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I was on Microgynon for 4

years - I had no problems

with side effects until I

stopped taking it. My body

had got into an artificial

cycle and my periods

stopped altogether for half

a year post stopping the


- Alice

Obviously it’s great that the option of the pill is there, but how has nobody noticed that taking something like that effects our moods, hormones and relationship choices (reference the fact that in anthropology studies, they separate women on the pill!) Doctors totally underestimate mental health and interactions with the pill. I eventually realised this and looked for alternatives, and was told the copper coil was the one.

After an invasive procedure to get it in, and 4 months of bleeding and pain, I was judged for asking to get it out (‘wasting NHS money’). Then I thought, why do I not want to use the one thing (condom) that doesn’t involve us mutilating our insides or changing our moods and realised it was because OMG, he might not like the feeling when he cums... Fuck dat !

So I came off the pill and had total withdrawal symptoms - I literally broke out... sweats / felt like shit... It was a conversation starter not to have penetrative sex so much.

It’s also worth mentioning that I was put on the pill at 13 to control my polycystic ovaries because a doctor was scared I would get hairy and spotty - but I obviously didn’t turn into a man as soon as I came off it. I definitely agree with those who choose no female contraception. It has totally changed my life. I feel sad for the people who will have to wait 23 years to work it out.

I am privileged to be able to choose, and to have been able to experiment for free as well as having a partner who will wear a condom.

- Hannah

I took the pill because I didn’t want to be a woman anymore, I didn’t want to have the hormonal and physical struggle once a month for every year of my life. It was interfering with my career and relationships. The pill can be a dangerous choice for some, but I didn’t mind; it outweighed the bad things that came with being a woman.

- Zara

I didn’t want a period; 

why is that so

difficult to understand?

I have a complex experience with the pill and female contraceptives which is filled with a bittersweet irony and aggression from a male dictated society. Ok so...

Every day, millions of women will reach for their packet and swallow a small pill, which prevents them from becoming pregnant. I used to be one of these women, and maybe at some point I will be again. I used to take the pill everyday - I didn’t have a time of day I would take it, and I also wouldn’t give myself the 7 day ‘break’ but just continued pack to pack. I wasn’t using the contraception as birth control; I used it to control the hormones you get from your monthly cycle. My depression wasn’t able to take the hormonal change my natural cycle took, both emotionally and physicially.

This is something a lot of people don’t talk about. The discussion about how the pill can influence or even cause depression is well known, and I don’t dispute it. I’ve experienced that side of it, but I’ve also experience the benefits of the pill, which is to help control depression.

I was first diagnosed with depression when I was 10 years old, looking at my life, depression was / is inevitable. I was brought up by a white cis-man who unfortunately played into all the stereotypes. He placed on me the ideals that society places on young girls. I was to be innocent, I wasn’t allowed my own thoughts. Although this idea of innocence  and the need to be ‘perfect’ were pushed on me, I was still sexualised like most girls from an early age. I was sexually and mentally abused as a child starting when I was about 4 years old (I was having a bath).

Following this, I started my period young; I was only 9. Then when I was 16, my depression had reached an all time high, that was when I was raped. I needed to forget that I was a woman. I needed to not have my period anymore because not only were my hormones heightened at that time of the month, but I despised myself for being biologically ‘ready’ for sex.

The pill was a way out.

Here’s where the irony comes in. I needed the pill because of everything that a male dominated society had pushed on me. But my only out was something largely developed by men, produced by men, marketed by men, prescribed by men, written about by men and is also benefitted from by men.

Pretty fucking shit.

The history of the pill and how it is prescribed though an intrusive and judgemental manner, takes away a women’s control over her own body. A man simply walks into a shop and buys a condom or gets it free from the NHS. A women has to prove she deserves contraception (a traumatic experience in itself), that will biologically alter her body. The pill acts as a biotechnology in how it controls woman’s hormonal cycle, and so, at a social and ethical scale, how it works is a bio-political device. [1]

If we take the definition of objectification as “seeing or treating a person as an object”, [2] how the pill is governed can be described as objectifying to women.

It’s even worse when you say ‘I’m not using this for contraception, I just can’t deal with my period’. A doctor won’t prescribe it to you, they will want you to explain why. If you don’t explain, you don’t get the pill and you’re silenced; they have spoken for you. If your doctor prescribes you a pill, but it causes depression and so you wish to change and they don’t - this is an act of silencing. They have taken control of your body, and decided what is best for it.

