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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » non-hormonal birth control options

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Author Topic: non-hormonal birth control options
lotion
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Hey!

I was hoping that someone would be available to discuss some of the non-hormonal birth control options with me:

Cervical Barriers
Copper IUD

(are there others?)

All options will be used in combination with the male condom (latex and non).

Speaking from your experiences, what are the pros and cons of cervical barriers vs. the IUD?

Ahh! I'm reading the article here: http://www.scarleteen.com/birth_control_bingo_intrauterine_devices_iud
and a lot of it sounds scary! ...so IUDs are not suggested for young women?

Can you keep the device inside of you for more than 5 years? What if you do? Would that affect your changes of getting pregnant later on in life?

Etc. fill me in, please!

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Heather
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lotion: glad to talk about these with you.

I'd not say, at all, that modern-day IUDs are scary: want to let me know what's sounding scary to you?

What I hope I explained well in that link you provided is that women who have not been pregnant before and who are not in long-term monogamous relationships are not generally considered ideal candidates for IUDs. That's because, with the pregnancy issue, the uterus may be a little more likely to expel the device, and with the relationship, because in the first few weeks after insertion, there are risks of complications from an STI.

But that doesn't mean young women who have neither been pregnant before and who are not in long-term monogamy can't have IUDs: many do. The STI issue is pretty easily sorted just by using safer sex to the letter for the first few weeks (or longer: sounds like you have that covered already), and the nulliparity issue can tend to resolve itself for most, you just may be slightly less comfortable, physically, with insertion - and it may be a little more work for your doc -- and with the IUD while your body gets used to it.

The Mirena IUD can remain in the body for up to five years, and the copper IUD for ten. The mirena does have a very small amount of a progestin in it, but it's localized, not like the pill or Depo where it's being administered throughout your whole bloodstream.

There's no data to indicate that either IUD changes anything about fertility later: in fact, it's one of the few methods where, once removed, women can become pregnant almost immediately.

The biggest differences between IUDs and cervical barriers are that a) IUDs are much more effective, b) IUDs don't rely on you to use them properly, they take care of themselves c) IUDs are long-term methods, and d) cervical barriers need to be inserted and removed every time.

I'd say the users of barriers vs. IUDs are often groups of people with pretty different needs, so maybe you can fill me in a little more on what you're looking for in a method and what your life is like in terms of contraceptive use?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get 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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lotion
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Thank you, Heather.

Things that sound scary about an IUD:
- the device being expelled
- infection
- perforated uterus
- spotting all the time
- heavier periods
- cramping

What sounds scary about a cervical cap:
- allergic reaction to spermicide
- spermicide containing nonoxynol-9 (infection, etc.)

My periods usually last 5 days and I get cramping two weeks before but nothing major. They are regular and I'm always comfortable.

I would like to use a non-hormonal method because I'm dealing with insomnia/some anxiety/worry and I want to keep those in check naturally.

I have recently been checked for STI's, and my new partner has just been checked (no results yet, and we have not had intercourse). I know that at Scarleteen there is the 6 month rule for latex free. But what if the IUD was used in combination with condoms, given that his test results came back a-OK?

I don't mind inserting and removing objects, but (to me) that doesn't sound as effective.

Let me compare the costs, too (at my clinic):

Copper IUD - $70
Cervical Cap/Gel/Video - $120

(don't really want to consider the sponge)

Hmmm not sure what else to say at this moment.

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Heather
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Let me make sure I'm clear: are you ONLY considering the copper IUD, not the Mirena? I ask because some of the possible side effects you listed are only associated with that type.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get 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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lotion
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Yeah, just the copper IUD. The Mirena is hormonal, is it not?
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Heather
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Well, yes and no.

It works the same way the copper-T works, it just has a very small amount of localized progestin (not an estrogen) to help with some of the side effects typical to the copper-T, namely heavier periods and more cramping.

So, want to rule that one out or include it in this conversation?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get 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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lotion
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The Mirena sounds interesting. I would definitely give it some thought in the future --- but it costs $400 so it's a little too expensive for me at the moment.
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Heather
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Okay.

