General chatter - Best Birth Control?

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03-19-2012, 02:27 PM
First and foremost I hope this doesn't violate the "Divisive Topics" rules of the forum; I sincerely do not mean to incite riots or hurt feelings.

I'm wondering what experience 3FC chicks have with finding a good birth control. I am in a monogamous relationship and neither of us want kids. We find condoms mutually unpleasant and I have heard horror stories about every form of hormonal BC. I've taken triphasic BC pills on and off for years and eventually they made me an emotional wreck who recoiled in disgust at a loving touch.

I'm not willing to compromise my mental health and relationship for the sake of preventing pregnancy, but I don't want to end up at Planned Parenthood every other month or take morning after pills all the time. Does anyone have any "success" stories with BC? At times it seems like every option is terrible.

03-19-2012, 02:36 PM
It is very much a trial and error to find what works for you. You may consider an IUD. There are both hormonal and non hormonal options available. Many doctors will not insert into a woman unless she has given birth before but this is incorrect. It can be done but may be slightly more uncomfortable (maybe worse than a pap by a tad?)

I have issues with every form of birth control but the best was Paragard copper IUD. My sister uses the Mirena. I liked the option of an IUD because I'm forgetful and often miss pills.

The clear downside to an IUD is the upfront cost. After insurance mine was about $125 which equaled what I'd pay a year in birth control anyway. The plus to that initial cost is they last 5-10 years depending on the type you get. If you don't have the money for that, you may have to "test" out several pill/ring options.

03-19-2012, 02:44 PM
But don't most IUDs use hormones too? I would use the IUD except for this. I haven't ever used hormones and don't plan to.

There's the diaphragm too. My husband and I used to use those and then during the fertile 4-5 days would use the condom as well to be doubly sure.

Though, I found that the diaphram made me less likely to reach orgasm. i think it covered up too much tissue inside or something.

We have always used condoms as birth control, but I know it's not for everyone.

Good luck to you.

03-19-2012, 02:50 PM
The copper-T (Paragard) IUD is nonhormonal.

IUD.... Many doctors will not insert into a woman unless she has given birth before but this is incorrect. It can be done but may be slightly more uncomfortable (maybe worse than a pap by a tad?)

A tad? MMV.

The single most painful experience of my life up to that time, and I'm including minor broken bones.

And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

03-19-2012, 03:00 PM
I think that's something only you guys can answer for yourselves because only you know what is on the table now (STD prevention? Pregnancy prevention?) and what may come later. (Bio children yes or no? Other health considerations?)

We used both monophasic BCP and condoms when we were dating. Exerimented with spermicides but it was messy to me.

After we were settled into a committed relationship, the condoms disappeared and it was just BCP. (I do badly on triphasic ones, monophasic is fine.) Short break to TTC and chart to CONCEIVE and have the kid, then back BCP for a few years.

Right now I'm on a BCP break again so I can do labs without those in the way of my hormone panel. So it's back to condoms we go and charting to AVOID to be sure. Once we both clear our check up things we need to do, it's vasectomy time since we're done having children.

Here's an overview of types


03-19-2012, 03:12 PM
Like you, I was VERY apprehensive about using BC. My biggest fears were emotional instability (like the horror you described!) and weight gain. After talking about it with the gyno, she prescribed Loestrin 24, which is a low hormone dosage BC. I was on it for 3 years and LOVED it. It reduced all my awful PMS symptoms (bloating, cramping, *****iness, etc) and even subdued my horrible intense 3 day bleeding to 1 day of light bleeding. I continued to lose and maintain my weight while using Loestrin.

After those 3 years, I lapsed in making my annual gyno appoint bc I was not in a relationship and was tired of taking a pill everyday. Due to other stresses, I kept forgetting to take the pill on time or would occasionally miss a day. So in my next gyno appoint, I asked for the Ortho Evra patch instead. While it does help subdue my PMS symptoms, it is not as good as Loestrin. But for now, I find the convenience of applying a patch monthly makes up for having to take a daily pill. Neither the pill or patch has hindered my weight loss journey at all.

