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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Diaphragm/IUD

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Author Topic: Diaphragm/IUD
all_about_eve
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Member # 45441

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Hi!

My boyfriend and I have been sexually active for a year now. During this time, I have been on three hormonal contraceptives: Nuvaring, Loestrin 24e and Mircette. While these methods certainly worked well, I still ended up gaining about fifteen pounds, feeling tired, sad, anxious and generally unhealthy.

I have made the decision to try more "homeopathic" methods of birth control for the next few months - I'll likely return to hormones eventually, but I think I need a little break. I am going to be fitted for a diaphragm next Tuesday and I'd like to learn a little more about it (i.e. why is the perfect use effectiveness rate 94%/can it be used with condoms, etc.) I would also like to learn a little bit about the non-hormonal copper IUD. I heard this IUD gives women horrible cramps...is that true?

Anyway, there's absolutely no rush or danger of pregnancy right now; my boyfriend and I are taking it slow for the next few months so I can get these things sorted out. I'd just like to know how I can manage a high effectiveness rate birth control-wise without having to use hormonal contraceptives.

Thanks!

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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One of the most common side effects of the copper-T is increased cramping and bleeding with periods. That's why the hormone was added to the Mirena, for the record: it's not a hormonal method, and it's just a TEENY amount to remove those particular effects. So, if you want an IUD, but don't want heavier cramps or bleeding, the Mirena may be a good choice for you.

Diaphragms absolutely can be used with condoms. It's hard to say why the perfect use rate is 94%...I mean, it is, because 6% of women still get pregnant in perfect use, really. How? Because sperm still manages to get around the rim in those cases and create a pregnancy. What are your other questions about cervical barriers (of which the diaphragm is but one)?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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all_about_eve
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thanks, heather.

i heard the IUD is recommended for women who have already had children. why is this true (if it is)? have you heard of many 18-22-year-olds who've elected to use this method of contraception?

i'm assuming using condoms with the diaphragm will bump up that 94% protection rate. i've heard of other barrier methods like the female condom and the cervical cap - do these have higher protection rates? when i told my gynecologist i wanted to go off hormonal contraceptives, they switched me to the diaphragm right away, no questions asked. i haven't spoken with her about other barrier methods...i wonder why that's the knee jerk reaction for GYNs; why was i not shown a selection of contraceptive methods and asked to chose? is the diaphragm probably the best?

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Ecofem
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Hi Eve,

I've had both a Mirena IUD and a diaphragm before. Heather's more knowledgeable about the statistics and reasons but I can share a bit of my experience.

I'm 26 and have never been pregnant: having an IUD was no problem for me or for someone I know who got hers at 20. I felt the diaphragm was OK for awhile and it has many pros-- it all really depends on what you're comfortable with-- but a con was using all the spermicide because it irritated my vagina. I can talk about more pros and cons I'm finding with both but we also have another thread you may be interested in: Birth Control Experiences [Smile]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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On the IUD and women who have already had children, that's a bit of a misnomer.

To be clear, the very best candidates for an IUD have been pregnant before, whether that pregnancy ended in miscarriage, abortion or birth. That's because pregnancy stretches the uterus a bit, so when an IUD is placed inside it's more likely to settle in best and be most comfortable. There's also a lesser risk of the IUD expelling itself.

However, MANY women who have never been pregnant and get IUDs do totally fine with them, and having bene pregnant before is not required, just more recommended.

Per how many 18-22's use it, less than other methods, but part of that has to do with bias on the part of some healthcare providers more than anything else. There's no one right age for an IUD.

Condoms combined with diaphragms absolutely bump up the effectiveness rate: in perfect use, both combined provide over 99% protection.

If your healthcare provider did not give you a consult about other methods when you said you wanted off hormones, you didn't get good service. So, you may want to see about switching to a different doctor, asking in advance if they provide complete contraceptive information in visits.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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