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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » IUDs

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Author Topic: IUDs
tofutticutie
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why are IUDs not considered healthy for young women?
I'm asking because i've been on the Pill for about two years, and now i'm really considering getting off of it just because i hate the way that it affects my body and i dont like the idea of putting hormones in my body.
I am 19 and in a monogamous relationship.
IUDs seem great, but i have heard mixed messages about young women using them. planned parenthood says they are okay for young women, and then other reputable sites like yours say no.
So why is that?

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Heather
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You've been here long enough to know to search the boards first before posting, babe.

Check it out: http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/Forum27/HTML/011273.html

Ultimately, the reason we don't broadly suggest them here is that an insanely small portion of our readership truly and statistically WILL, at this age, be in a long-term (read, well over six months), monogamous relationship, where safer sex has been FULLY practiced for at least six months before (read: latex barriers for at least vaginal, anal and oral sex AND at least TWO full STI screens by both partners) in which BOTH partners do adhere to that agreement AND are incredibly vigilant about their sexual health, including full annual STI screens, and their general health, meaning they have the financial means, transportation and lack of secrecy to, say, get their bottoms to an ER immediately and without delay if an IUD presents problems.

For you, looking at your post history, for instance, I'm seeing some history of not practicing safer sex for the six month period advised before going without barriers. Have your habits changed?
As well, and as mentioned in other posts about the IUD, the IUD has been shown to be much less successful for women who have not been pregnant before, both in terms of comfort and in terms of the IUD staying in. And most teenage women have not previously been pregnant.

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Heather Corinna
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tofutticutie
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Sorry, i did a search for IUD on the site and thought it would search in the boards as well, but i guess it didn't. Thanks for the link.

I see. Yeah, i don't use latex barriers most of the time, but we have both had STI screenings and everything checked out. I know you're going to advise against this anyway though. i understand that.

Another question i have though is - how can you not tell if it comes out? it just seems like you would feel it come out and not have unprotected sex before getting it put back in place. but i have read about women not noticing that it has come out and being unprotected.


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Heather
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You see, then, why we don't advise this broadly, as half of safer sex just isn't safer sex (and most young women, nearly the second they're on a hormonal method, drop all latex barrier use and safer sex practices, however foolish), and it's our job to do what we can to protect health, not endanger it. So, no: I wouldn't advise it for you if, at a bare minimum, you haven't been in a long-term monogamous relationship for at least six months with complete safer sex practices for at least the first six months. And again, too, it's still generally advised for women who have had a previous pregnancy.

Per not being able to tell if it has come out: 1) it's incredibly small, and 2) ideally, a woman should never really feel an IUD being in in the first place. Plus, again, the vaginal canal is not all that rich with nerve endings, so a sensation that slight can easily go unnoticed.

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Heather Corinna
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Heather
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For the record, not only have I never seen PP endorse the IUD for young women (remember, the general Planned Parenthood site isn't for young women), they've advised against it for young women expressly at their teen site.

(Here's the google cache of one such incidence)

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 10-08-2005).]


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tofutticutie
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For the Record:
Planned Parenthood: Who Can Use IUDs?

{Edited the length of the link so that it would fit in the normal sized frame }

[This message has been edited by KittenGoddess (edited 10-08-2005).]


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Heather
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Yes: that is at the site, however, for all women in general, not for young women. Planned Parenthood has a separate site for young people for that reason, and at that site they expressly state the IUD is NOT suggested by them for young women.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 10-08-2005).]


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Heather
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Just to be clear, I am in no way trying to control your choices.

I just cannot advise something for any of our users which for many valid reasons does pose dangers to their health, and I'd obviously not suggest it to a user who I know or suspect is missing several of the criteria which could make it effective, comfortable and safe for them, especially when there are other methods out there which ARE far more safe for them, accessible and easy to use.


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tofutticutie
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okay, i understand. i guess i just felt a little offended because i do feel that i practice at least comparatively safer sex and know a lot more about these things than most people i know who are my age. i believe i do take good care of my body and dont take my well-being lightly, even if i may not follow all these criteria exactly.
i guess you're just doing your job though, and it is a job that i admire.

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Heather
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Thing is, that's how most people practice safer sex: some of it, not all. And while, absolutely, some is better than none, leaving out latex barriers is a pretty huge gaping hole -- really, barriers are the cornerstone of safer sex -- one that does put your health very much at risk, especially if you're to add something that creates additional health risks. Is teasting alone better than many your age? Yep. But leaving out the other aspects is a big part of why most people your age have the higest rates of STIs out there, and that's a HUGE factor with IUD use, especially when, as a mature, responsible and smart person, you know that puts you at some substantial risks, some of which have pretty serious lifelong effects.