Good luck in finding the right BC option for you!!

03-19-2012, 03:29 PM
I have not heard anything good about triphasic pills either.

I used to be on Ortho Evra and loved it. My only complaint was that I kept developing some minor skin irritation from the glue.

03-19-2012, 03:29 PM
i cannot use hormonal forms at all - one single shot of depo--provera shot left me seriously depressed, weight-gained, and with a period that lasted 9 solid months. my bff had norplant - but nobody warned her about anti-anxiety medication knocking them out so she wound up pregnant anyway (they asked if she was taking "the pill", to which she naturally answered "no" and that was that).

the IUD didn't work for me, either, but that's likely because i'm prolapsed.

have you thought of using the sponge or the diaphragm?

if you *truly* never want children, what about tubal ligation? if it's his, there are ways around it at a later date should you change your mind that are less risky and expensive than if you have it done yourself.

03-19-2012, 03:40 PM
The copper-T (Paragard) IUD is nonhormonal.

A tad? MMV.

The single most painful experience of my life up to that time, and I'm including minor broken bones.

And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Yes, a tad. I didn't find it that uncomfortable and those that I know who've had it done without birthing a child compared it to a pap smear but of a more concentrated intensity. Sorry you had a bad experience but mine was not the same.

But yes, the Paragard is the non hormonal IUD as MariaMaria stated.

03-19-2012, 03:41 PM
I used the nuvaring for over a year after a horrible hormonal fiasco with the pill. It worked very well for me, very little side effects...unfortunately I began to feel it during intercourse (making it uncomfortable) so I am switching to the patch next cycle, fingers crossed...

03-19-2012, 03:53 PM
I used to be on Ortho Evra and loved it. My only complaint was that I kept developing some minor skin irritation from the glue.

Same here.... although the irritation usually go away a day after the patch is removed. I also can't put it on my arms anymore bc it got really itchy in those spots. I like placing it on my upper buttocks now.

Not sure if I would continue the patch in a relationship though. I think it detracts from one's nudity, lol! I'd probably suck it up and go back to taking the daily Loestrin pill at that point.

A friend who used the NuvaRing had the same issue with it being noticeable to her partner during intercourse.

All In
03-19-2012, 04:19 PM
My husband and I practice natural family planning as condoms were uncomfortable for us both, the pill gave me headaches, and nuva ring was expensive. NFP has been effective for us and has no side effects, but it does force you to be close and personal with your body and you have to abstain from sex during fertile days.

03-19-2012, 04:19 PM
you could possibly get a copper IUD, which is a bit pricy, but also hormone free. the downside is a lot of doctors won't put in an IUD if you have not had a baby already. the opening of the cervix is often too narrow to insert the IUD without pain. i asked about that when looking for a non-hormonal birth control solution. she told me to check into condoms and diaphragms. i said "no thank you" on the mess factor.

my doctor put me on yasmin because of my PCOS saying it worked in 2 ways (birth control and PCOS symptom relief) and had a lower dose hormone. eh. i've had no problems with it in the time i've been on it, i just worry about how long it will stay in my system once i go off of it. she gave me a big spill about why it was a good option for me, but judging by all the product placement items (note pads, pens, etc) with yaz and yasmin on it at the office, i think they get paid for prescribing it.

good luck in finding something that works for you and your S.O. :)

03-19-2012, 06:31 PM
I no longer can have babies, hubby got a vasectomy, but I was having VERY heavy periods and my doctor recommended Mirena IUD. I had had a C-section with my daughter so I hadn't delivered vaginally. I agree with MariaMaria, it was VERY painful. I actually pushed out the speculum! LOL The doctor hadn't seen that one before! ;) I still would do it again, as I am one of those lucky ones who doesn't have a period with this particular BC. I'm 50 now and it will be time to replace this year, and I will definately do that. After that maybe it won't be necessary anymore.

