Post # 1
So, I went in for an IUD on Friday – Mirena. I was nervous but excited at the same time. It was supposed to work great and be our birth control solution. Last June I ended up with a DVT (blood clot) and spent an overnight in the hospital after being in and out of the ER twice (ladies, if you have unexplained calf pain that gets consistently worse – SEE A DOCTOR!). Six months of blood thinners and tests later, they’d determined that I had a genetic blood disorder that was compounded by the birth control pill. I had to stop it immediately (which was a major bummer as I’d been on it seven years!) and we resumed a life of condoms.
After I was taken off the blood thinners in December, we made an appointment with my gyno to discuss birth control options – more importantly, ones without estrogen. Our options are very slim and not that great. The best of those, however, was Mirena and I made the appointment.
Friday afternoon, I went in and was there for about an hour – in agonizing pain – while she tried to insert the IUD. She then realized it just wasn’t going to work – I have a tilted uterus and it was apparently causing the IUD to bend. I left feeling really disappointed and am still a little bummed about it (the Fiance is too).
Here’s the thing…. the remaining options don’t seem all that great…. there’s the mini pill, which has to be taken at the same time REGARDLESS and isn’t as effective…. depo (which I’ve heard causes weight gain)… and implanon which is a plastic thing inserted in your arm and they say on the label that it causes inconsistent side effects — NICE.
Has anyone else had a similiar experience or can share their experiences with BC that doesn’t contain estrogen? Progesterone is okay… estrogen is a big no-no.
I’d love a little pick-me-up.
Post # 3
Have you considered wearing a diaphragm? It’s better than condoms and just as effective, and no hormones!
On a side note, IUDs are GREAT, but a big WORD OF CAUTION!!
Something many doctors won’t tell you is that IUDs are only really suggested for women who have already had children!!! This is expressly stated in the commercials. The reason is that the cervix of a non-mother has not been torn or stretched yet, so inserting an IUD is an excruciating procedure. Your uterus isnt "bending the IUD." Your doctor was covering her own butt. In a woman who has had children, the cervix looks like a frowny (or smiley) face. It’s been stretched. So implanting and IUD is easy. In women who have not given birth, the cervix is perfectly closed, in a little circle. It is a sphincter, it’s made to be like that. They have to tear it open to insert the IUD.
My MOH/BFF got an IUD and she said it was absolutely the most painful experience ever. My OBGYN warned me about it beforehand (thus why I know all this) and asked me if I really wanted to do it…not that much, it’s not for me.
Before you consider the IUD as a perfect solution, make sure you’re a candidate for one, read the brochure information…most doctors will agree to give you one without warning you about it…
Post # 4
I’m sorry you didn’t have good luck with the Mirena, Morgan.
Did you know that something like 90% of Ob-Gyn doctors using birth control use IUDs? It is awesome… though not an option for some people (like yourself).
I would have recommended the Nuva-ring, but it also has estrogen and is not recommended for women with clotting disorders. The mini-pill might be your best bet. This is not a good option for overweight women though, as there is a higher likelihood of failure.
I usually don’t recommend the Implanon to patients, though I sometimes recommend depo to teens who need a foolproof method. Have you considered a barrier method like a diaphragm? I feel like they are decreasing in popularity with so many new and effective options around these days, but if you are able to deal with the decrease in spontaneity, it might be a good option.
Please don’t take this as medical advice, and continue to consult with your physician. It sounds like you are doing a great job of exploring all of your options!
Post # 5
MS- I don’t disagree that there is a slightly increased risk of pain in nulliparous women, but typically an experienced physician can decrease the sensation of pain significantly. I don’t want women to get the wrong idea that this is not a good option for them just because they haven’t had kids yet. Experienced physicians have complication rates (including pain) in this group of around 3%.
Here are some links to articles regarding nulliparous women at IUDs. In China it is the birth control of choice for all women.
There is a study going on right now at University of Oregon, examining the use of misoprostol to soften the cervix during insertion to decrease pain.
Most times, the pain is temporary and decreases right away… but it sounds like this was not true in Morgan’s case.
