It’s time to come off birth control

Questions and discussion about contraception, safer sex, STIs, sexual healthcare and other sexual health issues.
Kela
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It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Kela » Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:39 pm

Hi!

I haven’t been here a while, and before I start I am 25 and I know your policy is younger people come first so that’s fine I don’t mind waiting for an answer :)

I’ve been on nexplanon now for 6 years and about 8 months. Recently, I’ve started to feel it’s time I come off it. But I don’t want to go on anything else hormonal either. I just think why put all these extra hormones in when, at this point in my life, I don’t really feel I NEED them? Obviously I know if I’m not on anything there is a question of pregnancy prevention. I’m a bit stuck here... I don’t enjoy sex, I find it painful and just unecessary. My boyfriend doesn’t feel the same, and I know he’ll be upset. I’m happy to do non penetrative things, I’m confident now I know what causes pregnancy and what doesn’t haha.

I’d just appreciate someone to sound off around my life off birth control, and all the logistics that come with it, from sexual activity to potential side effects, as it’s been a while since I wasn’t on anything at all.

Thanks for taking the time to read this :)

Kela x

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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Alice M. » Sat Mar 07, 2020 3:20 pm

Hi Kela,

Welcome back! Happy to have you here.

There are certainly non-hormonal birth control options out there for you, and it's entirely reasonable to see how you feel off of them. I personally did this recently after many years of hormonal BC use and it was quite interesting.

First I'd like to address your report of painful sex. Was this the case before you started using Nexplanon as well? Is it more recent? Before we chalk that up to your hormonal birth control, I'd like to talk about that some more if that's alright with you. I hear you say that your boyfriend will be upset about discontinuing certain types of sex -- do you feel comfortable navigating that discussion with him?

Additionally, have you taken a peek here? From OW! to WOW! Demystifying Painful Intercourse

As far as birth control goes, you have a few options. There are Cervical Barriers (Diaphragms, Lea's Shield and Cervical Caps) and Intrauterine Devices (IUD, IUC or IUS) -- including one IUD which does not contain hormones. Have you looked into either of those at all? Would you feel comfortable with something like a diaphragm, which you'd need to insert yourself prior to any sexual activity involving a risk of pregnancy? Or would you prefer something that doesn't require you to do anything beyond initial insertion and removal by a doctor, sort of like the implant has been for you?

One diaphragm option that you have in the UK currently is the Caya and you wouldn't need a fitting or prescription, which is pretty cool.

It's tricky to predict how anyone's body will feel when discontinuing hormonal birth control. It impacts all of us in different ways. If you're experiencing side effects, it's entirely likely that those will dissipate once you stop. It can take a few cycles for your body and menstrual cycle to get back to whatever "normal" will be for you.

Kela
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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Kela » Sat Mar 07, 2020 3:38 pm

Hi Alice! Thanks for getting back to me :)

I’ve always found sex painful, due to upbringing I still have negative feelings regarding sex (eg super religious fanatical beliefs being forced on me), so I know it’s likely a tension thing, but I remember being so disappointed the first time that it wasn’t overly comfortable. Sometimes it’s not even about it hurting, just super uncomfortable and something I could do without to be honest :( I’ll definitely read that article thanks!

I honestly haven’t really given a thought to the cap and things, probably because I’m just not keen on having that kind of sex, and I’m under the impression the iud is only recommended in you have had children?

I had my first smear test in January, my results were clear but I found it incredibly painful! I know I have to go because it’s important but honestly it was horrific :,( so I don’t think an iud would be good for that reason.

Is the diaphragm the same as a cap? We would also use condoms, even with my implant we use condoms and he never comes when he’s inside, in fact he never comes anyway because he says the condom stops him doing it. I have to give him oral sex afterwards without the condom on for him to come :( so sex in general isn’t great to be honest, and I’d be happy to just do it for procreation reasons and not any other time :( which is sad bc I want to enjoy it but there’s just too many blocks in my way.

One good thing about the implant is that it stopped what used to be quite heavy periods, I think that will take some getting used to again!

Also, I don’t know if it’s because my implant is relatively new still (9 months) but since January my boobs are SO SO painful! I have had a period so I know it’s not pregnancy, but one does hurt worse than the other which is normal to an extent but I’m worried it could be something more serious like breast cancer :( it’s quite a lumpy boob anyway as I have fibroadenomas, so I can’t even check properly for a lump because atm they’re so swollen and sore :,( I’m hoping to have another ‘period’ soon so they’ll go back down! But the pain is horrible so I’ll be glad to not get that unpredictably anymore!

It’s been so long since I wasn’t on nexplanon I’m worried about what the future holds, what my life will be like afterwards, whether I’ll start worrying about pregnancy again and what happens If I do want to have penetrative sex? I know I want it out but there are so many things to think about :(

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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:14 am

Hi Kela,

I just wanted to jump in here to address a few of your questions. With those other methods Alice mentioned, diaphragms and cervical caps work in the same way, but differ in terms of things like size and how long they need to stay in after intercourse in order to be effective. As for the IUD, it's a method that's available to people regardless of whether they have given birth. In fact, it's increasingly recommended for people who are younger and haven't had kids because it's both a very effective, long-term method of pregnancy prevention and one that can be easily reversed once it's removed.

