My battle with contraception … aka ‘I’ve taken 5 pregnancy test this week.’

Hand holding a pregnancy test.

And that’s not click bate!

As of July 2017 the only contraception method I rely on are condoms. Three years ago I never would have imagined I’d be saying that sentence – I was the ‘having back ups of the back ups’ type of person. But, things change. The reasons are varied, and not all of them make sense to my doctors, but they make sense to me.

Contraception methods I’ve never tried: the ring, natural planning, diaphragm, the shot, the female condom (though I hope to soon!), cervical cap, and the birth control sponge.

Reason 1: “all licensed oral contraceptives currently available on prescription contain lactose”. Source

I came off all variations of the pill sometime in 2011 – I’d previously dabbled with the mini pill, and the combined pill. I’d started experiencing migraines with auras at the time, but the issue of lactose was more pressing. Back in the days of University I was pretty new to my food intolerances, and allergies. I knew I had them, and I was finding out the hard way what they were. It didn’t occur to me, just like it doesn’t occur to many – even doctors, that the pills we’re prescribed contain allergens.

Another reasons I don’t feel safe taking the pill – IBS, alongside nausea … bad combination.

‘Fun’ fact: even emergency contraceptive pills in the UK contain lactose.

Reason 2: The contraceptive patch makes me uneasy.

For those that don’t know, the contraceptive patch gives you a week of hormones in what is essentially a super sticky plaster. It’s supposed to stay stuck on the skin throughout the seven days you wear it, but I call bullshit. Within a day of wearing the patch it would always lift at the edges, and clothing fibres would get stuck. Sometimes it would move around, and even though it says it’s showerproof, I could feel the water get under the patch. I even put a Tegaderm patch over the blasted thing a few times, and it still had the audacity to curl at the edges.

Still, I stuck with the patch for a good year – the first time I had sex I was on the patch, but ultimately couldn’t hack it.

Reason 3:  Bleeding for three weeks of the month makes sex almost nonexistent.

After the patch came the implant – my longest, and most trusted method of contraception … until it all took a turn for the worse.

Now, I think my dates are a little screwed up, but from my best recollection from 2013 to the late days of 2015 it was brilliant. For two years I barely had periods, my skin cleared up, and though I’d gained some weight it wasn’t anything too drastic. Then 2016 came along. The end of my time with Nexplanon was drawing to a close and I’d suddenly started bleeding 2-3 weeks of the month, putting on weight at a rapid weight (I have the stretch marks to prove it), and enduring extreme mood swings. I figured it was because the Nexplanon was running out of hormones, so I went in to see if they could change it early, they refused.

I went through a further 3 months of bleeding more often than not, and my GP refusing to remove the bloody thing, before I took things into my own hands and booked a GUM clinic app to get it out. I got it replaced a few days after the removal, and thought all would be fine. Spoiler, all was not fine.

As soon as it was in I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t stop crying. And, I was bleeding all the time – exactly what I didn’t want to happen. I lasted 7 months with intense mood swings, and bleeding at least 21 days a month before I booked yet another app at the GUM clinic to get the darn thing removed. Which leads me on to what I thought would be the ideal replacement for the implant, the copper coil.

Reason 4: The coil got stuck.

Because of some appointment mix ups, the time between getting my implant out, and the coil in was a few weeks. During that time I settled on getting the copper coil because I didn’t want to mess around with any more hormones. I’d had a taste of life without them – my head felt less fuzzy, and I liked it. I also figured out that hormonal contraception had most probably led to my weight ballooning a few stone in a few years.

I’m just going to say that it wasn’t a good experience. At one point I think my body started going in to shock, and there may have even been a few tears. Unless I get talked into trying it again by a doc (unfortunately that will probably happen with my uterus problems) I won’t be trying it again any time soon.

And that’s a wrap!

Condoms are only method I’m using for contraception at the moment, and whilst that leaves me paranoid around my period – hence the many pregnancy tests that litter my bathroom cupboard, it’s better than nothing. The lack of ‘back up’ non hormonal contraceptive methods available to me has meant that I’ve become more in tune with my body, and I generally know what’s what.

Question? Has anyone else developed a love/hate relationship with the implant?