So, let's talk about the side effects/effects of both methods you're asking about:

quote:
Things that sound scary about an IUD:
- the device being expelled
- infection
- perforated uterus
- spotting all the time
- heavier periods
- cramping

Expulsion, if and when it happens, is not associated with pain at all. It's quite rare, but if and when it happens, usually women just realize the device isn't there anymore, and need a new one reinserted.

Infection isn't likely if you take good care of your sexual health and practice safer sex if and when you're not in a monogamous relationship and/or 100% certain there are NOT STI risks. Infections with IUDs are usually about STIs.

Uterine perforation with the newer IUDs (as opposed to those of many years ago) is also rare, and it's mostly about having an IUD inserted by a proficient provider. So, for that one, you just want to do your best to choose someone who puts in a lot of IUDs. However, with nulliparous women, this is one of the ones where you do have to know insertion is often harder for the provider to do, so it may be a little more risky for you.

Frequent spotting varies a LOT from person to person. Some folks have none, some folks have it all the time. There's really no predicting.

Heavier cramping and bleeding are often givens with the copper-T IUD, even though not everyone will experience those. What's just generally advised is that people who already have heavy, painful periods who want an IUD should choose a Mirena, not this type.

quote:
What sounds scary about a cervical cap:
- allergic reaction to spermicide
- spermicide containing nonoxynol-9 (infection, etc.)

Nonoxynol-9 doesn't cause infections. Rather, for people sensitive to spermicides (and all of them have this), it can irritate tissues making infections more likely, though again, if you are using condoms, this is unlikely.

Allergic reactions to spermicides are usually not severe, just uncomfortable. The good news on this one is you can test this out in advance before you decide on a method where you'll need them. Just try a spermicidal condom or using spermicidal film once when you're using the condoms you are, and see how you do.

So, does that leave you feeling pretty filled in on those methods?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get 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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lotion
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Thank you, Heather for all your help! [Smile] I really appreciate it.

I think the copper IUD sounds pretty good. I feel like it's the best option for me since I'd rather avoid the hormonal birth control pill. Maybe there's a place where I can read other people's experiences with the copper IUD?

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Heather
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The LiveJournal forum IUD-Divas should have a LOT of first-person accounts you can read.

That's at: http://community.livejournal.com/iud_divas

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get 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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lotion
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Thank you!
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lotion
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Hey Heather - one more thing:

I've had some issues with latex condoms (they almost always leave my vagina feeling itchy/uncomfortable/burning). So I decided to pick up a package of Lifestyles SKYNS. I have never used polyisoprene condoms before. From what I've read on the internet, most people are happy with them...but then there are the few that have that same kind of discomfort.

What I'm worried about is the lubricant! I think that maybe why I've been experiencing discomfort with latex condoms is because of the chemical ingredients. It says that the SKYNS are lubricated too...

BUT, I was thinking that maybe I could buy some non-lubricated latex condoms and do this:

quote:
If those other lubes were still looking too chemical-y for you, and you don't have to worry about lubes that will degrade condoms, you also can look into natural agents, like, say coconut oil, which is very friendly to the body, and even antimicrobial: it's been found to be effective AGAINST certain strains of candida (yeast) for instance. It's also a natural agent that is known to be safe for sexual use.
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/21/t/001636.html#000002

How would I go about using coconut oil though? I have some but it's pretty solid...

(Also, how can I test if I have a reaction to polyisoprene before I use them?)

[ 12-19-2010, 09:27 PM: Message edited by: lotion ]

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Heather
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Have you ever JUST used lube alone, like for masturbation, without the condoms?

I doubt you'll have an allergy to the poly, so it seems a lot more productive to test for the lube.

You couldn't use any oil or oil-based lubes with latex condoms, only without them or with non-latex. But if you're doing that and wanted to try coconut oil as a lube, you can just emulsify it in your hands.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get 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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lotion
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Cool! Thank you. So polyisoprene + coconut oil = okay.

I will definitely do a test just with the lube.

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lotion
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Hi Heather!!!

I'm back to ask you about the Copper IUD again --- how do you find out if a doctor is very experienced at inserting IUDs?

The clinic I would be going to is a Sexual Health Clinic and I've seen the doctor plenty of times and she also works at many post secondary clinics.

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Heather
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Just go on ahead and ask her. A good provider will be forthright about their experience with any kind of care or procedure.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get 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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