I lost myself through birth control

Welcome to our community. Please fill in the following template as a way of introducing yourself, and helping others to understand your background and situation.

Where are you from (country)?
Germany
How did you find this forum (Google search – if so, what search terms? Via link from a forum or website – if so, what page? Other?)
Reddit: r/PSSD, r/anhedonia, r/FinasterideSyndrome
What is your current age, height, weight?
Age: 21
Height: 160cm
Weight: Around 40kg, currently fluctuates because I barely have an appetite

What specific drug did you use (finasteride, dutasteride, saw palmetto, isotretinoin/Accutane, fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, leuprorelin, etc…)?
Birth Control Pills with anti-androgenic effect (Name: Bella Hexal 35 in Germany, I guess it is Diane 35 in English speaking countries but I’m not sure)
What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)?
One pill every day with the usual withdrawal bleedings
What condition was being treated with the drug?
Hormonal acne
For how long did you take the drug (weeks/months/years)?
About 8 months

How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start the drug?
20 years old, started September 2020
How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit?
20 years old, quit in April 2021
How did you quit (cold turkey or taper off)?
Finished the blister as advised (cold turkey)
How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects?
some weeks after quitting
What side effects did you experience that have yet to resolve since discontinuation?
explained in the following
Check the boxes that apply. You can save your post first, then interactively check/uncheck the boxes by clicking on them. If your symptoms change, please update your list.

Sexual
Loss of Libido / Sex Drive
Erectile Dysfunction
Complete Impotence
Loss of Morning Erections
Loss of Spontaneous Erections
Loss of Nocturnal Erections
Watery Ejaculate
Reduced Ejaculate
Inability or Difficulty to Ejaculate / Orgasm
Reduced Sperm Count / Motility

Mental
Emotional Blunting / Emotionally Flat
Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating
Confusion
Memory Loss / Forgetfulness
Stumbling over Words / Losing Train of Thought
Slurring of Speech
Lack of Motivation / Feeling Passive / Complacency
Extreme Anxiety / Panic Attacks
Severe Depression / Melancholy
Suicidal Thoughts

Physical
Penile Tissue Changes (narrowing, shrinkage, wrinkled)
Penis curvature / rotation on axis
Testicular Pain
Testicular Shrinkage / Loss of Fullness
Genital numbness / sensitivity decrease
Weight Gain
Gynecomastia (male breasts)
Muscle Wastage
Muscle Weakness
Joint Pain
Dry / Dark Circles under eyes

Misc
Prostate pain
Persistent Fatigue / Exhaustion
Stomach Pains / Digestion Problems
Constipation / “Poo Pellets”
Vision - Acuity Decrease / Blurriness
Tinnitus (ringing or high pitched sound in ears)
Hearing loss
Increased hair loss
Frequent urination
Lowered body temperature

Other (please explain)
Constant head pressure in the frontal lobes region/forehead between eyebrows, feels like my complete frontal lobe function has been shut off
occasional tingling/twitching in the face
vibrating lip
symptoms of Derealization/Depersonalization/Dissociation of Self
Anhedonia
What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug?
general blood work done by my GP to check thyroid, imbalances etc.
nothing unusual from the blood work panel, was prescribed iron pills for my depressive symptoms, didn’t change anything
If you have pre or post-drug blood tests, what hormonal changes have you encountered since discontinuing the drug (please post your test results in the “Blood Tests” section and link to them in your post)?
my former gynaecologist didn’t give out my blood work before I got prescribed my birth control pills, she however said that "everything was in the normal range"
no hormone blood test post-drug yet
Anything not listed in the above questions you’d like to share about your experience?

