Questions and Answers

Archive: Page 1

no periods...

Message No. 468, Rose at [email protected] (February 21, 2000)

Hi. I am 21 years old, have a 5 year old daughter, and ever since her birth I have not had a regular period. (I am not nor have I ever taken any pills, fertility drugs, nothing like that) Sometimes I can go for months without having one. I seem to be on a three month cycle right now but want to have one every month. Is every three months normal for some people?
Please dont suggest I see a doctor- I can in no way afford it. I love having my period (I guess for people who have them often its not a common thing to hear) and would like to get to a more normal cycle. Should I lose weight? drink more water? Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks Rose

Tubal or Norplant?

Message No. 467, Lynn at [email protected] (February 19, 2000)

Hello. I am 7 months pregnant with my third child. My husband and I no longer want any more children. I was considering having my Tubes cut and removed but I am very nervous. I have read sights to where they say it is more harmful to have your tubes cute before age of 30. I am 24! I then started considering the Norplant. It has side effects as well, but does not sound as serious as having the Tubal. I want something I wont have to worry about and these seem like my only 2 choices. Can you help me, by sujesting which one you think would be right for me? Thank you for your time!

Reply by Monnica

I suggest a vasectomy. You have already gone through three years of pregnancy,
childbirth, and probably some breastfeeding as well. This is hard work, and due to biology it always falls on the woman. It's time to let your husband help out in this department. Vasectomy is much safer, cheaper, and
easier than having your "tubes tied."


Message No. 466, CHERRY at [email protected] (February 16, 2000)


Reply by Karen

There is no really good answer to this. Supposedly the hormone effects should
clear quickly and the pituitary should return to normal function in a few
months to a year. In some users, the normal function never returns. Some users
begin to lose some weight just from removal of the hormones. Some must use
diet and exercise and a lot of effort. It is highly variable.

No definite answer can be given. Wait a year
before assuming that something is wrong, unless very odd or serious
symptoms (eg, severe bleeding) appear.

Karen L. Brauer M.S., R.Ph.

pregnancy during period

Message No. 465, amanda at [email protected] (February 13, 2000)

i enjoy your Q&A alot. i have a question.....i had sex on the 1st day of my period. We didn't use a condom, but he didn't even CUM (finish) because i told him to stop. What are my chances of being pregnant. I did finish my period for the rest of the week too.

Reply by Monnica

Try the
on-line pregnancy test
for the answer to this questions.


Message No. 464, Haley at [email protected] (February 10, 2000)

I have gone through all the ?'s and I'm pretty sure its not there and if it is I am sorry...I was told that if you use BC at an early age that it will be difficult to have children later in life.Or that it will damage the insides.My sister thought maybe I should go on the pill because of how my face fills up with zits, bad cramping/back pain,and havey blood flow. I would not be going on it for sex. I am planning on not having sex til I am married.If you have time I would like an answer please...thank you for you time..

Reply by Monnica

I don't think you have to worry about the Pill damaging your insides.
It's just the longer you use it, in general, the longer it takes for
your periods to return to normal. You may also experience unpleasant
side-effects while using it.

Bald Spots

Message No. 463, Donna at [email protected] (February 02, 2000)

I need to know if bald spots are caused by the pill? You have not answered this question yet. Is it possible that the pill can cause tiny bald spots?


Reply by Monnica

Yes, hair loss is a possible side-effect.

Depo, class action law suit???

Message No. 462, Ellen at [email protected] (February 01, 2000)

I just wanted to hear from any other person whom may know or have heard about any class action law suit against the "Deprovera Shot". I am one, who has experienced grief over this birth control and I am now experiencing menopause, at least this is what I have been informed and I just turned 35. This should not be happening to us women without any warning at all. If I was told that I had the slightest possibility of losing my womenhood at 35, I would have never chosen this type of birth control. How can the F.D.A. put a drug like this out there for us women to use without these WARNINGS!? And why aren't the Doctors more informed??? Please write me back with any info.

Thanks for your time,

Ellen, e-mail me at: [email protected]

depo provera

Message No. 459, Jan Wells R.N.C F.N.P. at [email protected] (January 24, 2000)

I am a nurse practitioner and have two teenage girls this week with prolonged, heavy bleeding on depo. I have searched and cannot find anything other than tincture on time and frequent hct. to correct or slow this problem. I did not start either on depo. For each it is occuring after the third injection. Can you offer anything new to try? thanks for your time, Jan

Reply by Monnica

Dear Jan, you've asked a very good question -- one that few doctors or even Upjohn are able to respond to. You are not the first person to report this troubling side-effect. One suggestion I have heard is to use oral contraceptives to regulate the period, but I really can't give you any good advice. I will let you know when I hear back from Upjohn.

Reply by Monnica

I forwarded this question to our pharmacist consultant
(Karen L. Brauer M.S., R.Ph.) and she suggests that
patients to try Red Cayenne pepper capsules to
help with the prolonged uterine bleeding.

Menstral cycle after pregnancy

Message No. 457, Suzanne at [email protected] (January 21, 2000)

I gave birth to my daughter in the beginning of December, 3weeks later my fiance and I became sexually active again. I have looked every where to find out when your menstral cycle returns and if it is true you are more fertile after giving birth. What are the odds of becoming pregnant again right after giving birth? When should I start thinking about a pregnancy test?
Thank you for your time.

Reply by Monnica

If you are not breastfeeding, you will need to start a new method of birth control within 6 weeks of having your baby. You are probably not more fertile than you were originally, but if you got pregnant once it could happen again.

If you are feeding the baby ONLY breastmilk, your periods have NOT returned, and you are not going long periods without breastfeeding (i.e. at night), then you are relatively safe from pregnancy until your baby is at least 6 months old (1-2% risk).

the birds and the bees

Message No. 455, leslie at [email protected] (January 12, 2000)

hello I am a mother of two girls ages 8&9.I was wondering when to have the facts of live talk with them and just how far should I go into detail.I dont want to give to little information and I dont want to give too oldest daughter is already interested in boys but more as a friend than anything and my youngest is still interested in dolls.but they are both wearing training bras already and are really big for their age.I have read that some girls do start their periods as little as 8 years of
ease help me in this decision and what books or movies should I use to explain why these things happen and what can result. thankyou for your help.

Reply by Monnica

Answer the questions as they arise without giving more information than they want
to hear. If they aren't asking questions, it could be becuase they already
have a fair amount of (mis)information. You can get the process started by asking
them a few questions yourself to see what they know. Don't make a big deal
out of it or appear nervous. Just broach the subject casually, over ice cream or
some similar low-stress, situation. Start will easy questions, like,
"How many kids would like to have when you grow up?" or "So where do you think
babies come from, anyway?" But don't make it just a one time talk -- bring the subject up regularly, offering increasing amounts of information as age-appropriate.
Will post again with some book recommendations for you. Good luck, and I commend
you for taking your children's sex education seriously.

Norplant removal

Message No. 454, Melissa at [email protected] (January 06, 2000)


I'm curious to know if there are any side effects if a Norplant is not removed for a few months after the 5 year expiration date. Is there any danger, or can it be removed at any time without any side effects? Please let me know. Thanks.

Reply by Monnica

If you have not had any side-effects for the past 5 years, I would certainly
not be concerned at this point. Just keep in mind that you now need to use another
method of birth control since the Norplant is no longer effective.
I have read that Norplant removal can be tricky, causing bleeding and scaring, so please let us know how the removal turns out for you. Good luck!

Spermicide or yeast?

Message No. 451, Jo at [email protected] (January 04, 2000)

This is probably a very weird question. First, I've been using a diaphragm for almost 3 months now, and I've had several yeast infections, at least I think so. But even after I went to the doctor, and took the oral pill she prescribed me, it seemed that I still had it. So I used a cream, but it was still there!
Could I be mistaking post-sex spermicide for yeast? Or am I just cursed to have

Reply by Monnica

Your spermicide could be contributing to your yeast problem. Try a non-spermicidal condom for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.

Birth control

Message No. 450, ladybug at [email protected] (January 02, 2000)

I'm 15yrs. old and I have been sexualy active for about 2 months. I would really like to start taking the pill, but I cant let my parents find out.If you could please advise me as to what I shoud do I would appreciate it greatly. Thanks.


Reply by Monnica

I think you should wait on sex until you are old enough to take full responsiblity for your own health care. You will probably get pregnant within
the next few months if you are not already, even if you use birth control.
This is because teens are more fertile and less responsible about birth control use. Few
teens are ready to deal with an unplanned pregnancy followed by teen parenting, abortion, or adoption. Talk to your parents now. If you think telling them you are sexually active is hard, how hard will it be to tell them you are pregnant or have HIV? More info about
sex and teens.


Message No. 449, Kathy Kersey at [email protected] (December 31, 1999)

A women with a 28 day cycle when would be the best time to try and become pregnant? also do you think 43 years of age is too old to start a family?

Reply by Monnica

The 12th day counted from the first day of your last period is the best time
to try. Please
click here
for more tips about how to get pregnant. It might take a while to get pregnant
at the age of 43, but if you want children I wouldn't wait any longer!

SoftCup as additional protection

Message No. 448, Lauralee at [email protected] (December 27, 1999)

I'm taking birth control pills.. I also use an Instead SoftCup like a
diaphragm (spermicide inside and around the rim, and the rest of the
applicator after I've inserted the SoftCup. The SoftCup is convenient
for intercourse during my period. Since I realize that no method of
birth control is 'fool proof', I wonder to what extent this practice
further reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancy?


Reply by Monnica

Lauralee, congrads on your creative approach to birth control! However, the
Instead SoftCup is not really a birth control product. Since it has not been tested for this type of use, we can't assume it will work. No scientific studies mean no way ro make a responsible guess at effictiveness.

post pill effects

Message No. 447, Kerry at [email protected] (December 24, 1999)

I've been taking the pill for a year now but just stopped about 3 weeks ago after my last period. I'm not trying to get pregnant so my husband and I are using condoms but I have a couple of questions about the way I feel. First, I feel soooo bloated. Is this normal? During the time I was taking the pill, I had hardly any pms symptoms such as bloating so it feels very strange. Also, sometimes after sex I have somewhat sharp pains in the sides of my lower abdomen. My friend says I could be allergic to the condoms. Is this true or could it be another symptom of pms? And, are there any other post-pill symptoms that could occur? Thank-you!!

how affordable is birth control?

Message No. 446, Heather at [email protected] (December 21, 1999)

My question is how afforadable is birth control. I'm doing a paper on birth control at school and have to answer these questions. Another question you can maybe help me with is does birth control protect against STDs? Thanks I appreciate it!

Off depo and want to get pregnant

Message No. 445, Jenn at [email protected] (December 19, 1999)

I had my final depo injection 8/99. My husband and I have been having unprotected sex. For the past couple of weeks, my breasts have been extremely sore (its uncomfortable to wear a bra), I've been very tired (falling asleep at my desk and needing a nap everyday after work), and I've had to urinate more often. My periods have not yet returned and I don't know if its possible that I could be pregnant now?

