Conceiving of greener contraception

bcp

In one of my recent posts, Arduous and I got a little sidetracked in the comments section and began talking about how frustrating it is trying to find an eco-friendly method of birth control.

The only options out there, when it comes to contraception, seem to be:

  1. Taking the pill (like Marvelon, Allesse, Tri-Cyclen, etc)
  2. Using condoms (preferably a brand like Beyond Seven)
  3. Getting an IUD inserted
  4. Using sponges, spermicidal gels and diaphragms
  5. Relying on the rhythm/calendar method
  6. Good ol’ abstinence

Well, considering the pill ends up sending a LOT of estrogen and progesterone out through our urine, into the toilet, down through the sewer system and finally into our lakes and streams where it gives poor froggies unwanted sex changes and eventually depletes their population, that doesn’t seem very sustainable at all.

Condoms — well, fine, they’re probably the most straightforward solution, but they’re still annoying and they create waste.

The thought of inserting a copper wire into my uterus in order to screw up the natural balance of whatever the heck’s in my uterus (can you tell I flunked science?) just creeps me out, but it does seem effective and is most definitely sustainable. Still, though… putting wires where I eventually want to grow another human being?

Sponges, gels and diaphragms are usually messy and there’s the unrealistic expectation that a woman will be able to know precisely when she’s about to have sex and can easily duck into the bathroom half an hour before and immediately after. This also assumes she’s at home… unless she’s the kind of girl who carries all these items in her purse.

Personally, I’m a fan of the rhythm or calendar method, but only because I haven’t gotten knocked up yet. This is considered the most unreliable of all birth control methods, however I think this is mostly because people are inherently lazy and/or stupid and can’t figure out when they’re ovulating (um, yeah…  don’t quote me on this when I end up with child a month from now). Anyway, you basically have to take your temperature every morning as soon as you wake up and chart its progression until you start to see a regular up-and-down pattern. Combine this with other observations such as the look/feel/smell of what’s going on in that region (I will NOT be showing you the rather blunt photo of cervical mucus that Wikipedia does; you can see for yourself), and it actually becomes very obvious when you are at risk of getting pregnant and when you’re definitely in the clear. Honestly, there are only about five to seven days when you shouldn’t be having sex.

And lastly, there’s the absolute most effective and most sustainable form of protection: abstinence. Yep, the old don’t-have-sex-to-begin-with approach. Uh, right. Good luck with that!

Really, though, everyone has a method that works best for him or her, and it all depends on where you’re at in life, who you’re with (or not with), and what you’re doctor says.

Thoughts? What kind of contraception do you guys use?

Image from The Karlos’ on Flickr

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52 Responses to Conceiving of greener contraception

  1. robin says:

    What about the Depo shot?

  2. Anna Banana says:

    I opt for homosexuality. Best birth control around ;)

  3. Ailsa Ek says:

    Being old. *sigh* I wouldn’t mind being pregnant again (although two or three years ago would have been better) but my systems past its sell-by date.

    And I’ll agree with you that the calendar method can be very effective if you put the work into it.

  4. Tim says:

    I’m a guy but in the unlikely case of going Orlando I’d use a fertility computer thingy like persona, analysing the hormones in the urine:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertility_monitor

  5. […] Green as a Thistle talks contraception. […]

  6. Liz says:

    Don’t forget other hormonal contraceptives like the Ortho Evra patch, the Depo Provera shot, and the Nuva ring. I’ve tried all — as well as various pills, condoms, and the diaphragm.

    I don’t know how green it is, but my favorite method has been the Nuva ring. It’s easy to use and tends to have fewer side effects, which is very important to me since I’m sensitive to those sort of things. In fact, my reactions to the shot were awful and since you can just undo it, I do NOT recommend it unless you know for sure that your body is ok with those specific drugs in it. (I don’t know why my doc thought that I’d do any better on that when the pills made me so sick, but it just seemed like the next thing to try.)

  7. gettinggreen says:

    Haha, I think Anna Banana gets the award for Best Comment Ever! Hm, yeah, I totally forgot about the Depo shot and the Nuvo ring… I guess I’m kind of looking for other non-hormonal methods, though (on a personal note, I went off the pill a while back and it took me a full year to get my period back. Not cool). Oh, and also: Orlando method? Never heard of that!

