Nothing makes me happier than pretty sex ed infographics. Canolis maybe. But nothing else.
In the last few weeks I’ve had conversations with a number of young women who didn’t know what an IUD is.
This disturbs me a lot because the IntraUterine Device is a really effective, economical, and convenient method of birth control.
The IUD is a small T-shaped piece of copper (or plastic or something else depending on the brand) that is placed (non-surgically by a doctor) inside the uterus and prevents pregnancy, but not STI’s. When you decide you want to get pregnant, ask the doctor to take it out.
For a non-hormonal birth control option the only IUD available in the USA is called ParaGard.
ParaGard is an intrauterine device (IUD) that’s inserted into the uterus for long-term birth control (contraception). The T-shaped plastic frame has copper wire coiled around the stem and two copper sleeves along the arms that continuously release copper to bathe the lining of the uterus. ParaGard produces an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that is toxic to sperm, which helps prevent fertilization. ParaGard prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after insertion. [x]
If you have been using birth control pills for their acne or ovarian cyst benefits there are hormonal options too. Mirena and Skyla are popular in the US. From Skyla’s website:
Skyla releases small amounts of a progestin hormone locally into your uterus at a slow and continuous rate. It is estrogen-free and works continuously for up to 3 years.
Skyla thickens your cervical mucus, inhibits sperm movement, reduces sperm survival and thins the lining of your uterus. These actions work together to prevent pregnancy.
IUD’s sit in the uterus, not the vagina so they shouldn’t be noticeable during sex. This means that unlike with a condom fluids are free to move about as they please. And therefore IUDs do not protect against any STIs.
Why do so many women not know they are an option? From Women’s Health Magazine’s website.
You can blame it on an old version called the Dalkon Shield, an IUD popular in the 1970s. It was pulled from the market in 1974 because it played a role in thousands of infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and sepsis. The conditions caused infertility in some women and have been linked to at least 17 deaths. But in 1974, the pocket calculator was considered high-tech—so comparing the old IUD with today’s versions is like pitting Pong against Halo.
IUDs can still cause infection but the rates are much much lower now. About as low as your chances of getting pregnant while using a condom correctly.
The skyla website has info about insurance coverage and how to check your brand. Here is some info on how to get privacy while on your parent’s health insurance.
There are lots of things to consider before getting an IUD and a butt-ton more research to do but they’re a great option for many people. A number of mothers including my own are more than happy to talk about their time with an IUD and the conversation never goes the way my conversations with friends on the pill always go “I always forget to take it and then have to use Plan B…”
There are endless articles on the web about getting and having an IUD. It might not be the right option for you but if you have a uterus then it is an option for you and you should know about it.
Want to sort your options by effectiveness? STI protection? Hide-ability? Go for it.
Want to hear interviews with real users? Go ahead.
Also, just a friendly neighborhood reminder to hormonal birth control users that some medications may interfere with their effectiveness so remember to back it up with a condom and check with your doctor if you were recently ill.
Easy post today!
I’m currently reading a book called
by Elaine Tyler May
I don’t know if I can quite call it ‘a good time’ but I’m enjoying it. For those of you who don’t feel like reading a book today check out this video starring my latest crush.
Yes, I’m aware, my type is weird.
Lisp, glasses, scrawny, fixes things with science… Why must he be married?
When Republicans refused to allow any women to testify on a panel about women’s health care, I knew I had to say what everyone was thinking: “Where are the women?”
But then something big happened. Nearly a half-million of you stood up and said “enough.” Your voices helped us call out Republicans for their anti-women agenda. But the truth is that our words must be backed by the resources to take action.
There are just 48 hours before the February Federal Election Commission deadline, the first since Republicans denied women the right to even talk about women’s health care issues.
The fundraising totals we report will be viewed as a reflection of our will to hold Republicans accountable for their disgraceful efforts to silence women.
We are less than $200,000 away from our $1 million grassroots goal. Please contribute $3 or more by Wednesday’s FEC deadline and a group of committed Democrats will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
We cannot allow Republicans to deny us the right to talk about women’s health care. Your contributions will be put to work immediately to throw out anti-women Republicans across the country.
Will you stand up against the Republican War on Women before Wednesday’s deadline?
Rep. Carolyn Maloney
An email I recently received from Planned Parenthood. Oh, what fun!