03-19-2012, 09:36 PM
I've been taking beyaz for about a year and don't have mood swings at all. I've had absolutely no problems with it. It treats PMDD, that's probably why I don't have mood swings. I've had no side effects from it. Before that I was on YAZ and was fine with that as well. I loved them both, but it's a pill and it's hormonal.

03-19-2012, 09:53 PM
I got on the Pill at 18 and tried 5 different pills over the course of a year-and-a-half. Each affected my body in a noticeably different way. You might be able to find the right one through some trial and error. I'd still be on the Pill if I could be--I loved it--but I started having migraines with aura, so I can't do anything with estrogen anymore.

I had the Paragard (non-hormonal copper) IUD inserted at the beginning of February (off the Pill last June). Like XLMuffnTop, I would describe the experience as uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad as I expected. (29, never been pregnant) The cramps during my first period since then were quite bad, to be honest, but they were mostly managed with ibuprofen (the worst part was waking up in the middle of the night when the ibuprofen had worn off), and most women seem to report that the cramps get somewhat better over time. My first period was also very long, but I'm told that gets better, too.

03-19-2012, 10:03 PM
I have Mirena and love it. No issues with it at all. The only thing you have to remember is the 5 year thing and they give you a card so you remember when you got it. I've had several different types of BC pills and I was either forgetting to take them or an emotional wreck. The patch gave me massive headaches. So far no crazy hormones on the IUD except the random cry every now and then, but who doesn't need a good cry sometimes?!

03-19-2012, 11:35 PM
I've also run the gambit of BC methods. I'm not a fan of condoms and allergic to latex. Tried every kind of non-latex but I still despise them. However, I used them until my current partner whom I fully expect to stay with. I've used a few of the different brands of pills including triphasic and low dose. They all mess me up pretty bad. I've considered the copper IUD but after reading reviews and hearing what my doc had to say, it seems that a lot of women have constant break through bleeding. Obviously that doesn't apply to everyone though. After trying the Nuvaring, I won't be switching. It has worked fabulously for me with and the only side effect being a lower sex drive. Lower sex drive as in, I don't think about or want it on my own accord but if it's initiated I'm all in. Just need that initial boost. I can't feel it and if you can, it means it probably needs adjustment. It happens occasionally. And another plus, it's effectiveness is not affected by antibiotics like the pill. :) It IS expensive BUT if you order it via Canadian pharmacy, it's much cheaper. $80 for 3 rings which includes free shipping... totals out to about $27 a month.

03-20-2012, 12:01 AM
Best birth control??

Taking care of someone else's kids. Having your own kids..ha.

oh and IUD. works wonders. The copper one not the hormonal one (can make u coo-coo from the hormones..

Latchkey Princess
03-20-2012, 12:49 AM
I got the Paragard IUD (the copper one) after my last kid. It hurt a bit when they measured how far to put it in, but pain only lasted about 5 seconds. The IUD lasts for ten years and the only downside is my periods are pretty heavy and I get crampy the first day of them (but manage it with midol). It's recommended most for women who've had children, but it can be done if you haven't had kids, just make sure the doc puts it in right after your period when your cervix is still open a little, otherwise it will hurt because they will have to manually dilate your cervix. Ouch.

Arctic Mama
03-20-2012, 02:04 AM
I second natural family planning, though we definitely use condoms during the fertile window as I get pregnant very easily and we don't want to abstain. I can't really endorse any other form of birth control, there are too many negative side effects for me.

03-20-2012, 08:03 AM
I'm on a monophasic pill and haven't had any issues with them. I started on Alesse and only changed when I moved countries because they don't have it in the UK. I went to Yasmin, which wasn't a great one for me, as it managed to kill any interest in my hubby that I had, and I'm now on Mercilon, which is pretty good for me.

I've never tried a triphasic pill or the shots/implants because other women in my family have had horrible reactions to both - crying/screaming/mood swings and a few pregnancies as well, which sort of defeats the purpose.

