Multiple gynos refused me an IUD because “oh, it hurts so much to put in when you’ve not had kids! We don’t want to put you in pain!!”
I was at a 7-9 on the pain scale regularly for my periods, and the docs were determined to make me run the gauntlet.
“But what about the pill?”
“Have you thought about depo?”
“And the patch?”
“Family history of breaking out in rashes.”
“Well, what about the nuva ring?”
“How will that NOT give me the same symptom-swap issues?”
“Look, I’m in pain so bad I wake up in the middle of the night. I’m in pain so bad I didn’t know I had appendecitis. I need SOMETHING.”
“Have you tried an ibuprofen protocol?”
“There are yoga poses that help with cramping.”
“I can’t uncurl from the ball of pain I’m in. How the hell am I supposed to hold position?”
“Well, how much caffeine do you drink? That could be a factor.”
“I have three cups of coffee a day and drink lots of water.”
And so on.
Then, one day, I made an appointment and went to Planned Parenthood.
“Yeah. Hi. I have incredibly painful periods that are fucking crippling me, and I need an IUD.”
“Okay. Do you have a chart of your periods I can look at?”
“Okay. Looks like you have regular, heavy periods where the pain is worsening. Is that right?”
“Yup. And the fatigue. And the mood swings. And all of it.”
“Fatigue and mood swings, too?”
“…is there any history of endometriosis in your family?”
“Yup. I’ve never been diagnosed, though. They say it takes a biopsy.”
“The biopsy can confirm tissue, but if you don’t have excess tissue, it doesn’t really help. You can have endo without excess tissue.”
“Okay. So, what are my options?”
“I suggest Mirena. Paraguard can make period symptoms worse even though it’s got no hormones while Mirena has a low-dose hormone that should help with all your pain and other issues. Here’s all the info on both of them. Here are models of both of them. Why don’t you take everything with you, read through it, then call if you have any questions? We can go ahead and schedule for insertion before you leave, and you can just call and say which type you want after you’ve read up. Is that okay?”
“…Yeah. That’s. That’s fine.”
“Do you have any questions right now?”
“Um, I got told a bunch I shouldn’t get an IUD because the insertion will hurt too much because I haven’t had kids.”
“Looking at the pain you’re usually in, I think you can handle it. It will definitely hurt, but it should only last about twenty seconds.”
“I’ve been refused the best option for dealing with my symptoms because of TWENTY SECONDS?!”
“Sadly, we hear that a lot.”
Planned Parenthood treated me like a PERSON who was in pain, not a walking uterus bitching and moaning about womanly things. Planned Parenthood showed me respect and kindness and respected the knowledge I brought of my own medical history to the conversation. Planned Parenthood respected my autonomy where other doctors rarely had and paid attention when I explained why I felt the IUD was the best choice. Planned Parenthood showed me I mattered, and I want to show how much they matter to me.
the thing about being a young woman is that they will take everything from you. and i mean everything. and they will make it about them. your makeup, your clothes, how much you eat. your attitude, your hairstyle, your gym routine. they will take your driving and your train stations and your video games. your sexuality as sexy, your gender identity as a fetish, your cooking. your tv shows and your high heels and every harmless thing.
if they cannot eat it, if it does not satisfy them, it will be an immediate shame. they cannot control how much you put food into your body, so it is seen as disgusting. your love of starbucks is your vapid need, your comfortable boots are symbols of your inherent stupidity. your fake nails, your body’s natural cycles, the hair on you. bath bombs, pink, the low singing of women talking about depression. your crazy, your hyper, your laughter, your loud, your excited, your passions. the things which are yours, that do not belong to them, that cannot be taken and devoured like flower petals, cannot be sucked dry until the wilt forms in you.
do not satisfy them. let them starve. let them shy from the sin of you, the unfettered sinfulness of loving taking up space.
Note: If you’re a trans guy who takes hormones, you should talk with your doctor and see what they recommend when it comes to taking emergency contraception. Unfortunately, right now there isn’t enough research that tells us how hormonal EC will affect you, so your best choice may be the non-hormonal ParaGard IUD.
I’m a trans man who wants a birth control method that gets rid of my periods and doesn’t contain estrogen. Whatcha got for me?
Someone asked us:
Hi. I’m a trans man, but I can’t afford to go on testosterone yet. My menstrual cycle really bothers me, and I may start having sex with men soon, but the estrogen in birth control pills (and the symptoms that result ‘cuz of that) makes that really, REALLY not an option I want to take. Is there any method of birth control that does not contain estrogen? Preferably one that also gets rid of periods? (Preferably one that’s also likely to be covered by my crappy insurance?)
Believe it or not, you have a lot of options to choose from!
There are quite a few hormonal birth control options that don’t contain estrogen. These “progestin-only” methods include: the implant (Implanon or Nexplanon), hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta), the shot (Depo Provera), and even some kinds of birth control pills.
Many of these methods have been shown to lessen menstrual bleeding – and sometimes even eliminate it (though it’s common to have some spotting, especially for the first few months). Speak with your nurse or doctor to figure out which of these options fits your needs best.
And let’s not forget about the good ol’ condom. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself from STDs as well as pregnancy, so it’s a great idea to use them even if you’re also on another form of birth control.
Under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), most types of birth control are now covered by insurance. Learn more.
