Cerazette vs Cerelle

I was 15 when I first started taking Cerazette. It was a countermeasure to having periods because I was anorexic at the time and my other 21-day pill was forcing me to have periods when I couldn’t really afford to, given my physical state. So my doctor prescribed me Cerazette in the hope that it would naturally stop me having periods via hormones.

Cerazette was quite honestly the best thing that ever happened to me. It stopped my periods and, even after I had recovered from anorexia and returned to a healthy weight, I never got them. Every three years I’d get what can only be described as a ‘mini-period’, which wasn’t a big deal at all. I’d just bleed a couple of tablespoons a day for around 3-4 days and it’d be over.

Despite this, I was looking into a hysterectomy as a long-term solution to not wanting periods or children. Although the pill is effective, there is always that risk and what’s the point of taking the risk when you know you don’t ever want children? I won’t go into the reasons why I don’t want kids here, but I have written about it before and will probably write about it at a later date.

All was going swimmingly well with Cerazette, until I went to fill my prescription and was told that Cerazette had been rebranded as Cerelle. I didn’t think anything of it and took my new prescription home.

Over the course of the following months, hell ensued. Cerelle was not a rebranding of Cerazette. As I said earlier, I started Cerazette when I was a teenager. I had no adverse effects to it. If anything, you’d expect that you would whilst you’re still going through puberty. But no, none of that happened when I was 15. It was happening when I was 22. Cerelle caused me to break out in what can only be described as acne for the first time in my life. I have always had flawless skin, perhaps the odd spot here and there when I get stressed. Now, at 22, my whole chin, nose and part of my cheeks were breaking out in spots every day. I couldn’t stop them. It was making me even more depressed and I was having to wear make up everyday to cover everything up. When the spots eventually did heal, they were discolouring and scarring my skin. Nothing had changed in my diet or skin routine. The only thing that had changed was my pill.

The side effects of Cerelle were horrendous. Not only did I have acne, but my skin was dull and sallow. I was also bleeding randomly and it was much heavier than the ‘mini-period’ that I was used to having every few years. The cramps were the worst. Working in media, I found that these side effects were knocking my confidence. I wanted to look my best at all times and my skin was going through breakout after breakout. I was just so ashamed of my skin and, as someone who had an eating disorder and still suffered from bouts of BDD, I knew this could become a slippery slope.

I went to my local GP and asked if I could be put back on Cerazette instead of Cerelle, because despite what I was told, they clearly aren’t the same thing. The nurse didn’t even need me to say anymore; I was previously going to tell her what effect it was having on my confidence, but showing her my blotchy chin sans cosmetics was enough. Whilst changing my prescription on the computer, she commented, ‘I don’t know why but so many people keep coming to me, saying that the Cerelle is giving them bad side effects that they never had on Cerazette’. After mere minutes, I was out of there with a prescription for my beloved Cerazette.

Finding Cerazette was another thing entirely. I had to go home and ring around several local pharmacies before finding one that kept Cerazette. When I went to pick it up from the pharmacy, the guy serving me told me that in a bid to try and force people to switch to Cerelle, a lot of pharmacies aren’t stocking it and typically in one area, only a couple will. He did advise that by law, they had to stock it because as long as it was still being prescribed, they couldn’t offer me an alternative and had to honour my Cerazette prescription. I left, armed with extra knowledge and my perfect pill.

Cerelle is actually cheaper for the NHS, which is why they’ve been told to force people on Cerazette to take it. It is not a rebranding. Although they contain the same compounds, there must be something that is done differently in the manufacturing of it because it really is not the same tablet at all. I mean, it can’t be. How can someone be perfectly fine on Cerazette during their most troublesome and unsettled years and then, when switched to something supposedly the ‘same’, have such a terrible reaction?

I’ve been taking Cerazette for the past week after the Cerelle debacle and already, my skin is clearing up. My skin is smoother, there have been no more breakouts of spots and my skin is now glowing and bright. Oh, no bleeding either.

In my personal opinion, I believe that Cerelle is just a sham. There is something fundamentally wrong with it and it’s frightful to think that in a bid to save money, the NHS have been ordered to switch thousands of people onto a pill which has a higher chance of giving them unbearable side effects. I’ve paid into the NHS and up until recently, it has always looked after me. But I think people know their bodies well enough to be able to decide what pill is right for them. A happy person is worth so much more than the saving they may have made by pushing Cerelle.


What is Anorexia?

A classmate from sixth form asked if I could write a brief piece about anorexia for a class she was teaching. I thought it would be useful to share here too.

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Anorexia is a toxic friend. At first, when it comes into your life, you think you’ve found the answer to your problems. The bullies at school will stop if you start losing weight quickly. You’ll be more attractive and people will like you more. People will talk to you as a person rather than walk away in disgust because you take up too much room. So when you let anorexia into your life, you think you’ve found a great way out, a great way to escape and solve all your problems.

But then things change. You realise that this illness, the anorexia that you thought was your friend, is now sucking the life out of you. You can’t stop losing weight. You feel guilty if even one bit of food passes your lips. You can’t stop counting calories and obsessing over how much you way. You lose all self-esteem and you become a shell of the person you once were. You’re fragile, you can’t think straight. You want to stop but you can’t. Anorexia has become toxic and it’s become an addiction. You know it’s wrong and you want to stop, but anorexia is too strong and you’re too weak. Soon enough you lose your muscles, you lose the ability to go out by yourself for fear of fainting, you’re cold even in the summer when it’s boiling outside. You can’t do what everyone else is. You can’t go out and have fun because you have become your anorexia.

