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The How-To Lounge: Finding the Right Birth Control for you Part 3

I'm back with the last installment of the How to Lounge on birth control. If prescription birth control isn't right for you and you don't want to use condoms, there are other methods on the market that could be a better match for you.

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  • The IUD, otherwise known as the Intrauterine Device, is a T-shaped, 1.5 inch plastic device which is inserted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The IUD must be inserted by a physician
  • There are now 2 types of IUDs, the ParaGard and the Mirena
  • Both kinds of IUDs protect against pregnancy by affecting the way the sperm moves in addition to altering the lining of the uterus
  • Both kinds of IUDs have strings attached to the device that hang through the cervix into the vagina providing a way to make sure it is properly in place
  • The ParaGard IUD contains copper which is known to have spermicidal effects and can be left in place for up to 12 years
  • The Mirena IUD releases small amounts of progestin, similar to the hormones from the pill, the patch, and the ring, preventing the uterus from releasing eggs. The hormones released through this kind of IUD stay in the uterus and are not systemic, therefore will not cause many of the side effects of oral contraception. The Mirena can be left in place for 5 years
  • The IUD does not stop you from ovulating so you will still get your period, although it could alter your flow and even stop it altogether over time
  • When an IUD is inserted, your body produces white blood cells to help fight off the foreign object that your body doesn't recognize, which in turn will attack the sperm
  • The IUD is 99% effective, the most hassle free and most recommended form of birth control for women
    • The Diaphragm

      • The diaphragm is a latex or silicon dome shaped cup if you will that is personally inserted in the vagina to cover the cervix before intercourse
      • Diaphragms are made in a variety of sizes and can be fitted by your physician. They are recommended to be used with spermicide for added protection
      • To insert a diaphragm, pinch the device so it bends in half, find a comfortable position and push it as far back and up the vagina as possible. Tuck it behind the pubic bone to make sure the cervix is covered. Do not leave the diaphragm in for more than 24 hours
      • The diaphragm must be inserted before intercourse and left in place for 6 hours after the last act of intercourse
      • Women who use a diaphragm run the risk of frequent bladder infections, so remember to urinate before inserting the diaphragm and after intercourse
      • The diaphragm has a failure rate of 18%-20%

      While finding the right form of birth control takes trial and error, one thing to always remember is the only way to protect yourself against disease is to abstain from sex altogether or to use condoms. Since sometimes things do not go as planned, and not every form of birth control is 100% effective, you now have a second chance to prevent against pregnancy. While Plan B should not be used as a form of birth control, it is a safe way to prevent unintended pregnancy. Plan B contains a high dose of hormones, similar to those found in the pill, and must be taken within 120 hours after unprotected sex. For more information about Plan B click here. Good luck and be safe!


Join The Conversation
emososays17 emososays17 10 years
Nicachica, you shouldn't take Plan B if you're on the pill or using another form of contraception because those two are supposed to prevent you from getting pregnant in the first place. Plan B is not a form of contraception for daily use it is only a backup plan if you're method of contraception somehow fails you. If you already did know that and were wondering if you couldn't take Plan B while you were on the pill if the pill failed you I'm assuming it could be because of chemical interaction however I have never heard that you shouldn't take Plan B if your pill has failed.
luckyEmmie luckyEmmie 10 years
Here's the deal with the IUD. Back in the 70s, the IUD (specifically the Dalkon Sheild brand) got a lot of bad publicity for causing PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), which can ultimately cause infertility. It has since been improved, but it definitely has drawbacks. The downsides: if you have never had children, the chances are higher that it may fall out, or cause extremely painful cramping during menstruation. However, if you've given birth, these issues are much less common. There are incentives for going on the IUD, too: its effects are reversed as soon as it's taken, it is extremely effective in preventing pregnancy, and it is very inexpensive (you just pay for a doc's visit to have it inserted, and you're done). It actually a good choice for women with children, especially those who are still breastfeeding (and therefore can't take oral contraceptives).
candy-apple candy-apple 10 years
katie225> not sure if this is what your professor was worried about but.. my mom's been on the IUD for years and has developed cysts in her uterus because of it. her doctor said it was due to the contact of a foreign object with the tissue of her uterus over the years. her cysts are basically small benign tumors and while thank god they haven't developed into anything worse (cancer), they do make her life extremely uncomfortable: her pms cramps are now multiplied by ten on the pain scale.
Casimira Casimira 10 years
Never mind, I can't read. I missed the part that said you were back for your "last" installment. However, I do wish that you would reconsider and do an article on non-chemical/hormonal birth control. It's not for everyone--mostly for the monogamous single or married girls--but it can be a wonderful way to not just prevent pregnancy, but also to achieve pregnancy if that's your goal and also to montior your overall reproductive health. Just some food for thought!
Casimira Casimira 10 years
Katie, my understanding was that the IUD had been made safer and that's why it's been re-introduced or re-marketed. Dear, will you be doing an installment on non-chemical and non-hormonal birth control or is this the last one? I currently use sympto-thermal natural family planning but am contemplating switching to another method. Thanks!
M155-J4CK13 M155-J4CK13 10 years
Unfortunately, the IUD is probably the only effective option for me. I am a heavy smoker, so that rules out the pill & patch.
katie225 katie225 10 years
i took a human reproduction biology class when i was working on my bachelor's degree, and the prof. was INSISTENT that women do not use IUDs. he was seriously against it, he even wondered why it was still in use. i can't remember why, but i'm just passing that information on as a warning. from a biology professor who researched human reproduction (he was actually active in working on a male version of the pill), he said to beware of the IUD and avoid at all costs. again, i don't remember why. i'd have to look it up on wikipedia. something about horrible infections and terrible risks. have a nice day! :)
nicachica nicachica 10 years
hey Dear, i heard that you're not supposed to take Plan B if you are currently using the pill or another form of contraception. Can you please clarify? Thanks!
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