  8. ashley.star says:

    Oh, yay!

    I’m so happy to hear someone else is using fertility awareness. I’ve been practicing it for nearly 2 years with no baby yet. Woohoo!

    No waste, no hormones, and virtually free. Super low-impact.

    And, seriously – on the “no sex” days, you can always use another method of BC.

    Also, withdrawal, if done CORRECTLY supposedly is as effective as a condom. Take that for what it’s worth. :)

  9. P says:

    Rhythm/calendar method alone isn’t very reliable. HOWEVER, there is a HUGE difference in effectiveness between the rhythm/calendar method and “Natural Family Planning” which uses things like temp charting and monitoring cervical/cervical mucus changes to determine one’s fertile days. HUGE. Check out books like “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler to learn more about that. Other easy-to-use/completely reversible green options include using Queen Anne’s Lace seeds or a tincture made from them (see sites like http://www.robinrosebennett.com – look in the “articles” section for the one on “wild carrot”). Also, using neem oil or neem cream or neem capsules (made from the neem tree) have been shown to work well. Some have also had success using raw honey in place of spermicidal creams/jellies etc. http://www.sisterzeus.com has links to a yahoo group that is specifically for people who are/who want to use herbal methods of birth control.

  10. yarrow says:

    i have a copper Paraguard IUD, and i love it. i had years of problems with hormonal methods (pill, nuvaring, depo) making me completely batshit. finally i quit and splurged on an IUD. best decision i have ever made in my life. i LOVE it. it’s completely painless; i never notice that it’s there. the insertion procedure was less painful than getting my nose pierced. :) and my period came back. and i’m not crazy any more–it really was the pill. i figure when my 10 years are up with this one, i’ll have it removed and replaced with a new one, and that should carry me safely into menopause. i am childfree, but i also know women who have used an IUD until they were ready to have kids. it only takes a couple months after removal (less for some women) before your body is ready to reproduce again.

  11. P says:

    P.S. – I am not affiliated with any of the above websites/books etc. My body just didn’t like any hormonal methods and I’ve tried all the latex/device options short of an IUD and was looking for something less invasive/greener. The advantage of doing NFP is that when you want to go from contraception to TRYING to conceive, it can help tremendously there too.

  12. emma says:

    I suffer from aural migraines so all hormonal birth control was out of the question due to risk of getting a blood clot in my brain or something, yikes! So I have the same thing as Yarrow, a copper paraguard IUD. Had it for 2,5 years now, no bother, no pain, no screwing up my cycle and hormonal balance. Absolutely no complaints from here! My gynecologist said that whenever I am ready to have kids just have it taken out and I should be good to go :)

  13. declutterdebt says:

    I <3 my NuvaRing!

  14. Jamie says:

    Hubby and I use the “pull-out” method…and we have for 10 1/2 years now (married for 4 1/2). There’s still a risk of course, and I’ve had a few “scares”, but never turned up pg. I tried the pill…took 1, and had the worst migraine of my entire life. Docs said it wasn’t a good idea, and I didn’t want to screw with my body anymore, so we stick with this, since neither of us particularly care for condoms.

    Neither of us wants kids, ever, and I do loosely keep track of where I’m at in my cycle, but so far, so good…

  15. ckwebgrrl says:

    Same story here, terrible migraines with the pill (in addition to worries about the hormones…) so I turned to the IUD. I love it! No side effects, no complications, no worry. I’ve had mine for 5 years, so I have 5 worry-free years left. Hooray!

  16. Rebecca says:

    I actually recently ran into an interesting issue when I went to give in a prescription for the diaphragm my doctor had highly recommended to me (can’t take the pill for various reasons, and condoms give me eco-guilt). I could get the diaphragm without a problem, but the spermicide that will actually do the “controlling” part? Apparently Johnson & Johnson, the sole distributor in Canada, no longer feels the need to ship it up here.
    Anyone have ideas on where to get yourself some diaphragm-appropriate spermicide these days?

  17. Jennifer says:

    You forgot my absolute favorite (for folks who are finished having children): vasectomy! After years of birth control being more-or-less “my” problem, and after bearing two children, he got to have a small (really, recovery of a weekend or so if you stretch it out) “procedure” (then we had to use some other form of BC for a little while) and *poof* no more worries! Plus, the ability to have spontaneous sex is really nice, with two small children around.

