Lybrel, PMDD and Low Carb
I wasn't able to find much information about using extended-cycle birth control pills while trying to lose weight on low carb, so I'm going to share my experience here.
I've been low-carbing since April 2011, and I ramped it up to nutritional ketosis levels in October 2012. I'm down 67 lbs. and hoping to lose another 35 lbs. However, I have had a horrible time with my cycle since I started low carb. I've always had PMDD, but controlled it (mostly) with St. John's Wort and a full complement of vitamins, fish oils, flaxseed and black cohosh. Low-carbing brought such terrible cramps that I couldn't stand up or walk, and I've had to miss work because of them.
My PMDD has also gotten worse, which is likely due to the fact that I'm in perimenopause. I've had months where I was crying every day for hours on end, couldn't socialize, and wouldn't leave the house on the weekend because I was so depressed. I couldn't trust my own judgement for more than a week out of the month, and really didn't know what to do anymore. Nothing I was taking made a dent in it, and I have been desperate.
After a lot of research online about the various options, I asked my doctor to prescribe Lybrel. It is essentially the same as regular birth control pills, but there is no week off - the hormones stay the same all month. A lot of women get breakthrough bleeding, which should resolve within the first 6 months. There are also the usual side effects, including weight gain and nausea, which concerned me. I don't want anything to interfere with my weight loss progress.
I started taking it on March 16th, and it was a rocky start. I gained 3 lbs. in the first week, had a long and rather heavy period, and the crying jags and depression lasted until day 9, when they usually stop at day one. I seriously questioned if I should be taking the stuff. (For clarity, I stopped taking St. Johns Wort and Black Cohosh in advance of starting it, as both interfere with the effectiveness of Lybrel.)
However...my weight went back to normal within the second week, and I lost weight over the next two weeks. I usually ovulate around day 13, accompanied by a light wave of depression. This time around, no symptoms of ovulation, and no depression. My weight also didn't go up, as it usually does.
I am now on day 26. I had one day this weekend when I was blue, with a single crying spell. which came at the point I'm usually immobilized by depression. It's a marked improvement, which is the reason I'm sharing so much. For women with PMDD, who aren't anticipating becoming pregnant in the near future, Lybrel seems to be a good choice for getting off the emotional roller coaster.
I'm not going to recommend it whole-heartedly until I've been on it for a few months. Things could change for the worse, but I'm hoping after more time on it even the mild blues will go away. So far things are really looking up.
Its a week later, and things have been more up and down emotionally. I've had several bouts of PMS, again not too serious, but sort of a low-grade depression most evenings. My weight has stayed pretty level, and I am losing weight. Not a lot, but I'm on a downward trend (which was my big concern in starting a BPC).
Today (day 31) seems to be a day one - I started spotting, and I've had fatigue, cramps and some mood swings.
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