Any help you could give would be great.



Reply by Monnica

Typical Depo-Provera side-effcts look a lot like pregnancy, which can be worrisome to many women. The only way to know for sure is
to have a pregnancy test.

what is precum....

Message No. 444, B.J. at [email protected] (December 18, 1999)

What is precum..I mean I know what is. I've seen it,it comes out a lot on my boyfriend when we play around. Little clear drops of fluid come out of him he doesn't ejaculate.....I was wondering...what exactly is it?? is it semen??...I had some on my fingers...and then I touched my vaginal area (much like an idiot). I wasn't really thinking about it,I had forgotten to wash my hands off,and I was wondering,....could that get me pregnant?? Please answer as soon as you can..thank you!

Reply by Monnica

This fluid is released for lubrication. Usually it does not contain sperm, however it may contain the AIDS virus.

Unprotected Sex After Successive Missed Pills

Message No. 443, Dan at [email protected] (December 04, 1999)


My girlfriend and I had unprotected sex yesterday
and today she just remembered that she hadn't taken her birth control
pills for the last two days prior to that. We will contact her doctor
first thing in the morning. Any other advice?

Reply by Monnica

Yes, apply some spermicide at once. Revaluate if you think you are both mature and responsible enough for a sexual relationship and possible pregnancy.

Is the first time always painful?

Message No. 442, Amber at [email protected] (December 02, 1999)


I was cerious as to if that was any way to lessen the pain offirst time intercourse? Im very relaxed so I dont believe its that. Please help. AM

Reply by Monnica

This is a birth control guide, not a forum for advice about sex. Send me a personal email message and I will send you a reply as time permits.

Pill's decreased effectiveness?

Message No. 441, Jena at [email protected] (November 30, 1999)

I was recently informed by a friend that her gynocologist told her that after the first six months of being on the pill, its effectiveness decreases to less than 75%. I have never heard this before. She said that you should go off of it after six months for another six before resuming. Please let me know if this it true. I have been on the pill for almost two years, should I take myself off?

Reply by Monnica

This is not true. In fact, the longer you are on the pill the more effective
it is.

the shot

Message No. 440, Marie at [email protected] (November 29, 1999)

I have had sex for about 2 weeks w/out protection. I have an appointment to get put on birth control(the shot) and I am scared that if I am pregnant that it will harm the baby. Will it? And if I am pregnant, will the shot kill the baby? Also is there anyway you can tell me if I get the shot, will I bleed all the time, not bleed at all or have a normal period? These questions were touched on in the FAQs but not as specifically as I would like. Plese respond ASAP.

Reply by Monnica

Marie, please tell the doctor about this BEFORE you get the injection. It is
standard to perform a pregnancy test before adminstering the drug. I do not
know if the shot would kill or harm an embryo that has already been implanted,
but I have heard a few scary stories about this.

Depo-Provera & PCOS

Message No. 439, Cat at [email protected] (November 16, 1999)

I have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. My doctor suggested that I take Depo-Provera to regulate my period. I am worried about the side affects for me. I also plan to have children and I want to know how that would affect my chances of getting pregnant at a later date. I am 5.4, 220lbs., 39, and have sickel cell trait, suffer from frequent bronchitous, and am mildly anemic. My father, brother, and sister all have diabetes. I was put on the pill but had extreme reaction to it and was taken off after a week. I already know that I plan on looking at some alternative medicine, but I don't want to dismiss what my doctor had told me. I could use a outside voice.


Reply by Monnica

Depo-Provera will not regulate your period -- in fact 75% of users experience very irregular periods. This is can come in the form of no periods, random spotting, or even continued bleeding (which would be very bad if you were anemic). If you had a bad reaction to the pill, your reaction to depo-provera could also be a bad one, but once you get an injection you are stuck with the side effects for up to a year. And it will probably cause some weight gain, which would not be good for someone already overweight.

Antibiotics & Birth Control Pills

Message No. 438, Shannon at [email protected] (November 14, 1999)

Do antibiotics have an adverse affect on birth control pills. My Pharmacist says the antibiotics make the pill ineffective and my Doctor says they don't. Any information would be very helpful.

Reply by Monnica

Yes, listen to your pharmacist.

Pregnant and have a period?

Message No. 437, Beth at [email protected] (November 13, 1999)

I was wondering if it was possible for someone to be pregnant and have a period? I mean..if so, would it be a different period than normal..and Im also taking birth control pills, I was wondering what the chances were? Thanks for answering my question..=)

Reply by Monnica

An abnormally short or light period can occur even if you are pregnant. A few rare women continue to have periods throughout their pregnancies, especially if this propensity runs in your family or has happened to you before. If you suspect that you might be pregnant, the most important thing you can do is to get a pregnancy test right away. Your local crisis pregnancy center can offer you one for free. Of course, any time you experience bleeding during pregnancy you should see your doctor immediately. It could be an early warning sign of a miscarriage.

IUD questions

Message No. 436, Yoyo at [email protected] (November 10, 1999)

Is the IUD of today safe. I have experienced discharge and abdomin pains with disconford while siting and during sex. I got tested for infections and STD and all were negative. It usualy hurts while going to the restroom. I want to know if this is all normal or if i should be consirned.


Reply by Monnica

Yes, the IUD can cause pain and cramping. You should see your ob/gyn who inserted it, as this could be serious. If the pain is severe it could be a sign of perforation. You might consider having it removed.

Mind over matter??

Message No. 433, kala at [email protected] (October 27, 1999)

I have a question about the pill that was not on your FAQ sheet and really hope you will take the time to answer me. At first I was really reluctant to go on the pill because I've heard about all the horrible side effects but decided it would be better than a pregnancy. I've been on ortho tri-cyclen for only 4 days now and am experiencing dryness and also i am very afraid that I will suffer from mood swings later on. Can the effects be psycho somatic? Can I suffer from mood swings and depression and loss of libido just because I am afriad that it will happen without it really being from the hormones??? Also can the pill cause such radical changes in my body after only four days? I would be very very greatful if you could help me. PLEASE PLEASE IM BEGGING YOU!! Thanks.

Reply by Monnica

Yes, you can have these symptoms just because you are worried about them.
But, they are probably really from the birth control drugs.

need help on birth control

Message No. 432, Kristy at [email protected] (October 26, 1999)

I think I am ready to became active and want to get on the pill but I have worries of gaining weight and who i could hide it from my parents. I also want to have all information gathered before going to the doctor. Thanks


Message No. 429, sarah at [email protected] (October 22, 1999)

Please help!!!! I am a 26 year old who has been on Estrostep for 2 months. Previouly I was on ortho-tricyclene for 2 yrs but I was spotting so my doctor switched. About 2 weeks ago I found a bald spot on the back of my head about a silver dollar size. I have looked and looked for information on this extremely scary side effect but I have found NOTHING! No one in my family (men included) are bald and I am scared to death (I have read stress does also occasionally inflict hair loss.) PLEASE help me! What are some factors in whether I have I might have alopecia or if this is just (hopefully) a side effect? How often does this happen? I want to cry everytime I think about this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. (I have a doctor appt. in 2 weeks) Thank you!


Message No. 428, Angel at [email protected] (October 21, 1999)

I am 29 years old, a couple of days after my daughter was born I was given the shot. It was because I preferred to breastfeed and needed some prtection. Iwas told that the shot was the safest for breaetfeeding moms. Now that I have visited the site I am scared for the future of my daughters health. I nursed for a year and during that time recieved 4 shots and continued getting 3 more there after. Finally alot of my complaints of fatigue loss of libido and weight gain 40lbs, were answered by my doctor and we both agreed that I should discontinue the shot. My question is I read that some of these woman are getting spotting or contiuous bleeding. I however have gotten nothing at all.It has been 6 months and I feel no changes at all in any area. Am I ruined for life? why haven't they stopped giving these shots completely? It is evident to me that there is a real problem that is ultimately being ignored. I feel for the young people that are already affected by hormonal imbalances due to immature bodies . I promise to never complain about my periods again if I can only get them back with my life as well.

Reply by Monnica

As noted earlier, although depo-provera is frequently recommened to new mothers, the drug does appear in the breast milk. When I gave birth to my daughter
(9/19/99), a doctor twice asked me in the hospital if I wanted to start on a progestin based contraceptive, like the mini-pill or depo-provera. But I think we need to wait until some longer term studies have been done to determine if this is safe for babies. We already know about some of the terrible side-effects depo-provera can cause in women. Extended lack of periods and weight gain are the most common.

side effects

Message No. 427, Marybell at [email protected] (October 20, 1999)

Several years ago I took oral contraceptives to regulate my period. This was effective, and I went off the pill eventually. I am thinking of going back on the pill for birth control reasons, but I have a question about side effects. The only side effect I had last time was breast enlargement. Since I would describe myself as rather well-endowed in that department, I do not wish for this to occur again. Are there any versions of the pill that do not cause this side effect?

depo and breastfeeding

Message No. 426, kitchen at [email protected] (October 19, 1999)

I was wondering if you could e-mail me with possible side effects on a baby when brwastfeeding and taking the shot. If not then a few web sites where I could possible find some information on the subject. thanks

Reply by Monnica

Although depo-provera is frequently recommened to new mothers, the drug does
appear in the breast milk. I would wait until some longer term studies have been done to determine if this is safe for babies.


Message No. 425, sarah at [email protected] (October 11, 1999)

I am concerned about your response to Message #421. You said that extended use of the Pill can cause infertility. I have never heard this before- from my/any doctor. I have been on the pill for 10 years and almost 30 and now want to quit to attempt pregancy? You said I could expect misscarriages and infertility? Is there a new study that supports this?

Reply by Monnica

This refers to temporary infertility, which can last for well over a year.
Temporary infertlity after using the pill is a well-documented side-effect.
The longer you use the pill the longer it takes for your body to return to normal. Of course, this is not true for everyone, which is why some women
get pregnant while using the pill.

depression & loss of libido

Message No. 424, Melissa at [email protected] (October 10, 1999)

I have read the FAQ and understand that you are no longer taking questions on BC pills which I understand. From reading the FAQ I am seriously thinking about going of BC pills now. I have been on them for seven years now & I do believe that my 7year relationship is at risk because of depression, lack of energy and of my serious lack of libido which he has tried to be understanding but is growing more frustrated with time. Will going off of BC pills help or are there supplements that are helpful at my age of 24. I thought of a diaphram but I know nothing of them. I am very scared of going off BC pills because they have helped with so many of the painfull symptoms of my period. Please help as I have been to many doctors who just want to try another brand of BC pills which I have done with no success. I love my boyfriend very much and want to have a great happy intimate life with him. I look forward to hearing from you!!