  18. Emma says:

    wait….HANG on a sec. I can use HONEY????
    all this time wasted on using the pill and calendar methods and I could of used honey?!?! wow.. that might lead to some sexy, sticky, sugary action going on but I like it… i like it a lot.

  19. Meredith says:

    I second the recommendation for this book : “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.

    Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is great! I think people are freaked out about it because high school sex ed. bends the truth in an effort to prevent teen pregnancy. Most people really believe “you can get pregnant anytime” because their gym teacher told them so in 9th grade. That just isn’t how our bodies work. Yeah, FAM is a little more complicated, but it is SO empowering to understand how your body works.

  20. teri says:

    Just another vote for the Fertility Awareness Method – it’s not as complicated as people seem to think it is, and very empowering to understand how your body/cycle works.

    Though I would like to point out the FAM is NOT the same thing as the rhythm or calendar method – FAM is based on actual signals that your body gives you on any given day to tell you whether or not your are fertile and when you’ve ovulated.

    The rhythm/calendar method relies counting days based on previous cycle lengths – but your cycle can vary due to stress, illness, travel, etc. Also, not everyone has a 28-day cycle, and not everyone ovulates on or around day 14. That is why the rhythm method is not considered reliable.

    FAM, on the other hand, is extremely reliable if practiced correctly (which is not that hard to do), and has zero environmental impact (apart from the manufacture of the thermometer), and zero cost (apart from the cost of the thermometer, and a book from which to learn the method – though I got it from my library).

    I would also like to give a shout-out for the withdrawal method. Used consciously and correctly, it’s also pretty reliable. I used it for about 10 years (until I decided to learn FAM) with nary a pregnancy in sight.

  21. kit says:

    I’m burning time until some lawsuit-scared doctor will sterilize me, so I’ve tried them all. I echo your concerns about the pill and ring, where you’re using an item every month that creates trash and squirts out hormones. I do like that these give me a regular period, which is something I never have otherwise. I guess FAM’s out for me!

    Depo may be better, but I sleep like Rip Van Winkle when on it and alternate between not having a period at all and having a constant low drip. I love my Diva Cup, but I do start getting irritated by it after wearing it for weeks or months at a time. I’m dealing with this right now by using Lunapads pantiliners, but it’s still annoying.

    If you’re at all prone to getting a heavy period, you might want to reconsider the copper IUD. I didn’t have an especially regular period to begin with and I gave up on the IUD after four years of *gush*, running/waddling to the bathroom to dump out the completely full Diva cup, and then doing it again an hour later. I actually ended up using commercial maxi pads for the first time in my life because if I happened to be on the subway when my cup runneth over, even a thick cloth pad couldn’t absorb fast enough for the overflow to not run off the edges or straight through. I also was eating Ibuprofen like candy and had a fanatical Iron regimen, but YMMV.

    For reasons relating to the idiocy of Planned Parenthood, I’m currently off Depo and we’re using condoms until I can finally find someone to just give me the tubal and get it over with. Have you tried the Beyond Seven Studded? I know it’s extra trash, but it’s a fine, fine experience. Trust me!

  22. gettinggreen says:

    Hey there everyone,

    Yeah, just to clarify — when I said I use the rhythm method, I meant that I also take my temperature each morning and monitor the other bodily changes that occur as well (so I guess that’s closer to the FAM thing). And while this sounds a little gross, I think the withdrawal method can work for some, but it kind of depends on the… erm… leaky tendencies of the dude.

  23. teri says:

    @kit:

    “I do like that these give me a regular period, which is something I never have otherwise. I guess FAM’s out for me!”

    Actually, FAM is a great method for those without a regular period – as Vanessa mentioned above, FAM involves monitoring your body’s daily changes. You will receive clear signals (such as changes to your cervical fluids) that will tell you when you are fertile. Your temps will rise significantly after you’ve ovulated. Most (but not all) women experience a dip in their temps a day or two before their period starts – letting them know to expect it. This means you are NOT basing your contraceptive efforts on past cycles, which could be misleading – your are basing them on what is going on in your body each day.