(Know, too, that actually, wuite a few people your same age know the things you know. But knowing that doesn' translate into acting is only of so much use to any of us.)

There's really no reason to be offended: let me be a bit personal. At 35, I am JUST, barely, considering an IUD among other options since I've been opposite sex partnered again (I was just discussing this with an ST volunteer a couple weeks ago, actually). And I'm only considering doing it if and when it has been an EXTRA six months after the initial six month safe period and based on me having practiced pretty darn strict and complete aspects of safer sex practice since before most people even knew what safer sex was or why we needed it. I have been pregnant before. I have a very high pain tolerance. Harsh and jaded as it sounds, I've been around the block enough to know when I'm being lied to about nonmonogamy or lack of sexual testing by a partner. I know that, for umpteen years, even when I am really broke, I can keep up -- and always have -- with my sexual healthcare. I know I have no problem whatsoever asking any partner to practice safer sex when necessary, and kicking them to the curb if they balk, should my relationship status change. I AM okay with the possibility that I will not be able to bear children should the worst happen. Should I decide to have one inserted I'd only do so if my doctor gave me the 100% all-clear AND when I know, without a doubt, I can get my tush to the doc IMMEDIATELY should a complication arise, with help from more than one source. Who knows: even in six months when I would feel more comfortable with it, I may decide not to, and to stick with the barrier methods I currently use and have when I've needed them since I went off the pill in '91.

Now, mind you, because of what I do and how much I work with these issues and see so many people's realities, I certainly am likely more cautious than many when it comes to this stuff, my own life being no exception. But I'm also a pretty laid back person, and I'm still only considering this, even given all that data.

And you're right: this is my job, one I did for a lot of years for no pay or reward whatsoever because I am earnestly concerned about the reproductive health of our readers.

So, I am by no means trying to insult you. Quite the opposite: I dole out information in this way because I trust with all the info, you'll make a sound and intelligent choice for yourself, hopefully one in the best interest of your life.

Birth control can be tricky stuff. Ultimately, none of it -- as you likely know by now -- is ever as simple as it looks, and when one method looks incredibly simple, it;s often because we're overlooking it. IUDs may look simple as heck -- and they can be great birth control for some -- but that's given certain criteria. Condoms are in many ways also very simple, but in others, and for others, they aren't -- for instance, so many people have such a hard time talking about sex at all that bringing up condom use every time is a challenge. Unfortunately, no method yet (save non-heterosexual sex, actually: ha) is simple or without complications. And it's wise for any of us not to be too hasty about these choices, especially when we're looking at methods which can cause very serious complications.

At this point, I'd suggest you talk to your regular OB/GYN about it. He or she has got to know you decently enough by now, and your history, to make a sound call. That's also one more person you can ask for perspective on this. Gaia knows, as we make clear incessantly here, ours should never be the only opinion you get: always seek out others.

I'm a wordy lady, but point is, there's no need to be offended. You asked the whys on this, I gave them, as well as the other info you asked for. You also stated PP supported IUDs for young women, and that needed correcting because I've never seen them do that and had seen them do expressly the opposite, so it's also my job to do my best to make sure no false info lands on the boards here per this stuff. And 'm not saying you're not mature enough to use an IUD: emotional maturity isn't the ish here. I'm saying that from your post history here and what you have stated to be your habits -- as well as you never reporting a pregnancy and being a young woman in the highest-risk STI group -- we wouldn't advise use, and neither would most health orgs, or even the IUD manufacturers themselves. And as there are umpteen other useable, effective methods, without the same risks, that shouldn't be a big to-do.

And I say all those things because, yes, it is my job to try and help you act in the best interest of your sexual health.

(I'm going to risk being even more wordy and potentially offending you furher, but I think this often needs be said. It's pretty normal for ANY of us to want sex to be a total no-brainer. It's also pretty normal to just want to not worry about this stuff at all -- believe me, after 20 years of using birth control and safer sex, I get that. But it's just rarely that way, if ever, and when it is, it's usually waaaaaaay down the line, not early on in life, and big health complications aren't going to help with that.)

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Heather Corinna
Editor & Founder
ST homepage ST blog about Heather & Scarleteen


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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