Post Pill Syndrome - is it a thing?
I’ve never been one of those women who have always been super clucky, pining for a child of my own above all else. But over the last few months I’ve started to think that now might be a good time to get pregnant. Everything else in my life is set; I have a great family, a house of my own, a stable job, and most importantly, a supportive husband who is so looking forward to being a dad. So we decided: we would start ‘trying’. Or trying not to prevent it anyway.
Before I got married, four years ago, I’d been on the Pill for almost ten years. Then in the lead up to my wedding, my husband and I had to do a marriage course as part of the process that one must go through if they want to get married in a Catholic Church (not that either my husband or myself are religious in any sense of the word). While doing this marriage course, I was taught about the Fertility Awareness Method, where a woman monitors her physical symptoms in order to determine when she is fertile and thus avoid (or achieve) pregnancy. I was amazed that this was a thing, and was so excited to try it out. So after our wedding and honeymoon I went off the Pill, expecting to be able to use my new-found knowledge straight away. Unluckily for me, my cycle never came back. After three months without a period, I started to get worried. I went to a doctor who ordered blood tests on suspicion that I may have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. When my results came in, the doctor said that all my hormones were in the ‘normal’ range, and referred me to a gynecologist, who basically confirmed the first doctor’s suspicions and diagnosed me with PCOS.
I was so upset. Even though at the time, I wasn’t ready for kids, I felt almost like less of a woman, knowing that my body wasn’t doing what a woman’s body is supposed to. It’s common for women with PCOS to have insulin resistance so I had my insulin levels tested and luckily, they were fine. Also, my androgen levels were normal which is not typical for many women with PCOS. All the advice I could find online was directed at the insulin-resistant, elevated androgens type of PCOS. Then one day I found this article, written by a Sydney-based naturopath, Lara Briden. It basically said that if my PCOS wasn’t caused by insulin resistance and I didn’t exhibit the regular symptoms, such as elevated androgens, I was likely to be suffering from something called “Post Pill Syndrome”.
So I stayed optimistic and kept trying to be relatively health conscious and eventually (4 years later) my cycle had regulated itself….kinda. Meaning that it was usually somewhere between 25 and 35 days long. Anyways, that was better than nothing.
But now, when I’m finally ‘ready’ for a child and am officially trying to conceive, and it hasn’t happened after a few attempts, I’m starting to get nervous. What has the Pill actually done to my body?! How long will it take to fall pregnant? It’s scary to think about how easily the Pill is prescribed and how little information I, and probably many other young girls, actually had when I started taking it, at 17. Sure, it was convenient to be able to skip a period and never have a pimple, but at what cost to my health? And why does every GP I encounter refuse to believe that a synthetic concoction of hormones taken daily could ever affect a woman's body?