In other posts that I have linked to Menopause Diaries I have explained that my journey through menopause was masked largely by taking the contraceptive pill for most of my life. For many women this is unusual. Once child bearing is done most couples seek a more permanent solution to fertility in the form of a vasectomy or a tubal ligation. After the birth of our second child Mr Jones did indeed have a vasectomy. It is a neat way to deal with fertility that doesn’t involve chemical interference and doesn’t affect sexual performance. At the time we were monogamous and it seemed that I was done with chemical forms of contraception.
Then we walked through the big red door of that swing club all those years ago and things were never the same again. For the majority of swingers condoms are a must. I am not naive enough to think that all of us consistently use them. There have been times when I have taken risks that may not have been the smartest risks to take. In short condoms suck balls, and not in the fun way. On top of that Mr Jones feels very strongly about fathering other men’s children. He is happy to watch me be fucked all kinds of ways by other men but he was adamant, there would be no babies from other men in our lives. Even if they were a result of an accident during a consensual non-monogamy event.
And so, despite using condoms 99% of the time I went back on the pill. My go to was the combined pill. I was fortunate that I was able to use a low dose version successfully. It had worked pre- marriage and planned pregnancy so I was happy to go there again. At one time early in my journey a GP I was seeing convinced me to try an Implanon. At that time I knew a couple of women who were using it and they were all very happy with the device so I agreed. It didn’t work so well for me. I was fortunate that I didn’t experience very heavy bleeding but I bled lightly or spotted for most of the time that I had the device in my arm. Unfortunately I was travelling for three of the six months that I kept it in. Needless to say after three months of living in a caravan with two small children and dealing with a constant light period I didn’t waste much time getting it removed upon my return home!
After this my GP didn’t suggest any other devices. Although one gynaecologist I visited for an unrelated issue tried to convince me that a Mirena would be a good idea. She got firmly told no. And so I continued on my merry way, taking my little round pill every day for many years. I was what pharmacists refer to as ‘compliant’, meaning that I take my medication fairly reliably so I had minimal issues. I did try the old trick of skipping the sugar pills to skip a period but it didn’t work that well. I was fortunate that my period was also compliant and generally started on Monday and finished by Friday so my weekend plans were almost never ruined.
Despite suffering from hypertension I was able to convince my doctors that an unplanned pregnancy as a result of my lifestyle was a much more likely and undesirable outcome than a blood clot and so they never tried to convince me to stop the pill when my genetic pre-disposition for hypertension kicked in. I guess doctors don’t have a lot of faith in condoms either. In the end, at the age of 46, I responded to some changes and stopped taking the pill because I no longer needed it.
I didn’t exactly fly through menopause but I believe that my long term use of the pill definitely softened the blow. When I talk to other women about the symptoms of peri-menopause I have a feeling of gratitude that my life during those years was very different. Reliable periods are something that makes my lifestyle much, much easier. Plans don’t have to be changed because of a random menstrual event, libido is much more stable. Or at least for me. Would I have suffered from these problems? I don’t know. There is one thing I do know. If I hadn’t been taking the pill I would have been very unlikely to go to a doctor and ask for HRT. Like many women I would have suffered in ignorance.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. There were other symptoms, most notably hot flushes and depression. Probably I experienced other symptoms but didn’t realise what they were. Definitely I have been more in touch with my body since I stopped taking the pill but I still count myself as lucky to have unintentionally been the benefactor of HRT like treatment. Is it something I would recommend? I am not sure. Every one is different.