Monday, 12 April 2010

Contraception Conundrum

For around a decade contraception was not very high on my agenda. For six years I was trying to conceive, then for the next four years I was either pregnant, breastfeeding, pregnant again or breastfeeding again. And so now, at the age of 40, I find myself back in the market for contraception - and quite frankly I'm not impressed.

Back in my youth I used to take the pill, with no apparent problems. However in the past decade I have discovered I have a blood clotting condition which makes any oestrogen-based contraception (whether it be a pill, implant or injection) a no-no.

I had thought I might try the coil, but at one of my post-natal doctors appointments my GP showed me the contraption 'in the flesh' and I have to confess the thought of having that inside me made my legs go a bit wobbly and I chickened out.

And so we compromised on a progesterone only mini-pill. I take it every day and may or may not have a period. Generally I do not, which leaves me with no monthly reassurance that I am definitely *not* pregnant and no real sense of the natural rythmn of my body. I also never know when I might have a period so it nearly always catches me out.

Having been out of the loop for some years, I guess I'm surprised things have not moved on that much and there is not more choice available to women - you either pump yourself full of hormones or have foreign bodies placed inside you. And while I'm fairly certain I don't want any more children, I don't feel quite ready to make that final decision to be sterilised.

Maybe the 'natural' alternative is to do what our grandmothers did - wear a winceyette nightie down to the floor, curlers, a hairnet and a generous slathering of face cream. Maybe GPs should prescribe this 'Passion Killer Package' on the NHS?!


Sarah said...

Completely with you on the lack of acceptable choice. I didn't want to use the pill again so was faced with nothing or an IUD. Went with the IUD in the end (copper one, no hormones). Get random bleeds during the month, plus periods. And aching. All known side-effects unfortunately. Am seriously considering having it removed, but then what?!

TheMadHouse said...

Even though it is impossible for me to fall pregnant (no ovaries), I have the coil fitted for HRT and I have to say it was painless and I was very impressed with my GP who fitted it. She chatted away thoughout the proceedure and I was really at ease with it

Anonymous said...

I'd go with the nightie! I had a bit of an ordeal with the injection and certainly wouldn't reccomend that to anyone who may want children in the future. I took it after my daughter was born for two years and didn't have a period until last year (she's 8!) so that's a long time waiting for my body to return to normal, which they say only takes 6 months! I was originally told it had made me infertile, but thankfully my periods have now returned - touch wood, and my hormones are normal again so they say everything should be in working order again now!

My sister had the coil fitted recently and it seems to agree with her, but then I suppose everyone is different. A friend was telling me today her niece had the implant a month ago and she's put on 2st 7lb in a month! The gp has told her she has to have it removed as she may end up with diabetes and high blood pressure the way she's going! Yep, definitely the nightie - just writing that's made my decision!

Anonymous said...

Abstinence is the only way forward! I sympathise about the no-hormones issue. I went with the Merina coil and it's the best thing I've ever used. No periods (bar a bit of spotting) and that's reduced from horrendous, painful, post-pregnancy periods. Minimal PMS, no significant weight gain and no other symptoms.

If you can face taking another look, I'd consider the copper coil, otherwise on with the nightie! x

Cari said...

Coil! Same predicament as you - and yes it looks scary and yes, the insertion was NOT pleasant...but it took only minutes and now for the next 5 years I don't have to think about a thing! No periods either which is a bonus. Completely converted

BNM said...

I am currently back on the pill after having problems getting the contraceptive patch which is fantastic but stocks a problem due to them sending it out to Europe!!
I've also had the injection but they are getting rid of that. I've had the implant too which was easy but didn't agree with me and I had to take the pill to keep bleeding under control!!
I am definately considering the Mirena coil as will no doubt forget to take the pill!!

geekymummy said...

I have the mirena IUD, which I had to pat fir myself at $500 bloody health insurance doesn't cover it! I have no side effects but it dies sometimes stab DH in the willy! Maybe because of this he is getting a vasectomy. If you are done having kids this is the way to go, I'll be very happy not to have that responsibility any more!

Iota said...

Geekymummy, you made me laugh! Sounds like it has the same effect as the nightie.

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