Alright, so that title is a little misleading. I want a baby, soon, but not just yet. It’s 2011, that sounds so futuristic and fantastic, we should have a whole bunch of the sweet shit like the Jetsons had, but at the very least, you would think we would have a better option for birth control…
After 10 years of pumping hormones into my body and dealing with some pretty crappy side effects I’ve decided to seek alternatives. Now here’s the always amazing part… as a female I have 11 options, males have 2 options. I’m not including options like family planning or abstinence here because I am married and bad at planning. I’m sure that many of you are very familiar with your options and how they work. But I’ve been surprised to meet many people who don’t, myself included until not too long ago. I was put on the pill during my freshman year of college because I had an ovarian cyst burst. The doctor told me the pill would form a barrier and protect any more cysts from forming. I didn’t know how this what this “barrier” was or how it was formed, all I knew was I experienced the worst pain I had ever felt and I would do anything to stop it. I started taking birth control and didn’t look back, I talked to my doctor several times about what I thought were side effects and he played it off as standard PMS and gave me a prescription for ibuprofen. Time for a new doctor and a new method.
Let’s get the male options out of the way…
1. Vasectomy – Snip. Snip. Again, I want kids.
2. Condoms – Pretty sure you all know what this is and how it works. Lots of Pros, a few Cons, mostly based on personal preference. (p.s. unless you are 100% sure your partner is disease free this is NOT an option for you, it is mandatory)
On to Female Options…
1. Implanon – A piece of hormone pumping plastic shoved into your arm. I’m serious. Its $400-800 upfront, but lasts three years. Side effects may include nausea, headaches, change in sex drive, spotting, heavy bleeding, a lump in your breast… shall I go on?
2. The Patch – A hormone sticker. Cute. I would decorate it and wear it like a tramp stamp. Side effects: in addition to nausea and vomiting, you have a slightly greater chance of certain rare, but serious, problems. The most serious — in very rare cases — may be fatal. These include heart attack, stroke, blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain. Um, fatal? Yeah, cool… I’m gonna pass.
3. The Pill – An annoying little pill you have to remember to take every day, at the same time. Sounds easy yet I always manage to mess it up. There are two kinds, progestin only and progestin and estrogen (combination pill). I am on a combination pill, as are most, and I couldn’t tell you why since all I seem to see is added shitty side effects. You know, the death, heart attack, blood clot ones. Plus now a link to breast cancer. Oh and your standard nausea, mood swing, change in sex drive, weight gain. And done with this one.
4. The Shot – A needle full of progestin to the arm. Most effective when received every 12 weeks. Want a baby? You’ll have to wait 9 months to well over a year after your last shot. Side effects: change in sex drive, change in appetite and weight, depression, hair loss and/or increased facial and body hair, headache, nausea, temporary bone thinning, jaundice…. alright, alright, I get it, you are a horrible option.
5. The Sponge – Literally a sponge. The benefit being you would get to reference Seinfeld every time you use one. Which would be so romantic. Oh and NO HORMONES. Wowza. But it may be messy, or make things dry, you know, being a sponge and all. Only one brand available in the US.
6. The Ring – It’s like a mini jelly bracelet that you wear on the inside. Same as the combination pill, packed full of estrogen and progestin, same side effects. Same feelings…. no, thanks.
7. Cervical Cap – A little plastic sailor hat for your cervix. Most effective when used with spermicide. Could pain or discomfort, or you could be allergic to spermicide which would cause irritation.
8. Diaphragm – Much like the cervical cap, but flexible silicone and more effective. Only side effect not related to a spermicide or silicone allergy is frequent UTIs, but these are greatly avoided by urinating before and after. Best sounding option so far…
9. Female Condom – I really have no idea who would want to use this. It looks gross and uncomfortable and sounds horrible. No thanks.
10. IUD – A t-shaped plastic part put in your uterus. Prevents pregnancy for 12 years. Side effects would need their on post. Next!
11. Sterilization – NO!
And that’s it folks. Our glorious options. What’s your pick? I have to admit, I’m a little nervous to get off a hormone based birth control. I’ve been on one for 10 years, I wonder what I’m like without it. Have you experienced the switch before?