The No-Pill Birth Control

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mirena_iud.jpgLike many long term relationships, my relationship with the birth control pill had many ups and downs.

Up = no babies.

Downs = weight gain, extreme emotions and severe migraine headaches.

For a while, the ups far outweighed the downs, but it soon got to a point where the headaches became debilitating (thus making me unable to have sex anyway), and I had to call it quits with the little pill. I tried other forms of birth control – the Nuva Ring, which was just too weird, and abstinence, which was just not realistic – and none of it worked.

I figured I was doomed to be sans BC forever, until my doctor told me about the IUD.

What is an IUD?

Basically, it’s a small object that is inserted through the cervix and placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The doctor inserts the IUD onto your cervix where it stays for up to 10 years. If you want to get pregnant, you simply head back to the doctor and have it removed and your period and ovulation schedule return to normal. The IUD is 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy and you never have to remember to take a pill again!

It sounded too good to be true, but my doctor assured me that it was safe, covered by insurance and the best option for someone like me. So I did it.

The strange thing about the IUD is that it has to be inserted when you are on your cycle. So, not only do you feel kinda gross and bloated, but you have to hop into the stirrups and lay spread eagle in front of the doc. Not your finest hour.

I got a little squeamish when I went into the room and saw the equivalent to a wee wee pad lying on the table. “It gets a little messy,” the nurse told me. Barf. I laid on the table, gripping my sweatshirt nervously, and the doctor went to work.

The procedure took all of 5 minutes, but they were probably the longest and strangest five minutes of my life. There was a speculum, some very long Q-Tips and the IUD itself. I felt extreme cramps (the kind that usually require a heating pad, my couch and Season 1 of Friends on DVD), and extreme embarrassment as I wondered how messy things were getting down there. And before I knew it, the whole thing was over.

No more pills, no babies, and, in about a year, no more periods at all!

The idea of having a strange plastic thing inside my body is a little weird, but it is far outweighed by the fact that I can enjoy my sexual freedom without the monthly fear that I may be a mom sooner rather than later.

If the pill works for you, then stick with it. But if you are like me and can’t handle the hormones in the birth control pill, an IUD is definitely worth looking into. And don’t worry; when the whole thing was done, my wee wee pad was perfectly clean.

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