Post # 6
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
I have an IUD and i LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. It’s true, it’s only suggested for women who’ve already had children. As mighty sapphire pointed out, it can hurt. I haven’t had children. They did tell me the song and dance about a tipped uterus, but they still did it. Took two different doctors poking and prodding at me for 20 minutes to get that little thing in there. They asked if I wanted to rest and come back another day to try again, but I said no – I wasn’t sure I’d be able to come back, knowing how godawfulbad it hurt.
And let me tell you, this little tiny itty bitty thing HURT LIKE A MOFO going in. it was AWFUL. I have piercings, and I have tattoos, and I’ve had a wart burned off my foot before (previously identified as my Worst Pain Ever. But THIS WAS TERRIBLE. I mean my insides were being stirred up in the worst way possible. The Sound (what they do to measure your depth) was bad enough… then the actual IUD was waaaay worse. But you know what? It’s awesome.
No pill, no ring, no shot, no hormonal contraceptive in my system at all. I got the paragard, which is the one with no progestrone release. Granted, I do get some cramping at That Time Of The Month, and my periods are heavier than they were before (TMI? lol). But it’s so nice to not have to worry about B/C for years to come, and even better for me to no longer be getting migraines, even better to have a better libido, and important for me to no longer have artificial chemicals entering my body.
My suggestion is that you find a different doctor. They probably just were afraid to hurt you. Just focus on the benefits while they’re putting it in. The nurse will hold your hand, and help you count down from 100. And then after a few days of nasty cramps and O.D.’s on ibuprofen, you’ll be A.Ok.
Sidenote: I read a couple of different articles online examining the lessening women’s ability to be attracted to compatible men when they are using hormonal birth control. I don’t know what grounds they have to say whether this is true or not, but from previous experience: I met my ex while on B/C, broke it off with him when I’d stopped taking it, and then met my wonderful FH.
Post # 7
Please don’t flame me for this, but have you considered natural family planning in combination with condoms/diaphragms? I also don’t tolerate hormonal birth control. I use a method called the sympto-thermal method and it is 98% percent effective when used properly. Here is some info on its effectiveness from the Mayo Clinic and from Planned Parenthood.
If you are already using condoms all the time, it would teach you when it is safe not to use condoms, and you don’t have to stop using them until you are feeling sure about it. The only requirement for learning it is that you not be on hormonal bc. So instead of using condoms all the time, you could, conservatively, use them only half the time. At least that’s something, right? 🙂
I have been using this method for 1.5 years now (not pregnant!) and it really isn’t difficult, especially if you have relatively regular cycles. There’s no side effects, and it’s free (except the cost to take a class on it or buy a book, in which case I have heard Taking Charge of Your Fertility is the best). I have really loved getting to know more about my body.
It’s just a non-hormonal alternative I thought I’d throw out there. And oh if you’re looking for studies on it, make sure you are looking at ones that explicitly are about the sympto-thermal method, not just natural family planning or the rhythm method in general (there’s a difference). I hope you find a method that works for you!
Post # 8
i’m with chelseamorning, those hormonal b.c. options are not viable for me. we’ve been using nfp and condoms for about a year now with no problems. for us, it’s not a religious issue, it is more about what is healthy for my body. the added bonus is that you and your husband (or fiance) will be more in-tune with your bodies, if you catch my drift. i swear my husband knows when my period is coming just by looking at my hair or my boobs.
and marquisemiss, the article you refer to can be found here:
i have sent that article to every woman i know.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
I guess for me, natural family planning’s not an option. The females in my family have always told me that we’re "very fertile" and that it only took each of them one try to get pregnant. And I hate condoms. Hate with a capital H A T E. I looooove my copper iUD. It was a nasty little bugger to get put in, but what’s 20 minutes of pain when you have 12 years of baby-free, condom-free lovin? The man and I don’t own a home, we’re both full time employed, and we are both time-and-a-half students (and will be for several more years). We can’t afford to make an Oops. That said, if we DID (no method is 100% – I do know that), then what’s done is done. But if we can avoid it, we’ll try to.
Oh and thanks for linking the article!!
Post # 10
you are very welcome for the article. i asked time and time again about an IUD, my doctor finally agreed but my insurance company would not cover one penny of it. ultimately i (we) made the decision to follow nfp/basal/thermo and have been happy with the results. we have the bonuses of being out of school, having full time jobs and owning a home. if i were 5 years younger i would have pushed harder and saved up for an IUD.
morgan8, maybe you should look into a second opinion concerning the IUD?
