKING MONTHLY. THE PROBLEM IS THE INTENSITY OF THE BLEEDING,, MOOD SWINGS MIGRAINES ETC.. I REALLY WANTED TO TRY AND GO THROUGH THIS WITHOUT ANY HRT'S BUT I HAVE HAD IT!!! I AM SO SICK OF MY MISERABLE PERIODS . I STARTED THE "SEASONAL" PILLS WHICH ARE LOW DOSE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS IN A PACK OF 3 MONTH'S CONTINUAL
WITH NO PLACEBO. I FEEL SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER AND I AM NOT GOING TO STOP UNTIL MY OVARIES GIVE IN AND STOP HARRASSING ME.


:lol: I also will be overjoyed when my ovaries stop harrasssing me! This is my second continuous month and I must say that I can tell a big difference. My energy level has improved, still not where it use to be, but I can tell a difference. My mood is beginning to even out without the rapid ups and downs that I've been experiencing. I'm not as spacey/woosie/lightheaded as I've been for the last 3 years! I was just thinking the other day that with a little slight tweaking, with what I don't know, I would feel almost 100% like my pre-peri self :D. Honestly I haven't felt this good, despite still having some symptoms, in three years. Okay, here is the BUT part...although I'm taking the pill continuously, as I stated I missed one pill last month and continued to bleed for 11 days. Well, this month I haven't missed a pill and I've been spotting for the last two days. I'm not alarmed, since I've learned to expected the unexpected during perimenopause. I'm not quick to blame everything on hormones, or lack of hormones, but I try not to become concerned or upset over some of these unusual symptoms. With much prayer I'm hoping and believing that the week off will not be AHHHHHHHHHH!
Hopefully
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the patch

Postby katzdu4 » Tue May 10, 2005 1:14 pm

Hi, my name is Leandra and I am 53. My Dr. said that most women have stopped having periods by my age :roll: but apparently she is not quite right. Anyway, she put me on the OrthoEvra BC patch (3 on-1 off) for 4 mos. to see if it would settle my system down. That was fun! Regular periods for awhile but the patch seemed to make the cramps worse and I felt better on the week off. I got so regular that I didn't do the 4th month and now I'm just spotting a little when my period would be due but I still get those cramps. The idea was that if 4 mos. didn't help then she'd put me on the patch for a year.

My problem is that I'm afraid of the side effects that BC products have like strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, etc. Has anyone been given any info. that says we are less at risk because we are using hormones for menopausal "stuff" and not for BC? Afterall, we are starting with less hormones than the young adults. Being an RN makes me just dangerous enough to scare myself to death with side effects that I'd be comforting patients about.

Another question is about mood swings. I have been treated for depression, panic attacks & agoraphobia for 20 yrs. No medication or counseling seems to help anymore and I'm just getting worse. Can some of this be coming from this "peri" time or am I just chronically crazy?

Thanks!!
:D Leandra
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Postby Guest » Sun May 15, 2005 10:24 am

Dear Leandra,

The average age of menopause is 51, and that means you are not alone in supporting the upper end of the curve. The 'most women' generalizations just underscores the diversity of most women and the uniqueness of our experiences.

You mentioned that Ortho Evra made you feel worse. Was that just with respect to cramps, or were there other things going on as well? As you may know from your professional experience and from other postings here, the drop in estrogen associated with the week off the pill (or the onset of menses in women not on the pill) can be highly symptomatic during perimenopause. If you did not enjoy your time on the patch, however, you may have been reacting to the progestogen with bloating, breast tenderness, and depression, or you may have been reacting to the extra added estrogen on top of your own levels which may be quite high.
I'm not sure what one year on the pill would do for you that 4 months did not.

The cardiovascular effects of supplemental hormones are a slight but real risk, and one that requires some thought. The hormones in the Ortho Evra patch pass through the skin rather that the oral route which sends high levels of hormones through the liver. That 'first-pass effect' through the liver causes an increase in clotting and inflammatory factors that increase risk of blood clotting, so Ortho Evra may be safer in this regard.