Tell us your story, in your own words, about your usage and side effects experienced while on/off the drug.
My gynaecologist prescribed me with birth control pills last year to help with my persistant hormonal acne. I didn’t have any unpleasant side effects while I was on the drug at all, I felt great.
A few weeks after I quit however, I noticed that I became more apathetic with my boyfriend. I couldn’t bother to take part in our usually passionate discussions. Not only that, but I also noticed a reduction in libido. Pre birth control and while I was on the drug, I had a normal to high libido. I was excited to get off of it because many people report that they feel great once they quit birth control.
That wasn’t the case for me: over the following months I became severly numb emotionally and apathetic, completely different to my usual highly emotional and sensitive self.
Almost 8 months post withdrawal and none of these symptoms have lifted for me. Since my passion is completely gone, I have pretty bad dissociative issues and feel completely disconnected to my former self, friends and family & my boyfriend seem like strangers to me. It feels like “I” have died completely and I’m now just preserving this body for the basics.
I noticed a general lack of desire, will and motivation. This issue is so severe that I have to quit university, which I enjoyed immensly before, because I can’t be motivated or care enough anymore. The emotional blunting is bad, and I can’t feel love or attraction to my boyfriend as I used to. None of the things that used to make me excited give me anything anymore. I feel like I have aged 60 years mentally and fear that this is permanent. Even all of my values seem to be disconnected from me as well as opinions, likes/dislikes and former fears.
During my worst, it feels like you could take everything from me and I wouldn’t react. Nothing has an effect on me anymore. My tinnitus is constant for months since my “crash” started, and if it gets severe my ears start to hurt.
I was a very vain and ambitious person before this happened, now it is hard to function and I just live one day at a time. I loved putting on makeup in the morning, now it’s a chore for me.
I’m no longer able to feel good about myself or my looks even though I objectively find myself attractive. I don’t have restorative sleep, can’t feel hunger, thirst and more often than not can’t even feel tired. It feels very inhumane to live like this, and I can’t relate to friends and family anymore because I’m just so disconnected.
My vanity and impulsiveness to get rid of my acne has backfired on me.
I feel completely dead, and I think the issue is the hormone cyproterone acetate that was in my pills (the other one was ethinyl estradiol). I explained these issues to my former gynaecologist, she gaslighted me completely. I have changed to another gynaecologist since then, and she said she doesn’t even prescribe these types of birth control pills anymore since they’re extremely potent. She gave me some natural herbs to balance my hormones but I developed an itchy rash from it so I had to quit again.
My period is regular but I barely even have one (normally I have a pretty strong bleeding for 5-6 days or a week, now it is 3 days max. This could also have something to do with my weight loss however (my loss of appetite made me lose about 6kg).
I relate deeply with a lot of PAS/PSSD/PFS sufferers, but have only heard of one other case on here who got similar symptoms from birth control. I guess something is off in my endocrine system which is causing all this, and I hope it isn’t permanently altered. My perspective and outlook for the future have changed, I had big ambitions, goals and dreams, now I just want to live an unassuming life because I’m easily overwhelmed by things and hope that I can find back to myself. Thank you for reading.

8 Likes

Hi @vanitysufferer ! Welcome to the forum - I’m sorry this happened to you. I think you’ll find a few folks here who had a similar experience with contraceptions. It looks like the drug you took, Cyproterone, is indeed an androgen receptor blocker. Interesting.

I hope you’ll come back and update us on how your symptoms develop and what treatments you’re trying. Apart from that, there are a few things you can do:

3 Likes

i’m so sorry this happened to you. i have a question. ever since i developed pssd/pas, my acne has disappeared. i still had acne even after accutane. i’m wondering if you had a surge in acne after this began for you?

1 Like

i would also like to thank you for sharing. this is just another drug to add to the many that causes these symptoms. i really believe it would be the route to take to find a solution. obviously all of these drugs mess with the body and send it into a “safe mode” hopefully we won’t be waiting much longer for answers, there is always hope even when feeling at your lowest

1 Like

Really sorry to hear you are suffering. Yet another drug wreaking havoc. Most of us are guys and so we don’t see many posts about birth control side effects but I’m glad you’re bringing awareness of the side effects this drug. I’m glad you found a good gynecologist who doesn’t prescribe it. The gaslighting by your former gynecologist is hurtful and something many of us have experienced from doctors. I think there are cases of people getting side effects after quitting finasteride so it’s not unheard of that you developed side effects after quitting.

As M_C said, Bella Hexal 35 contains cyproterone acetate which is an anti-androgen. I did a bunch of googling. Cyproterone acetate blocks androgen receptors which is similar to what finasteride does so you came to the right place. Depression and sexual dysfunction are potential side effects in women. Cyproterone acetate is also called Androcur. So googling cyproterone or Androcur might give you some results to look through.

Cyproterone acetate is also apparently used by transgender people who want to transition from male to female because it decreases male hormones like testosterone.

There are anecdotes of cyproterone acetate causing issues for women in this link. I didn’t find
much as I am in the US and it isn’t used here.

I hope you feel better soon. Keep us updated if you like. Maybe you’ll find some one with similar issues to relate to here or on other forums.

https://www.cochrane.org/CD001125/MENSTR_cyproterone-acetate-appears-to-be-as-effective-as-other-medications-for-hirsutism-in-women-caused-by-excessive-androgen-production-by-the-ovaries

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/cyproterone

3 Likes

What are these for senseless dangerous medications?! Young girls and boys destroyed by SSRIs, Citralopram, Sertralin; Trazodon, Mirtazapin and other medications for being depressed. Shooting with cannons of sparrows.