Doctors and General Practitioner’s control who gets to use contraception and why they deserve it. When I explain to a new GP why I take the pill, they can’t understand that it is not for birth control and are reluctant to give it to me.

“when a man calls a

woman ‘hysterical’ or

says ‘it must be her time

of the month’, they can’t

contemplate the biology

that is happening inside

her body”

They can’t identify with what a woman’s body goes through in her monthly cycle, or how the hormones affect her mind. When a man calls a woman ‘hysterical’ or says ‘it must be her time of the month’ they can’t contemplate the biology that is happening inside her body, and so they degrade it and joke about it.

When the pill was first created, women tooka tablet everyday of the month and had no break. They had no ‘fake’ period. This was later adapted so that women take 21 tablets a month and a ‘fake’ period is induced. This was changed because they believed women not having a period will make the women feel un-womanly. This change was made without any consultation with women.

This alteration to the pill and the lack of change since the 1960’s, regardless of women’s true needs is objectification through silencing - much like when I protested a change in my pill a few years ago with my GP, he did it anyway. He took away my capacity to speak while simultaneously reducing me to a body that lacks feelings, emotions or thoughts. I take the pill to avoid my period, and yet because the views of the men who made it believe it will make me ‘un-womanly’, I still have to experience it every month. This is extremely ironic since my reason for not wanting a period is to avoid the ideals / conventions and sexual connotations that the male gaze and men within it, place on me in the  first place.

I think that the discussion on female contraception needs to broadened; we need to discuss the people out there who simply don’t want a period because it doesn’t align well with their body. Whether they are survivors, trans, depressed, or whatever it’s is, it is their body, and if they don’t want a period, that should be valid enough. The discussion also needs to talk more about how the pill is governed; at the moment any person wanting to take female contraception or is already, their body becomes a political space in terms of the male gaze, the bio-politics and the objectification behind the pill. This needs to change. There needs to be more empathy, less silencing, more trust in the knowledge that a person knows themselves and  their body more than any other.

How the pill is currently governed shows a denial of subjectivity. The developers of the pill and many of the doctors who prescribe the pill are men, and this generally means they don’t have a clear understanding of what the experiences or feelings of a women are, and so don’t consider them. “The act of representing others almost always involves violence to the subject of representation.” [3]

I was eventually allowed to have the implant when I was 17 - I had this for 3 years. By that point I had worked through my depression. I then changed to the pill as I needed it for contraception, but after 4 months my depression came back with a vengeance, and my mum suggested I stopped taking the pill.

It worked - I haven’t needed any medical aid to control my depression for the past year. I’ve experienced both sides of the pill in terms of helping and influencing depression. But how it is viewed / approached in the medical industry and society, as well as someone’s reasoning behind wanting to stop their periods, are the key thoughts I’m interested in bringing into the conversation.

Direct Text References:

[1] Conqueringlife.wordpress.com, (2015). pill ; contraceptive ; alienation ; biopolitics ; life ; death ; sex ; homeotechnics ; biotechnology | Conquering Life?. [online] Available at: https://conqueringlife.wordpress.com/tag/pill-contraceptive-alienation-biopolitics-life-death-sex-homeotechnics-biotechnology/
[Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].

[2] Oxforddictionaries.com, (2015). objecti cation - de nition of objecti cation in English from the Oxford dictionary. [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/de nition/english/objecti cation
[Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].
[3] Commonsenseatheism.com, (2015). Seven Types of Objecti cation (part 2). [online] Available at: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10323
[Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].

Other References:

Nhs.uk, (2015). Contraception - Contraception guide - NHS Choices. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/contraception.aspx

[Accessed 26 Feb. 2017]. M, B. (2015). A feminist analysis of the theories of etiology of depression in women. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10458848
[Accessed 26 Feb, 2017].

- Verity

It makes my boobs bigger but

it also makes me moody

haha. I used to be on

yasmine, (which worked really

well for me overall), but now

they don’t issue it because

it’s a really expensive

one... I also get headaches

with them on the 7 day break

(due to oestrogen withdrawal

or some shit).

- Lizzie

I decided to get on female contraception when I discovered I was allergic to latex (in the most awkward way) and it’s been so liberating! Albeit annoying when someone gets from my latex allergy to “how do you have sex?” So the implant was the next best thing. I didn’t want the coil because it just seemed scary and intrusive (which is odd because so is the implant but I guess it’s different as they’re in different places). I didn’t have to worry about forgetting the pill, condoms breaking, morning after pill, and my periods stopped. Kind of strange, but it was nice not having to spend money on all of these things.

