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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Speaking of birth control..

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Author Topic: Speaking of birth control..
Ana Simone
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Member # 30361

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A year ago this time I was using an IUD for birth control. I was only very vaguely told that women who have not had a full pregnancy or given birth do not usually use IUDs because of the discomfort and the high chance of expulsion. Stupid as it sounds, I was so tramatized after the insertion (the nurses had cold attitudes and there was very little information volunteered to me, not to mention it was very painful) that I just didn't go back for the follow up. I figured if the thing didn't stay I'd find it in the toilet or in my underwear and I'd know it. Not to mention the procedure was around $400 and at the time I was 18 and stunned.
Well last summer, a year later, I went back to Planned Parenthood for my Pap Smear. I still didn't really want to but I've never had health insurance nor felt I had an option. The nurses were so kind this time. When the nurse practitioner had to inform me that the IUD had been displaced in my uterus, and that she would have to remove it, she saw the tears streaming down my face and offered to put a new one in for only the insertion fee. A new one wouldn't go in and it was so painful.. I felt defeated. The NP was very kind though and helped me to choose a new form of affordable birth control - the NuvaRing.
I was so happy to have the NuvaRing. My periods were no longer painful, my mood swings seemed to subside, and I didn't have the trouble of remembering to take a pill. The only downside was that it dried up my natural lubrication and made sex a bit painful and less desireable. No one really addressed as to why that is.
Still, it's the best thing I've found yet.
About three months later Planned Parenthood stopped carrying the NuvaRing. Apparently they couldn't afford to sell it anymore, so they offered to either call the prescription in to an outside pharmacy (which could cost $50-$60 a month, I was told) or switch to pills. So although I was disappointed, I switched to pills.
About three months into the pill I had gone back to my old periods - unpredictable, painful and emotional. I called the nurse practitioner and asked if I should be switched to something with more estrogen. She again was very kind, but I found it odd that she once again made a quick decision without explaining the pro's and con's and really asking any questions. Still, I trusted her.. she knows more about medicine than I do, I figured.
Three months later, I am about five pounds heavier. I feel about fifteen pounds heavier. I hold water weight and feel that I have a whole extra layer of padding three out of four weeks of the month. I have also lost most of my energy and desire to do things in the past few months. I usually put on something cute and go dancing on the weekends, but lately I'm just too tired and bloated. Friends are wondering what has happened to me because I hardly leave the house. Even though the painful periods have subsided I do not feel normal.
Being a person who likes to research everything, I researched estrogen on the internet. It seems that estrogen in excess can cause these feelings, and I've seen so many studies that recommend having as little extra estrogen in your body as possible. I spoke to the staff at my gym and they helped me determine a diet and exercise plan that could replace the extra estrogen for painful periods and give me my energy and self esteem back. I decided that I would go to the lesser dosage pill. So excited, I called my nurse practitioner and explained to her what I'd been feeling and what I felt I should do. To say the least, she was reluctant. She recommended that if this pill wasn't working, I move to a higher estrogen pill, as if she had heard nothing I was saying. I stood my ground; she wasn't listening to my concerns or asking any questions, once again. This time she was actually indignant, and told me in a hateful tone "Let me just tell you this is the LAST time I am going to change your prescription. I'm just not going to let you do this anymore." She expressed to me that she was exasperated because there was only so much she could choose from if I wouldn't (couldn't) go to an outside pharmacy (It was either the pill I had already been on or the higher dosage.) I was in shock, I couldn't say anything. I was hurt to say the least. This is a woman who I trust with my body, the most private and arguably important part of it. I spent most of the day at work on the verge of tears. My fiance keeps telling me not to go back, but I don't feel that I have a choice. I thought about bringing her flowers or candy and saying I'm sorry, that she must've been having a bad day, to make peace so that I feel comfortable going back there. They seem to be so hot and cold, I figure this too will pass.
I love Planned Parenthood and I totally appreciate what they do. I just don't know what to do or who to trust anymore. Am I wrong?

Posts: 18 | From: South Carolina | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KittenGoddess
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Member # 1679

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*hugs*

First off, let me assure you that you're not the only person who has ever had (or will ever have) these types of issues. Health care providers (especially in certain areas) can often have a tendency to expect teens (and often people in general) to have really low health literacy or just really not care. In other words, they don't expect you to be extra educated about your own health. They don't expect you to be in-tune with your own body and what's going on. And often they don't expect you to ask lots of questions or suggest answers. And, to be honest, a lot of people aren't educated about their own health...but that's not really an excuse for providers to act in that manner. (Or, again not a good excuse, but maybe your NP was just having a bad day and reacted in a negative manner because of that. But that is NOT your fault nor is it something you need to apologize for.)

So what can you do now? If you've gotten a new Rx for a pill formulation you're wanting to try, then give that a shot. This may be the one that works for you. If it does not work for you, then I'd suggest that maybe you go back (and again, I don't think this is something you need to be sorry about) and talk about non-hormonal methods. A hormonal method isn't for everybody, and if you've had problems with every hormonal you've tried so far it sounds like maybe this is something that's true for you. A diaphram, cervical cap or shield may be a better option with fewer side effects. If you're truly not comfortable with this PP again, then you might try another location and see if you have a better experience.

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Sarah Liz

Posts: 7316 | From: USA | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ana Simone
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Member # 30361

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I understand, I'm sure they have to deal with a lot of stress but it seems that my location is either particularly bad as far as customers go so they expect the worst, or they are hiring from the bottom of the barrel (maybe they aren't being paid/managed well.) Sometimes I feel as if they know that those of us with low income can't go anywhere else, so we just have to deal with it.

I actually love giving my money to Planned Parenthood and supporting their cause. I plan on donating to them as soon and as often as I can because I know that there are many girls who are uninformed and not taught to care about their sexual health. But I want them to give these girls hope and keep them informed, not let them down like they repeatedly have with me.

Also, the suggestion of the non-hormonal method is a good one. I really had no problem with putting the NuvaRing in and out so I doubt a diaphram or anything of the sort would bother me. Again, these were never suggested as an option to me.

Thank you so much for all of your help. Where could I find the location of the next nearest PP clinic?

Posts: 18 | From: South Carolina | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KittenGoddess
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You can find out more about non-hormonal methods here as well:
Birth Control Bingo! (you might check this page out specifically too -- Cervical Barriers (Diaphragms, Lea's Shield and Cervical Caps))
Margaret Sanger's Disneyland: Choosing Contraceptives

If you go to Planned Parenthood's website, there is a box at the top where you can put in your zip code or city and it'll give you the locations near you.

Try not to stress too much about this. If you don't like the way you're being treated, absolutely look for someplace else to go. If you can't find another clinic that works for you, then it you can definitely talk to your care providers about how they are communicating with you. It's okay to say that you've worked very hard to educate yourself about your own health and you would appreciate them being willing to engage in this discussion with you.

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Sarah Liz

Posts: 7316 | From: USA | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ana Simone
Neophyte
Member # 30361

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Well I am very surprised to find that we have only one Planned Parenthood in South Carolina. No wonder have such a high teen pregnancy rate! That really grinds my nerves. Is there something I can do, somebody I can write to about this?
Posts: 18 | From: South Carolina | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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