Monday, January 14, 2008

Irregular Periods & Lupus

I don't think it's any surprise that people with active Lupus symptoms often experience irregularities in their periods. I've heard of some people who's periods become super heavy and some people's periods become extremely light and often disappear altogether. With my experience, the latter seems to be what I've heard more often.


I'm not experiencing any active Lupus symptoms and I haven't for over 2 years. I can't remember when exactly this started, probably in 2004 or so, but since then, I've never had a regular period. I'm not sure why my body refuses to have a regular period even though I don't have active Lupus. What I do know is that it is quite possible that dialysis has caused my body to stop having periods.


The body is an amazing thing. Our body knows when our body is going through stress and it just shuts down things in our body that aren't essential. In this example, periods!

I went to see my wonderfully wonderful gynecologist and she put me on "the pill". After much consideration, she finally put me on Alesse.


I took Alesse and was pleased to get my period back.


WHAT?? Why would ANYONE want their period??


Well, I'll tell you.


My first reaction to that question is duh, what woman really enjoys "that time of the month"? But let's face it: a woman having her period is a natural thing of life, and we're supposed to have it. Among other things, not having you period for super long amounts of time isn't good for your bones.


Now Alesse is a birth control pill that has 2 hormones in it: progesterone and estrogen. There are many warnings tied to birth control pills with estrogen, including:

  • risk of blood clots
  • stroke
  • heart attack (especially if you smoke & are 35 years of age or older)

Now my major complaint about taking alesse is the blood clot factor, especially since I developed a blood clot in my stomach a year and a bit back. My blood tests don't indicate that I'm at risk for developing blood clots according to my doctor, but at any rate, it still happened.

My doctor suggested that I go back to my gynecologist and request a progesterone only birth control pill, aka 'mini-pills'. Some of the benefits of progesterone only pills versus progesterone AND estrogen birth control pills are:

  • they can be used by breast-feeding mothers
  • they can be stopped at an time
  • they don't interfere with sexual "spontaneity" (ooo-lala!)
  • they're good for people who cannot take estrogen because they smoke & are 35 years of age or older, have had poorly controlled diabetes for a long time, have heart disease, blood clot problems, or high blood pressure
  • have migraines that get worse when taking estrogen
  • have heavy and painful menstrual periods (progesterone minimizes heavy bleeding and cramping)
  • (i love this one) have anemia from heavy menstrual bleeding

So, I'm going to make an appointment with my gynecologist and see what her opinion is and see if she thinks that progesterone only birth control pills are for me.

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