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Menstrual Advice for My Girlfriend

Level 1

Join date: Jan 2009
Posts: 46

I figured more women check this forum than any others, so I was hoping I could get some womanly advice. My girlfriend has been taking birth control for a while now becuase it regulates her period.

She recently went to the doctor because before her period she gets, for lack of better words, crazy for a couple days. She just gets really emotional and sometimes depressed for no reason. I think she could have PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

I dont know the name of the birth control, but she takes the one where there are 4 rows of pills. She takes the first 3 rows, and the last row is just sugar pills which she takes while she is on her period. The doctor told her she could just take the birth control year round, so starting a new birth control packet instead of taking the sugar pills.

The doctor said this would only make her have 4 periods a year, which neither me or my girldfriend think is a good idea becuase im assuming that is pretty bad for you. The other option she gave her was to take prozac. I personally do not believe in anti depressants.

I mean, in some cases it is necesarry, but I think they are prescribed too easily in cases in which people really dont need them. My girlfriend also does not want to take them unless she has to.

My question would be if anyone else thinks that PMDD could be what she has? Also, could taking the birth control for so long(3+ years, she took like a 5 month break in that time period) could be the cause of her getting all emotional and stuff before her period?

She said she started taking it becuase her period was irregular, like sometimes she would get it the first week of the month, somtimes the second, sometimes the third. She was 16 when she started, played soccer for both her high school and a club team, and had a lot of family problems going on. Could all of that sress be a cause why it was irregular?

And if so, if she stopped taking it now, would that help with what I think is her PMDD? And would maybe now that she is older (19),after a while off birth control her period might be more regular? If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated!

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Level 1

Join date: Sep 2005
Posts: 14949

Interesting..I don't really have any advice though.
What was it like for her BEFORE she started taking BC pills?
Some women are just really sensitive to the hormones in them...

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Level 1

Join date: May 2008
Posts: 2127

This is a huge topic. I think there are many different opinions on this.

I don't have much advice but these were some of the thoughts that went through my head.

Going to another doctor to get a second opinion.

Trying switching to a different kind of pill.

Going off the pill completely.

I also would not be into taking Prozac.

I am not sure when she started her period but I do know that having irregular periods is very common in the first 5 years that you start your period.
Yes, stress could cause irregular periods as well.

She can try going off the pill for a while, see if her periods are regular. However, I would probably suggest a MINIMUM of 6 months off the pill.

I am suprised that the doctor suggested taking the 3 week pills right after another.

I have done that so I won't have my period for a certain occasion but sometimes the body just does what it wants to and I have the period anyways even while i'm taking the pill.

I do not know enough about PMDD to comment on that. Sorry.

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Level 1

Join date: Mar 2008
Posts: 902

Having periods 4 times a year is not bad for you. Are you and your girlfriend just basing that opinion on a random hunch or have you actually researched the idea a bit?

I'm sorry, but it irritates the hell out of me when teenagers with no medical training decide that they know more than doctors.

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Level 10

Join date: Nov 2002
Posts: 2913

I am with talking to a second doctor and Researching online for some answers as well.

But if it were me:

First I would try going off of the pill completely to see if that fixes the problem. As someone else says you would have to be off of them for a while to see if your cycle regulates itself and the "craziness" subsides without the pills in your system.

Second I would not want to take prozac for this either....

Third Investigate some natural alternatives to aleviate the problem as well.

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Join date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1

there are TONS of different kinds of birth control pills. As a former once-a-month-crazy I totally relate to this. I'm also a Rx Tech so I know a little bit about it. First of all, seasonal and the other BC pills where you only have 4 periods are actually perfectly safe. When you are on BC you are having BC periods, its not the same as when you are actually ovulating so a period is not actually necessary.

I can tell you this kind of birth control is the only thing that acutally helped me.

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Join date: Mar 2009
Posts: 634

arsvenustatis wrote:
there are TONS of different kinds of birth control pills. As a former once-a-month-crazy I totally relate to this. I'm also a Rx Tech so I know a little bit about it. First of all, seasonal and the other BC pills where you only have 4 periods are actually perfectly safe. When you are on BC you are having BC periods, its not the same as when you are actually ovulating so a period is not actually necessary.

I can tell you this kind of birth control is the only thing that acutally helped me.

I am at the opposite end of the spectrum as your girlfriend, being 43 and approaching perimenopause, but I will throw in my two cents worth. And that is about all it is worth!