    Even if you decide this method (as contraception) is not for you, you may want to check out Toni Weschler’s “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” or Katie Singer’s “Garden of Fertility” to learn more about the method as a way to know more about what’s going on in your body when you have irregular cycles.

  24. pat says:

    Just to say that Nuva ring is the same as the BCP except a different mode of delivery. (therefore hormones in peepee the same).Also Depo Provera can cause bone loss and is therefore only used for minimal time periods.
    My sense is that decision making really depends on how serious it is if you get pregnant. If you would have an abortion in the eventuality of contraception failure then it is better to use a method that has a very high rate of success. (not honey!)

  25. Great post!
    I’m currently on the pill, but will be going off in the next month or so (hopefully). Then, I’m going on what you call the “calendar” method, but what’ I’ve heard referred to as “fertility awareness.” I know it’ll take a while to got back to a regular cycle, but honestly, hubby and I will probably be trying to get pregnant in the next couple of months so I won’t be disappointed at all if calendar/f.a. doesn’t work.

  26. My method of choice: Hysterectomy. But it doesn’t work if you want kids some day.
    :-)

    Honestly, I think bringing unwanted children in to the world is one of the WORST things anyone can do for the environment, so I think whatever method works for the individual and will be used every single time is the best choice in town!

  27. Jaclyn says:

    Hey there everyone, just stumbled across this great conversation. I’ve been wanting to take the plunge and try NFP for a couple years now, but I’ve been spoiled by the vanishing act my cramps/heavy bleeding have pulled while on the Pill. More migraines, though, so that’s a trade-off :(

    Just a note about using honey: be careful! Has anyone tried this? My thinking is that getting that much sugar down there would fuel a truly nasty yeast infection.

  28. After having my son a few years ago I got the Mirena IUD (mentioned in your previous discussion). For 4 months or so I was leaky on a nearly daily basis, but compared to having a kid it was no big deal. For the last year or so I have seen anything, but a few spots. Perfectly even keeled hormonally (used to get horrible PMS) and fantastic to not have to deal with anything! I have one gal friend who loves her Diva cup, but I haven’t a need to try it…I plan to have another kid in a few years, for which I’ll have the IUD removed and then I’ll get a new one. Personally, I love the option to keep all my body parts in tact (as well as my husband’s) and not polute via paper or pharmaceuticals. I must say that I LOVE my IUD. And, being in the kid having crowd right now I know plenty of people who used FAM to get pregnant and even the best of them had some issues (including friend who is an RN). If you use FAM you better be willing to have a kid with your partner…

  29. agreenfire says:

    Glad to see a mention of vasectomy. My current boyfriend already had one, so that works great for us. I don’t want kids so to find out early on when we were dating that he had one was a huge relief. Among my friends, most of the husbands or boyfriends have also opted for this option. The women love it, no hormones for them, and no ‘accidents’ now that they already have to 2 or 3 kids they want.

  30. Rosa says:

    The thing about most forms of birth control is that you should probably be using condoms *anyway* for disease control. I know everyone’s partner is trustworthy and fidelitous and has a very clear idea of their health status – but regular STD testing uses up resources, too.

    These days, I’m monogomous and my boyfriend is fixed -if I’d been sure about only having one child *before* the emergency C-section, I’d be fixed too, but whatev. We stopped using condoms about 3 years into our relationship, when we started trying to have a baby.

    I know way too many people with a surprise second baby because of NFP. Boyfriend’s whole family is Catholic and all my friends are hippies, so we know a lot of people who use it. It works great when you’re doing it perfectly, but takes forethought, planning, and clear thinking that sleep-deprived new parents don’t always have.

    In my wild youth it was barriers, all the time. I’d sure like to see where the “pulling out is as effective as condoms” stat came from – they taught us in h.s. bio that pre-cum has sperm in it.

  31. gettinggreen says:

    Wait, did someone say she was using the Diva Cup as a diaphragm?

  32. teri says:

    Great discussion!

    I want to point out that no matter what form of birth control you use, if you’re having sex there is ALWAYS a risk of pregnancy – no form of birth control (other than a hysterectomy) is fool-proof.

    Even the operations sometimes don’t take.

    All methods of birth control involve using them correctly – FAM (or NFP) have great success rates if USED CORRECTLY. Condoms have great success rates if USED CORRECTLY. Birth control pills have great success rates if USED CORRECTLY.