The downside of late menopause is struggling with this perimenopausal stuff at an age when friends and colleagues may be past all that. You definitely have company. I hope you and your doctor can find some relief for your symptoms.

Best wishes,
Judy
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Postby drjudy » Sun May 15, 2005 10:30 am

p.s. on the subject of mood swings, depression, panic, agarophobia: absolutely these can all get worse with perimenopause. This delightful (not) phase, along with post-partum, is one of two times in a woman's life when she is most likely to suffer from depression. Likewise with anxiety, where women who generally function normally in busy lives end up fretting over being late, finding a parking place, making decisions, and dithering over a million points of everyday life that really aren't that big a deal. And if you struggle with these things anyway, perimenopause with fluctuating estrogen levels has a 'kindling effect,' feeding the emotional fires that make daily life a struggle. Even if you dealt wih these issues quite well in the past, rest assured that perimenopause makes it more difficult.

Judy
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Thanks!

Postby katzdu4 » Mon May 16, 2005 11:56 pm

Thanks again, Dr. Judy, for your insight. I expected the patch to give me more energy, clearer thinking, etc. You know...be "normal" but I actually felt better during the week off. It seemed like I had crampiness in the beginning of starting a patch cycle, my hot flashes came back and I just generally felt out of pace with life. But the up side was that I didn't bleed constantly. Then during the week off, my period wasn't nearly as heavy, started & stopped normally, some crampiness still...almost like mild labor pains as if my uterus was trying to push something out...often some clots at that time, but otherwise I overall felt better. Just the opposite of what seems to be the norm.

If I am pushing the top end of the curve...and I'll be 54 in Oct...then how much longer could I have for this mess? Every time they do a blood test on my hormones all they tell me is that I'm not in menopause which seems to be obvious by definition since I'm still having periods I am so miserable most of the time that I am ready for it to end.

Another thought...it seems that when I try to wean myself off of my antidepressants lately, things get worse. I don't think I should have been kept on them for over 20 yrs. because if I didn't have a chem. imbalance when I started then I probably do now because for so long whatever produces those chemicals hasn't needed to do as much work. (How's that for a run on sentence!?) I'm constantly sweating or freezing, feeling overwhelmed, etc. My new psychiatrist put me on Cymbalta for my panic disorder/agoraphobia & depression. With your info. on neurotransmitters, is it possible that I would do better just staying on the antidepressant for now instead of trying to quit so that it helps do what the missing estrogen isn't doing? Maybe it will be easier to come off of them when I'm through perimenopause?

With all of these things going on, I stay confused as to whether to take medication or try to stop and I probably am helping wreck havoc on my system by constantly trying to stop my medication.

Fortunately, I have always been extremely physically healthy all my life. Still have all my parts that I was born with.

~!~ Leandra
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Postby drjudy » Sun May 22, 2005 4:59 pm

Hi Leandra,

Perimenopause gets pretty old by 54, doesn't it? Who knows? This could last another couple of years, but I hope not. You may find as you get nearer the end that you will be more even in lower levels of estrogen, easier to support with low doses of estrogen if you and your doctor choose that route, and generally less miserable.

I think that depression, panic attacks, and agoraphobia, both twenty years ago and now, counts as an imbalance of the action of neurotransmitters (especially norepinephrine) on the appropriate neurons. I swear I don't know what gives with norepinephrine these days--it seems we're all a little short of a load at this point in our lives. I thinkyou would very much do better in this phase to continue on antidepressants, then discuss with your psychiatrist the advisability of quitting them in the future. I know it's aggravating to stay on drugs, but I guess I'm a better living through chemistry proponent if they make you more fully functional in your life.

Cymbalta seems like a promising new drug that promotes the actions of serotonin and and norepinephrine. I hope it is helpful to you.

Judy
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