It’s Panda, Miss Dementia If You’re Nasty

Adventures In Birth Control

by on Jun.29, 2010, under A-OK

I’ve been getting asked quite a bit lately what kind of birth control I recommend. Every woman’s body is different, obviously, so what works for me may not work for someone else, but I thought I’d give a run down of what I’ve used and what has worked for me:

birth-control1

Condoms

Condoms are pretty much the fall back of birth control, they’re easy to use, fairly cheap, and both men and women can take charge of this type of birth control. Sensitivity is a big thing to consider when using condoms, as most men say that it lessens sensitivity. I prefer feeling an un-sheathed penis inside of me than one with a condom and I know a lot of women who feel the same.

I believe that condoms should be used if you are not in a monogamous relationship, as a secondary form of birth control (in addition to another method) for extra protection, or, if you are in a monogamous relationship where both partners are STD free, if no other form of birth control is available.

condoms

Birth Control Pill

I have tried the birth control pill FemCon Fe. This is the daily, chewable pill. Femcon Fe, along with most other pills, suppress the hormones that cause ovulation. Femcon Fe’s website claims that it is over 99% effective. Most birth control pills range from $20-$50 a month and most health insurance companies cover it completely.

The thing that I don’t like about pills is the burden of having to remember to take them daily. I am a HIGHLY forgetful person and without the fantastic reminder alarm that I had on my phone, I’m sure I would have forgotten to take it on occasion. With this pill, you’re supposed to begin taking it on the first Sunday of your period. I did that. I kept bleeding for FOUR STRAIGHT WEEKS before I decided I wasn’t going to continue taking the pill. I stopped taking it, and I stopped bleeding. I know that because your hormones are being messed around with, your body is going to take a while to get used to it, but  in my eyes, four weeks of bleeding was ridiculous.

pill

Birth Control Ring

NuvaRing is a small, flexible ring made of a polymer of ethylene vinyl acetate and magnesium stearate. It is designed to be inserted vaginally once a month. The ring stays in for three weeks, then you take it out for a week, and insert a new ring at the end of the fourth week. Like pills, the ring releases hormones that suppress ovulation. NuvaRings are also comparable in cost to the pill and is just as effective. The ring cannot be felt by a partner when having sex.

Here’s my issue with the NuvaRing: I got a prescription, put my first ring in with no problems, had no problems with it throughout the three weeks. At the end of that three weeks, though, I went to take it out and… IT WASN’T THERE. Yeah, it was nowhere to be found. I ended up going to my gyno to make sure it hadn’t gotten pushed further up into my uterus, but it hadn’t. It had fallen out at some point and I hadn’t noticed it. Thank the good Lord I didn’t get pregnant, because who knows how long it was out?! Needless to say, I didn’t continue to use the ring.

nuvaring

Birth Control Patch

Ortho Evra is a small (I’d say about 1″ square) patch that sticks to your skin, similar to a nicotine patch. It works in the same way the pill and the ring do, and is just as effective and similar in cost. You put one patch on per week for three weeks, with the fourth week being patch-free. You can wear it either on your buttock, on your abdomen, on the outer part of your upper arm, or anywhere on your upper torso (front OR back, excluding your breasts).

The patch only had one problem for me: it didn’t stick properly to my skin. I tried it both on my shoulder blade and on my abdomen, and in both places, the patch worked it’s way off and stuck to my clothes. I was constantly removing corners of the patch from my shirt/underwear/pants and trying to re-stick it to my skin. I got tired of it, so after 2 months, I moved on.

patch

IUD (IntraUterine Device)

IUDs are small, T-shaped devices made out of flexible plastic. One type of IUD is also made with copper and lasts for up to 12 years, but I have the Mirena, which is completely plastic and lasts for up to 5 years. Both forms deliver hormones directly to the uterus, are over 99% effective and are inserted by your OB-GYN at an office visit. If you decide you want to become pregnant while you have an IUD in, all you have to do is return to your OB-GYN to have it removed, and once your hormones stabilize, pregnancy is an option. If you get to the end of the “shelf-life” of your IUD, you can have another one put in. The initial cost of an IUD is much more than other forms of birth control, somewhere between $175-$650, but there is no additional cost for it until you need to have another one inserted.

The cost for my Mirena was a $90 co-pay. I took some over the counter pain killers as my OB-GYN suggested before going in for the installation (as I affectionately refer to the insertion process). I was given a numbing shot, which felt like a sharp pinch, and then the device was inserted quickly. It hurt just a bit (a 2 on a scale of 10) when it was inserted, I felt a bit of cramping for a few hours afterwards, but other than that, the installation was simple. My periods were erratic for the first few months after I got the IUD, but have since evened out (I got the IUD in August of ’09) and I haven’t had any problems with it.

Since I am in a monogamous relationship and neither me or my partner have any STDs, the IUD is the only method of birth control we use. I like the Mirena more than any other form of birth control I’ve used because you’re able to forget about it for 5 years, there’s no upkeep, nothing I have to remember to do, and it hasn’t gotten stuck on anything or fallen out. I would highly recommend it to women who have health insurance (if you don’t, I would suggest going with a cheaper form).

iud

Obviously, I haven’t tried EVERY type of birth control, so I can’t give you advice on the full spectrum, and like I said, different things will work for different women, but this is what has worked for me. I hope that it at least a little bit helpful and gives you something to think about!

If you take ONE thing away from this blog post, I hope it’s this:

HAVE SEX! HAVE FUN! BUT MAKE IT SAFE! :)

play-safe

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