Reply by Monnica

I think you should stop taking the pill for a few months and monitor these
troubling symptoms during that time. There are many other non-hormonal methods of birth control you might try, detailed at this web site. Of course, all methods can fail leaving you pregnant, so be sure to consider this possiblity before become sexually active.

Diane and Acne

Message No. 422, anna at [email protected] (October 06, 1999)

I am a 18 year old girl who has battled mild acne for 3 years. It has cleared up a bit using various treatments, but still not enough for me. I was told Diane can help acne, is this true, and how long does it take? This is my last resort before taking accutane.

Getting off Birth Control

Message No. 421, Ruth at [email protected] (September 29, 1999)

Getting off birth control, what can I expect and what suggestions do you have on how to handle it. I am 32, healthy and have been on BC since I was 14. Thank you for your time.

Reply by Karen

You may see weight loss of the good kind, increased energy, mood swings
(the normal ones returning), and irregular periods for awhile. After 18
years on the pill, I would not expect the pituitary gland to return to
normal functioning overnight. You may have reduced fertility as a
result of being on the pill so long--well over half of your life.

Karen L. Brauer M.S., R.Ph.

pregnancy and the pill?

Message No. 420, chasity at [email protected] (September 28, 1999)

If you think you could be pregnant and are taking the pill, what are the symptoms, are they the same as if you are not on the pill. Would you miss your period?

Reply by Monnica

If you are on the pill and become pregnant, your periods would most likely stop. Common pregnancy symptoms include nausea, sore/tender breasts, feeling bloated, changes in appetite, weight gain, fatigue, a need for extra sleep, frequent urination, odd sensations in the abdomen, and of course, lack of periods. Although there are many other things that can cause these symptoms, if you suspect that you might be pregnant, you might visit your local crisis pregnancy center for a free pregnancy test right away.


Message No. 419, Jamie at [email protected] (September 22, 1999)

I have a question. I was on "the shot" for 5 years, 40lbs and 3 years of no periods later I have decided that it was in my best interest to stop taking this form of birth control. (Every side effect NOW applys to me.)
Do you feel that it would be best to just not take any form of birth control? or start on the pill....the reason for this question is I am getting married and want to look into having children next year. I have yet to have a period and I don't know if the pill the doctor put me on, ( estrostep ), is going to help my cause or make it worse...
I value any opinion or advice anyone has for me. I am at a loss for words now and I STRONGLY DISCOURAGE ANYONE TAKING THIS FORM OF BIRTH CONTROL...if you want to know more details I have years of them to share.

Try-cyclene & side effects

Message No. 418, Jane at [email protected] (September 22, 1999)

i've been taking Tri-cyclene for 1.5 wks and I've experienced bleeding between my
periods (a little every day) I'm wondering if its normal?

Reply by Monnica

Spotting is not uncommon for new users of the pill. When this happens, doctors
typically prescribe a stronger formulation of the pill. Spotting is an indication of decreased pill effectiveness, so some
doctors recommend using a back-up method should spotting occur. However, spotting could also be a symptom of the STD
chlamydia, so you should be tested if you are at risk.

Life after Norlant

Message No. 417, Kristina at [email protected] (September 21, 1999)

Hi, I'm 21 and just had my Norplant removed last week. I kept it for the full 5 years, my only major side affect was weight gain...a 50lb weight gain. But I figured it was better then an unplanned pregnancy. It only took a year to go from 150 to 200lbs and I stayed that way for the remaining 4 years. No matter how healthy I eat or how much I excercise, nothing happens. I stay at a constant 200lbs.
I'm hoping now that it's out, the pounds will come off but I'm not too sure. Also, about how long does it take to become fertile again? I know with Depo it can take even a year, but I don't know about Norplant.

If anyone has had a similar experience, could you please e-mail me and let me know what to expect, I'd really appreciate it : ) Thanks, Kristina

Reply by Monnica

According to "Contraceptive Technology," by Hatcher et al., your fertility should return right away after implants are removed. However, many former Norplant users have charged that the side-effects caused by the device were more severe than the company originally claimed. (See related AP article.) Please let us know what your experience is, and good luck on your attempts at post-Norplant weight loss.


Message No. 416, TIFFANI at [email protected] (September 20, 1999)



Drug interactions with the pill

Message No. 415, tania at [email protected] (September 20, 1999)

I am looking for current research on interactions between antihistimines and oral contraceptives. I recently have heard that
the use of antihistimines decreases the effectiveness of the pill, which is a great concern for me because I have several allergies.
Thanks, it would be greatly appreciated.

ortho tri-cyclene...

Message No. 414, Amanda at [email protected] (September 19, 1999)

Hi. I have just started taking the pill and I am up to the 7 green sugar pills. I took the last blue pill yesterday. The reason why I am worried is that my boyfriend and I had protected sex last night and the condom broke. It is so frustrating because we have waited almost a year and a half to have sex and we use the condom and the pill. I'm scared to think that I could still get pregnant even though I have been on the pill for 21 days. Is ortho tri-cyclene effective right away? Can I still get pregnant?
Thanks, Amanda

Reply by Monnica

Amanda, please see Frequently Asked Questions about Birth Control Drugs at this site to find out when the pill becomes effective.
But keep in mind that all methods of birth control fail, so you should never consider yourself completely safe from pregnancy.

Birth control pill and periods

Message No. 413, Tina at [email protected] (September 18, 1999)

I have been on Tri Cyclen for one month and am not sure when to expect my period. The booklet that came with the pills said to expect it the week after taking the last pill of the month if on the 21 day plan, but Iam on the 28 day plan and don' t know if I should be expecting it during the week I am taking the non-hormonal pills or if it should be the week I start the new batch of pills. I didn't have any breakthrough bleeding during the first month, and actually have had no side effects. Could his mean the pills are not working for me?? Please help!!

Reply by Monnica

You should expect your period during the week you are taking the reminder pills (pills 22-28). However, missing a period while on the pill is not uncommon. Your doctor should have reviewed all of this with you when you were given the initial prescription. If not, I encourage you to find a doctor who has more time to spend with his or her patients.

The pill and scalp hair loss

Message No. 412, Mara S. (September 17, 1999)

I am 40 y.o. and my Dr. put me on Orthotricylen to get my period going. I had bad side effects including acne and hair loss.
He switched me to Norbette and I still have the hair loss. My dermotologist told me that it is a 3 month hormonal cycle
caused by the pill and it should end after 3 months. I am alarmed by this hair loss. Is there truth to this?
What else can I do?

Reply by Monnica

Acne is a common
problem. Both hair loss and hair
overgrowth can be a problem on the Pill.

My experience on Deprovera

Message No. 411, Marilyn at [email protected] (September 16, 1999)

Hi, everyone my name is Marilyn and I have been on the Deprovera shoot for about six months, since then I have not experienced any menstrual cycles I have been pain free and have lost 11 pounds since then. I have always been a moody person so I dont think the shoot has anything to do with it. My sexual life is normal and I have already two beautiful daughters. I would like to have another baby in about three years from now. So I think the Deprovera was a good choice. If you think I am wrong or want to share your experience with me please write to me at [email protected]. Thanks for your time.

Reply by Monnica

Thanks, Marilyn, for sharing your experience.

birth control

Message No. 410, mike at [email protected] (September 16, 1999)

I was wondering if there is any type of birth control such as the pill,implant, or shot that does not cause a decrease in sex drive. My fiance has been on lo/oral for a year now and it seems as if her sex drive has dissapeared. She also seems to always be tired and she has had mild depression and that worries me. When she was not taking the pill she did have very bad menstrual cramps and that is one thing to take in to consideration. Also she gets irritated by condoms and spermacides too. I have heard of IUDs that contain progestarin and help relieve menstrual cramping. Will this type of IUD effect her libido? Are ther any other options? I would deeply appreciate any help, thank you.

Reply by Monnica

Dear Mike, all hormonal method of birth control decrease sex drive. This is because the birth control chemicals supress the amount of testosterone in a woman's body. The progesterone IUD may cause the same trouble since it also contains birth control chemicals. But even more importantly, an IUD is not a good idea for someone who is not in a permanent relationship because of the risk of PID and/or sterility. Please browse this web site for other contraceptive ideas.

The Pill, Lack of Desire & Depression

Message No. 408, bLUe at [email protected] (September 15, 1999)

I have been on LoEstrin 1/20 since February of this year and have had some disturbing side effects. Every other month I fall into a 1 or 2 week depression. I have not been wanting any forms of sex, and I feel bad for my live-in boyfriend.
And I have never been this way until this year. I am on a low dosage, but I would like a form of birth control where I am in control of it. I had a horrible time with Depo so I won't do that again. Please let me know. I want no children for at least another 10 years. Thank you.

Birth Control and Depression

Message No. 407, jeanine at [email protected] (September 15, 1999)

I have been taking Otho-Tri-Cyclene for about 5 months, and have been experiencing, depression, and mood swings, I know that I can have my dosage changed to something lower, but then that increases my risk for pregnancy. Is there some type of anti-depressant that I can take to over-come this? Or is the only solution to have my pill changed?

triphasic pills and safety

Message No. 406, Gem at [email protected] (September 14, 1999)

Hi. I think its great that you folks have a Q&A girlfriend is under the impression that all bc pills are a great risk to be on;that the 'chemicals' in them are truly chemicals and not esther based hormonal molecular clones which are treated by the body just as the body's own progesterone and estrogen(whether you eat a salad or take a multi-vitamin, its all the same,yes?)

I know this was a truth in the 70's and 80's, that pills were 'bad for you'
but now with the advent COC's and POP's I wish to gather real findings so that we can make an intelligent decision.

If you have FDA literature on COC's and POP's it would help as I dont think she knows about them either.

I have done some research which leads me to believe its a far lesser risk than either and unwanted pregnancy and in reality our sex life suffers as I dont perform as well with a condom-if there is some pill I can take, I am both ready and willing to try it!

Do you have anything that SUPPORTs the safety of our more recently developed low doage triphasic pills and can articulate their risks as compared to previous pills?


Reply by Monnica

Current pill formulations, which have much less estrogen than their predecessors, are much safer than they used to be. However there are still many risks and side effects which are worth considering. Please see
Frequently Asked Questions about Birth Control
for a more complete listing of possible side effects. Visit the web site of any birth control manufacturer for a list of material in support
of the safety of birth control drugs.

birth control/ possible pregnancy

Message No. 405, Jason at [email protected] (September 14, 1999)

First I want to thank you for taking the time to help me.
My fiance is worried about being pregnant. She woke up this morning and threw up. She has been feeling sick all day since then as well. I am concerned that she needs to stop using the birth control pills until we know for sure. She is curious if we can use a birth control test while she is on the pill. Can you let me know your views on this?
Thanks for your time

Reply by Monnica

Yes, you can take a pregnancy test even while on the pill.

pregnancy and the pill

Message No. 404, Rebecca at [email protected] (September 14, 1999)

I was having problems with my BC pills and so my doctor swithched me to another kind. I have only been on them for a two weeks. I am experiencing a little bit of nausea and breast tenderness. What are the chances that this could mean pregnancy since I just switched pills?

