Unlearn Everything

I don’t want kids, so my body is deteriorating via hormones

More stories from Sabrina Ftouhi

Unlearn Everything
November 1, 2023

Photo by Marisa Valdez

Birth control is slowly destroying me.

If I didn’t have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome before, I definitely have it now.

PCOS is a condition that causes cysts on the ovaries; people with PCOS often struggle with weight, mental health, random intense pain and irregular periods.

Some people have always had the genes for it, others develop PCOS from birth control.

For the sake of context, my birth control journey started around five years ago. My periods had always been insufferable for this past decade. When I was a teenager, the amount of flow was frankly concerning, especially since my cycle did and still does last longer than a week, sometimes two.

Sometimes, aunt flow would be missing in action for a handful of months Aunt Flo a time. I know most uterus-owning readers can relate when I say, missing a period, intentionally or not, just means that the next one is going to make life undeniably miserable.

Like any normal person concerned for their health, I went in to see my doctor. He just chalked it up to me being overweight, as most doctors do. He told me I needed to eat less carbs and exercise more so that I’m not stuck with these monster periods whenever they came back.

There was not even a mention of starting birth control. That appointment barely lasted ten minutes.

When following the doctor’s suggestions didn’t work, I went through a mental health crisis and I ended up talking to myself in an unacceptable and disrespectful manner. I told myself that I deserved to be in all of this pain because I did this to myself.

My period pain was my fault so it was just going to be my problem.

So, after moving to Eau Claire, Wisconsin I took matters into my own hands and got on the pill. My periods were a lot more manageable but my mental health was a landfill.

I realized taking the pill at the same time every day wasn’t going to work, so I was off birth control for a year and I was flourishing.

My periods weren’t horrible, my skin was glowing, my food cravings were in check and I even lost some weight.

Then I got on Nexplanon. For those unaware, Nexplanon is the implant that goes into your arm and it shoots a concerning amount of hormones into your bloodstream.

I’ve had this implant for almost three years now, and being a human has never been more difficult.

I was flourishing that year, and I’ve been trying to get back to that place ever since, but I don’t think that’s possible with birth control.

I knew there would be side effects, but sheesh. I didn’t get my period for a year and a half, and when It started up again, it would consist of bleeding for three weeks and going right back to nothing for a handful of months.

I’ve also had the realization that my skin hasn’t been clear in ages, my physical and mental health is in the toilet, and I’ve been too exhausted to do anything about it.

That is, until I made an appointment to get this toothpick-sized demon removed from my arm.

Let’s just hope my options for birth control are still available a couple of years down the line.

Ftouhi can be reached at [email protected].