People destroyed by Ciprofloxacin sometimes described for a harmless bladder infection.

So many young men destroyed for a cosmetic reason, by the devil’s own drug Finasterid.

And now you as such a young woman are injured by the Diane pill. Described by a doctor who wasn’t carefully about the massive endocrine potential.

I don’t think you are the only victim. For 50 years women have problems from the hormone hammer.

And after all pharma war machine is still selling all the drugs for profit, knowing all the victims! Just to ignore them all as collateral damages. They have to inform the consumers about the risks.

Sorry I m so angry about this all. A doctor swears to do the best for his patients.

4 Likes

My acne gradually came back over the months after quitting, and my skin became oily again as well. Currently it’s lessening again because I use an antibiotic cream and Tretinoin that dry out my skin, but I fear that these creams might further harm me. Eating less due to the lack of appetite seemed to decrease some more persistent acne as well.

Thank you! My body does feel stuck somehow. Its like there is a block in my brain that’s preventing me from just being my normal self. The tinnitus is also quite constant, as if my nervous system is constantly under alarm even if I am not stressed and resting

Thanks so much for your research! I will update on any progress. I figured that men suffering from PFS is the closest I could find to my issues, as both Finasteride and my pills block androgens in the body somehow. I think my pills don’t even get prescribed much anymore because of other high risk health issues, so maybe that’s why there’s not much known cases and its rare to get side effects as severe as me anyways

1 Like

Yes, it is insane and crazy how much of you can be altered through these substances. I remember that my mother back in the days has developed severe hyperpigmentation due to birth control and her brand was banned afterwards. Fortunately she didn’t suffer from any cognitive or emotional damage. It sucks when you’re still young, my path has changed and I hope I will get better because I do want kids one day and I fear that I won’t even be able to love them enough. There’s still enough time left however so I just hope it gets better.
My dermatologist was almost offended too that I didn’t want to take Accutane after all this happened to me. Its bizarre

1 Like

As you said, antibiotics and topical tretinoin could cause you harm. Antibiotics like Ketoconazole can be anti-androgenic. It depends on the kind you are taking though so maybe do some research on it. There are other members on here who know more about antibiotics and their side effects than I do. Maybe they’ll chime in.

Tretinoin is similar to Accutane and there are anecdotes on the forum of topical tretinoin causing sexual side effects which is also the case for topical finasteride. So be careful and monitor any symptoms. Don’t want to stress you out but had to warn you. I know it’s hard to make the decision to stop using medication for your acne. Just have to weigh the risk reward.

Unrelated to that but despite my acne coming back, I noticed that I sweat much less now, even during the summertime I barely did!

yes it’s very weird. my acne slowly started to go away after i developed pssd. it’s actually insane how much acne i had just a few days ago when i was feeling good. it’s all connected in a way. my hair quality is awful now, along with my skin barely produces oil. this has progressed since getting pssd as well

1 Like

Yeah, I’m kind of conflicted now. My antibiotic is Erythromycin, it’s probably more anti-bacterial, couldn’t find anything in relation to androgenic intervention. Before I got Tretinoin I took Adapalene/Differin which is a less potent form of Vitamin A and didn’t notice any symptoms. It might depend on the ingredient and I’ll continue with Tretinoin for now and see if things get any worse. Thanks for the warning!

1 Like

Erythromycin appears safe. Didn’t see any horror stories or articles. Sounds like you’re on top of things. Hope things work out!

1 Like

Any effects noted from the antibiotic **Erythromycin?

I’ve been using it consistently every morning and it helps my acne pretty well (especially with stubborn inflammation). No negative side effects, doesn’t dry out my skin. It looks healthier.

1 Like

Any positive side effects?:upside_down_face:
Some people reported here that they had some improvement while they were taking antibiotics.

What kind of acne are you treating with erythromycin?

1 Like

Yes! My skin is getting more smooth now,
I have female hormonal acne (around the jaw area) it used to be cystic but thats getting more mild now
Also seems to help with closed comedones

I stopped the Tretinoin use for now because it made me uneasy about sides some people reported and my skin got unusually matte, I know that’s the point of it but it looked pretty dull. So all changes I notice are actually just from the Erythromycin now

1 Like