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Should my daughter go on the pill?

Replies

  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 120Member
    edited June 2014
    My 15 yr old daughter, who is ASD, really struggles with her periods, pain and angst along with challenging behaviour. It has been suggested to me that if she were on the pill this could be more controlled. I don't know?! Medical questions about how this would interact with epilepsy medication. Although I have been assured by the neurologist that this can be managed. Ethical questions about whether I should be enforcing this on her even though she is a vulnerable young lady. I'd really appreciate advice and would like opinions. I've spoken to the GP and the pharmacist and have learnt that pregnancy and epilepsy have to be carefully managed. I am her sole, male, carer and feel very out of depth here.
  • KareninWalesKareninWales Posts: 16Member Connected
    edited June 2014
    Hi Alistair--I don't have specific advice as I am dealing with puberty in my son, who is profoundly disabled and incapable of consent, but I would say on the opinion front that while medical advice will be key, ethical questions are also important and turn on the amount of consent she can be seen to give, and also weighing the positives and the negatives. As someone who has personal experience of oral contraceptives that suppress periods entirely, I say they are great and if my son were a daughter I would certainly consider this, if the medical side were straightforward enough to make it viable. In my son's case many things come down to quality of life and his disability means he has lost almost all of his own freedoms to choose--that is the reality of his situation. I wish you very very good luck with it--it is so hard.
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community adviser Pioneering
    edited June 2014
    "Hi to you both, Alistair and Karen! Thank you very much for posting this, Alistair. It’s such a challenging question and one which I often talk with parents about. As Karen says, hormonal contraceptives can completely stop periods and are used by many women primarily to manage their menstrual cycle, along with associated pain/discomfort and mood swings. It is very common for younger women – the same age as your daughter (and younger in some cases) – to use this.
    You don’t mention whether you’ve discussed this with your daughter or not but if her periods are causing her such discomfort she may very well appreciate the chance to see about managing them. I find that there are often concerns about side effects and interaction with medication, which I appreciate, but there is such a wide range of hormonal contraceptives available now that there is a much better chance of finding one that suits her. I am not a clinician but I do currently work with several female students who have medication-controlled epilepsy and who successfully use hormonal contraception both to manage periods and for family planning purposes. The only stumbling block that I can foresee is that it might take a little patience to find one that suits your daughter best, but it is quite common to try a few different options. Your medical specialist will be able to guide you appropriately.
    As Karen says, it will depend very much on how much understanding your daughter has around all of this and whether she can consent to it or not. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to offer a professional opinion about whether you “should or shouldn’t”, but in my experience having the ability to control periods and manage the associated difficulties and distress is something that I know my students (and many of my peers) value a great deal. If your daughter’s specialist is confident that it can be managed alongside her medication then that is very positive indeed.
    I wonder if it might be appropriate for you to pop me a private message so I can ask you a couple more detailed questions (just to preserve your privacy, and your daughter’s) and signpost you more efficiently? I will almost certainly be able to recommend some resources that you can share with her to support any conversations and decision making, too. I wish you the very best of luck and would love to hear if I can support you.
    - Gill 
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community adviser Pioneering
    edited June 2014
    Karen - just wanted to say thank you for such an honest response, it can be incredibly difficult to know what's best to do. Also, if there's anything I can be of support with - you mention you're dealing with puberty with your son, please let me know. Best wishes :)
    - Gill 
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 120Member
    edited June 2014
    Thank you, both. My daughter is very able in many ways but her learning difficulty is so profound and it really hard to know how much she understands. Probably more than I credit her with, I think! I have tried to talk to her about it but she has this idea that she can't swallow tablets (she hates her regular meds even though they just dissolve in her mouth). PSHE expert, please ask Netbuddy team for my Email. this is all rather sensitive. And Karen, I have worked with young disabled men and so understand how difficult it must be for you, Good Luck. Thankfully my daughter shows no sexual interest at the moment although she does talk about JLS and Harry at bit more than I would like! The time will come!!
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 486Community champion Pioneering
    Hi there, I'm no expert but I wanted tell you that I had hormone contraception at a low age because of my periods.  They really helped me have a better quality of life and although their main use is of contraceptive I wasn't sexually active till age 21/22 and kind of considered that early use as medicine for my periods. If that makes sense.

    Also, i have used the hormone patch and the implant. The implant may or may not be suitable: tiny tiny minor procedure to put implant in my arm but works for threee years. Patch was great as i didnt have to swallow tablets but you have to keep path stuck to your skin of course.

    You sound like lovely parents who want the very best for your daughter. Presumably you decided to give her her other medication and this is just the same (unless other conditions cause problems)

    Best of luck

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • Richard_GPRichard_GP Posts: 6Member Listener
    Hi Alistair and Karen - really interested to hear about your experiences of getting advice from your GP. I am conducting research about what and how GPs can support women - including women in vulnerable groups - to make informed choices about contraception.

    Did you manage to get the information and advice you were seeking?
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