Good news: Mirena IUD and birth control implant users now get 1 extra year of pregnancy prevention!
If you’ve got a Mirena IUD or birth control implant, rejoice! New research has shown that these methods prevent pregnancy for 1 year longer than previously thought. This means that Mirena actually lasts for 6 years (up from 5), and both Implanon and Nexplanon implants last for 4 years (up from 3).
This change is ONLY for birth control implants and the Mirena IUD. The expiration time for all other types of IUDs stays the same:
Paragard (copper) IUD: 12 years
Liletta IUD: 3 years
Skyla IUD: 3 years
The new expiration date applies to anyone who currently has a Mirena IUD or birth control implant, as well as anyone who gets them in the future. So for example: if you got your Mirena IUD in 2012, it will prevent pregnancy until 2018 (6 years). If you get a Mirena IUD in 2016, it will prevent pregnancy until 2022.
As always, if you want to get pregnant or stop using your IUD or implant before the expiration date, your nurse or doctor can remove it at any time and your fertility will go back to normal.
A round of applause to the medical researchers for bringing us an extra year of pregnancy prevention!
How old do I need to be to get the morning-after pill over the counter?
Someone asked us:
I can’t find any straightforward info online, so do you know what age you have to be to purchase over the counter morning after pills in CA?
There’s no age restriction for buying the morning-after pill (AKA emergency contraception) over the counter at pharmacies and drugstores in California — or anywhere else in the U.S. Anyone of any age or gender can buy Plan B, Next Choice, and other levonorgestrel emergency contraception pills over the counter. Yay!
Over the counter morning-after pills are great news. But they work best if you take them within the first 3 days (72 hours) after unprotected sex. ella is another kind of emergency contraception pill that works even better than the over-the-counter kinds — especially if it’s been 4 or 5 days since you had unprotected sex, but ella’s not over-the-counter. You need a prescription from a doctor or nurse, like the staff at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center, to get ella.
Want something even better than ella? ParaGard IUDs are the most effective emergency contraception you can get, and you can leave them in as birth control for up to 12 years. You still only have 5 days after unprotected sex to get the ParaGard to work as emergency contraception, and since you need an appointment with a doctor or nurse to get one, you have to act fast. If you’re interested in this option, contact your nearest Planned Parenthood health center right away and let them know your situation.
A birth control program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at little to no cost for low-income women at family planning clinics in Colorado.
Now Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment is seeking more funding to continue the startling successful birth control program.
England Journal of Medicine released a new study on
the use of long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) methods among teenage
girls and women aged 15 to 19 years old.
study shows that the IUD and implant help reduce teen pregnancy,” said Dr. Vanessa
Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs for Planned Parenthood
Federation of America. “These
methods are great birth control options for women who want the best possible
pregnancy prevention and aren’t yet ready to start a family. IUDs and implants
are safe for most women, including adolescents and women who have not yet had
At Planned Parenthood, we offer every woman the full
range of contraceptive options — including the IUD and the implant — and
complete information to help her make an informed decision about which method
is best for her. IUDs and implants have extremely low failure rates — less
than one percent — which rival the rates seen with permanent birth control.
And unlike permanent birth control, your ability to get pregnant returns
quickly once the device is removed.
reversible contraception doesn’t require women to remember to do something
every day to prevent pregnancy, like taking the pill — or just before intercourse, or once a month, or
even every three months, like other methods.
One important thing to remember for people of all
ages is that these methods don’t protect you from sexually transmitted
diseases, so using condoms in addition to another form of birth control is the
best way to prevent both pregnancy and STDs.
Planned Parenthood wants all young people to have
the information and resources they need to prevent unintended pregnancy, meet
their life goals, and start their families when the time is right for them. We
hope this study helps raise awareness about the safety and efficacy of IUDs and
implants among women of all ages, and especially among young women.
With this project, I ended up taking a long route to get back to where I started. The original plan was to shoot these contraceptives the way I shoot most objects: objectively. But once I got started, I worried that they were too minimal, too objective, too unopinionated. I started thinking that maybe I needed to make some sort of statement - it’s birth control, after all - there must be SOMETHING to get angry about, right? So I tried getting angry about these MALE CREATED OBJECTS. I shot for a few days in a style that’s completely not me with a vision that was completely not mine and at the end of shooting, I had a collection of dark statements that were completely misaligned with my actual feelings on birth control.
I’m not pissed about birth control. At all. I’m not pissed that women can get pregnant and men can’t. I’m not pissed that the responsibility falls on us to control when and where we get pregnant. I’m pretty pleased about that control, actually. I’m pretty pleased about how many options we have and how safely we can get our hands on them.
So, after six shooting sessions, I went back into the studio and shot these objects the way I had originally intended. As objects. Just straight up.
Not mad at all.
PS: Thanks a whole bunch to Planned Parenthood LA for making this possible and for letting me hold on to the sex ed training kit longer than planned. I promise I’ll return it asap.
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.
I’d really like to say that Planned Parenthood is an amazing organization providing really important services and resources to women here in America. The staff was friendly and knowledgable, I was treated like a human being, the nurse practitioner was awesome and talked me through the entire process of getting the IUD placed. I’m not going anywhere else for my reproductive care again because you could tell the people there were passionate about this instead of in it for the money, which I felt was the case for my other gyno. So two thumbs up for Planned Parenthood of Illinois!