Reply by Monnica

Nausea and breast tenderness are common side effects for new pill users. But you might take a pregnancy test just to put your mind at ease.

can i get pragnet

Message No. 403, Davina at [email protected] (September 13, 1999)

if you are on the shot can u still get pregnant ??

Reply by Monnica

Yes -- no method is 100% effective.

ortho-tricyclen indgredients

Message No. 402, Kate at [email protected] (September 13, 1999)

i was just wondering what the exact ingredients of ortho-tricyclen are.

Reply by Monnica

The two active ingredients of Ortho Tri-Cyclen Tablets are norgestimate (a progestin) and ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen). For more information, please see the Ortho-Mccneil Web Site.


Message No. 399, Leslie at [email protected] (September 11, 1999)

Hi I am 35 years old and have had 2 children. I have had a T-shaped copper IUD for 5 years. I am wondering what reasons there
may be, besides pregnancy, why I haven't had a period since july 22? I did take a pregnancy test which was negative.

Birthcontrol pills

Message No. 398, Jennifer at [email protected] (September 09, 1999)

I have been taking ortho-cept for almost 5 years. My insurance no longer covers this particular drug and says they will cover the generic, Desogen. I was wandering if it would be a good idea to switch to keep paying the $10 copay or should I stay with the ortho-cept and pay the $30 for it? Will the Desogen be as effective and would I need to use another form of contraceptive while I make the switch? Thanks for all your help.

Norplant and Depro Provera

Message No. 396, jane at [email protected] (September 07, 1999)

In light of the recent class action suit against the makers of Norplant, is there a similar recourse for those who have taken the depro provera injections?

If anyone is aware please email me directly.

It's sad to think that women are misinformed about the serious consequences of taking this form of birth control. Thank you for providing a site where information is readily available. Physicians should be more instructive about the potential and real side effects that occur not only during but continue well after discontinuing (longer than the stated 8 - 10 months.)

Reply by Monnica

I don't know of any current law suits, like the one filed on behalf of Norplant users, but I did find this interesting site through Yahoo! --
The Depo-Provera Users' Information Resource.

sperm life in the vagina

Message No. 395, Abby at [email protected] (September 07, 1999)

I was wondering how long sperm can live in the vagina after it has been ejaculated?

Reply by Monnica

Sperm survive for several days inside of a woman, residing safely in the fallopian tubes or in one of over a hundred
gland-like cervical crypts. Most live one or two days, but they have been known to survive for as long as a week under certain conditions.

menstural cycle

Message No. 394, mark at [email protected] (September 07, 1999)

I have been married now for almost a year and I had a question. I used condoms for almost 4 months and hated them. Since then my wife and me have been using the withdrawal tehnique and we have been successful at avoidind pregnancy so far. Actually neither of us are very clear on the menstural cycle period. Which is the most fertile time of the cycle and which is the safest time? Could you please answer my question



Reply by Monnica

The safest time to have sex would be during the first five days of your wife's period. The most fertile time would be about 15 days before the first day of her period. Read the pages on this site about Natural Family Planning for some more detailed information. NFP can be a very good alternative to artifical methods, but only if you are properly trained on its use.

pregnancy after pill

Message No. 393, Debbie at [email protected] (September 07, 1999)

I have been on the pill for approximately 7 years. My husband and I are considering having children, how long should I be off the pill before attempting to get pregnant? I have heard conflicting answers. My doctor says 1 period is fine, while others tell me 3 or more periods. Can you give me some advice?

Thanks Debbie

anal sex

Message No. 389, diane at [email protected] (September 04, 1999)

Can a women become pregnant from anal sex?

Reply by Monnica

Yes. Any act which involves getting semen on the outside of your
vagina can make you pregnant fairly easily. This is how anal sex can
result in pregnancy. The semen drips from the anus into the
vagina. Sperm are pretty good swimmers and will travel a long distance
just to impregnate you.

Spotting while on the PIill

Message No. 387, Candice Vaughan at [email protected] (September 03, 1999)

I've been on the pill for about 5 years now and have always had spotting. My doctor has put me on a variety of pills but they all seem to cause this problem. I am going to see a gyno about this now. But I was wondering as to what could cause this and should I be concerned?


depro provera

Message No. 386, Jessica at [email protected] (September 03, 1999)

I have been taking the depro provera shot for approx 3 years. I was due for my shot last month but i decided not to take it anymore. I have been experiencing side effects for the 3 years that i have been on it. But I figured the headaches and moodswings were better than getting pregnant. I feel like i need to give my body a break and let my cycle get back to normal. I haven't had a regular period in 3 years. I know it can take up to 12 months to get your period but what are the chances of getting pregnant within the time of awaiting for your period? Please answer ASAP.

Life after Norplant

Message No. 385, Jerry Jackson at [email protected] (September 02, 1999)

We are the Jackson Family from Point Baker Alaska, my wife became pregnany
in the third year of the norplant system and as a result our child was
born with many birth defects such as an unformed vagina,unformed anus,
club foot, missing kidney, spina-bifida, two uterus's. She has endured
10 major surgeries in her first two years of life and will be handicap
for the rest of her life. The medical community has little information
on the norplant system other than the doctors desk refernce. I can tell
you after 24 months of researching this system that the Norplant system
can and will cause birth defects in children. I would be happy to share
any information I can and would love to hear of any other live births
while using the Norplant system.
This system clearly targets low income groups and women of color as its
a low cost federal population control system. Ive made it my quest to
ensure what has happened to my family does not happen to you.

Intercourse during your period

Message No. 384, Paige at [email protected] (September 01, 1999)

I need to know if it is safe to have sex during your period and if a women should do this or not ... my boyfriend doesn't seem to have a problem with the idea but I have never done this before. I need to know if it is safe and if it causes the women any harm. I have actually heard that sex during your peroid helps relieve cramps. Is that true? Please answer me ASAP .. I have a vacation planned very soon and I need this info for that.

Thank You Very Much!

Menstral Migrains

Message No. 383, Tara at [email protected] (September 01, 1999)

I am 24 and have suffered from menstral migrains for almost 3 years now. I can't count how many times they have changed my birth control pills. Now I am on the shot. I love the shot, I gained 15 pounds , but I was under weight to begin with. I have been on the shot for a year now and I have started getting the migrains again. I can't take the pain anymore. My doctor told me that the next step is prozac, and I really don't want to go that route. Is there anything else you can suggest doing, such as cat scans or anything. I don't want to go on prozac or any form of it. Please Help!!!!

birth control

Message No. 382, julia at [email protected] (August 31, 1999)

when was birth control first discovered? and by who?

The Pill -- Abortive or Not?

Message No. 381, Jana & Jason at [email protected] (August 30, 1999)

Dear Madam or Sir:

Jana is currently using the norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol tablets for birth control under the brand-name Necon. We had heard that "The Pill" could possibly be early-term abortive, and this is a concern for us. We were wondering what you could tell us about this.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

-Jana & Jason

Reply by Monnica

There are several mechanisms hormonal birth control methods employ to "prevent" pregnancy. Sometimes these methods prevent ovulation -- no egg is released so no pregnancy can occur. But sometimes ovulation does occur, and when that happens the birth control chemicals work by making the uterus a hostile environment for the embryo. The embryo cannot implant in the womb and is thus expelled (aborted). Life begins at conception, and so these methods of birth control can destroy a new human being.

This mechanism is explained in the FDA mandated leaflet that comes with every packet of oral contraceptives, athough it can be hard to understand because the language is often highly technical.

Who is the father

Message No. 380, lee at [email protected] (August 30, 1999)

I had sex with two guys a week apart one on 23 of april 1998 and one on april30 1998.My daughter was born 0n jan14th 1999.full term.My last period before that was around march 22nd 1998.could you tell me when I could have conceived and who is most likely the father?

Reply by Monnica

Based on the day you gave birth, assuming Jan 14 was the exact due date, and this handy Gestation Wheel, it looks like April 23rd would be day you got pregnant. So it looks like Guy #1 is the lucky winner. But you should probably have a paternity test done just be sure.

pregnancy tests

Message No. 379, julie at [email protected] (August 30, 1999)

How soon after having sex can pregnancy test results be considered accurate (assuming the test is administered by a Doctor vs. a home pregnancy test.) Thanks for your help!

Reply by Monnica

You can take a pregnancy test as soon as you miss your first period. Urine tests are based on detecting levels of HCG (a pregnancy hormone) in your urine. The time at which tests like this become accurate varies, but the more accurate ones tend to show positive about the time you miss your first period, or several weeks after conception. Some tests, like the ones provided by doctors offices or crisis pregnancy centers, are even more sensitive and can detect a pregnancy 10 days after conception.

male birth control clinical trials in UK

Message No. 378, Jason Williams, RN at [email protected] (August 30, 1999)

What do you know about clinical trials for male bcp? Do you know who is conducting the trials, are US trials phase 1/2 coming, what are any preliminary results / precautions?


Depo Shot

Message No. 377, Aisha at [email protected] (August 29, 1999)

I was wondering if I get pregnant while on "the shot" will that cause damage to my baby? Also I was wondering even if I have been off of the shot for several months, can that still have a side effect on my baby?


Message No. 376, Jessica at [email protected] (August 28, 1999)

I am a 23-year old virgin and I was just prescribed the birth control pill Ortho-tricylen for my acne and to make my menstrual cycles lighter and shorter. After reading so many negative things about Ortho-tricyclen, it makes me very uneasy to even try it. Are depression and mood swings something everyone needs to worry about on this pill or does it just happen to certain people? Also, is weight gain a problem on this particular pill? I am getting married in a year and would like to look my best! One more question, I have often heard that acne may worsen on this particular pill and would like to know how common that is. Thank you very much for you time.

Reply by Monnica

Anyone who takes hormonal contraceptives should be on the look out for mood swings and depression. Ance, however, can go in either direction as sometimes OCs can improve your skin. Please see this web site for more information about possible side effects of the Pill.

depro-provera- weight gain

Message No. 371, angela at [email protected] (August 26, 1999)

i have been on the depro injection for approx 4 years and had my last shot 6 months ago. i gained approx 30 lbs in weight. dieting and exercise are having no effect and want to know how long this side effect may last, how long before i get my body back?

Reply by Monnica

You can expect this to be a problem until 6 to 8 months after stopping Depo-Provera.

birth control/vitamins

Message No. 370, jackie at [email protected] (August 26, 1999)

I was wondering if vitamins(e.g. B-complex,C vitamins,etc.)affect the potency of birth control. I was also wondering when the best time to take the vitamins are. Should I wait until the pill has dissolved in my system(I was told 2 hours) or can I take them all together. Thank you.

