Contraception – IUD, IUS, Implant, Injection, Pill

I didn’t get around to writing anything on Tuesday because I was planning a shoot for a post next week, where I’ll be interviewing someone who’s not only my friend but one of the most interesting people I know. And yesterday I was too full of panic about swapping my IUD/copper coil to an IUS/hormonal coil.

When I first got an IUD, I was just so happy I wouldn’t need to think about contraception for another ten years that I didn’t want to think about whether it was right for me. Ten freakin’ years! I felt safe in my choice.

But after two years this copper coil has got to go, and I will not miss it. This little thing has given me cramps of biblical proportions, where I’d be leaning over the bed in exaggerated pregnancy positions, bearing hot water bottle scalds and YouTube-ing contraction breathing techniques.

It was a good exercise in self-discovery to try going hormone-free for a couple of years. I felt as though I’d forgotten what I was really like, or never even got to know since I’d been taking hormonal contraception all that time. I didn’t know where I ended and the hormones started.

I wanted to see what I felt like without any. Throughout the years that I’d taken the pill, I’d struggled with depression and anxiety, and endured all sorts of non-solutions. I could probably have asked to try another type of contraceptive pill until I found a keeper, but after so long I wanted to try something else entirely.

Besides, when I told my doctors I had migraines, they told me it was just my pill and changed it right away.

When I told them I felt sad all the time, they told me it was just me and gave me anti-depressants.

At no point in my depression career had any health professional suggested to me that I could be suffering side effects from the pill, but I was running out of variables to change and my contraception was my last one. I had already tried changing everything else to see if that’s why I was depressed – jobs, relationships, college courses, hair styles.

It’s hard to be sure if your contraception is responsible for changes in your mental health, especially when you’re too young to have built up an understanding of what’s normal for you and what isn’t. Talking about it with other people isn’t all that helpful either. I think the worst part about contraception is like the worst part about skincare, everybody reacts differently. If only there was a one size fits all.

As soon as I changed to the implant I couldn’t have been happier. Did anybody else get the implant and feel that way? The first year with it was bliss, I found myself having a lot more patience and I felt as though nothing could rile me up. Side effects like gaining weight and blemished skin were thrown in for good measure but I figured exercising more and taking care of my skin was a small price to pay for my sanity.

The magical implant era ended when my uterus came back online with a vengeance. A nurse told me over the phone I could try taking the pill with it. Ha! Absolutely not. I explained I was avoiding the pill and asked if I could get the implant taken out and another one put in, would it go back to normal? She said it was unlikely. So back to square one.

Another friend of mine got the contraceptive jag and had a bad reaction to it, but they were stuck with it in their system for three and a half months. I told the nurse who removed my implant about it, and she said that in comparison to other methods, the jag releases a stronger amount of hormones over a shorter time. I don’t know if that’s medically sound but her saying it put me off. So that was a no for me.

I went for the copper coil and seriously underestimated the insertion. I was supposed to be working a shift in Ann Summers but ended up being sick into my mums toilet all night instead. People kept telling me it would get better but the cramp seemed to get worse every month, and soon every day. I was constantly asking myself, is this what it’s like to be a woman? Why is my uterus so busy?

I recommended the IUD to a friend who wanted a non-hormonal contraception, and within a few weeks she was complaining of back pain. I thought my own back pain was lingering from my fracture but now I’m wondering if it was just being exacerbated by the IUD this whole time.

I was so afraid of the swapping procedure I took some extra strength painkillers and now I’m on the internet writing about my period, but hopefully this will be the last time I’m writing about the night sweats and back pain from hell! Pray for me.

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