You can get them free but who wants to go and just grab a handful of condoms. It’s crazy how many guys love the idea of the implant. But forget sexual health. Even though contraception is free at sexual health clinics, it’s kind of awkward just wanting to grab some condoms or whatever. Especially when I have to ask for latex free ones and they have to go check if they have any. Yep. I’ve never met a sexual health practitioner that made me feel comfortable and it’s scary that people have to go through that. Especially young people.

- Nicole

Microgynon made me so fucking mental I would cry at adverts, if I missed a bus, and my ex opened a packet of yogurt raisins that were mine once and I had a break down - never again, it was so, so awful. I was also on Cilesté - the pill with most estrogen in it, and because I have endometriosis I had it straight for three months then had a break, it seemed fine mentally I think, just bad PMT. But I ended up getting a build up of something in my vagina by my cervix (can’t remember the right name for it) but I would bleed quite a lot from it which was annoying! Not a fan. I never bled on it but I didn’t like the idea of it in my arm and I think it affected my moods too. But not as much as Microgynon! I just started Cerazette (progesterone only) and it seems ok so far. I have to take this one though for my endometriosis.

- Millie

So when I was younger, I took

the morning after pill a few

times. I used to hate having

to go and have the awkward

conversation with the nurse.

Most of the time it was an

old lady who I always felt

didn’t understand that young

people do just sometimes

sleep around and always hated

the fact that I wasn’t in a

relationship and having to

‘admit’ to it. I think the

whole talk thing can be a bit

mad and I know it’s off

putting for some girls.

  - Gabriella

I got the implant a couple of years ago, thinking it would be convenient for travelling. I knew there would be a chance it would screw up my menstrual pattern, which is completely has. It also, for the first 6-8 months, turned me into a walking ball of emotions, not good at all. I have times where I don’t get a period for around a month, maybe a month and a half maximum, and then I’ll be on for two weeks, off for 3/4 days, back on again for another two weeks.

It’s such a pain in the arse, completely interferes with my sex life. I don’t even think it’s that convenient quite honestly. I think I’d rather resort back to using condoms and having the implant removed. It just messes everything around.

If it weren’t for the screwed up menstrual pattern, I think I wouldn’t have toomany issues with it as the ‘crazy-woman emotional-wreck’ part mostly ended after the first 6-8 months. I don’t think I’d recommend it. I was thinking of changing to the coil but don’t know much about it. I’ve realised it’s not good to mess with the bodies’ hormones, we’ve evolved this way for a reason and I don’t think a few years of science can compare to the many years of evolution that have built our bodies to function in this way!

And WHY do we have to be the ones responsible for contraception btw?! Haha

- Taryn

The pill is good for avoiding pregnancy and the abuse of the morning after pill. In a way, it is bad as you are less likely to use a condom and you suffer decreased sex drive and swings of depression (lol?) I think different forms of contraception should be made more evident / known to young girls, as I for example use the progesterone only pill which I only found out about from my friend and I prefer it cos there’s less hornmones involved and you have a natural period (as with the combined pill you have a fake period)

- Justina

Well there’s a 99%

protection against

pregnancy on the pill which

is good. It effects your

hormones but I don’t really

know how. It increases your

chances of ovarian cancer,


- Max

I’ve been taking the pill for 4 years now! And basically at first I loved it, it gave me a regulation when it came to my period and minimum pain. I also just liked not worrying to think about condoms when it came to sex with my partner.

However now in my fourth year, I’m starting to get more and more pains in my ovaries at random times, and after seeing the doctor she just said that this was normal. I don’t agree with her - surely that can’t be normal or correct. You know what they say - you know your body best and I really do agree.

Furthermore, reading up on the pill, I have found that more and more mothers have experienced troubles in conceiving after taking the pill for many years. Of course the doctors haven’t said that this is an issue, but I feel like it is probably time for me to come off as I don’t want to risk anything when it comes to me conceiving further on in my life - how can I know for sure? In saying this I’m still not off the pill due to its effectiveness in contraception, maybe next month
I’ll stop.

- Anoushka

I was on the pill ‘Cilest’

and it caused me to have

double vision and migraines,

I ended up in hospital so

the doctors told me to

stop taking them.

- Tonicha

The pro’s of the pill is the ability to decide when you want to have children and having control over this...

The con’s of the pill is having to remember everyday and this is a burden - you can skip it once but not twice. In terms of mental health, it contributed to my depression / can cause depression in others. It doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases, but there is a misconception (often by men) that it can.