I'm on BC because of period symptoms, so mine need to be hormonal or so I was told ages ago. I don't know if anyone else uses a non-hormonal form of BC that controls cramps/bleeding and regulates periods, but I'm always happy to look into something new if someone has a suggestion.

03-20-2012, 08:46 AM
I used Nuva ring and loved it! -- I was given it to forgo period ( I went 3 months between periods). I did not feel it, I did not need to remember to take the pill, and it is lower in hormones.

03-20-2012, 10:37 AM
My daughter has switched from the pill to Nuva Ring. She was having trouble remembering to take the pill, especially when she was away at school. We talked to our doctor about other IUD inserts but because she has never had children and does want them in the future, there were too many risks. The doctor suggested Nuva ring and at first she was hesitant but decided to give it a try for 3 months and she loves it. She does not have to worry about taking a pill every night, it is the most effective kind of BC aside from the pill, and she has not experienced any side effects.
If you are sure you never want to have children, consider having your tubes tied. I really is an easy process and can be reversed if you change your mind in the future.

03-20-2012, 11:39 AM
I second the suggestion for Loestrin 24... it has been the only BC pill I have been satisfied with.

I tried several others (can't remember all the names; I know Alesse was one of them) that coincided with me having massive mood swings, weight gain,a libido that could not have been lower, breakouts, etc. I had "given up" on BC pills for several years before seeing my doc a couple of summers ago for my annual. I have always had severe menstrual cramps, and she suggested that I may have endometriosis and told me to give Loestrin 24 a shot. This was after me explaining that I've had problems with other BC formulations in the past, but Loestrin is a low-dose pill that is supposed to be a bit lighter on the side-effects.

I've been on it for two years now and I can't say enough good things. It is a low-dose pill, so I did have some inconvenient spotting for the first three-four months of use. You also have to be fairly consistent with the timing of the pills, as it seems that you can easily induce spotting with a shift of even several hours in your regimen. However, I have not had severe cramps in over a year, my mood is generally good, no nose-dive on my sex-drive (thank god), no problems with weight loss, and my period is generally super light.

good luck with figuring out what works for you.

03-20-2012, 11:42 AM
Thanks for all the stories and input guys. The greatest lesson here is certainly "every situation is different." I'll have medical insurance with my new job so maybe playing around with different kinds of BC will actually be a viable option for me.

03-20-2012, 11:48 AM
I'm 25,never been pregnant, and I don't have kids.

I tried the depo shot first, which made me depressed, gained a lot of weight on it, and it just wasn't right for me. The only positives are that my skin cleared up, lighter period, and I didn't get pregnant.

I was switched to a pill and I took that for a little while. I was afraid of it not working, me forgetting it, and it was a hassle to me to have to remember to take it every day at the same time. I had my boyfriend use condoms as a backup most of the time when I was on the pill. It was better than the shot though.

I went back to the health dept, and the nurse brought up the nuva ring and copper iud since I had put on a lot of weight. Nuva Ring would have been $45 a month. I didn't like that idea.

However, they had funds allocated for something to do with the health department, and they needed to use it. I was told that I could get the Paragard IUD for free and inserted for free. However, I would have to go to a gynecologist to have it inserted. So I did. Best birth control I've used so far.

Yes, it hurt bad, even after 800mg of ibuprofen. It was worth it. I would do it again.

Only bad thing is that my skin breaks out all the time now, but I think it's because of hormones. My skin was always breaking out as a teen. Periods are much lighter, but they last longer.

03-20-2012, 11:51 AM
Also, check out iud_divas on livejournal for iud stories. Not every birth control is right for every woman.

03-20-2012, 12:04 PM
This month marks 6 years with the Ring for me. I will probably never switch to anything else. I don't have to worry about remembering a daily pill (if I did, I'd have several kids by now) and haven't really had any side effects. DH has never felt it, neither have I. It's expensive compared to other BC, but totally worth it to me.