Reply by Karen

Not aware of any vitamin/BC interaction in any kind of normal doses (e.g.
multivitamins). It is possible that massive quantities of vitamins could upset
things in the intestine enough to affect absorption (like huge amounts
of fish oil capsules). But I would not expect a normal regimen to be a
problem. The most important thing is to take the pill at a time when
you are sure to remember it!! That's the biggest deal.

Karen L. Brauer M.S., R.Ph.

Combined Pill

Message No. 369, John Chandler at [email protected] (August 23, 1999)

Hi, I've heard that this might be true and I'd thought I'd better get some advice ......

If a girl that is 16 years of age (legal in the UK) has just started taking the full combined pill. Are you more likely for her to get cervical cancer when she is older if we stop using condoms when she is covered by the pill.

Please Reply. Yours Thankfully

John Chandler

Reply by Monnica

Dear John,
users of oral contraceptive pills do experience a slight increase in the likelihood of contracting cervical cancer. Additionally, sexual activity before the age of 20 and having multiple sex partners are risk factors for cervical cancer. One reason for this is that HPV (human papilloma virus, or genital warts) can cause cervical cancer, and the more sexual partners one has the more likely it is that infection will result. Using condoms can help reduce the spread of HPV whereas the Pill will not. My advice would be to keep using condoms, or better yet, to stop having sex -- which puts the person you love at risk for cervical cancer and teen pregnancy.

the pill

Message No. 367, Mica at Q [email protected] (August 22, 1999)

I was wondering what the correlation is between a miscarriage and the pill.

the first symptoms of pregnancy

Message No. 366, maria at [email protected] (August 20, 1999)

what are the simptoms that let you understand that you may be pregnant except not having period. I'm asking this because my mother hadher period normaly dyring the first three mounths of her pregnancy,and me and my boyfriend we make love without taking any measures.

Reply by Monnica

Pregnancy symptoms include nausea, sore/tender breasts, feeling bloated, changes in appetite, weight gain, fatigue, a need for extra sleep, frequent urination, odd sensations in the abdomen, headaches, and of course, lack of periods.
An abnormally short or light period can occur even if you are pregnant. A few rare women continue to have periods throughout their pregnancies, especially if this propensity runs in your family or has happened to you before.


Message No. 365, Kristen at [email protected] (August 16, 1999)

I live with my boyfriend. We are sexually active. Recently I went to the doctor and took a pregnacy test and then I took one at home. I was wondering if a pregnancy test is only to be taken a day after you missed period, or can you take a test before you miss your period? Should I take another test? I recieved my period, but is is extremely abnormal. Normally I bleed heavily, and this time it is barely even there. What do you think? Could I be pregnant?

Reply by Monnica

An abnormally short or light period can occur even if you are pregnant. A few rare women continue to have periods throughout their pregnancies, especially if this propensity runs in your family or has happened to you before.

You can take a pregnancy test as soon as you miss your first period. Urine tests are based on detecting levels of HCG (a pregnancy hormone) in your urine. The time at which tests like this become accurate varies, but the more accurate ones tend to show positive about the time you miss your first period, or two weeks after conception. Some tests, like the ones provided by doctors offices or crisis pregnancy centers, are even more sensitive and can detect a pregnancy 10 days after conception. I would say take another test in seven days, especially if you have pregnancy symptoms. For a referal to a crisis pregnancy center which can offer a free test, call Birthright International at 1-800-550-4900 (24 hours/day).

Birth control

Message No. 362, Jessica at [email protected] (August 11, 1999)

Will a pregancy test show positive if in birth control?

Reply by Monnica

Only if you are pregnant! (False positives are very rare.)

Breastfeeding and the pill/depo shot...

Message No. 361, Jenny at [email protected] (August 10, 1999)

Hello, I am just wondering...

I just started taking the pill again after the birth of my daughter (she was born almost three months ago. What I found in the last couple of days was that my daughter is on my breast a lot longer and I do not feel as full anymore. In the beginning I was producing too much milk and now it seems as if I do not have enough. My doctor is really pushing the depo shot, but by the sounds of the other postings on your site, it has to many awfull side effects. What I am wondering is if I go of the pill tomorrow for example will I get a period and will it mess up my system at all? I am also wondering, (but I think the postings have answered my questions) if I should have the shot done? My husband and I are maybe thinking of having our third child in a couple of years. Last questions about going of the pill is, if I do not stop taking the pill until this cycle is done, will my milk dry up completely? I really do NOT want this to happen...

Please answer my question asap...


Reply by Karen

It's my understanding that the estrogen in the pill is not a good thing to
pass on to the baby in the breast milk. (Probably even worse if the baby
is a boy!) The Progestin-only birth control is marketed to breastfeeding mothers
because the progestin ingredient is supposedly not as big a problem to a
breastfed baby. I would not recommend either product to be taken by a
nursing mother, who has low fertility during this time anyway. The problem
with the shot, besides the fact that it can be abortifacient, is that if a
woman decides she does not like it, too bad, she's stuck with it for a few
months. Ditto if she happens to get pregnant while on Depo-Provera.

As a baby goes into a growth spurt, he tends to spend the whole day stuck
to the mom, and the breasts never do feel full during that time. That is
probably what's going on, since the problem has just occurred in the last
few days. The more the baby sucks, the more milk the mom will produce.
It takes a few days for production to speed up. If you start to supplement
with formula, the production of breast milk will fall off.

A mom who is nursing exclusively usually does not have periods, until the baby
gets put on solid food and dependency on moms milk falls off. I would
expect that the period would be delayed, due to nursing, especially if the
mom has not had rebound periods while on the placebo portion of the pill

Karen L. Brauer M.S., R.Ph.

withdrawl method/abortion

Message No. 359, jackie at [email protected] (August 09, 1999)

I know you said you are not taking questions concerning the pill, but please try to answer mine. I take my pill everyday every day. Some times I take it a little late(meaning 2-5 minutes). Is there a certain leadway of time I have to take my pill. My other question is if I am using birthcontrol and the withdrawl method, does that decrease my chances of getting pregnant(even slightly)? Just for the record I'd like to let you know that I used the withdrawl method for 2years and I never got pregnant. Then I started to have full intercourse after my period thinking I couldn't get pregnant, but I did. I had an abortion and got on the pill soon after that. I have been on the pill for 4 months but I am still very scared of having intercourse. We are currently using condoms, but I don't like to use them. Please give me your opinion on other methods I can use until I learn to trust the pill and overcome my fear of getting pregnant again.

Reply by Monnica

The amount of time you can be late in taking the pill depends on the type of pill and how much estrogen it contains (see the FAQ page). I would say it sounds
like you are doing a good job and can expect the pill to work well for you.
Using withdrawal will increase the effectiveness. However, you can get pregnant
no matter what method of birth control you use, even if you do everything right.
This is one reason why I recommend waiting on sex until you are ready to deal with the possiblity of a baby.

micronor confusion

Message No. 358, francesca at [email protected] (August 08, 1999)

hi. my doctor prescribed micronor progestin only pills for me. the packaging insert from ortho mcneil states that it is best to take the pill the first day of your menstrual cycle. if you decide to take it on another day, use a back up method for 48 hours. this imples you are protected from preganacy immediately if you take it from day one of bleeding. the fda stated the same claims ( i research!)
however, my local pharmacists seem to think one must wait anywhere from 7 days to 2 months! as you can see im lost. my instinct tells me to trust the manufacturer and the fda, but arent trained pharmacists learned enough as well? i dont know what to believe. please respond.

Depo Provera

Message No. 357, Shannon at [email protected] (August 08, 1999)

When i first took the Depo shot, I had to take a pregnancy test before my doctor would administer the drug. The test came up negative, and she gave me the shot.I had been having sex regularly up until a few days before I went to
the doctor. If I got pregnant before I took the shot, but not soon enough to get a positive test result when I tested for pregnancy, what is the liklihood of me being pregnant? If I did concieve, and the shot was administered, then what?

Reply by Monnica

Hi Shannon! I can't even guess at the odds, but they would be no higher than 30%. If you got conceived just a few days before going on the shot, it could cause the expulsion of the embryo. But I would recommend another pregnancy test, just to put your mind at ease. It can take up to 7 days for the shot to take its full effect.

testing soon?

Message No. 355, Amy at [email protected] (August 06, 1999)

HI! I am at a point where I would like to be pregnant. I am wondering how soon after having unprotected sex you can get a pregnancy test done. Thanks!


Reply by Monnica

Have the pregnancy test as soon as your period is due (unless your period
starts that day!)

prolonged use of the Pill

Message No. 354, Shizzandra at [email protected] (August 04, 1999)

I am becoming more and more concerned about the effects of prolonged useage of the Pill. I have been taking it on
and off over the past 10 years, for at least 2 to 3 years at a time...I have heard mixed reviews-skin problems, reduced sexual
libido...mainly, I am starting to feel like I don't want to be on them anymore but still take them because of the spotaneity
factor with my partner-sex anywhere, anytime!

Are there any risks I should be aware of? My skin is quite dry normally, but as of the past 6 months-it's is noticeably worse!
I am 31 years old, don't smoke, eat quite well ( I think) and exercise in moderation...not planning for kids any time soon

Thanks for any feedback...

skipping periods-HELP! I need to know NOW!!!!!

Message No. 352, Claire at [email protected] (August 02, 1999)

I want to skip my period this month due to several outdoor activities coming up. I am on Ortho Novum/777, and I read in a magazine that if you take OC's you can skip the placebo pills and start taking a new pack which will refuse your period to start. Is this true? Can I do it with my OC's? Please let me know asap. I've already skipped the placebos and started a new pack in hopes that it will skip this month's period. I need to know if this is going to work and what the risks are of doing this.

Thank you,

Reply by Monnica

Please see the page Frequently Asked Questions about Birth Control Drugs for
the answer.


Message No. 351, Dennis at [email protected] (July 30, 1999)

I really appreciate the few resonses I have gotten. I still have unanswered questions about this mood altering drug. I have been a very devoted boyfriend and really want this to work itself through. My girl has alot of lows but after discussing the possibilities of her mod swings bing the drug she has been a bit better. Today she went to the doctor and was told "It will fade away" . I don't want my relationship to also fade away. What can I do. Does anyone have an idea of which direction to take. I really want to be there for her. Thanx in advance for the help.

Im on birth control

Message No. 349, Bianca at [email protected] (July 27, 1999)

I am on birth control right now. I am a 16 year old teenage girl going into my 11th grade year in high school. I just want to say to girls that are trying to get this prescribed to them...don't do it. There are way too many side effects to this method. And I recently read how they are trying to figure out if this causes cancer. I know that some side effects are vaginal dryness, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and there are two other side effects that indicate a stroke, or a clot in the leg. Thank you for listening. And im glad that i sent this out to people who are thinking about using this method. I hope i helped you make your choice. Bianca, NY


Message No. 348, Kim at [email protected] (July 26, 1999)

I may have misunderstood the chart that list the ways that different birth control worked and the effectiveness of each kind. I was wondering if the Depo shot could actually make you have a miscarriage while you are taking it? If so this is totally against my beliefs and would like to discontinue my shots. I wasn't told anything about the possible effects of becoming pregnant while on the shot. I was also wondering if there was any research on the effects of birth defects if I was to become pregnant while taking the shot. Please respond as soon as possible, I'm in a slight moral delima!!!

