FUDiabetes

Birth Control and BG - Experiences

I would love to have this thread be a centralized location for women to share their experiences with how various birth control products have impacted their blood sugar (or not). My goal is to get shared knowledge out there for those of us (1) looking for new ways to grapple with our cyclical hormones in order to improve our bg control and (2) for those of us looking for effective birth control without negatively impacting bg control. I’ll share my experience in next post to get started.

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I used Nuvaring while on MDI from 2006-2009. I was a brand new T1D and started Nuvaring and insulin in the same month. So that is to point out that I had nothing to compare my bg to starting out as far as birth control is concerned.

I went off Nuvaring to start my family and was pregnant within a month. So then I was into pregnancy bg’s.

I then went back on Nuvaring for a year after Son #1. Then when trying for Son #2, which took 13 months to get pregnant, I had my first glimpse of bg control without Nuvaring. And maybe it was the fact that I had a 1 year old to chase and was still adjusting to working motherhood, but it seems that Nuvaring must have been a stabilizing force to some degree for my bg’s. The year trying to get pregnant was definitely more challenging for keeping changing doses and bg’s precise. Not conclusive…I tossed those bg binders years ago so I cannot quantify it…but I think Nuvaring definitely helped my bg control.

I considered going back on Nuvaring this year for bg purposes, but after reading about the blood clot lawsuits I decided against it.

My diabetic CDE confirmed Nuvaring COULD help my bg stability as far as hormone surges, but it would take a few months of observation to determine that. She also said not to use an oral birth control if using it for bg stability due to variation in digesting the med each day, and possible user error in taking it a slightly different time each day. FWIW, wanted to pass that along.

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I was on Ortho Novum 1/35 for many years, taken continuously for 3 months at a time. I think it stabilized things, but I wasn’t in as good or closely monitored control then, so hard to say. I’d be shocked if oral route impacted its ability to stabilize blood sugars, since it’s not the hormones you’re taking each day that does that so much, but rather the fact that taking those hormones regularly suppresses your body’s production of much higher amounts of naturally and variably occurring hormones. I otherwise tolerated the pill well, but eventually went off it because I wanted to see how it was affecting me, especially since I noticed appetite reduction in my off week. I did lose about 12 lbs when I did that, but my skin got worse and my periods eventually came back with a vengeance and with effects on my appetite and blood sugars.

I wanted to go back to an oral contraceptive again, for blood sugars and because my periods are pretty awful, but my doctor refused given my age (35 at the time), the fact that I have diabetes, and the risk for blood clots. They talked me into a Mirena, which I had for the better part of a year. Not sure how that impacted my blood sugars, but it was terrible—while insertion was actually not a big deal, the first six months involved a lot of cramping and spotting. and it made my chronic joint problems worse and made me depressed (which was not a problem with my combo pill or off of hormonal bc). Turns out the oft-repeated selling point that it’s only a small amount of hormones locally administered, so less likely to cause side effects is not backed up by research, and increasingly, findings suggest the type of progestin used in hormonal IUDs like Mirena have the highest risk of psychological symptoms and that Mirena has a bad side effect risk profile. Some women do fine with it, but a good amount do not. So while not diabetes-specific, I thought I’d mention it, since my diabetes was part of why I got pushed into getting one with false assurances about the lack of side effects. I got it removed and within a couple of months felt back to normal.

So yeah, I’ve given up on using contraceptives to manage my cycle in any way, at least for now.

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@cardamom, Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

I’ve read (while researching Nuvaring) that the newer generation progestins (fourth generation, I believe, I’m on vacation without a laptop so pulling from memory here bc I hate web surfing via phone) used in newer “low dose” birth control is far more dangerous than older generation birth controls. It supposedly brings a host of other problems not seen in older birth controls…such as blood clots, I believe.

When contemplating trying Nuvaring again for bg benefits, I first asked my OB/GYN who said ask your GP and Endo. I discussed it with my GP in light of my family’s stroke history, and she said ask your Endo. I asked my Endo and he glazed over and said ask your OB/GYN. I went BACK to my OB/GYN and reported back. At that point she encouraged Nuvaring, said it’s absolutely safe and to use it continuously to stop menstruation altogether (what? News to me that I could do that but cool) and that my age (34) makes no difference and that I could use it forever. She said she used it to get thru menopause and to control migraines.

At the end of the day, I decided against it for now. The lawsuit history and allegedly related deaths is enough to keep me away from it.