Five years ago, I decided to make the decision to recover from anorexia. It had stolen two whole years of my life and I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice any more of my life for this illness. I got angry at the eating disorder. All my friends were having fun, partying and being usual teenagers. Me? I was spending summer in hospital. That anger fuelled something inside of me. I just thought one day, ‘I’m not doing this anymore’ and that was the spark that ignited my recovery. I started eating and didn’t look back. My main reason was that I wanted to go out with my friends, I wanted to realise my dream and go to university. And I simply couldn’t do that if I was still in the throes of anorexia. Like a toxic relationship, I cut anorexia out of my life. I’ve never looked back. Now, five years later, I have a degree, a job and I’m happy and healthy. There is life after an eating disorder. Never give up hope or believe that you can’t get through it because trust me, you can. When I was anorexic, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t think I could live an anorexia-free life. But it gets better and there is so much more to life than eating disorders.

Kate Moss made headlines for saying ’nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’. She may truly believe that, but it’s too much of a price to pay. You need food to fuel your lifestyle and just maintain your internal organs and brain. Food is the medicine that keeps everything inside our bodies functioning and working as it should. You know what feels better than being skinny? Being alive.

An Alternative Contraception

The pill, condoms… these are often seen as the only real options when it comes to contraception these days, being touted around by your local GP and sexual health clinic. In recent years, the implant has gained a lot of popularity because of its convenience – it lasts for three years and you can pretty much forget about it.

However, apart from condoms, the pill and the implant both have side effects which don’t agree with everyone, either because of heavy periods, hormonal complications, weight increases, or effects on moods etc. I was on Cerazette for six years…

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Tonight…We’re Drinking from the Bottle!

Shots shots shots shots shots shots EVERYBODY!! Who doesn’t love a good bit of alcohol? Unfortunately, the government has announced its plan to introduce warning labels on bottles of alcohol, similar to those found on cigarette packets, in a bid to warn people of the health implications that drinking could possibly cause. However, I think the government is doing more harm than good by even contemplating such a strategy.

It’s not as if anyone goes into drinking blindly. From a young age, we’re taught that drinking and smoking have serious consequences later in life and that if you drink too much alcohol in one go, you could potentially die. The onus is on us to make our own decision about how we socialise and the impact it may have on our health. We shouldn’t be living in a nanny state with a moral code that guilts us into not enjoying a little treat here and there.


Of course there are far wider implications on alcoholics. I partially believe that the government’s push for these health warnings is to dissuade people from trying alcohol because of the danger of alcoholism. Although the government has good intentions – or so it seems – people will always try things they are told they shouldn’t. The temptation of the forbidden or frowned upon is seductive and it’s one that very few can resist. Being made to feel guilty because of alcohol consumption is not what the government is for. That is entirely down to the person who has had a drink (or a few).

Another point to contemplate is that the majority of people go to clubs or bars to drink. The health warnings are only put on bottles and realistically, in a dark club, you are not going to be able to see the health warnings if you’re on the other side of the bar. Bartending is a stressful and fast-paced job and bartenders barely have the time to shout you the price of your drink – they are not going to give you a drink and tell you what the warning on the bottle says. So really, drinking is still going to happen and arguably, the worst kind of drinking is going to continue – binge drinking. Binge drinking has been proven to be dangerous and detrimental to one’s wellbeing but if drinkers are put off by warnings they can visibly see in the supermarket, surely they will consume more alcohol in clubs and bars where the reminder of the damage to their health is hidden.


For argument’s sake, let’s say that consumers do take note of the health warnings and suddenly, alcohol sales drop dramatically. Has the government thought about the economic consequences that a decrease in alcohol sales would have? Much like petrol, the majority of the money that we pay for alcohol is actually tax. We can speculate about what the government does with that tax money but inevitably, the country as a whole would suffer. Inflation would increase because taxes would have to be generated to cover the deficit caused by a lack of tax from alcohol sales.

Even if this silly notion is introduced, people will become apathetic towards the warnings. Last year, I had a rather stressful job and took up smoking for the first time in my life, despite having many lessons in secondary school about the dangers. The first packet I bought had an off-putting picture of someone with damaged gums as a result of smoking. I regarded it for all of two seconds, went outside and smoked three cigarettes consecutively. There is so much propaganda, on cigarette cartons, television and radio, that people have actually stopped caring. We are bombarded with information about how dangerous legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol can be and we simply don’t care. Constant exposure to such dramatic, sometimes over-exaggerated, hype just generates apathy to the point that people stop being shocked and simply regard the warnings as another part of the packaging, not even acknowledging them.


I don’t doubt that the introduction of health warnings on alcohol packaging will come at a cost to the public and to the consumer. To modify the packaging, I wouldn’t be surprised if the public are somehow punished for it; most likely, the cost of alcohol will rise.

Personally, I feel that putting health warnings on alcohol will not achieve anything. Very few people will be deterred. Drinking is a social past-time of many and it brings people together. It is seen as a way to relax or to celebrate and generally gives people a bit of a buzz. Yes, there are health problems associated with drinking, but the decision should be left to the consumer, not the government. The government seems to think that it can try and dictate, guilt and be a moral beacon for the public. We should be left to make our own choices without aesthetically displeasing warnings tarnishing bottles of booze.