Reply by Monnica

Usually Depo-Provera prevents ovulation -- no egg is released so no pregnancy can occur. But sometimes ovulation does occur, and when that happens the hormones work by making the uterus a hostile environment for the embryo. The embryo cannot implant in the womb and is thus expelled (aborted).
Technically, this is not considered a miscarriage because the embryo had not yet implanted in the uterus -- but it is the end of a new life.

Depro Low's

Message No. 347, Dennis at [email protected] (July 26, 1999)

MY girlfriend just started to take this new birth control shot. I think it has really done something to her personality. Have any one else had this problem. She is really in-decisive and depressed. IT this possible? Where can I find information on this nightmare? I really love her and feel like she is gone. I am offering her all my streangth and love to get through this but she isn't set that the shot is it. Thanx

Deprovera and endometriosis=gaining weight?

Message No. 346, Sabina at [email protected] (July 26, 1999)

A friend of mine is 19 years old and has endometriosis. The doctors have been testing different birth-control pills on her for two years and it only made things wurse (mood-swings, pain and bleeding). For the last four month she has been given Deprovera-shots and in many ways it have been good,but the problem is that she has gained 15 kilos in these four month. Is it possible that it is because of the hormones? She does´nt eat more than common people and she is working out 3-5 times a week. It is very hard to find an understanding doctor where we live ( We live in Sweden) and she is really suffering because of her wheight. Two years ago she weight 70 kilos and now 93 kilos. Can you help us? ´cause i do´nt know what to do accept being there for her and i do´nt think she will loose weight because of that.
Thank you./Sabina

Reply by Monnica

Depo-Provera can cause severe weight gain. She should probably talk to her doctor and stop taking the shot.

the pill

Message No. 345, michelle at [email protected] (July 22, 1999)

hi i read that you are not taking any more questions on the pill but i can't find any info on how much weight gain is expected when starting the pill and if there are any forms of the pill that have no weigt gain or very little.please help me and thank you for you time

Reply by Monnica

There is no one answer to this question. The weight gain response to hormonal birth control varies on an individual basis. For
most women, extra female hormones make fat deposition easier and increase the appetite. Weight gain is a very common side
effect, especially for Depo-Provera for which weight gain can be extreme. Conversly, weight loss usually becomes easier when
hormonal birth control is discontinued.

Help Me Please

Message No. 344, Raven at [email protected] (July 22, 1999)

Hello there my name is Raven....

In November of 1998 I recieved the Deepro Prevera shot, I only recieved one shot because I was bleeding so badly. I have been bleeding
now since then and it is now almost the end of July. My doctor seems to not know what to do about stopping my bleeding, he just says
it will stop when the shot goes completly out of my system. I cant get in to see a gynacoligist untill November 9th 99.

Since the shot I have gotten married and I really want to have a baby. I cant even have sex cause I am bleeding so much, and just recently I have found out that
I can even become enemic from bleeding so much. What can I do??? I have tried to contact the Deepro clinic and they diont know what to do and I have
tried going to my local health unit and they dont know what to do, so now what???? Please help me.... Raven

Reply by Monnica

UPDATE: I sent email to Raven and encourged her to see a doctor right away, but her gyn can't see her until November because she's all booked up.
We tried to find some other doctors in her area but they didn't want to deal with the problem, so poor Raven is having severe bleeding and clots on a regular basis. This is sad and shocking, but I think it underscores how problematic these type of drugs can be. Once you take the Depo-Provera shot you can't get it out of your system. You are stuck with the side effects for up to a year or even two.

Very Concerned

Message No. 343, Laura at [email protected] (July 21, 1999)

Dear Monica,

I have started the pill one week ago and am really worried about gaining weight. I think I have gained a few pounds already. My question is, if I exercise everyday for an hour like I normally do, will that decrease my chances of gaining weight or is it hopeless to keep the weight off. Please reply as soon as possible. Thanks for this terrific website and keep up the great work. It's appriciated.

Very Concerned


Message No. 341, Marissa at [email protected] (July 19, 1999)

Dear Monica,
I am 19 years old. I waited until a couple of weeks ago to have sex with my boyfriend of a year. He was tested and I recieved a Depo shot that came highly recommened by my gynocologist. The only ill side effect I have experienced has been a lack of ceasation of my period I consulted my doctor she informed me that while this may be an annoyance there is nothing to worry about because it is my first shot. I have heard you do nothing but deter people from the shot as well as any other form of birth control. I was wondering what your authority is on the subect of birth control or sex in general. I was confident in taking Deprovera till I came upon this site. Your "advice" has frightened and upset me. You do not recommend any form of birth control and urge people to stop taking what they are currently on. I was contimplating whether this site was meant to help or scare people? If you were really hoping that sexually active teenagers and/ or couples not finacially secure enough to raise a child should over-populate the Earth. You picked and choose easy questions to answer "consult your doctor or get off the pill/shot" while the real questions remained unanswered. I suggest in the future you consult a doctor, or try to show the pro's and con's so as not to scare people. Responsible sex is meant to be beautiful not a bomb threat.

Reply by Monnica

Dear Marissa, thank you for your feedback. Unfortunately, the truth is that most forms of birth control do carry risks, and some are dangerous for some people. If you would take the time to read through this guide, you'll see that every birth control method is listed with both its pros and cons -- not just the pros, as it sounds like your doctor gave you when he prescribed Depo-Provera.
For example, did your doctor tell you that while all your friends are gaining bone mass at this age to help ward off osteoperosis in the future, you are actually losing bone mass due to the Depo-Provera? Isn't that something you would like to know as a consumer so you can make an informed choice? Would it be honest for me to tell everyone what they want to hear so that they can feel good? I think that would be a terrible disservice to you and others.

As for your suggestion that I consult a doctor before answering questions, if you had taken the time to read the responses carefully, you would see that many are answered by someone with a doctorate in pharmacology.
I consult many different experts when writing these responses. More about me personally can be learned from reading the page "About this Site" on the home page.


Message No. 340, JACKIE at [email protected] (July 19, 1999)



Message No. 339, Karen at [email protected] (July 18, 1999)

I am twenty two years old and already have two really beautiful children. I know that I will never want any more children. not even if I find a new guy later on down the line. Due to the fact that both of my childrens births were very painful and scarry situations for me. My two mont old son even got his shoulder stuck on my hip on his way out to help me in the dision that i have made. I was contemplating getting my tubes tied but I am wondering what the possible side effects will be. For example: will i get my pereiod every month? will i have any horomonal imballences? what is the success rate of the procedure? would there still be a possibility of getting pregnant and if so what is the rate. I know that you will recomend that i not do it but that is not what I want to hear. all i want is the facts and possibly the name of the birth controll device that is said to be the best other than the pill. I have gotten pregnant on the pill so i will not go there again. Contact me as soon as possible if I do decide to change my mind (as is a womans perogative) i will do it by friday. that is when i go for my next checkup.

Norplant/no menstrual cycle

Message No. 338, Misty T. at [email protected] (July 17, 1999)

I am currently on my second norplant and have become very concerned about my menstrual cycle. I have not had a menstrual cycle for the last 4 1/2 years and my current gynecologist seems not to worry about it and says that they are shouldn't be any concern about it. I am scared that 4 1/2 years could have a long term sides effects and could jeopordize my chances of having normal pregnancy in years to come.
Is it healthy and/or normal for a female not to have a monthly cycle?
After this long is it too late and the damage is now done?
Desperatly needing to know this information.
Thanks in advance. MT

quitting the pill

Message No. 335, Rue at [email protected] (July 16, 1999)

I'm currently taking Zovia, and have been for several months. I am wondering if it's safe to go off the pill on my own. It's hard to get an appointment with my doctor and I'd like to end the pill this weekend, before I have to start a whole new month. Please let me know if this is safe, or if it's necessary to get my doctors assistance. Thanks!

depo shot

Message No. 333, Dacia at [email protected] (July 15, 1999)

i just started taking the shot in june question is it normal to have bleeding that goes away as quick as it comes back?also would having sex durring this worsen this?or should i just go back on the pill sence i had absolutly no problems with?the thing with the pill i took is it was ortho-trycyclin and i am a heavy smoker.someone please help me this going and coming back bleeding is soon to make me nuts.thanks.


Message No. 332, LISA at [email protected] (July 15, 1999)

I was wondering if there is anyone out there, that is or has been experiencing what I have been. For the last 6 weeks or so, I have been on menstrual cycle.
I have been experiencing light discharge. That changes in color, from pink to red to dark red. I have also, been noticing swelling in my legs, and arms. On occasions there has been tiny, red, ball like secretions with pink cords appearing, when I go to the restroom. Please let me know of any ideas of what may be the cause.

Ortho-tricyclen and its benefits

Message No. 331, Lou at [email protected] (July 13, 1999)

I know you said that you are no longer accepting questions on birth control, but wondered if you could please answer just one more. I am currently taking the pill Loestrin Fe 1/20 for the control of Endometrosis. It is a relatively low dose pill. I am considering taking Ortho-tricyclen to help my acne. I am 32 yrs. old and still have that problem. I also have severe headaches during the month. My doctor is not sure the exact cause. Would taking Ortho-tricyclen help my acne more than Loestrin and would it help on my headaches. What is its benefits over Loestrin. Please e-mail me as soon as possible if you would. I really thank you!!

sex and missed pill

Message No. 330, haley at [email protected] (July 13, 1999)

i've been on the pill for about 7 years and it has been a wonderful choice for me. i have always been very good about never missing a pill and taking it at the same time everyday (6am). but two days ago i had just gotten back from vacation and my pills were still packed away. we'll my boyfriend and i had had sex and many hours later at about 10:30 pm i finally remembered to take it. so i'm a little freaked out and am wondering what the chanches of me becomming pregant are. I am probabally being overly concerned but...could you let me know anyway?
thanks haley

confused with my IUD

Message No. 327, michelle at [email protected] (July 10, 1999)

i was just wondering i keep reading how and IUD makes your menstral cycle heavy,,well i have an Iud since october 96' and i hadnt had a period yet..I went to the obgyn clinic and they say it is is in place and its fine,but i always have a sharp eeling when is sit to go to the bathroom or during sex...i was wondering if this is something i should worry about....and i also was wondering if i get it taken out what are my chances of getting pregnant right away cuz i have a two and three year old and dont want any more children right now but i am always wondering about this in me and i just want it out so i dont have to worry any more thank you


Message No. 326, Karen at [email protected] (July 09, 1999)

Hi My name is Karen. i was recently put "the pill" about two and a half weekls ago. I was put on to regulate my period, since then I have had more bleeding and alot of clotting. Is this normal and should I stop taking the pill

birth control while pregnant

Message No. 325, Jen at [email protected] (July 08, 1999)

I was on the pill when i got pregnant and lost the baby at about 9 weeks. I was on the pill up to 6 weeks pregnant, because i was unaware of the pregnancy. Could this have cause the miscarriage? What are the statistics? Any info or links would be helpful. thank you so much for your time.