It is prehistoric - at the rate at which technology advances we should be encouraged to explore our other options and above all INFORM YOURSELF and INFORM WHOMEVER YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH.

Although the pill has improved since it came out (thank god because you hear horror stories out there of the previous side effects / ineffectiveness etc) but it still isn’t that great. Regardless of how well or not they work however, it is still groundbreaking considered to what women in other countries have access / no access to!

I’m still mad that women have to pay for tampons and that they are considered a luxury...?!

- Leticia

I’m at that YOLO stage of



now I just use ‘pulling out’

as a legit option. I was

never told about the negative

side effects to the pill -

my doctor literally said,

‘it’s good, your boobs

literally get bigger’, but

they neve told me about the

weight gain everywhere else,

the acne, moodswings, nausea,

depression and sucidal

thoughts to name a few...

- Anon

I’ve had some pills where I’ve been really depressed and have random bleeding all the time which was shit. I’m on a brand ATM called Feanolla which you just take constantly without a break, these ones seem to work best for me but I haven’t had a period in probably about 8 months. Obviously I go for check ups at the doctor, but nothing has been said about stopping them...

- Alice

I’ve been using Pearly for about 6 months and it’s pretty good - it is pretty expensive but I bought mine on ebay so it was cheap (but you could probably do a DIY version with that ‘Clue’ app). I just take my temp every morning with it (it also wakes me up) before I get up, and then it tells me when I’m fertile / not fertile. Before that I tried about seven different contraceptive pills (and depo injection); all crap and physically mentally ruined me. The copper IUD was the worst; painful insertion and also just made everything painful from then on. I have realllllllyyyy painful periods so I probably should be on it but I couldn’t handle it. I used to go mental. I once poured a pint of beer down my boyfriend haha but it also worries me that it’s just me and not the pill... it’s so fucking frustrating as well when I would go to the doctors, and they would just open a book and be like “okay hmm let’s try this pill” and it’s just like they shut their eyes and point at a medication and give it to you to “try for a few months” like it’s nothing...

- Rose

The first time I had the coil, after a year I started to get this really bad womb pain, worse than period pain. I couldn’t get a GP at the time because I lived on a boat, so had to go to A&E - but they sent me home every time just saying it was bad period pain (male docs). They then x-rayed me and saw that the coil had twisted and they had to reset it. The pain got worse though so I went back and they said they couldn’t refer me to a gyno as I didn’t have a reference from a GP (obvs couldn’t get one coz of the whole non-permanent address thing) but I said I wouldn’t leave until they got me an appointment to see the gynecologist. When I did go see her, it turned out my coil had been set too high or something, and if I had left it I could have gone infertile which obviously is not something I’m bothered about right now, but sucks for future baby wanting me. To be fair it’s not something that has made me think that the coil is a bad method of contraception. I find hormonal methods make me crazy so the coil is really my only option (I’ve got it again).

- Anna

I was on the pill for two

years, but I came off of

it because the pill I was on

got banned in Europe due to

too many deaths from blood

clots! Personally I

didn’t like being on the

pill. I wasemotional all the

time and I wasn’t very good

at remembering to take it.

- Sophie

I have only tried various versions of the Progesterone-Only-Pill, some working better than others. At best, it lowered my libido, gave me mild acne, and an irregular period. At worst, I would cry multiple times a day, have depressive like symptoms, become very anxious, endured mild to medium levels of pain in what i believe to be my ovaries (left sde only), as well as all the other usual syptoms you’re warned about. I eventually stopped taking the pill after two years and now just use condoms. I am so much better off living my life this way - my mental and physical health is back to normal (the symptoms wore off about 6 months after stopping), and my partner and I agree that using condoms work for us both right now! 

- Sophie

The ‘pill’ is a generic term that encompases many different types of ‘pill’ contraceptives. It is known to be one of the most effective / popular forms of contraception, especially within long-term relationships. Whilst the pill has the huge benefit - an effectiveness of over 99% (when used correctly) - which seems to be advertised by all (schools, doctors and friends), however it has a sinister side that is rarely spoken of. It is something I wasn’t aware of until my girlfriend was affected by it, and I have soon found that it has negative effects on a large number of people. Common side effects are: depression, (or a depressive state), mood swings, headaches, and at it’s most serious, cancer! After having learnt all this and seeing the effects it was having on my girlfriend, we decided it was best to come off it. Regardless of however great and easy it makes sex, it is not worth compromising someone’s mental health and potential life-altering effects on the body.

- Anon

The implant made me a

crazy bitch... it was hawt.

- Anon