My Five Month Journey on the Pill

A personal post, because I feel family planning and its effects to be rather linked to families and general health. Hopefully, this information can help a mommy out somehow. These are all my personal matters, but it is my hope for us to share as much of ourselves so that even if this doesn’t help anyone, at least it is relate-able. So, you’re not alone. In motherhood, as we get older, we are often alone and resorting to Dr. Google for our myriad of problems with hopes of a diagnosis. I hope this helps someone out there find some answers, and if it doesn’t I hope it made someone feel a little less alone.
Many of you don’t know this, but I suffer from chronic TMJ pain and intermittent (sometimes severe) lower abdominal pain when the time of the month hits. Most days, I am experiencing some type of pain in my jaw, whether it’s at a very low and manageable state (0, 1, 2 on a pain scale) I try my best to grin and ignore it. Take that with a grain of salt, however, since I have 2 little ones at home– so the stress level can be high at times, and grinning through even a low grade pain level isn’t really very fun.
When it’s bad, though, it’s bad. It’s face the guilt and the nausea and pop a painpill bad. I think I might be slightly allergic to narcotic painkillers, unfortunately they’re the only things that help. It starts as a radiating pain and just like the sun- shoots rays of crippling pain throughout my jaw and into my face and even my neck and surrounding areas. It literally feels as though I’m walking about with a knife stuck in my right jaw.
The last year or so I thought I hit a breakthrough and noticed that my pain level changes for the better a few days before my period and then goes through the roof a few days into it. I began doing research into the effects of hormones and TMJ pain. I was determined there was a connection, and I just happened to have some progesterone cream so I rubbed it right in and I FELT RELIEF! So, I thought, I should go on the pill. I was on the pill for a steady period of time between the ages of 19 to about 29 when I broke off to have my babies.

becoming a mommy; jenniferchinnphotography.com

2015 after the birth of my youngest, who is now a spunky 3 year old girl. TMJ symptoms improved.

This most recent bout of birth control left me with some pretty annoying symptoms.

  1. Dry skin/Peeling dry lips. This was one of the first symptoms for me. Immediately I noticed my skin wasn’t producing very much oil, and my wrinkles seemed deeper and more pronounced. My lips began to peel- they didn’t feel chapped- the skin just kept peeling. I couldn’t leave it alone, and would keep trying to keep the surface smooth to the point where I was ripping my lips and causing some bleeding. I didn’t make the correlation and thought I had become allergic to my eos lip balm and asked the Irvine Moms Group for a good replacement. I tried about 6 natural and chemical brands and ALL of them made my lips peel. I then decided to give up lip balm altogether. This lasted a whole day and a half of sahara desert lips to which I finally waved the white flag and said eff it, I’m just going to deal with the peeling.
  2. Hunger/Weight gain. The hunger wasn’t a very intense, grating hunger, but I was eating an extra solid meal in the late night after putting the kids down– every night. This, of course, caused me to gain weight. Only about 3-5 lbs but enough to notice a difference in the first place that my weight gain always goes… to… my…. face. My freaking face- neck and jowls to be more specific. Not a great look. Everyday I look in the mirror as I’m brushing my teeth and think, “I’m not that fat…” but I just felt thicker and not myself.
  3. Sleep Issues/Insomnia. I was having issue sleeping and would feel myself waking up after about 5-6 hours of sleep, not able to get back to sleep for more rest.
  4. Foul Mood/ Mood swings. This was actually a non-negotiable. I refuse to have my kids around a crazy raving mother, who apologizes once she isn’t fuming blowing-her-top angry. I found myself really angry a lot, for no good reason, at the poor kiddos. I mean, they’re no angels but they do kid stuff- stuff that deserves a time out and maybe a lecture but not a red-faced screeching mother.
  5. Hair Fallout. I’m not sure if the birth control is solely to blame or the keto I did a few months back, but no amount of biotin can fix my ponytail- which is now about half of what it used to be. I have been so embarrassed I haven’t even gone to the salon for the 9 months.
  6. TMJ Pain Relief. I believed my TMJ pain was alleviated while starting on birth control. After a period of about 2 months- it felt about the same as before beginning the birth control, so no long term benefits here. The reason I began hormonal birth control didn’t really pan out so after 5 months… I was done.

I’ve since stopped birth control and the skin improvement happened so fast. My skin gets nice and oily again, and man- I’m not sure the oil is that great, but compared to having dry achy skin- it’s a welcome change.  I have been sleeping great, and much earlier than my previous 1:00am bedtime. I have also been more tired during the day. Mood swings have improved and I don’t find myself unable to recognize the sweaty pink face of rage in the rearview mirror anymore- thank God! But, the initial reasoning I had with regards to TMJ pain being linked to hormones and hormone (birth control) helping was, unfortunately, not the link that worked for me.
The search continues to live life without pain.
If you also suffer from TMJ, please reach out to me, it’s so isolating at times, when even your hubby can’t relate and probably thinks you’re half making things up. I’m here if anyone needs to talk.

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