I tried the seasonale, and was unable to take it. I had breakthrough bleeding, so my periods basically lasted for weeks at a time. I went on them to try and regulate my periods, which (sorry, TMI, but you DID post this thread ;) were irregular and very, very heavy. So heavy that a 30 minute drive from home to work resulted, once, in me having to buy a new pr of pants in order to be able to show up for my shift.

Many people do GREAT on the Seasonale, or on doing regular pills for several cycles and skipping the periods. There is no health risk based on skipping periods.

I am sure your gf knows that oral contraceptives have many risks associated with them, esp. if she smokes. There are a few I recently learned the hard way. I had surgery in October, and ended up, 9 days later, with a ginormous pulmonary embolism. "Ginormous" is the term the ER doc used...other doctors were pretty stunned by the size as well. Being on the pill increases the chance of clotting and therefore embolisms. I can't take bc pills for the rest of my life, on advice of my dr. So be aware of it.

BC pills may or may not have anything to do with her mood swings. One thing that really helps my sister, who gets MONSTER moodiness, is to be well hydrated and take natural diuretics to prevent bloating. One theory of PMS and other similar conditions is that the water retention causes pressure on the brain. There are a number of teas that are gentle diuretics, for example, and they even taste pretty pleasant!

Would not hurt to come off the pills, improve diet and water retention, and see if it helps. I would also hesitate to use druges if she is not otherwise depressed. Of course I am not a doctor, and would not try to make a diagnosis from a few paragraphs of description, even if I were.

Good luck!

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Join date: Sep 2010
Posts: 122

So I'm a bit late, but I will offer my .02 for the good of the order.

First of all, those women with the lowest breast cancer rates and lowest uterine cancer rates are those who breast-feed for an extended period of time. This is because of their lack of menstrual flow. Numerous medical studies have shown that exclusive breast-feeding (no pacifiers, no bottles, just breast-feeding) can extend post-partum amenorrhea for up to 1 year...which means no periods for up to a year (many women who are even more extreme report amenorrhea upto 14-18 months). In fact, in primitive cultures where exclusive breast-feeding is the norm, uterine and breast cancer rates are extremely low (lower than industrial cultures).

It is not the frequency of the periods that is worrisome, but the method for obtaining them. Breast-feeding induces the body to NATURALLY secrete hormones that trick the brain that it is still pregnant, so the brain then signals the ovaries and uterus to delay ovulation...with no ill-side effects. When amenorrhea is triggered through synthetic means, we have a different story...

Any person engaged in training, be it strength training, distance training, cross-training or whatever recognizes how amazing the body is. It can adapt to similar workout regimines in two weeks, and in many cases, you can break through a plateau with a simple tweaking of your angle, your sets/reps, or whatever. Medically speaking, synthetic hormones were created not to increase performance or make life easier, but to fix actual medical problems (like not producing enough T or estrogen). According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, for example, synthetic testosterone was produced to give young pubecent boys a boost because their bodies weren't producing enough...we have rampant illicit use of said T because of its observed effects on those boys.

HRT (hormone replacement therapy) includes smaller doses of estrogen and progesterone (the two hormones that regulare a females cycle) than every single BC pill or injectible there is, yet doctors hesitate to prescribe it to women because of its adverse effects (namely cancer). However, those same doctors will rush to prescribe the Pill (any version, really) with impunity! Read the side effects of your Pill, included in the package. It will make your head spin. Having an irregular cycle is not cause to go on a drug (synthetic estrogen/progesterone is not produced by your body, and is technically a drug).

There are numerous causes for cycle irregularity. High stress, either emotional or physical (like intense training) will cause elongated, even painful cycles. Lack of water intake will create painful cramps. High thyroid activity will make your periods very light and more frequent, while low thyroid activity can increase the heaviness of your periods. Lack of certain vitamins can cause cycle irregularities. Gaining or losing weight rapidly impacts cycle regularity. A BF% that is too high (obese or morbidly obese) has detrimental effects on cycle irregularity, as does a BF% that is too low.

A short story about the Pill: The Pill was developed by a pharmacist named John Rock, who thought it would be perfectly harmless to naturally cause the body to delay ovulation. When testing the Pill in the early 60s (you know, to liberate women), they also included a male version. Testing on the male version caused testicular shrinkage in less than 3% of the men involved. They discontinued the male pill. 3 women died in the trials, and they simply decreased the dosage.

The pill kills. There is no reason to ever use it.

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Join date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2655

Periods ARE irregular in young women. Often into their twenties, if they don't use birth control beforehand. It could be stress, but it doesn't have to be -- periods are just often irregular.

