This is not an announcement, just a passing concern

Benefits of an IUD: no periods, 99% effective as a contraceptive

Drawback of an IUD: no periods, only 99% effective as a contraceptive

Yesterday I went to Planned Parenthood to get my Mirena IUD, and I have a feeling I won’t be going anywhere else for my lady parts healthcare! The staff is incredible. The nurse, nurse practitioner, and observing med student were fantastic. I was really anxious, because I’d read stories about horribly painful IUD insertions, so I asked if someone could hold my hand. The nurse that did my vitals came in and held my hand and talked to me about my day. There were uncomfortable parts to it but she just kept letting me squeeze my hand and reminded me to breathe. And in 5 minutes it was over. And now I have worry free birth control for 5 years. Holla! 

I’ve always been impressed with P.P. the 3 times I’ve been. They were there when I initially wanted birth control at 17, again when I went in for my IUD consult, and they were there when I was getting my IUD. I have not actually gotten to sit down with an GYN for more than 10 minutes to discuss my contraceptive options, but I got to spend almost 45 minutes with an NP during my consult. 

Love that place! 

anonymous said:

I really hate getting my period. Everything about it. I heard that many birth control options make periods light--some even making periods disappear completely. My question is, is it safe to completely stop having your period? I know it's a natural bodily function, but I don't plan on having kids now or in the future so I'm not really worried about it affecting my fertility.

Yes!  It’s perfectly healthy.

Let me explain:  During your normal menstrual cycle, you have estrogen telling your uterine lining to build up, up, up.  Then, you have progesterone telling your uterine lining to shed.  Some people have PCOS or other hormonal dysfunctions where the estrogen tells the uterine lining to build up but there’s no progesterone to tell it to shed.  In that situation the uterine lining will keep building up with nothing keeping it fresh or keeping it from accidentally becoming cancerous.  That’s what we’re worried about in this situation - the un-moderated uterine lining becoming a space where cancer cells can proliferate uncontrollably.

However, birth control uses those hormones to trick the body into doing certain things.  For example, a consistant low dose of progesterone stops you from building up a uterine lining in the first place.  That means that when you’re using the mini-pill, Nexplanon, Depo shot, Mirena, or Skyla IUD, you’re not even building up a uterine lining at all, making it so that there’s nothing to shed during your period, so no period bleeding.  Yay!

You don’t have to worry about cancer with those birth control options, because there’s no unmediated proliferating happening to begin with.

And the beautiful thing?  None of them affect your fertility at all.

So how to you stop getting a period?

  • Take your birth control pills continuously - that means skip the placebo or “sugar” pill.  Take only the pills with hormones
  • Use your nuvaring for 4 weeks straight and then switch to another without a “period” week
  • Get a Mirena or Skyla IUD
  • Cross your fingers and get a Nexplanon or use Depo
Can you use an IUD if you’ve never been pregnant?


Someone asked us…

Can you explain more about IUD? I know they’re designed for women who already had children, which can make them hurt for women who use them but have no children. Is there some equivalent option, or IUD for childless women?

IUDs are actually safe for most, whether or not you’ve had children. When IUDs first hit the market, they were only recommended for people who’d already given birth.

But since then, it’s been shown that IUDs are completely safe regardless of whether or not someone has given birth, and they’re actually highly recommended for almost anyone who doesn’t want to get pregnant anytime soon since they can last for years, require very little effort, and are extremely effective.

When I was a full time college student working three jobs to support the glamorous lifestyle of myself and a very cute but very needy three-legged cat, I could barely remember to eat breakfast, much less take a pill every day. That’s why birth control methods like the IUD are so great.

Don’t forget that IUDs won’t protect against STDs, so always use a condom as well.

Since I know you’re curious, behold, my cat:


-Kellie at Planned Parenthood

Is It Okay To Use Birth Control To Stop My Period?


Someone asked us

How do you guys feel about using birth control to stop periods altogether? Is it something you guys recommend/ are willing to help your patients with?

Hey hey, what do we say?  Stopping periods with birth control is A-OK!  

