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Author Topic: Condoms and the pill? (And Crohn's)
mmiiaa
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Hi there! I'm new here, so I'm not sure how this works, but I really need advice.
I'm 19, and I decided to get on the pill (Loestrin24) because I was tired of having scares from just using condoms. And then taking plan B twice in one month which ruined my body! I haven't started yet, but my boyfriend and I are talking about the options.

I don't want to stop using condoms. 1. Because he hasn't been tested and 2. I have Crohn's, which there is a possibility that the effectiveness of the pill can be lowered. No chances there.

But once he gets tested and comes out clean, he wants to forego the condoms. I WANT to not use condoms, but it makes me paranoid. I feel really bad, because I know that in a LTR, no one really wants to use them. He says they're expensive, but so is the pill!! I don't really know how to handle this, or whether I should compromise and say we can do without the condom every once in a while.

What do you think? If he's clean (i'm pretty sure), should we just try without? Or am I being silly about being adamant. I'm not even sure if my Crohn's reduces the risk all that much..

Help!

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September
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Wanting to protect yourself is NEVER silly.

How much the Crohn's affects your protection is hard to say. What you'll definitely want to take into consideration is that the pill can be compromised with diarrhea, so if your Crohn's is giving you frequent diarrhea, you may want to reconsider using oral contraceptives and go for something that doesn't involve the gastrointestinal tract.

The other thing is that, depending on whether you have an active inflammation and where it is, the pill may not be getting properly absorbed. This is where it gets tricky, as we have no way of knowing where along your intestines the pill gets absorbed most.

So, if you don't suffer from frequent diarrhea and you don't have an active inflammation right now, the pill should be at typical effectiveness for you, which is around 92%. But there's no way to be certain.

It's always smart to continue using condoms, even in a long-term-relationship, and plenty of people do just that.

And you are right: cost should not be an issue here. Condoms are cheaper than the pill, and MUCH cheaper than handling an unintended pregnancy. Do you think you can have another conversation about this with your partner?

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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KittenGoddess
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With regard to your question about the pill & Crohn's, your best bet is going to be to talk with your doctor. We're not doctors and don't have your medical history, other medications, etc. to refer to. Anytime you're dealing with an ongoing medical concern and you add a new med, you want to discuss that with your primary doctor to make sure there are no interactions.

quote:
I feel really bad, because I know that in a LTR, no one really wants to use them.
You know, this is something that I see people say a lot and I must confess that I really don't get it. Many people in long term relationships do use condoms quite happily. Perhaps a partner isn't able to use hormonal methods due to other health concerns or simply because they don't want to use those methods. Perhaps they want a method that is essentially instantly reversible. Maybe they like the convenience or it is less costly for them. Whatever the reason, please don't buy into the idea that everybody in LTR's is anti-barrier method.

If you're not comfortable being without a backup method, then don't be without a backup method. Certainly, until a partner has tested clear we don't want to consider the STI risk reduced. Barriers are the only thing that's going to address that concern. At the end of the day, YOU are the one who could become pregnant and have to deal with everything associated with that. So if you're not comfortable with the risk, you get to make that choice. Let your partner know that you are not comfortable with it and want to continue to use condoms. If he's not on board with that, then that is not a partner you probably want to be sexual with right now. Another option would be to explore other backup methods that could be paired with the pill.

ETA: Joey beat me to it! [Smile]

[ 12-02-2011, 04:11 PM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

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Sarah Liz

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mmiiaa
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Fortunately, I don't have frequent diarrhea and I just went to an MRI that said my Crohn's wasn't active. I still have a little bit of inflammation, but technically, I'm in remission. I believe it is the last small part of my small intestine where I'm slightly inflamed.

That's good to hear that I'll at least be at typical effectiveness.

Though, do you think I should even go on the pill if it's 92% for the pill, but about 98% perfect use for the condom? (We do use it every time.) But I guess if the condom breaks, it's a relief to have back up like the pill, right?

Thank you for your reply though! I'll have another talk with him, and I'm sure he'll be a bit disappointed, but he'll respect it...hopefully. I mean, are there any condoms that give more..pleasure? For him? And me too? I just feel bad if he's not feeling anything..

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mmiiaa
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Thank you also Kitten Goddess!

Yeah...that's all I hear is no condoms in LTRs. A few older guys I know says it's silly if you're both committed, and just a lot of things I see around the internet gave me that impression. But you make a good point.

Now, as far as other backup methods that is not the condom, I've never heard of any.. Or at least any that are as quick and easy as the condom. Are you talking about the sponge or something?

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September
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Have you looked into other hormonal methods, such as the Nuva Ring, Implanon or the Depo shot? All of those would be excellent choices for you: they offer the high protection of hormonal birth control, but they are not taken orally, so you don't have to worry about your Crohn's interacting. You can read up on your options here: Birth Control Bingo!

That said, if you have a mild case of Crohn's and are in remission, oral contraceptives aren't a bad idea either, you'll just want to be aware of the potential problems.

This article may give you some ideas for that conversation with your boyfriend: Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner

It's also not true that condoms reduce feeling to that extent. It's a very, very thin sheath of latex - it's barely noticeable. And if you use thinner condoms and use extra lube, you'll barely know they're there at all.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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mmiiaa
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@September, I have thought about those, mostly the Depo shot, but I've heard that there is a larger chance of weight gain and side effects on it, since it stays in your body for 3 months. The others I haven't looked at a lot, but my mother probably wouldn't be happy with me doing it. (She's still paying for most of this since I'm in college, so I've gotta respect what she puts her money towards..)

I'll take a look at those articles!

And, while I'm talking about condoms, I read somewhere that thinner condoms have less of a chance of breakage because of less friction? Is this true? I always thought that since they were thinner there was more of a chance for a break.

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September
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Why don't you start by finding out then how much each of these options would cost for you? How much you pay depends on your insurance, and the pill does not automatically have to be cheapest, especially if you factor in that Depo and Implanon are more long-term.

And, yes! It's true that thinner condoms are less likely to break. A thinner condom causes less friction than a thick one. And adding more lube helps, too.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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KittenGoddess
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quote:
Yeah...that's all I hear is no condoms in LTRs. A few older guys I know says it's silly if you're both committed, and just a lot of things I see around the internet gave me that impression. But you make a good point.
Certainly there are people who prefer to go without condoms and use other methods solely in LTRs (just like in any other kind of relationship). And I've heard those same things you're hearing. But ya know, I also know a TON of people in LTRs who talk openly about using condoms. I've been with my partner for 10 years now and condoms are still our preferred method for contraception.

I think there's a certainly cultural narrative out there about condoms. Especially for men, it seems that you're "supposed" to say no condoms in LTRs. But in practice, that really isn't what "everybody" is doing.

You need to make decisions based upon what's best for you here.

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Sarah Liz

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