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going on birth control with an eating disorder

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Hi, I have a question about going on birth control while also dealing with an eating disorder. With all the side effects and health risks, is it safe? 

I'm a 20-year-old female who is 5'6 and about 117-120 pounds. I am working on gaining more weight, and although I am not technically underweight right now, I do suffer from low blood pressure, a low heart rate, and heart beat irregularities, including palpitations (I think - maybe it's just anxiety?). I went to the gynecologist yesterday, where they checked all my vitals, and surprisingly my doctor didn't say anything was abnormal. My urine test and hemoglobin test also came back fine, and the doctor said my heart sounded normal.

The doctor gave me the birth control pill Yaz to try out because they had free samples. I Googled Yaz when I got home and was startled to see all the lawsuits and warnings about how Yaz has been known to cause high potassium levels, which produce heart irregularities and can cause heart attacks. I know that because of my anorexia, my potassium levels would be low if anything, but I hesitate to take Yaz because of the whole heart irregularity risk.

I'm going to call my doctor on Monday and refrain from starting the pills until then, but in the meantime, has anyone had any experience with Yaz? Would I be better off asking for a different brand, one that doesn't have such a risk for heart irregularities? I'm aware that all birth control poses a higher risk for heart attack and blood clots, but should I avoid Yaz because of these risks? What has been your experience with Yaz?

And in general, what has been your experience going on birth control while also dealing with the damage to your body caused by an eating disorder? I'm nervous about my health and I do plan to talk to my doctor about it, but I'm just wondering what other people's experiences have been. Thanks!

8 Replies (last)

oh my goodness...i have tried many birth controls and YAZ is by far the WORST i have ever tried. i was on it for three months and i was constantly spotting even though i was taking it at the same time everyday. Cramps were so bad i couldnt walk or even get out of bed and i was extremely moody. i have several friends who had the same experience. once i was off of it, these problems went away. i would definetly recommend seasonique, the bc where you get your period 4 times a year. i have had literally no side effects and it is amazing! i would def talk to your doctor too though!

Hi there! I don't know much about eating disorder recovery paired with BC, but I am VERY well versed with the pill. I've been on probably 6 or 7 different types in the past ~3 years. Yaz was the most recent one, and I actually liked it a lot (I ended up stopping BC all together for other reasons).

It's a fairly mild, low dose pill, and although I'm super super sensitive to them usually (ie: depression, complete lack of menstruation, or multiple month long periods, or horrible pms, or breaking out, terrifying pregnancy symptoms, ugh.), yaz surprisingly gave me ZERO side effects!

That being said, everyone's bodies respond to hormones differently, and you may have to try out a few different types before you find one you like. Also, given your current heart problems, I would definitely talk to your doctor to be safe.


edit: Just saw the post above mine-- see what I mean? What works for someone might be horrible for someone else, & vice versa!

Thanks, yeah, I totally realize that the side effects and risks are going to be totally different case by case. Has anyone gone on birth control with a low heart rate and low blood pressure? What has your experience been?

I have..a year ago my heart rate was something like 40 beats a minute? i dont remember my blood pressure but i know it was low..i have always been on birth control and so far so good.

Good to know, thanks! If you don't mind me asking, what other brands have you been on and what has been your experience with them? I just don't feel comfortable taking Yaz with everything I've read about its side effects, so I think I'm going to ask my doctor to write me a prescription for a different one. Any recommendations? 

ive been on yaz, yasmin, aliesse?(some generic brand), ortho tricyclen, ortho tricyclen lo, seasonal, and seasonique, i am sure there are others but those are the only ones that come to mind :P my favorite by far is seasonique!

edit- ortho tricyclen was pretty good too!

Thanks for your help! Was there much difference in price from brand to brand? I'm so nervous to go on birth control, especially after reading review online of how horrible the side effects can be - I'm one of those people who doesn't even like to take advil! :-P In your experience, did it really mess with your body? I'm especially worried about it because of my current health, but it's something that I definitely want/need to do.

i really didnt have any side effects until it came to yaz. it made me verrry emotional right before my period. but i have to say i havent had any bad side effects with seasonique or ortho tri cyclen. i liked those the best.

dont worry! i'm sure it will be fine :)

8 Replies