Walk me through Loestrin FE.
April 27, 2015 2:05 PM   Subscribe

My doctor put me on Loestrin FE for endometriosis symptoms and pretty terrible cystic acne. I can't tell if I hate it or not. Help me parse?

I've been on for almost a month and a half. I've been told that I should give it 3 months to really see how it's going. I'm trying. I really am. But I'm starting to wonder if I even should be trying!

My skin is awesome. I legit teared up with joy when I realized my cysts were peeling off—and none were cropping up to replace them. The acne struggle has been 7 years long, and oh my god - I am relieved that it's over, at least for now.

My cycle has been shorter, and not quite as bad. I was hoping to be one of those women who are all, "WOOOO I haven't had a cycle since I started!!1!!" Maybe that comes later?

I think I am depressed. But it could be that I'm conflating the side effect with real-life circumstances that could also make me depressed. Or it could be my diagnosis of clinical depression, and nothing to do with either. I am unsure what to make of this.

I am SO TIRED. So tired. I can go to bed at about 9:45 pm and not wake up until 9 the next morning. Then, I can easily take a two hour nap in the afternoon. I have never been a big sleeper, and an even worse napper. Could this be caused by the Loestrin? Could it be part of the depression confusion (see above)?

A few weeks ago, I really lost my shit. Anxiety, panic attacks, and crying jags for days. I went to bed on a Sunday morning and didn't come back out until Tuesday night. I missed two days of work. At that point, I think I'd been on the Loestrin for about 3 weeks.

I CANNOT STOP EATING. I want to eat all day, every day. Fried chicken, nachos, french fries. I can't even stop thinking about food.

I feel like my skin is a sausage casing. Seriously, I'm so swollen. My hands and feet are the worst, but it's pretty much all over. I feel I just hobble and toddle around, and it's somewhat painful to move around. (This may have something to do with the "I can't stop eating.")

I've gained 4 - 5 lbs. in the last month. This is fine, I guess? I can't say I like it, but it's not the worst, either. (Also see: "I can't stop eating.")

My joints are achy. I have no idea if this is a side effect, or if it's just because my hip bursitis is acting up again. Probably the latter?


The combined effect of all of the items on "cons" list make me feel about 80 years old. I'm only 34 for f*cks sake. I woke up this morning and thought, "God, will I ever feel normal again?"

You're not my doctor, and I'm the only one who can make the decision to keep at it. But what would you do? Would you give it the full three months, or is it bad enough to just say screw it and stop taking it?

Thanks very much!
posted by functionequalsform to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It does kind of sound like you hate it. Sorry.

I've been on it (with a year-long break) for about 5 years. I can tell you that both times I've gone on it, my periods haven't really lightened up right at first, but eventually I do turn into one of those joyful "I only have a period every two or three months and it only lasts 2-3 days!!" women. That seems to take a few months to kick in.
posted by lunasol at 2:13 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: I have no idea if your symptoms are associated with your new medication, and likely there's no way to know unless you stop taking the medication. I think it's worth noting that some of your symptoms are associated with depression (exhaustion, anxiety), and some are pretty common side effects of oral contraception (weight gain, bloating/swelling, increased appetite).

But what would you do?

I would stick with it for the full three months, all the while taking careful note of my symptoms (if you're an iPhone user, check out the app Clue). If, after 3 months you decide to stop taking the medication, I would continue taking careful note of symptoms for 3 more months. Then again, I am a medical student who takes great pleasure in using my own body as a science experiment.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 2:28 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It sounds like it sucks. But yes, unfortunately, it really is up to you whether you can put up with it for another six weeks to see whether your body can adapt and the side effects ease up. I personally never made it through the three months with the Nuvaring, nor the two different kinds of pills that I tried after that. They all either made me crazy, gave me acne, or made me gain weight. And I am a wuss and couldn't deal with any of that.

Because I'm pretty comfortable with relying on condoms for birth control and don't need to take HBC for any medical reason, I decided to just forego HBC altogether. But since it seems like you're working with your doctor to find something that works with you, it might be for the best that you stick with this pill until the full three months is up. That way you will know whether it could indeed work for you, or if your doctor needs to think of another option.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:34 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: Anecdata: Loestrin made me terribly depressed, especially when I missed a pill or took one too late in the day. It was godawful.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:40 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: More anecdata: Loestrin FE make me weepy, moody, and prone to shouting at people. I only took it for one pack because I haaaaaaaated it. My doctor switched me to Generess FE and that was much better.
posted by Aquifer at 3:55 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: Anecdote #3, Loestrin made me crazy but I do very well on Apri, for reasons similar to yours.
posted by Dashy at 4:01 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: Aughhh! Loestrin Fe wasn't the worst thing I've ever been on, but I was hungry, tired, spacey and oh my god, achy-- clicking sore joints. My doctor would just shrugged when I talked about it but I bet it's not your bursitis.

Sounds like is not going to be a good long term solution for you, tbh. You can ride it out but sometimes the symptoms "going away" after 3 months is actually you just getting used to living with it. It kind of sucks. I'd ask my doctor for an alternate pill-- I've found better for my system and you probably can too. (I have the Mirena IUD now.)

See my old Ask for my own issues with weird veins/sore joints on Loestrin.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:12 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: This is exactly what happened to me after I'd been on Loestrin Fe for about three months. I switched back to generic Yaz (Loryna) and have been gradually feeling better since. Definitely recommend trying something else-- I know how much this sucks. Good luck!
posted by derogatorysphinx at 6:47 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: Just wanted to echo others who are saying that it's up to you whether to stick out the 3 months or call your doc now. Neither is the wrong choice.

Also important is that if one type of HBC causes problems, it doesn't mean you have to give up on all types. One of the low dose pills pills (sorry don't remember which one) gave me awful muscle aches. I'm on Seasonique now and have no noticeable side effects from it.
posted by entropyiswinning at 9:34 PM on April 27, 2015

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