I hear you expressing a lot of worries around vaginal sex, both in terms of how much physical discomfort is involved and you're concerns that pregnancy fears will show up once you're off Nexplanon. When a sexual activity is causing you so much stress or unpleasantness for so little enjoyment, that's a sign it may be something to take off the table entirely. There are lots of other things, like oral and manual sex, or sex that involves sex toys, that you and your partner could engage in that could be way more pleasurable than what it sounds like is happening now. Is that kind of option something you feel you could raise with him?

Kela
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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Kela » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:59 am

i had a read of the articles but the thought of them makes me feel weird :lol: yeah definitely, because I’m so anxious he doesn’t enjoy sex either, so it will be better for both of us to just stick to non-penetrative activities I think. Do you have any articles on making a sex life based around those activities?

Is oral sex safe to do like all the time? I’ve been checked for genital hpv, but could I still have oral hpv? I’ve always done oral sex more than penetrative, and I’m slightly concerned because I know there’s an increased risk of and oral cancers with hpv infection. I’m also a chronic cheek biter so often have broken skin inside my mouth.

Also, I just want to check because I’m not sure, in my profile on my orientation section I’ve put cisgender and straight. Is this the right way to describe it? I’ve seen someone’s put Cishet in theirs, just wondering if that’s the better way to express it? Or does cisgender and straight make sense? :lol:

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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Amanda F. » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:55 am

Hi Kela,

Great question re: different activities that don't require penetration! There's SO much you can do together, and I think a lot of these activities might actually be more fun/pleasurable than penetrative sex. Here's an big ol' list to get you started: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/advi ... _stocklist

We also recently released this awesome 'zine called "F*ck Me!" which is all about communicating with your partner to create a great sex life for the two of you.

Whether you have oral HPV depends mostly on your history of partners and your boyfriend's history. It can be shared via skin-to-skin contact like kissing. It's important to realize that HPV is generally low-risk and extremely common; and for those strains that can increase your risk of cancer, you can actually get vaccinated against them. Most infections get cleared normally by the body within 2 years. More info about HPV here: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/sexu ... avirus_hpv

Your definition of your identity is yours! If you feel most comfortable writing cisgender and straight, that's fine :) Since you've denoted your pronouns as she/her, I would understand that to mean you are a cis straight woman.

Can you take a look at the list and the 'zine and let me know what you think? Do any of the activities in there look like things you'd like to explore with your boyfriend?

Kela
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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Kela » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:55 pm

Omg I totally forgot to mention I am actually vaccinated :lol:

Thanks for those! I’ve had a read through, I’m open to anything except penetrative sex, we sometimes just do oral, or I think it’s called tribadism? Dry humping without clothes lol and I can normally get off on just that. I use toys, I masturbate often when on my own.

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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Mo » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:02 pm

How would you feel about talking with your partner and suggesting you focus on other kinds of sex besides intercourse, for now? It sounds like the two of you have plenty of other things that you both enjoy.

Kela
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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Kela » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:23 am

We’ve actually already had that kind of discussion. I’d like to bring the conversation back to birth control if that’s okay, I would be interested to hear peoples real life experiences of coming off hormonal birth control, particularly the implant if anyone has a story to share?

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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Tue Mar 10, 2020 2:15 pm

I kind of accidentally went off birth control a little while ago due to lack of access and really the only thing that happened is that I spotted a lot and had more random periods than I've ever had while my body sorted itself out and remembered what it was doing. I don't recall any other side effects, but I did get back on birth control, fortunately, and stopped having periods again.

You might compare coming off birth control to back when you were first getting your period. You might experience random bleeding for a couple months, you may get PMS again, your periods may be heavier for a while and you might experience more cramps than usual for a couple months, if going on BC helped with acne then you may notice yourself getting more breakouts - things like that. Shouldn't be anything you haven't really experienced before. =)

Kela
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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Kela » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:19 am

Thanks horriblegoose!

I’m hoping a bit of weight will also come off :( :lol: I have a phone appt on Friday with a Dr, what do I say if they try and persuade me to keep it in longer? I’ve only had it in 9 months and I do feel bad for wasting NHS money getting it out already :( but I’ve had two others that lasted the whole 3 years, so it’s not like I’m indecisive. I spoke to someone at work who said to simply say ‘my circumstances have changed and I’d like it out’

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Re: It’s time to come off birth control

Unread postby Heather » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:59 am

I want to just poke my nose in to say that you're not wasting NHS money because you want a method out! For many people, if not most, finding right methods requires some trial and error: healthcare systems account for this just like they often do for other kinds of medications, devices or care. There's nothing wrong about what you're choosing for yourself, and you don't even need a reason. Just wanting it out is enough, truly.
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