Mistaken BCP

Message No. 324, Michele at [email protected] (July 08, 1999)

I am currently taking triphasal. I accidentally took one brown pill on the day I should have taken a green pill. This is the week I am suppose to have my period. What are the affect of this and how do I get myself back on track with my period? Thanks

irratation to spermacides

Message No. 322, lacie at [email protected] (July 06, 1999)

My boyfriend and I just recently started having sex and after seeing the doctor first she suggested spermacides were the best method of birthcontrol for me at this time. But after using a spermacidal foam the first time both of us had irrations.He said it was a burning sensation especially during urination. My symptoms resembled those of a bladder infection but after drinking lots of water it went away. The next time we had sex we tried a different spermacide and he said it stings but not nearly as much and it didnt bother me at all. I checked the ingredients on both packages and the foam has 12% spermacide while the jelly type stuff only had 2% Could this be what is causing the problem? I dont know what to do since hormonal birthcontrol isnt right for me and spermacids seem to tbe the cause of my boyfriends discomfort. Also are there other types of spermacides besides ones with non oxyl9?

Reply by Monnica

Spermicides can cause urinary tract infections, as can spermicidal condoms
and other methods that use spermicides. It seems that Nonoxynol-9 is the culprit.
You might try Octoxynol-9, but it could also cause the same problems.


Message No. 321, krista at [email protected] (July 05, 1999)

I'm writing in response to the side affects of Depo-Provera. Back in Jan 99, I had my first shot, I was due to go back in April, however I found that I was gaining an excessive amount of weight, along with the increase in my bra size. I did not have a menstrual cycle since the date of my first shot. I do know that I am not pregnant, and that it possible takes a womans body 10-24 months to go back to normal. What my main concern is, what happens to me and my child if I become pregnant within the time my body does not produce a menstraul cycle. And, is it even possible to conceive without having a cycle? I have read several studies on Depo-Provera, and I am very unsatisfied wih this product. My husband and I would like to conceive within a year or two. I mainly would like some answers concerning the side affects, does it cause endromitrioses, or any other sort of disease pertaining to the female reproductive system? If you by any chance have listings of the side affects and/or answers to my questions, please e-mail me a.s.a.p. Thankyou for your time and consideration.


Reply by Monnica

You can get pregnant without ever having had a menstrual cycle, and as far as know this should not be a problem for the baby. For a list of Depo-Provera side effects, please see the page at this site on Depo-Provera. There are also some good links you can visit.

the pill

Message No. 320, Marcelle at [email protected] (July 05, 1999)

Hello. In about two weeks I will begin taking the pill. I was wondering if weight gain is a possilbe side effect. Also, while I am taking the pill, is it necessary for my partner to use a condom? Thank you for your help and time.


Reply by Monnica

Please see the page Frequently Asked Questions about Birth Control Drugs for
the answer.

Question about Durex Avanti

Message No. 319, Aileen at [email protected] (July 05, 1999)

I am latex sensitive - not to the point of being able to die from it - but to the point of having to go to the gynecologist after I have sex when the man wears a latex condom - I'm a mess. I also get lightheaded, nausea and horrible headaches as a result of being in contact with latex for any length of time - paint is the worst. Because of my family medical history (heart disease, high blood pressure, etc) a number of birth control options are out - I don't want to deal with the possible side effects. Most importantly though I want safe sex.

I've read a few things about Durex Avanti condoms - is there more you can tell me? What I've read in different articles never goes into depth. I'm trying to get a response to the FDA also - but I think your response may be a little more realistic and in English - I'm interested in what the breakage factor is as compared to latex condoms, protection against std's, etcetera. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for providing a great service and a place people can to for education!

Reply by Monnica

I would strongly recommend Durex Avanti condoms to latex sensitive individuals.
They are made of polyurethane, which is supposed to be stronger than latex.
Additionally, they will not be weakened by oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline or medication for vaginal yeast infection.
The problem however, is that the polyurethane is not quite so stretchy as latex,
which actually results in more breaks, in my experience. Breaks are relatively
infrequent, but like all birth control methods, there is a very real failure rate which you should expect.
If it's safe sex you're after, the best way to avoid STDs is to have both
yourself and your partner tested and then remain mutually faithful.
Sex with someone who has HIV or other STDs is never a good idea, even with a condom. It only needs to break once for you to become infected. Some STDs you can get even if you use a condom and it never breaks. No matter how well you know your boyfriend, if he had ever had sex with anyone else he could have HIV, which can kill you.


Message No. 318, Angie at [email protected] (July 03, 1999)

I'm a 26 year old female and have 4 children . I have recently found out that I have cervical cancer and fibroids on my uterus.My doctor wants me to take the depo shot. I have had 2 strokes and have a blood clotting disorder. I have read some articles on this and it says don't take the shot if you've had a stroke. Please give me some advice on what I should do. thank you Angie

Reply by Karen

I would not recommend hormonal birth control to a stroke patient.
Your four kids need their mom.

In situations like this, the patient has to figure out, based on available medical info, whether or not a hysterectomy is indicated.
I don't know the extent of the cervical
cancer. Are the fibroids a big problem?
Was the patient planning to have more children? Is there a possibility that
the patient could continue to have children if all of the cervical cancer was
removed, but not the uterus? The
blood clotting and stroke problems would probably make additional pregancy
a risk for similar reasons as the risks of using hormonal birth control.

From what is implied in your message, I think it would be well worth the
money to obtain a second doctor's opinion.

By no means is Depo Provera anything near a fail safe method of
contraception. It may lessen or end the menstrual cycles while the patient
is on it, though. And it is risky in stroke patients.

Karen L. Brauer M.S., R.Ph.

When is the best time of the month?

Message No. 317, Isabel at [email protected] (July 01, 1999)

Someone once told me that is you have sex the week after my menstral cycle I would be less likely to get pregnant..Is that true?

Reply by Monnica

Dear Isabel, please read the page on Natural Family Planning at to learn about your
fertility patterns. Guesswork is a sure way to end up with an unplanned pregnancy!

Irregular bleeding during periods.

Message No. 316, TUSHA at [email protected] (June 30, 1999)

I had dermoid cyst removed off my overies Septemeber of 1998. After the surgery my cycles became heavey so my doctor put me on Ortho Novum 777 for the bleeding and cramping. I was on the pill for 4 months and started having a bleeding (flow like a regular cycle) during my periods. I had an ultersound and they found a fibrod tumor in my utereus as well as a mass aroung my right overy. I don't know what to do and the doctor seems to think the bleeding is do to the fibrod or the birthcontrol. He put me on another type of pill to take in hopes that will stop the irregular bleeding. I don't know if I should continue taking the pill or just quit. Please help me discover an answer just to get another opinion. Thank you. By the way I am only 26 and have no children but hope to in the future.


Message No. 315, Dori Aleman at [email protected] (June 29, 1999)

Do you have any information about the long term effects fo using Norplant? I am in my 3rd year of my second set of Norplant. While I love the way it gives me freedom, I am worried about my future reporoductive health. I will be 30 by the time my Norpalnt will need to be replaced. I am not thinking of starting a family until 35 but I am becoming worried about my options. The pill will never be an option for me. Do you have any other suggestions?

Week after period

Message No. 314, Val at [email protected] (June 25, 1999)

I just became sexually active with my b/f last week. I started my period yesterday. I'm on the pill to regulate my periods and this is the end of my first packet. I start the "active" pills on sunday. I was wondering if it is safe to have sex next week since the "reminder" pills don't have any hormones to stop me from ovulating. Please respond soon. Thanks

Reply by Monnica

Your doctor should have explained the basics of using the pill when s/he prescribed it. If s/he didn't, find a doctor who has more time to spend with patients.
Please see question 290 for your answer!

Brith control pills are killers

Message No. 313, Angie at [email protected] (June 21, 1999)

I was on birth control for a total of 11 years, this included a 4 year break in between.

On Easter Sunday, I felt a very sharp pain in my upper right quadrant of my chest and it stayed that way for 7 hours - I went to the emergency room and they couldn't figure it out. When my doctor came him he ordered an ultra sound.
He found a mass on my liver but was not sure what is was. He said do a follow-up CT in 3 months - I told him no, let's do it now.

Thank God we did because I was then referred to a specialist for the liver. He found a growth of about 5 cm in length and another small one beside it. The first thing he said to me was "HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN ON THE PILL?" I told him it was about 7 years total. He then said, today is your last day. We believe this is what has caused this large growth on your liver. I had an AFP blood test done and that was fine. I will now get a liver biopsy to make sure it is what he believes it to be. A hepatic adenoma, normally caused by the pill or steroids. These adenoma's have up to a 50% rupture rate which can kill.

I had a lot of prayer with God and that is the only reason things are working out for me so far. Please if you are reading this, don't take it lightly. It is very scary going through something like this, especially at the age of 29. I have my whole life ahead of me. None of the birth control providers ever told me that this could actually happen to me. I was always told about weight gain, blood pressure; but, nothing like this. I never would have taken them.

I just don't want anyone to suffer as I have mentally and physically.


Reply by Monnica

Thanks for sharing your story, Angie!

morning after pill needed???

Message No. 312, kelly at [email protected] (June 20, 1999)

Ok, well here it goes. Last night me and my boyfriend had sex for the first time together. (I did my research before-hand i.e. STD tests, etc.) Anyway his penis frequently slipped out and the condom (lifestyles w/ spermicide) was half off. Our session was cut short, and he didnt ejaculate. I know about pre-ejaculation and how that can cause pregancy too. The condom didnt tear, break, or rip to the best of our knowledge(it was examined). I was wondering about the odds of me actually becoming pregnant through whatever sperm coming through the bottom of the condom. Yesterday was also the last day of my period if that alters anything. I am REALLY paranoid about this. And I can definatley get to planned parent hood on this upcoming Monday, is the morning after pill needed? and if so is it too late(i hear there are ones that are effective up to 3 days after the "accident"? PLEASE HELP ASAP!!

Reply by Monnica

Hi Kelly! You didn't read the "Q & A Guidelines" before posting. If you have a question about a possible pregnancy, you need to fill out the form at You will get a quicker and more complete response that way.