Post # 11
I have used depo before. It caused absolutely no weight gain. I also had a friend who was using it and had used it for years with no weight gain. She actually lost weight while on it, and I think she weighed about 100lbs.. she was tiny!!. All birth control methods "trick" your body into thinking your pregnant. The horomonal changes cause increase appetite they say.. I never noticed that. I think with me it’s more likely that I gain weight while in a relationship (due to comfort level… bad me!) not with BC. I found it to be no different then ortho as far as weight gain goes.
I was on BC for several years and during that time I gained and lost weight. These changes didn’t reflect my bc usage or type at all. If you are aware of the fact that it causes increased appetite and you eat healthy and exercise you shouldn’t have any issues. If you do notice weight gain you can always discontinue the shot. Three months may seem like a long time but it really isn’t and you aren’t going to gain so much so fast that you won’t be able to stop it.
However, it is much much much more conveneint then ortho tri cyclen lo. You go to the dr. every three moz. And that’s the only time I had a period. Once every three months!! Yay!! And it was a super super light period… more spotting then anything. My friend who had been on it for years stopped having a period all together. No spotting or anything. No more tampon runs! Plus you don’t have to remember to take a pill everyday. I have a horrible memory and I was always afraid I would get pregnant because I messed up my pill. With the depo I knew I was covered. I really loved it!
The change from an estrogen based bc to a progesterone based bc can cause some changes though. I felt much more sensitive when on depo. Though honestly, Fiance and I were going through some big issues at the time and it might have had nothing to do with the bc (I suspect it played a very minor role). I got off of it though just to be safe. I didn’t want to sabotage my relationship because I was "moody". I stayed off bc for a while planning to go back after my horomones leveled off. It was kind of a test to see if it was making a difference. I had been on bc so long I needed to find out what my normal was (baseline if you will).
Well, it’s been about a year now and we’re still using the old "withdrawel" method. I know it’s risky, but neither of us are really that scared of getting pregnant. And we’ve been successful with this natural method for a long time. I am a big fan of being all natural so this works for me.
My sister actually used the withdrawel method before she got married too. They wanted to start trying to get pregnant as soon as they got married so she wanted to get off birth control well before then. She stopped bc a year prior and they got pregnant about 1 week after their wedding. so it worked for her too… Actually, now that I think of it, my BFF uses the withdrawel method too… I had forgotten that., but she is also kid free and has been with her husband for 3 years now.
Post # 12
That’s great the IUD works for you marquisemiss. I hope Morgan will be similarly lucky to find something that works so well for her. It can be such a hard road finding something that works for you…I have taken at least 7 different kinds of birth control and had problems with all of them. It was so frustrating!
And I can’t remember where I read this, but actually more than half of people who use nfp do it not for religious reasons but for health, cost, environmental, or other reasons. I happen to be religious but I am primarily doing it for my health. (Insert all relevant disclaimers here.)
Oh, and related to the article discussed by marquisemiss and chemchopity, here’s an utterly fascinating article that reports that lap dancers (!) not on hormonal bc make more money in tips than those who are on bc (43% more on average). The amount varies over the cycle for non-bc-users but not for the bc-users. When it’s the fertile period, non-bc dancers make 80% more money than dancers on bc. I just couldn’t believe it!
Post # 13
Post # 14
omg chelseamorning! that article is out of control. the awesome part is that because it’s a scholarly article, i can read it at work and look official.
many, many thanks!
Post # 15
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
@chemochopity – yeah my insurance wouldn’t cover it either. that baby was EXPENSIVE!! (But, I rationalized, not nearly as expensive as having a baby!!!)
@rcn620 – glad depo worked for you – it made me very moody, I was on it for about 9 months.
@chelseamorning – I agree, it’s so frustrating to find something that WORKS!!!! I too have been on 6 or 7 different kind of pills, the shot, the patch, the ring… all of which caused me problems one way or another. And that article? WOW. Crazy.
Post # 16
I would say has the FH looked into any other options beyond condoms…There are male birth control methods tat re not totally limited to vasectomies and hormone therapy….http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3543478/
Also personally I’m not a big fan of hormaone therapy… but I went 5 whole years without BC’s and only used NFP plans..and they work!!!!But i say every one is different!!!