Birth control pills that is.
Birth control pills that is.
For the non-female readers - you might want to skip this one. Actually, guys, I strongly advise you to skip this one. I might lose all my non-female readers over this. Uh-huh.
A little while ago I gave up caffein. Not completely, though. I do allow myself to have caffein on race days. Result: on these days I go all out on Coca Cola - ergo, I hardly sleep the night after. Nutso. ;) The difference that the caffein detox made, is pretty remarkable. I have not regretted it since.
And since I had jumped onto the detox wagon with the whole caffein thing, I figured, why not get rid of these hormones I've been taking: i.e. birth control pills (there are other ways, you know). I'd been taking these babies for 12 years now (got on BCP just a few months before I turned 18 - and was clockwork regular). Got on BCP for obvious reasons: heavy bleeding and cramps when I was having my period (too much info, I know), and well...birth control. Plus, every single one of my friends was on BCP. So, there really was no harm in taking BCP, right?
Well, I could not have been more wrong. I've stayed on BCP ever since. Even when I wasn't in a relationship. You could say I continued taking them out of pure laziness - a bit like a bad habit. Now I can only say I wish I would have stopped taking BCP earlier.
I took my last BCP on October 28th, had the start of my withdrawal bleed on November 1st (too much info again, I know - get over it), and after that my body was forced to start 'working' without the monthly hormone shot. Not fun. Not fun at all. Last week I suffered from nasty headaches. A bit like tension headaches. Add this charming acne outburst on my chin and all sorts of non-fun activity in my tummy to that (ouch - seriously, ouch!), and I am proud to introduce you to 'BCP suck fest 2012'.
Getting off birth control pills
According to my GP my body is - as would be the case with every girl quitting BCP - hormonally imbalanced as a result of quitting BCP (oh, perfect). Apparently it can take 3-6 months, even up till a year, for things to get back to normal (as in similar to before I started taking BCP) again. And that's 'on average'. Are you effing kidding me? There seem to be pills that will kick start the whole thing when it's not working properly, but still.
My GP explained to me, that my body needs to ease into working the hormones all by itself. Ovulating seems to be 'a thing', since BCP has prevented my body from ovulating in the last couple of years. Ergo, my body has to figure out how to ovulate again. And how to work these LH and FSH hormone thingies. Plus, the whole monthly cycle and getting your period side of things. It needs to figure that out again, too. My GP advised me to carry around tampons 24/7. Again, perfect! Another advise: get yourself a pack of ovulation tests to check whether or not the LH-levels in your urine are fluctuating. Hello, embarrassing moment at the check out counter.
For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while now, you can probably figure out how I've been feeling about this whole ordeal. Yep, correct. I am freaking out. What the ef is going to happen. Will everything work? How long will it take? What if it doesn't? Oh yeah, you betcha I have Googled this thing for hours and hours. Insert: total freak out mode.
Birth control pills and running
As for BCP and running - you'll get a zillion hits on Google on this one. Livestrong.com gives a pretty 'main stream' opinion on it:
The effects of birth control pills on running are varied. Some athletes have reported reduced muscle endurance, while others cited a lower rate of injury. Some studies have even discovered increased protection from bone loss as a result of taking oral contraceptives. Runners who prefer to reduce menstrual flow during competitive running can see their cycles decline to four per year, according to Dr. Cathy Fieseler.
Running and your monthly cycle
Which brings me to this. We all know the (possible) effects of long distance running and a 50 miles + / week training regime on a female body. Even though my BMI (19) and my fat percentage (19-20%) are within the healthy range, I'm still worried about this one. Freak. Out. Mode.
Needless to say, I would never have started taking BCP if I'd known about this side of things.
What are your thoughts? Are you on BCP? If you where and quit taking them: what's your story?