    For those commenting that they know people who got pregnant using FAM/NFP, I would like to add that I know people who have gotten pregnant while using the birth control pill – a cousin who forgot her pill ONCE, took it as soon as she remembered the next day, and still ended up pregnant, for example. Another cousin’s daughter who took her pills faithfully every day, but got pregnant when her doctor switched her to a different dosage.

    Not trying to start a debate about which way is “better” – everyone has to choose the method that works best for them – but many people (including myself) LOVE the FAM/NFP methods and use them successfully (and environmentally speaking, there is almost zero impact), so I just don’t want anyone who might be curious about this method to be scared off before they have a chance to look into it and decide for themselves. :)

  33. MamaBee says:

    I *loved* my Paragard copper IUD. No hormones, no waste. It was my most reliable form of contraception. I did NFP using the Toni Weschler book, and it helped me learn a lot about my cycles. However, I have a VERY hard time avoiding intercourse during my fertile time – damn hormones and overwhelming horniness!

    Anyhow…yeah…I loved my IUD.

  34. Pheas says:

    Lesbianism works great for me. Free, green, safe, effective, and effortless. But for hetero and bi folks, you know there are a LOT of non-fertile ways to have sex. There isn’t just that one act!

  35. Dahlia says:

    do you know know how long i’ve been looking into greener birth controls?!?!?! 5 years! and all of a sudden you and David Suzuki are all over it! i’ve resisted the pill because of the hormones and the side effects. so my boyfriend and i have been relying on the pull-out method…
    i would like to get my tubes tied, but it’s kind of hard to find a family doctor at the mo’ and even harder to find a doctor willing to sterilize a perfectly healthy, childless woman in the prime of her fertility. So i might look into the whole temperature chart thing.

  36. Meghan says:

    First things first- the pill is horrible on so many levels. You know when there is an oil spill and they pull those mangey oil slicked ducks out of the water all toxinned looked and freaked- that is what the pill does to our cells. Also- we eliminate excess hormones like estrogen (and cholesterol) through our bowels and since laxatives are one of the top selling pharma products (ironically up there with cholesterol meds) most of us are not eliminating effectively or efficiently. And we all know about all the female cancers linked to excess estrogen.

    But there is a solution! A relatively eco friendly and super reliable one. I am not a rep and do not profit from this endorsement- but is takes the temperature/rhythm method to a new and reliable level: It’s the Ladycomp: http://www.ladycomp.com/

  37. Vitor Leal says:

    I’m sorry about not reading all the comments above (I did read Anna Banana, and is funny as hell), but I just wanted to say that I usually agree with what you say. Regardless, saying the “rhythm or calendar method” is the most sustainable method is absurd. Not everyone is as regular as you might think (you’re probably really lucky), and since, like you said, it’s the most unreliable one, it cannot be sustainable. People will get pregnant and that is just not sustainable. Sorry, although you’re right, worrying about condoms waste and hormones on pills, NOT GETTING PREGNANT is just much more sustainable. And you have to remember about STDs, right?

  38. Jenna says:

    Well… much as I wish I could switch, at the moment I’m stuck with the pill.

    The shot made me sick as a dog.
    IUD? Not a chance.
    Condoms? Allergic to most and not really able to shell out the big bucks for the pricey ones at the rate the hubs and I get busy.
    Rhythm? Ahhhh. Yeah. No.

    The main reason I first went onto the pill was I’m one of those unlucky gals who will otherwise have her period for 3 1/2 weeks a month – and just want to die the other half a week. Without my little pink shell of pills, there is no reason or rhyme to my cycle.

    There ARE side effects and there ARE environmental consequences, but I have to agree with Vitor – not getting pregnant before I’m ready is a far BIGGER consequence to avoid.

    That…. and I just don’t think I’d be able to sell abstinence to the my husband!.

  39. xieta says:

    Teri – “I just don’t want anyone who might be curious about this method to be scared off before they have a chance to look into it and decide for themselves.”

    The problem with this is that I could try and decide for myself, but there’s no way I could know if it works or not until it’s too late. Some couples try to get pregnant and it takes them over a year to do so. How would I know if the method is working for me or if I’m just not getting pregnant because I wouldn’t anyway? I don’t want a baby as a proof that it didn’t work for me.