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Join date: May 2010
Posts: 1765


Here's my experienced...I've sloughed off nearly 200eggs now, and I think I finally figured out how to deal with it. Every woman handles BC differently. I can't do it. It makes me almost suicidal.

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Join date: May 2010
Posts: 1765

And, YES. It will take 3-6 months for your hormones to go back to normal after BC because you suppressed some (FSH and LH) and jacked up others (progesterone and estrogen). When I was 19 I was on the rowing team at u of m, and I got really painful cramps and craziness.. but once you know that the drop in prog/est is actually to blame for making you feel like shit for 2-3 days, you can feel better knowing that it's not YOU it's just your hormones, and take special care of yourself during that time as I outline in the blog - no booze, hydrate, child's pose in yoga, fresh air, exercise, then dose up with ibuprofen/midol BEFORE you start to hurt (before the prostaglandins signal) and you'll be okay.

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Level 10

Join date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1314

Yikes. So much ignorance, where to start...

Your girlfriend (and you, if you are looking to advise her or just be understanding) need to learn the FIRST things about the biology of the female reproductive system. Go to amazon and immediately buy the book
"Taking Charge of Your Fertility." She should get off BC and immediately start charting her cycle as described in the book. Whatever problems she may or MAY NOT have will become much more clear.

I am not a fan of hormonal BC because of the serious risks of thrombosis and breast cancer. The top researchers of breast cancer would never use it themselves. MOST doctors completely ignore the risks because BC for women is so politicized, and it is clearly pushed as the treatment for anything and everything in med school. So you can't get accurate picture from most ob/gyns. In addition to the serious risks, BC depletes B vitamins and reduces insulin sensitivity. This doesn't help the cortisol stress response at all. It's bad enough to take on these health risks for the purpose of BC; but for the purpose of regulating the cycle, it's truly ridiculous.

Going on BC because of "irregular" periods is just retarded. Sorry. Sometimes the first week of the month, sometimes the second, sometimes the third??? Seriously?? That is normal. What does she think the body should do in February and March, where March is 10% longer than February? Besides, periods won't and don't need to be regular in teenagers. However, from what you described she could have a perfectly regular 35-36 day cycle. Doctors, who are so keen on the pill, think that cycles should be 28 days....28 days is THE PILL cycle. For convenience only. And using the pill can permanently alter cycle length toward 28 days, leaving 28 days the average for all women. BUT if you only look at women who've never used the pill, 35 days is perfectly normal and healthy, probably more likely than the short 28 days.

As far as PMDD...mood changes during a normal cycle are very common; I doubt they should be medicated, and certainly not with BC or antidepressants. I am a firm believer that healthy lifestyle, which includes stress reduction, minimizes the problems of hormonal shifts AND improves overall health. And certain nutrients have been shown to improve PMS. I would recommend the following:
- take a good multi with plenty of all the B vitamins. I like Kirkland's multi packs for a cheap formula that is pretty good:
- 1200 mg of calcium/day. Calcium and magnesium have been shown to improve symptoms of PMS. The multi linked above contains 1200 mg or so of calcium. It's good to have dietary sources, too. I like Biotest Metabolic Drive and lowfat cottage cheese.
- magnesium and trace minerals. Biotest's ElitePro is fabulous. The amino chelates ensure that the calcium won't prevent the magnesium from being absorbed. There are other brands with good forms of magnesium, but Biotest put together a great formula here.
- fish oil. At least 3g of combined DHA+EPA per day.
- if she doesn't get midday sun exposure, she needs to make sure she's getting adequate Vitamin D, and the amount in the multi might not be enough.

I would certainly try Biotest's Z12 before antidepressants. Z12 promotes relaxation and sleep quality. Also, theanine is simply awesome stuff for mood and relaxation without toxicity or side effects. Supposedly, no toxicity has been seen even in enormous doses in animals.

There is usually room for huge improvement in diet, especially in teenagers. In the past, I've taught high school and college age kids, and their diets were simply abominable. I'm talking just eating reasonable, unprocessed food at regular mealtimes instead of skipping meals and eating total crap.

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Join date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1

This is probably terrible advice..

But Because Taking birth control in a hormonal form gives me morning sickness symptoms and makes my emotions even crazier, I have had to just deal with being VERY depressed around my period. I used to cry for hours for no reason and think about what it would be like to just sleep....

However, I find the best way to handle the emotion is to just get high. Once a month a little bit of marijuana certainly helps me forget about all my issues and just relax.

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