Some Thoughts On Hormonal Birth Control
It’s a personal post, so it’s all after the jump.
After my PCOS diagnosis not too long ago, my doctor switched my birth control pill to YAZ, from a low dose pill. In case you haven’t been paying attention to the news, YAZ is the pill that landed its maker, Bayer, in hot water with the FDA.
You see, Bayer initially launched the pill with an ad campaign touting its off label usage; YAZ was approved to treat PMDD (not run of the mill PMS) and moderate to severe acne (not the occasional pimple). Yet, the misleading advertisements promised that YAZ would help users “say goodbye” to symptoms like fatigue and mood swings – which, lets face it, are PMS symptoms exacerbated by PMDD. The ads were intentionally misleading, and the FDA ended up forcing Bayer to shell out $20 million in ads to correct this misinformation.
That has nothing to do with my rant here, but it certainly doesn’t paint a particularly flattering picture of either the pill or its maker. So I included it – hey, it’s my blog, I can be as biased as I please.
I ended up switching because the hormone in YAZ (which is different from hormones in other pills) is good for counteracting some of the cosmetic effects of PCOS. I like my doctor, I trust his opinion, so when he suggested it, I was all for it. Unfortunately, I neglected to tell him about my very real anxiety issues.
It was a total amateur mistake – I know that I struggle with this on a daily basis, yet it didn’t even occur to me to tell him. Even though I’ve made the decision to “medicate” my anxiety disorder with exercise and yoga, rather than traditional medication. That was my first mistake.
My second mistake? Not doing my own research.
I made the switch about five months ago, and in that time had some very dramatic, very huge life changes. So when my my moodiness, anxiety and depression started to flare up weeks ago, I blamed circumstance (which, in all fairness, were exacerbating the issue). Yet, I’ve continued a very dramatic downward spiral.
I don’t really care to get into the nitty gritty of what’s happened, but suffice it to say that it’s been incredibly ugly. Still, it wasn’t until a friend mentioned to me that YAZ had made her “a psychopath” that I started to see the timing pattern.
A few Google searches later, and I’ve learned that this pill causes severe reactions in some women – anxiety, depression, night terrors, self injury and intentional destruction of relationships. Yes, every pill has the potential to turn users into a loon – that’s the risk of messing with hormones. But there seems to be something special about this one – YAZ is the most posted about medication on medications.com, with many, many women complaining that it actually made them more anxious, upset and depressed than they were previously. The sheer number of women with pre-existing anxiety issues who complain about this is staggering.
So, I learned my lesson – I need to be my own advocate, both with my doctor and on my own time.
And, happily, I’ve changed my pill. Here’s hoping the new hormones kick in soon.