    I started using the pill after having, for a year, 3-week periods and worse. My record was 31 days bleeding. I’ve tried going off it, but the crazy periods just started again. The Nuva Ring gave me very heavy in-between-periods mucus. Not nice.

    And by the way, how do you keep up with the temp system if you’re feverish for a few days? Also, during the week I wake up at 6.30 but over the weekend, if I go out at night, I may wake up MUCH later than that. Is it still effective if I check my temperature then? Not critizising, just really interested.

    By the way, since some fellow fans have shown up, I LOVE my Moon Cup (UK version of the Diva Cup). Love it!

  40. catherine says:

    I had abnormal periods my whole life and when I was 21 had an ovarian cyst rupture…so painful, comparable to childbirth pains!!! It was discoverd I had cysts covering my ovaries and the doctor put me on the pill, in order to regularize my cycle and stop new cysts from forming.

    I was on the pill for 2 years and felt bitchy and pissy all the time. After talking to a naturopath about my problems, she asked me about my diet. I had been avoiding dairy products for several years and was drinking lots of soy milk, eating a ton of other soy products as well. She suggested that my cycle had been so screwed up because of all the soy I had been eating, and told me to go off the pill and stop eating any form of soy, and start drinking organic, whole, raw milk.

    I went off the pill and stopped the soy business, started drinking organic raw milk. My cycle became perfectly regulated, no problems at all! No more cysts! All that time it had been the huge amounts of plant estrogen I had been getting from the soy that had been messing up my cycle. Incredible!

    So now I’m married with a baby, and nursing full time is an excellent birth control method! I plan to do Fertility Awareness Method when my son is starting to wean.

  41. teri says:

    @xieta – when i suggested looking into it, what i meant was research – read the books i suggested above (both of them are quick reads and give very detailed information on how to use this method and how to interpret your chart, and both were available at my library), and start learning the method (i.e. taking your temps, checking cervical fluid and cervix position, etc) while using a back-up form of birth control

    your body gives you very clear signals to let you know when your are fertile and when you are not, if you understand how to interpret them

    as to the fever question – both books go into further detail, but really, fevers will only affect this system if they happen right around the time you are ovulating – because then you can’t see the change in temps – but i suspect if you’re ill enough to have a fever, sex is probably not the first thing on your mind :)

    plus, you can always use another method of birth control as a back-up – many people who use FAM do this anyway during their fertile time (although back-up methods can fail – and the recommended practice is to abstain for those few fertile days)

    also, paying this much attention to your cycle can give you a lot of information about your overall health and about your reproductive health

    for example, i figured out that i was hypothyroid by the extremely low temps i had in the beginning of my cycle – lab tests ordered by my doctor confirmed it

    it explained a lot of symptoms i’d been having that i hadn’t connected with anything being really “wrong” – they all seemed really minor, and would have had to have gotten a lot worse before i would’ve realized it was something i needed to get checked out

    this is just one example, but the books i mentioned provide many more – in my opinion, every female should learn this method when she hits puberty – not for birth control reasons, but for the empowerment that comes from really understanding your body and your cycle, and being able to monitor many aspects of your overall health in this way

    i hope this is helpful – but if you’re curious about FAM at all, both the books i mentioned can give you much more (and more detailed) information

  42. natalia says:

    I have an IUD but it isn’t copper- it is plastic. Is that less scary? :) I LOVE it. It’s 99.8% effective so no need for condoms. Check it out- it’s called Mirena.

  43. Lisa says:

    This was interesting. Lots of discussion on a topic (rhythem, pull out and FAM) that I haven’t heard about in a while.

    I have to say that the FAM method looks interesting and seems to have potential. I honestly don’t want to risk it.

    In regards to the “pull-out” method- I’m sorry but I actually laughed out loud a little. I thought only teens believed in that. Pre-ejaculate may have sperm, depending on when the last time he urinated between ejaculations. Sperm are strong swimmers… and the “pull-out” method is so outdated I’m surprised that it made this discussion.

    The Mirena (or plastic IUD-IUS) also has some sketchy side effects from a health perspective. There are risks of damage to the reproductive organs and it still releases hormones into your system. Plus it costs money (as of last spring in BC Canada- 500$ non covered by medical) and it can be painful to be inserted.