I know you’ve been paying attention over the past few weeks, so you’ve seen what I’ve seen: anti-birth control politicians and pundits have gone completely over the edge.
Anti-birth control lawmakers believe that employers should be allowed to decide which basic health care services are appropriate for the women who work for them. They’ve tried to block women’s access to contraception and silence women who disagree.
It’s gotten hard to keep track of all the extreme, offensive, out-of-touch statements from birth control opponents — so we’ve selected the top five most outrageous comments we’ve heard in the past two weeks. We want you to help us pick the worst of the worst — click here to vote.
Opponents of birth control need to know that women are watching — and we’re not going to let them get away with attacking our access to basic health care.
Whether it’s Rep. Darrell Issa saying that women who rely on birth control are “not qualified” to speak about the issue or Santorum funder Foster Friess longing for a time when women put aspirin between their knees to avoid pregnancy, we’ve heard some truly shocking attacks on birth control. Click here to see the five most outrageous moments.
Despite overwhelming public support for birth control, anti-contraception lawmakers aren’t backing down. I’m counting on you to keep watching, keep taking action, and keep speaking out. It’s the only way we’ll be able to stop this coordinated effort to deny women access to basic health care.
Thank you, as always, for your ongoing support of Planned Parenthood and the women, men, and teens who rely on us to protect their access to affordable health care.
Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Action Fund
“No one could blame American women here if they all suddenly decided to leave the country saying, ‘That’s it, we’re fucking out of here, this is complete bullshit.’ There has been a debate on contraception in the last week so ludicrous that part of me was wondering if it was in fact a performance art piece, to make us all question how terrible it would be to live in a country where something like this could actually happen.”
– John Oliver on American contraception debates, The Bugle 183 (via sixpencesoulcake)
I’m not on birth control. Do not ask me why. You and I are not getting intimate so it’s none of your business. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think birth control is important (a bit obvious at this point I hope) but I’m hoping that perhaps you are and want to share your story. So here is an email I got from email@example.com. I have no idea how I got on their list but I’m glad I am.
Please share your story with them if you can.
“Why are men afraid of women?”
“If your strength is only the other’s weakness, you live in fear,”
– Tehanu by Ursula K. LeGuin
Last week, the House Oversight Committee held urgent hearings to examine the Obama administration’s new requirement for insurance plans to cover birth control. There was just one catch: no women allowed.
The morning panel consisted of five male “experts” falling over themselves to bash Obama’s decision. During their testimony, a Republican Congressman likened the policy to a Stalinist plot to weaken America.1 And one of the panelists explained at length how a woman seeking birth control is akin to ordering a ham sandwich at a Kosher deli.2
The top Democrat on the committee tried to invite a local woman to speak. She wanted to tell the story of her 32-year old friend who developed ovarian cysts and was prescribed birth control pills to preserve her fertility. The Republican chairman wouldn’t let her speak, because the young woman “appears to have become energized over this issue,” and was not an “appropriate” witness.3
Yes, we are “energized.” Birth control is not a political football. This is about our lives. And we believe it is highly “appropriate” for members of Congress to hear our stories. Can you take a moment to share your story about how birth control has affected your life and the lives of those you love?
More Congressional hearings are scheduled over the next week, and our allies in Congress want to read your stories on the floor of the US House of Representatives.Please submit your story right away:
We can’t let the recent shenanigans in Congress distract the country from the critical truth around this issue.
For millions of us–mothers, daughters, fathers, husbands and brothers–birth control is a deeply serious issue. It helps us to have control over our lives, bodies, financial security and health.
When Congress debates the policies that shape our lives, our stories must be heard. If you submit your story through our simple online form, we’ll make sure it’s delivered to Congress and the press at the next hearing. Your identity will be kept anonymous, but we’ll work with our champions in Congress to make sure your experiences are heard and entered into the Congressional record.
Your story will help keep the focus where it belongs: on real women and men, and our real lives.
Thanks for speaking up,
–Nita and Shaunna, UltraViolet
1. “Contraception Circus Reigns at Oversight Hearing, National Journal,” February 16, 2012
2. “Late Night: Jon Stewart mocks congressional birth control hearings,” Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2012
3. “House Democrats Walk Out Of One-Sided Hearing On Contraception, Calling It An ‘Autocratic Regime,'” Huffington Post, February 16, 2012