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I’ve been using Nexplanon for the past several years. From my reading about other people’s experience and what I’ve heard from my doctor, it seems like a love it or hate it type thing. I’ve been really happy with it and had a second one put in after the first was done. I had it replaced just before my diabetes diagnosis, so haven’t really had a discussion with any of my medical providers about how well it will play well with diabetes, but my Endo knows I’m on it and didn’t express any concern (but I also didn’t ask).
It has stopped my periods, and I admit to not being very educated on this, but I assume it keeps my hormones more level over the course of a month than pills, which I figure is a bonus in blood-sugar land as well. I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone, but I’ve been happy with it!

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@kpanda01, I’m beyond thrilled this discussion is happening. Thanks!!

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I use a Nuvaring, and most of the time I use it continuously to stop menstruation. I’ve been using it for 2.5 years, and I’ve liked it. I don’t really notice all the hormonal bg problems that I hear other people are experiencing. There may be some very small basal need changes due to hormones, but they’re small enough that I don’t notice the patterns.

I used the Skyla (mini version of Mirena) for a couple of years before the Nuvaring. I was not on a cgm at the time, so I was not able to control or track my bg levels as well. I can’t really say what effects it may have had. I had some hormonal problems and inconsistent periods. I feel like it really affected my moods, and I wish I’d quit using it a lot sooner than I did. When I stopped, the difference in my moods was noticeable. I really wanted it to work for me because it seemed so easy. I’ll likely never use an IUD again now though. I don’t like that you can’t start/quit using it easily.

I’ve heard about the NuvaRing and blood clots. I don’t have a family history of this, and I guess I’ve just decided that it was worth the risk. I know that oral contraceptives are a bad fit for me. I have enough things to track with my D. I don’t want to worry about taking BC at the exact same time every day. I’d be unlikely to do it very well, and the consequences of messing that up are not acceptable. I also really like that the NuvaRing is easy to remove (unlike IUDs or the Nexplanon impants). I think it’s the best option for me right now.

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I wonder if my perception that my bg has become extra unruly since having kids (I.e. Since going off of Nuvaring) has more to do with me seeing full hormone fluctuations rather than stunted ones due to birth control. Interesting feedback from you. Makes me want to reconsider it.

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This is me… I was not as good about remembering the pills as I should have been. We have no plans for kiddos for the time being, so messing with pills for the long haul just didn’t make sense for me. I am kind-of unreasonably freaked out by the idea of an IUD. I actually had an appointment to get one and called before I went in to see if it was too late to get the Nexplanon instead. I don’t really know why having something implanted in my arm seems any better :slight_smile:
I wish I had more insight to add regarding its impact on my blood sugar, but I’m lucky if I can figure out the same breakfast I eat every day at this point, let alone hormones! But I do appreciate that the implant keeps me pretty steady, and I’ve not noticed any significant fluctuations that I might pin on hormones. Knock on wood!

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Yeah, I get that. It freaks me out a bit too.

I’d originally planned on getting the Nexplanon because my roommate loved hers, but my doc talked me into the Skyla. I wish she hadn’t because it didn’t work well for me at all, and now I’m hesitant to to try the implant. I guess I just like that I can take out the Nuvaring whenever I want.

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Ah well, everyone is different!! There are other options out there too :slight_smile:

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I’ve been on and off bc pills for the last 6 months while doing ivf for timing and hsg/hysteroscopy(s). I have to up everything by about 30% on just bc. After 3 ivf cycles in a row, I was on 21u basal (my normal is 14u, 12u after long exercise days) due to the hormones and lack of exercise. I had to go back on bc today after a month off for my operative hysteroscopy so the clinic can schedule it at their convenience instead of days 7-11.

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That’s very interesting. I sure hope you have success soon! You sound like you are handling it amazingly well. I had to do the HSG between sons after a year of trying and fortunately that’s all I needed. Wish you the very best!

I’ve been on oral BC since before I was diagnosed, although the medication has changed several times. I can honestly say that it has not affected my sugar or my control.

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Feel like this is relevant here, too…

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Within the forum, we have users with experiences on:
Not Oral:
Nuvaring
Skyla
Mirena
Nexplanon

Oral:
Ortho Novum 1/35 (considered “moderate androgenic progestin” combination birth control)
Junel (considered “moderate androgenic progestin” combination birth control)
*Both Ortho Novum 1/35 and Junel use Ethinyl Estradiol for the estrogen component and Norethindrone for the progestin component (first generation progestin).

Has anyone used hormonal birth control not on the list above? Did you notice any blood sugar effects before/during/after using it?

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