    I was on the birth control pill for 7 years and began spotting (basically being on my period for TWO weeks) four years ago. I have tried every single kind of birth control pill out there and nothing worked. I guess my cervix has some damage from prolonged use of birth control… what do ya know?

    So off the pill I went, no more spotting (thank goddess) and now we use condoms. I’m not a fan of the waste, but then a baby right now? No thank you.

  44. Lisa says:

    oops- excuse typo- rhythm*

  45. Sarah says:

    Hey everyone,

    I would have to agree with one of the former posts that indicates that any choice that prevents an unwanted pregnancy is a great choice.

    Most likely the majority of women online posting in these chat rooms (myself included) come from very privileged backgrounds that allow for great debates such as these ones- we most likely have money and do not have our choice limited by budget, we are not in abusive relationships that deter our ability to negotiate condom usage. Perhaps we all live in metro areas where all methods are available, and we have access to doctors/nurses/clinics (unlike our sisters in the North or on reserves in rural areas)..

    Until access to all contraceptives and adequate education is provided for women (and men), judgement around methodologies really has to be reserved for the inadequate government funding, and the patriarchal nature of our medical system that has conceived of these choices…

    Personally, i am using condoms in conjunction with something called the Justisse Method (http://www.justisse.ca/)
    otherwise known as Body Literacy/Fertility Awareness. There are trained Justisse method providers such as (in Toronto) the red tent sisters..
    the justisse method operates on the idea that if you are aware of when you are fertile you can plan accordingly to not become pregnant. It utilizes priniciples such as mucous checks, cervix observation, temperature charting, etc,. etc,. in order to develop a woman (and her partners) ability to “read” her bodies signs of fertility, so that a woman can plan to conceive or not to conceive.

    I would recommend checking out their website, and seeing a justisse counsellor.

    Also, just check out the red tent sister website to- they have lots of ideas on ecosexy.

    http://www.redtentsisters.com/

    My three cents, for what they are worth!

  46. MG says:

    I’m pretty late, but most of my family uses the copper IUD because we are very sensitive to birth control pills. I also faced the issue of being allergic to latex.

    The concept of something in your uterus may sound scary, but as we can attest, it provides a birth control option that is working 24-7, requires no daily dosage of medicine or daily temperature monitoring. The ease of use was also key for me – I had a super busy schedule that was constantly changing (in early one day, up late for a meeting the next) so ease of use really took the worry of unplanned pregnancy away.

    I am married so the STD issue isn’t really on the table. I also got the IUD (as did several other members) before I had a child (many in my family have their IUD put in after their first kid), which means that doctors may be reluctant to put one in and will have to take a sounding of the uterus. My doctor was also reluctant to give me one (this I think was a personal hangup of the doctor) until he found out I was married because he keep stressing the risk of STDs.

  47. Elizabeth says:

    This is a little late… but…

    I would definitely suggest the copper IUD. That’s what I’ve had for 3 years or so and it’s great. The initial, umm, insertion, of it isn’t pleasant at all. You can’t drive afterwards and are told to lie down for a few hours to prevent passing out and knocking your head on something. I guess there’s something about a foreign object being implanted in your body that your body doesn’t like.

    I’m in a relationship and am very active; I haven’t had a single complication, no pregnancies, nothing. It lasts 10 years, I don’t think you can get more sustainable than that.

    It may seem scary but it’s worth the initial discomfort. It also doesn’t prevent you from getting pregnant when you WANT to. Once it’s removed you’re immediately… open for business… I guess. With the pill or any hormone-changing birth control there’s at least a 6-week period that you have to wait, and sometimes longer.

  48. Try looking up a product called Merena. It is an IUD but does not include copper. It is plastic, but lasts an entire 3 years and is actually rather small.

  49. l.b. says:

    No one has mentioned the implant. I have Implanon, and that means 3 years of zero packaging (as well a zero worry, zero hassle, etc;). It is the most effective birth control besides sterilization.

    Yes, there is the issue of hormones in our water…

    However, hormones used in factory farming greatly out-‘number’ the hormones out there from birth control, and hormonal birth control has done so much in terms of feminism/women’s rights that until there is a really viable alternative, it’s hormonal BC for me.

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