Here’s What Three Years On The Pill Did To My Body

April 23, 2019

A year into a serious relationship I decided the most responsible thing to do would be to get on some form of birth control. Because better safe than getting pregnant and having a baby in law school.

“I got back acne and I haven’t seen my period in two years”. That was the first thing my doctor said when talking to me about ‘Implanon’ – one of the contraception options, she was recommending for me. As she ran through my list of options and the potential side effects I became increasingly stressed out. 

There was the IUD, which was not hormonal so wouldn’t mess with my hormones but might cause painful periods. There was also a one in a million chance of it coming undone and getting lodged in my uterus. One in a million but still a possibility.

Then there was Implanon which seemed like a dream. Goes in your arm, and you don’t need to give it a second thought for at least 2 years. Only problem, it was a little cost. And a little too permanent for me. I was in a relationship, not married.

The final option was the pill which came least recommended by my doctor. Some women experienced incredible weight gain and adult acne on it. You also had to take it every day at the exact same time. You couldn’t slip up or you could pregnant. But it cost me about 500 – 1000 naira for a three month supply. I could stop whenever I wanted, and nothing was at risk of getting lodged in my uterus. It seemed like the perfect option for me. So I got on the pill.

The relationship ended almost two years after it began, but I’ve stayed on the pill since then. Here are ten things I’ve noticed about the pill, my body and being a sexually active woman in Nigeria in these years.

I stopped getting lectures on my supposed promiscuity.

When picking up my monthly supply from a pharmacy, I noticed that I didn’t get as many judgmental glares or five-minute lectures from pharmacists, as I would when trying to buy emergency birth control. It could just be that I’m older now and my double chin and love-handles place me at an age where the pharmacists expect me to be married or engaged. Or it could be that emergency birth control is culturally seen as an option for promiscuous young women, as opposed to the pill. But it’d be really great if Nigerian pharmacists would allow young women buy whatever kind of birth control they wanted in peace.

I didn’t get fat.

I’ve packed on a couple of pounds between last year and this year but I really can’t attribute it to the pill. It’s what you get when you wolf down half a box of pizza at 2 am when you are not 16. I also didn’t put on a single pound in the first year and a half of my relationship with the pill. Even though I now have to pop open the button on my jeans after just drinking a bottle of water. I’ve stayed the same dress size since I got on the pill.

There was no acne too. 

If anything, it cleared up my skin. I used to get a pesky clutter of pimples on my forehead which miraculously went away, the first couple of months after I got on the pill. I got off the pill when I was away from my partner for 2 months in Abuja and they made a vicious come back. Returned to Lagos and got back on the pill, and they cleared right back up.

I’ve managed to not get pregnant.

If you use it perfectly, there’s a 0.03% chance that you’d get pregnant on the pill. That number climbs higher when you are reckless about timing for the pill. Even though I have an alarm set to go off on my phone at 11 am every day and I am surgically attached to my phone, I manage to always take my pill late. Sometimes skipping days altogether.

It’s so bad, some months I get breakthrough bleeding because my ovaries are confused. Are you trying to have a baby or not? Make up your mind already. The good news is, there has been no baby yet. Only one or two scares that had me stay consistent for a week straight before falling off track. Old habits die hard. This is however not an endorsement for recklessness. Most of my nonchalance stems from the fact that I have a condition that’d make getting pregnant a tad more difficult than usual.

The summary of my ramblings is that the pill has been great for me.  I could probably be a poster girl for it. I have virtually no side effects and managed to not get pregnant. Will it work great for you? I don’t know. You might get back acne, which is a small price to pay. Or you might put on a shit ton of weight and get really sad which makes it really not worth it.

While I’ve had a great run with the pill, I’m eager to try out a non-hormonal option. What kind of birth control are you on if any? And what has your experience been like? If you’d like to talk about this and the many more fun things that make up being a Nigerian woman, or you just have a story to share with me, I’d love to hear it – toketemu@bigcabal.com.

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

May 24, 2021

We all have a different relationship with food. While some have managed to eat and enjoy food in a healthy way, a lot are unable to. These six Nigerian women share with us their unhealthy relationship with food. CONTENT WARNING: MIGHT BE TRIGGERING FOR PEOPLE WITH EATING DISORDERS OR PEOPLE WITH AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH […]

June 26, 2021

Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians. The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 35-year-old heterosexual man. He talks about how exploring unconventional forms of sex and chasing excitement helped him find sexual liberation.  The subject of today’s Sex Life […]

He made me feel like a goddess but he still left
March 16, 2021

As told to Mariam In February, I made a call for Nigerian women to share stories about their best ex. Annabelle was one of the women who sent in a story. When I shared the article on Twitter, a lot of people were curious about Annabelle’s story and she was willing to share. Here’s what […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

September 16, 2021

International advocacy organization, Global Citizen, has revealed the local hosts TV personalities Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Nancy Isime for the Global Citizen Live event in Lagos, Nigeria. Pan-African broadcast partners are AIM Group, MultiChoice and The SABC. Performances from Lagos will be given by Tiwa Savage, Davido, Femi Kuti and Made Kuti, among others. Burna Boy […]

open grazing
September 16, 2021

In Nigeria, up to 2,000 people die every year due to deadly clashes between farmers and cattle herders over rights to openly and freely graze, and the clashes made about 62,000 people homeless between 2015 and 2017.

In reaction, southern states in Nigeria are passing anti-open grazing laws. But what do they mean?

Recommended Quizzes

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

November 25, 2019

We already guessed how many people you’ve slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

More from Her

woman lying down on bed
September 15, 2021

“He said a lot of things. He cried too. This continued till 5 am. Eventually, I gave in because I wanted to sleep. He is currently a gospel musician in Kaduna.”

11 Nigerian Women Talk About Being Coerced

Read here:

female footballer holding net
September 14, 2021

“In 2019, my mum sent me to Owerri to be a live-in nanny for one woman so I could make money for the family.”

In this article, Stella talks about wanting to be a footballer as a child but not having the resources or the support needed to do so.

Read here:

black woman in a bodysuit
September 8, 2021

Bodysuits have been in style for a couple of years now. Every woman needs at least one bodysuit in their wardrobe, even if it’s just for vibes.

Here are a few reasons women love bodysuits:

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X