I grew up thinking that taking drugs and medicine was bad for you and to do so as infrequently as possible. My mom always said something about messing with your liver, so I always had to go au naturale. I got my first period around 13 years old and suffered pretty bad cramps. I started popping 1 Advil pill on my first day each month and then hope for the best.
When I started becoming more sexually active in a committed relationship, I HATED the anxiety I would get if my period came late. My periods are typically consistent, give or take a few days. And my form of birth control was mainly condoms. So in January 2017, I did some research and settled on trying out an IUD.
What is an IUD?
It stands for intrauterine device and it’s a flexible little T-shaped plastic that releases progestin (or copper) to alter the way sperm cells move and they can’t get to an egg. At that time, I had 3 IUD options: Skyla (3 years), Mirena (5 years), and Paraguard (10 years). The first two use progestin but Paraguard is non-hormonal and releases copper.
My experience with Skyla
It took 6 months for my body to get used to a foreign object in my uterus and in that time span, I spotted A LOT. I no longer needed to take Advil on the first day of my period, but my cramps were still there but a bit different. They were sharper, quicker to pass, but more painful. I didn’t have a huge change in my period flow, gain weight, or break out in acne. Instead, I was bloated all the time. The painful kind too and to the point where even wearing leggings hurt. So after 3 additional months of giving Skyla another chance, I threw in the towel and had it taken out. It took my body about a month to readjust to my pre-IUD cycle and another year before I decided to give birth control another shot – this time with the pill.
Because of the way my body reacted to Progestin, I figured I needed a combination pill, one that used both Progestin and Estrogen. I spoke with my gyno, who recommended Apri, in which he said 95% of his patients who used it reported positive experiences. After a month of Apri, my pharmacy switched me over to another generic brand called Enskyce and I’ve been using that for a good 6 months now. It’s a 28-day pill pack with 1 week of placebo pills for your period.
I don’t have any negative side effects that I know of (though I noticed my breasts might have gotten larger but I also gained some weight from bad diet and less exercise). It could be anything! But I wanted to record what would happen to my period and my unbearable cramps. First, my cramps lessened with each month and I don’t think I had anything above a pain scale level of 3/10. This past month, I only felt minor discomfort in my uterus on my first day. On a scale of 1-10 for pain, I used to be at 7-8 without taking pain killers on my first day, to 4-5 with taking pain killers. Now, it’s more around 2-3. A huge progress!
I started my pack at 10pm on the Sunday night right after my period, and noticed that in the next month, it took until Tuesday or Wednesday for my body to realize that it needed to flush out its monthly supply of blood. Then the period would last 4-6 days (compared with 6-7 days total). In the beginning, there was some spotting before and after the period, but gradually became minimal.
Something I needed to address here was how my facial skin cleared up since I started using this birth control. Here’s a comparison picture of October 2018 and and March 2019, meant for my eyebrows microblading but also works well for this case. My forehead used to be covered in these tiny bumps, but after figuring out timelines of other products I’ve been using, I conclude that Enskyce has cleared up my forehead! I also noticed that my cheeks are smoother, even though they remain similarly large-pored and a bit blotchy at times. It’s quite amazing.
I’m reporting a positive experience with this combination pill and I can finally relax every month! It typically takes 3-6 months of trying out a form of birth control to really see if your body takes well to it. I think I spent too long rejecting the idea of doing something “unnatural” to my body, and that’s what I regret. Shout out to ObamaCare for giving us women 100% covered preventative care.