I thought about IUD but my sister had an awful, awful experience with hers. My gyno did an exam and said that I have a very small uterus. It wouldn't necessarily be painful, but I would probably be able to feel it a good portion of the time. No thanks!

03-20-2012, 12:29 PM
I dont think there is a "best" birth control pill/patch/method per se.

I use ortho evra placed on my upper thigh. Rotating back and forth between legs to minimize irritation (and it is minimal) It works well for me.

03-20-2012, 01:08 PM
I have been on BC since I was 16 for medical reasons. I started on the pill...hated remembering it every day, went to the patch.

Patch worked awhile, then suddenly I developed a skin rash from it. I did not like the patch so much as it did not always stick the whole time, and it got that nasty band-aid goo which collected lint..and looked gross.

So went to the Nuvaring....LOVED IT. I used it for years. I just switched now as I have been in a monogamous relationship for over a year and a half....he was complaining that it would hurt him during sex..poor guy!

So went to the gyno and am on the Implanon. (It is subdermal..goes under your arm, pretty painless and I don't know it's there) It is a 3 year birth control with only prostegen unlike the pills which have estrogen too. Anyways I have had it since biggest complaint is erratic periods. Other than that no side effects. The period thing is annoying, but after 6 months the doctor says the periods either go away or greatly I am still waiting.

I still don't like the idea of "no periods" as it feels safe to me to know I am not preggo.....but then again I hate periods LOL! So far so good though, no babies. Going through more tampons than with the other BC but I am hoping for some change soon.

There are a lot of options, but you just have to find one you can put up with!

03-21-2012, 07:42 AM
I will tell you one you should steer clear of: Yasmin (Yaz).

In October 2009 I started taking Yasmin to help with my cycles, which have always been grossly irregular and excruciatingly painful. On November 19th, I almost died from a MASSIVE pulmonary embolism. Ten days prior I had begun to experience severe leg pain. I'm talking "please cut my leg off to spare me this agony" leg pain. I spent nearly every day in the ER at work. I had Doppler ultrasounds done, x-rays, blood work, saw a Rheumatologist, was put on IV antibiotics a week before I nearly died, and no one could catch the problem. The pain was so bad that standing still for longer than 9 seconds (I timed it) caused all the pain to localize in my ankle and it felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer and smashed it against my ankle. It just "exploded."

November 18th, I got up to go home (yes, I kept working, which was painful given I use my right, affected, foot for my job and for driving) and felt my heart begin to race a bit and I had some trouble breathing. I figured it was just my asthma in reaction to the stress from the pain and the previous 10 days.

November 19th, while at work, I crouched under the desk to plug my space heater in and when I stood up, it felt like my heart was trying to leap out of my chest. I couldn't breathe, my heart was racing a million miles a minute. I could barely speak. I managed to stagger out of the office and collapse while my coworker ran to get a wheelchair.

Four hours later, after another IV was shoved inside and I went through a CT scanner (finding out I'm allergic to CT contrast dye, which causes me unbelievable pain; like boiling oil being injected into my vein), they found not one but TWO massive clots nearly completely obstructing the very largest portions of my pulmonary arteries. For a size comparison, at their widest, your pulmonary arteries are nearly the diameter of an American quarter. Had I not gone to the ER, I had a 75% chance of dying at home that night.

Just laying in bed, my heart rate was skyrocketing over 157 beats/minute. Moving it caused it to spike to over 200 beats/minute. My oxygen saturation (how much oxygen was getting into my blood) fell to below 80% (dangerous) and they were so worried I was going to have a heart attack, they finally had to give me Ativan to calm my heart down. I also developed a heart murmur (although that turned out to be temporary).

In January 2010, upon seeing an internal medicine doctor, I was told that 99% of people who have the amount of clot burden I had end up in the ICU or the morgue, and not walking out of the hospital 2 days after admission (I also went back to work the day I after I was discharged, though then took 3 weeks off).

