Wednesday, 26 January 2011

C is for Contraception

From the age of seventeen I was on the pill and was fine on it, until I was in my twenties when I just started to lose interest in sex. I spoke to my doctor about this and we both agreed as I had been on the pill for several years now and it is known to do this to some women that I should come off it and use other types of contraception.

In that time period I had my little boy and the moment I was given the thumbs up to leave and more thumbs up that my stitches were healing I was then asked "have you considered what contraception you will be using?" and forwarded to my local Family Planning Centre. I put this off for a while as I was breastfeeding and had a million and one things on my mind. I also went through a bit of a teary moment whilst breastfeeding, which I'll talk about some other time, so I just focused on sorting this out first. When I did go I got told all my options and decided to go for the implant.

The implant is fairly simple. It's a small match stick size tube which is inserted under the skin of your upper arm and will last for three years. The implant stops the release of an egg from the ovary by slowly releasing progestogen into your body. It thickens the cervical mucus and thins the womb lining. This makes it harder for sperm to move through your cervix, and less likely for your womb to accept a fertilised egg. It's 99% effective, however doesn't always suit everyone. I was one of those women that it did not suit.

For some women they will get no bleeding at all, which is fine. However some can get constant bleeding and I suffered with this badly. Also I went from being my normal self to not being interested in sex one bit. The doctor gave me the pill to help sort out the bleeding, but it only works sometimes and pumping me with more hormones has only made me feel worse. It was a bad choice, I should have said "get it out of me, we'll just use condoms!" as I knew hormonal contraception affected me badly. And when I say badly I don't mean just not wanting any sex, but I was edgy, snappy and every so often I'll just find myself all weepy. I know a friend of mine who is on the implant too and she's had no problems with it at all! It just depends what you body is like, really.

So what are your options?

The Implant - Don't have to worry about it for three years and one of the best contraceptions out at the moment. But if you don't suit hormonal contraception then may not work for you, plus may get a few side affects. Doesn't stop you getting STDs.
The Pill - Take one every day and have one week off for your period. Good if you are not forgetful, but not so good if hormonal drugs affect you badly. Doesn't stop you getting STDs.
Male Condom - For the man to use. Keeps you safe from STDs. Have been around for a long time, 98% effective but have a small chance of splitting.
Female Condom - Keeps you safe from STDs, but only 95% effective (lower then male condom and the implant)
IUD - A long-lasting and reversible method of contraception, but doesn't stop you from getting STDs.

There are many others to consider. Check out the NHS Choices website on Contraceptions. Remember to speak to your GP and get as much information, they are always happy to help and remember it's all free on the NHS.


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