Birth control following arterial repair

Message No. 311, Angie at [email protected] (June 18, 1999)

I sustained major trauma to my right leg approximately 3 months ago, wherein my popliteal artery was severely damaged. My vascular surgeon repaired the artery by cutting out a 2" section and grafting in a 2" portion of the saphenous vein that he took from my left groin area. I am currently taking medication to prevent blood clots and to help blood flow (which I will take for the one year). Following my surgery, my vascular surgeon recommended that I not take birth control bills for the time being. My question to you is whether or not birth control pills and/or the Depo-Provera shot are advisable following my arterial repair. I am 26 years old, not overweight, have not history of hypertension, and a non-smoker. Other from the arterial repair, I have not suffered any medical complications and am otherwise healthy.

Reply by Monnica

I ran your question by our pharmacist consultant, and she said that she sure wouldn't risk it. There could be other damage to blood vessels
that did not require rebuilding, but involve structural changes too. It
would seem inappropriate to combine a drug implicated causing blood clots
(oral contraceptives) while giving a 'blood thinner.'
Of course, pregnancy at this time could be problematic too, and there's only one sure way to prevent that...

We don't know enough about your situation to estimate changes in risk of
vascular complications due to the leg damage. Also, who knows how well the
repair will turn out down the road? So formally, you should do whatever
the specialists recommend. It's nice to know your vascular doctor is thinking
about your drugs.


Message No. 310, linda at [email protected] (June 17, 1999)

I've been having brown discharge, which increases during intercourse and after I have taken a bath. I started with the pill 2 weeks ago, and my friend says that it's normal to have spotting. But it didn't started when I began taking the pill, it started after I had sex for the first time. Could it be a sexual transmitted disease? Or being to rough during intercourse?

Reply by Monnica

They say "sex changes things" -- not just relationship-wise, but physically too.
Sex can throuw off your cylces and cause other changes as well (not to mention pregnancy!) It's probably just your body figuring out what's going on, but you should get a doctor's opinion, especially if you notice a bad odor.


Message No. 309, JENNIFER at [email protected] (June 17, 1999)


Reply by Monnica

Dear Jennifer, I think you need to give this a little more time before you start panicking. Sometimes just the stress of life and worry can make conception difficult. Find ways to relax with your husband. See also the page at this site on Infertility for tips on how to boost your chances
at conception. Learning Natural Fmaily Planning may be a big help too.

What are the chances

Message No. 308, kim at [email protected] (June 15, 1999)

I have a friend who is on the pill and had sex on the last day of her period. She had intercourse last night and bled. It is not time for her to start for anohter week. She is worried about being pregnant. She says she took the pill every day yet not at the same time. She is really scared, please help.

Reply by Monnica

Hi Kim! You didn't read the "Q & A Guidelines" before posting. If you have a question about a possible pregnancy, you need to fill out the form at


Message No. 305, Amanda at [email protected] (June 08, 1999)

Does anyone know any info on Alesse-28? I have it and am thinking about going on it but I wanted to get a little back ground info on it first. If anyone knows anything about it I would much appreciate it:)

Emergency Contraception

Message No. 304, Dee at [email protected] (June 06, 1999)

My husband and I use condoms since we are not sure if we are going to have another child. We had sex,the condom split and I used the the emergency contraception pills within the 72 hour time frame. But my question is this, we had sex the same day as taking the EMC, and the condom split again. Am I covered by the EMC or do I have to take them again? How long do the EMC work?
Thank you for any help in this area.

Reply by Monnica

The ECPs (Emergency Contracepive Pills) should still be effective. However, calling them 'contraceptive' is a bit of a misnomer (see box for how they work).
But it sounds like you and your husband need to try a new brand of condoms for sure!


Message No. 303, Veronica at [email protected] (June 01, 1999)

O.K. My boyfriend and I have been in a responsible relationship for a year now, and I have been on the pill for a year and a half. We have sex now and then but for some reason I get pains in my lower right hand abdomen a day or two after. I know I am not pregnant because I am on the pill, he uses a condom, and he doesn't ejaculate inside me. I was just wondering if you knew anything about that. And, I'm taking Ortho-Cyclen and the green pills in the pack are just sugar "reminder" pills. My question about this is: does it matter if I skip a couple of those during menstration, and will it effect the effectiveness of the pill?


Reply by Monnica

Talk to your doctor about strange pains in your side.
As for the green 'reminder' pills, no you don't need to take them -- they're just to help you get
into the habit of taking one pill per day.

Can condoms contribute to UTI's?

Message No. 302, Tammy at [email protected] (June 01, 1999)

I was diagnosed with a bladder infection about 2 months ago, and I heard or read somewhere that lubricated condoms can somehow contribute to getting a bladder infection because of the lubricant. If so, would it be better to use a non-lubricated condom with KY Jelly? I also heard that immediately after you have intercourse, you're supposed to go to the bathroom to flush out any bacteria caused by the penis. Is this true even if he wears a condom? I'm very afraid of getting another bladder infection, and any information would be helpful. Thank you very much.


Reply by Monnica

Condoms, especially the spermicidal variety, do increase the risk of urinary tract infections in women.
(And spermicidal condoms have not been shown to be more effective than condoms without spermicide.) Whether they are lubricated may or may not help (the studies I've read are contradictory).
You'll just have to see what works best for you.

Possibility of birth defects

Message No. 301, Stephanie at [email protected] (June 01, 1999)

I have recently been advised to stop taking orthotricyclen, then a week later to continue. My husband and I did not use protection during this week, and there is a possibility I could be pregnant. My doctor advised me to continu my pill unless I miss my period or have symptoms of pregnancy. My concern is if I was to be pregnant am I harming my embryo with these levels of estrogen by continuing the pill? I've always heard that this ccould lead to birth defects. My doctor also said a home pregnancy test may not be accurate at this time. Conception would have taken place in the last 2 weeks. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Reply by Monnica

You are not at risk of birth defects just because you got pregnant while on the pill, although women taking the pill or who have recently taken the pill are more
likely to have a miscarriage. Conventional wisdom is that if the baby
made it this far despite the effects of the pill on your uterus, then your baby
is one tough little guy! Stop taking the pill if you haven't already. A reliable pregnancy test should be possible 14 days after conception.

Condoms Underwater

Message No. 300, Chris at [email protected] (May 30, 1999)

My girlfriend and I are about to have our first summer together after we graduate from high school. I will have the house to myself everyday, and I have a pool. We were both wondering if condoms will work underwater, and what do we need to do special to ensure our safety. If they don't work, is there any form os birth control that does work underwater?

Reply by Guest

From Condoms Express

We have been asked this question a couple of times and have giving the following advice based on information from books on condoms, the mechanics of condoms and manufacturers recommendations.

Here are some statements which appear on the boxes of various condom manufacturers :

Durex - "Non-Vaginal use of condoms can increase the potential of them slipping or being damaged."

Trojan - "Any use of ... condoms for other than vaginal intercourse can increase the potential of damage to the condom."

Trojan - "If you use condoms when you or your partner are using vaginal products for medical treatment purposes, the condoms may be weakened and their effectiveness may be reduced."

Clearly the manufacturers only stress the use of condoms in the most conventional way. Given the human imagination they would have to include a rather lengthy list of don'ts. If you ask the manufacturers, can you do this with a condom ? Their answer will be "we don't recommend it"

Some condom literature recommends that you don't flush a condom down the toilet because it could become filled with a mixture of trapped water and air causing a blockage or filled with air causing it to not flush and come back.

Based on this, it is possible for the condom to become filled with water during intercourse underwater. If it fills with water while inside the vagina, plus the in and out movement of intercourse, there is a good chance for
breakage. If it becomes too filled with water it could slip off. Add the effects of chemicals in pool water, and
the temperature of the water in a hot tub which could further weaken the condom it is not recommended to use a condom under water.

Length of periods

Message No. 298, Bren at [email protected] (May 13, 1999)

Hi, again. I have a question about the length of periods. My girlfriend is on the pill (Estrostep) and she started it primarily for period regulation. Yesterday, she got her period, and it was one day late. Today, however, it is apparently over. Is it possible to have a one-day period? Could the pill or her previous history of an irregular period have something to do with it only lasting for one day? Thanks for your help.

Reply by Monnica

A one day period could be perfectly normal, or it could be a symptom of pregnancy. She should talk to her doctor and have a pregnancy test if this
is not normal for her.


Message No. 296, Brittany at [email protected] (April 30, 1999)

I am in the first week of my new birth control package. For about 5 days prior to this, I was taking amoxicillin for the flu. I was taking amox three days while on my period and two days into my new cycle. I have been off amoxicillin for three days now, but been having sex frequently during this time, continuing my bc, but also using the withdrawal method. My doctor told me some anitibiotics, but not amoxicillin would not reduce the effectiveness of my bc, but my pharmacist told me it would. Well, my husband forgot to withdraw. Is there a possibility of my being pregnant? Does amoxicillin reduce the effectiveness of bc? If so, how long after taking amoxicillin should another bc method be used? Thanks...


Message No. 294, Kim at [email protected] (April 25, 1999)

I am married and do not want children at this stage in life. Every doctor I talk to says I am too young to make a choice of never having children. I was on the pill but I developed a thrombosis. I have spent the last year using an IUD but I am really not happy with the side effects.
My doctor has recommended that I could use the shot but from everything I have read there is still a chance I could get another thrombosis and even worse side effects. What is the risk of getting another thrombosis on the shot?

The other question I have is can an IUD cause and inflamation on the cyatic (SP?) nerve?

Please e-mail me back. Thank you

Reply by Karen

Using Depo-Provera is medically inadvisable. The result of some blood clots is that you may not die, but be reduced to a severly disabled state. What will be the status of your life and relationship with your husband if this should happen
to you?

I do not know how IUD use could be related to sciatica, but it can increase
the likelihood of things like pelvic inflammatory disease. Might be
potentially problematic if you happen to be on certain blood thinners. I hope
you are being closely monitored. Any unusual pain should be checked out.

Are you thinking about sciatica because there is pain in your legs??? A
circulatory problem?? Another blood clot??

Karen L. Brauer M.S., R.Ph.
[email protected]

Adjusting the Date of my Period while on Birth Control

Message No. 292, Elizabeth at [email protected] (April 15, 1999)

Hello Monnica, I have been on Ortho Tricyclen for over a year, and I am getting married within the next month. I am a virgin, and would like to have an enjoyable wedding night. I just realized that I am going to be menstrating that day, and would like very much to avoid this. I have heard that you can prevent menstration by starting a new pack in place of the 7 placebo pills. Is this true? What side effects might I expect from this during this time or during the next cycle of menstration? Is it possible that I may experience some spotting? Does this decrease the effectiveness of the pill? Any other information would be greatly appreciated. If you are not sure, please direct me possibly to a website that might be able to tell me. Thank you very much, I am anxiously awaiting a response as soon as possible!

Reply by Monnica

Please see Frequently Asked Questions about Birth Control Drugs -- Can I use oral contraceptives to change the date my period comes?


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