I went through 6 months of warfarin therapy and genetic testing to find out that I had no genetic predispositions for clots; no clotting disorders, etc. I'd gone 24 years without a single incident. No excessive nosebleeds, etc. But one month after taking Yasmin, I was nearly dead.

If I ever choose to get pregnant (which I don't), I will be at a high risk of developing more clots, of losing the baby, of excessive bleeding during pregnancy, hypertension, etc.

I am never allowed to ever, ever take another form of birth control again (shot or pill; IUD is an option because the amount of hormone delivered is smaller than with the other two options).

It took me nearly 2 years to fully 100% recover from the clot (which they figure was somewhere in my pelvis, which is why they couldn't find it), during which time I could barely walk any faster than a shuffle; I was out of breath constantly; I had asthma attacks nearly 3 times a day; I had to undergo several more tests on my heart to see if it was permanently damaged (thank God it wasn't and it did recover; both pieces of the clot passed through my heart and if it hadn't been for a strong heart, I would be dead); and the emotional toll still has me shaken. Also, my right leg (the one that I had problems with) is STILL swollen an inch larger around then my left and nothing will help that. It will either dissipate over time, or it won't. It kind of comes and goes. Whenever I fly, I need to take aspirin for 10 days prior and be mindful of any symptoms I may develop whilst flying. Since I work a sedentary job, I need to be mindful to get up and move around frequently as I am now at a greater risk of developing another clot in the future than I was before.

After all the genetic tests, it was determined that had I not been taking Yasmin, I almost certainly would not have experienced the clot or the subsequent pulmonary embolism. Yasmin has a much much higher likelihood of causing these problems than other pills and I am now part of a class action lawsuit in Canada (with a similar one being filed in the US) against the makers of Yasmin. Girls HAVE died (the youngest I heard was 15; she had to have surgery to have clots cut out of her lungs before she ended up having a massive heart attack and dying) from taking Yasmin. Yet it's still prescribed and still on the shelves with nothing more than a black label warning.

Had the clot not gone to my heart, but instead up another route and to my brain, I was told that I would have been dead before I hit the floor in the office. Absolutely instantaneous. Gone without saying goodbye. At 24.

I had considered having an IUD placed, but because I have not had children I have heard the experience is extremely painful, so I haven't. I also don't have the money, as they run around $600 or so.

03-21-2012, 05:34 PM
Lots of good information here and some... not so good info. Your best bet is to make an appointment with a healthcare provider who does lots of contraception counseling and knows all the options (meaning, one who's not stuck in the 1980s with respect to the IUD). We don't know your medical history, so it's really hard to give advice. I tell all my patients that whatever they select, they need to try for at least 3-6 months to give their body time to adjust (unless scary stuff like what happened to Rainbowgirl happens -- unfortunately, we only learned that drospirenone increases the risk of clots more than other forms of progesterone after Yaz was approved. scary!). When they go in with the expectation that the first few months might be wonky, most do fine on whatever form of contraception they choose.

03-21-2012, 08:09 PM
I should also mention that I had no classic symptoms of a DVT. Namely, my calf wasn't swollen, or red, or hot. It looked just like a regular leg. It wasn't sore, either. The pain was on my shin, right side of the right leg, like someone was cutting through tendons with a dull knife. That's why for those 10 days, no one really suspected a clot.

I was, as they say, the "zebra." (When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras) lol.

03-25-2012, 11:49 PM
i've used nuvaring in the past. it was great for the convenience. i suppose its kind of weird for the guy, they might feel it. i remember having some mood swings and weight gain but i was in a crappy relationship and heavily medicated on fried food and alcohol.

i'm now on cyclessa, which is a triphasic pill. personally, i have had NO side effects at all. seriously. and the pills are so tiny. i've been on it for nearly a year and i'm very satisfied. i actually can't believe how well it has gone, because my mom (and maybe even my grandma) couldn't take hormonal birth control.

you don't know til you try, i guess. but it's no fun anxiously waiting to see whether you turn into a fat, angry beast or not.