Tons of people, including a few of us on the Planned Parenthood tumblr team, use birth control to lessen or stop menstrual bleeding. Sometimes periods cause severe health problems (like anemia or painful cramps), and others simply don’t want to bleed every month. Either way, it’s totally fine to use hormonal birth control to regulate or eliminate your period.

Bothersome periods are a legitimate health issue. As long as you and your doctor agree that your chosen birth control method is safe for you, there’s no “wrong” reason to use it.

Birth control methods that have been known to reduce menstrual flow or stop periods are hormonal IUDs (Mirena and Skyla), the implant (Implanon or Nexplanon), the shot (Depo Provera), and certain types of birth control pills. Sometimes these methods cause spotting or irregular bleeding at first, but it usually evens out over time. And some people stop bleeding altogether after a while.

Lots of people also use the pill or ring continuously (without the period/placebo week) to stop their periods. This isn’t something you can do with the patch though. If you want to do this, talk with your doctor or nurse about whether it makes sense for you.

You can use our handy quiz to explore all your birth control options and figure out what’s best for you. And, of course, your friendly Planned Parenthood health center can give you more info and set you up with your method of choice.

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood 

Stop Suggesting Paraguard as an Acceptable Alternative

Ever since the news came out that Plan B doesn’t work for people over a specific weight* people keep popping up to mention Paraguard the copper IUD is still a good option for people regardless of body size. Yes, this is an option that is still available for someone who needs emergency contraception but it isn’t an acceptable alternative.

IUD insertions require a medical procedure. They cost anywhere from $500 - $1,000 when you can get Plan B for around $45 from Plan Parenthood. Getting an IUD can be PAINFUL. Though pain really does depend on the person but I would never want someone to have to “choose” that option only because there isn’t another option available to them. Plan B can be painful with the cramping it causes but the cost and set up required is drastically different.

So stop acting like getting an IUD is an acceptable alternative. It not only ignores the drastic difference between implementing the two products but it also completely ignores that this isn’t just about what options are available. This is about how fat people are ignored when products are created and tested to check to make sure they are effective for everyone.

Ella is an alternative. via Planned Parenthood told me on twitter that this pill doesn’t have a weight limit and is shown to be more effective than Plan B in clinical testing. ** Edit to add, Ella does have a limit and is shown to be most effective for people with a BMI of 35 or lower.

Paraguard is something that you can look into if you want a long term option. Personally, I got Mirina, which has hormones, since I have irregular periods but there are side effects. If you are low income and don’t have insurance check with Planned Parenthood I was able to have my IUD inserted for free since Michigan has a program called Plan First! that not only covers yearly check ups, one round of std testing / treatment but also a years worth of contraception (it included an IUD).

Most Planned Parenthoods have information about getting their services for free through your state or on a sliding scale.

*As a side note the announcement said fat people over a specific weight and was specifically about the amount of adipose tissue a person has. Added this because I know SOMEONE is going to leave this as a comment if I don’t.

Does the birth control pill make you gain weight?


Someone asked us…

I used to have an eating disorder, and I heard taking the pill can make you gain weight. I want to get on birth control to regulate my periods, but I am afraid the side effects would put me back in a bad place. Is this true, and are there any types of birth control that don’t cause weight gain?

First off, it’s great that you’re thinking ahead about possible challenges and seeking out the information to make the best decision for you.

The “birth control causes weight gain” myth is definitely common, but the good news is that it’s just that — a myth. Research shows that the birth control pill (and most types of hormonal birth control) is not associated with weight gain. The one method that has been shown to cause weight gain in some users is the depo-provera shot. Users of the pill, patch, ring, implant, and hormonal IUD are no more likely to gain weight than non-users.

It’s important to remember that everyone is different. The research refers to the average birth control user, but if you are unhappy with your method or feel it may be negatively affecting your health (physical, mental, or otherwise), talk with your doctor about finding a different method.

Fortunately you have a lot of great options! Take our quiz to help you figure out which method is right for you.

-Kellie at Planned Parenthood