When Backing Up Your Birth Control Isn’t So Simple

March 30, 2011 § 6 Comments

by ELENA

Last week, I spent 72 hours in the hospital after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. In normal terms: I have a blood clot in my leg. The cause? My birth control, which I had been on since the start of June.

I’m lucky. I have insurance, and access to heath care and physical therapy. I’m on rounds of blood thinner medication, and am slowly beginning to recover, and move around normally. However, I am not allowed to use any hormonal birth control for an entire year. Any extra dose of estrogen could be fatal.

So, most contraceptive methods, and Plan B are off-limits to me. And while having a bad leg and withdrawals from painkillers mean that sex is not the highest priority on my list, I know that will not always be the case. And I also know that my options for a contraceptive other than condoms (which are always a given for  me anyway) are slim. They include diaphragms and the copper, non-hormonal IUD.

Sometimes I think we forget that hormonal contraceptives are not always the be-all-end-all solution for wanting to enjoy sex without the risk of unplanned pregnancy. I can’t just take a pill every day, or take a more expensive pill if a condom should break. Those pills could kill me.

§ 6 Responses to When Backing Up Your Birth Control Isn’t So Simple

  • mirandanyc says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Elena! Wishing you a comfortable and speedy recovery. And amen about the short-comings of hormonal birth control; it is an amazing social and medical advancement, but certainly doesn’t cover every woman’s concerns.

  • Hell Cat says:

    I hope you feel better soon. That’s gotta be massively scary to face and to know the birth control was the stresser for it all. And to know you have to be careful for the next year, especially the next year, with more care being taken for any other medications that might be deadly.

    I can’t take birth control. Even the lowest dosage plunges my body and blood sugars to dangerous levels. I figured sex was a bottom priority comparatively speaking. I wish there was other options for us, but I have a feeling that women’s health care is a low priority right now.

    • Elena says:

      Yeah. I feel like manufacturers of contraceptives seem to come up with products that operate on the principle of “Safe, Affordable, Effective, Won’t Cause Serious Side Effects: Okay Pick 2!”

      • Hell Cat says:

        I’m not even sure it’s down to two options. I tried at 16 and 27 to take birth control and both times I completely flipped out. I mean, I was raging worse than Roseanne’s episode of Dan’s surprise birthday party. The last attempt was Loestrine24Fe in 2008. Never again.

        It wasn’t even safe, to be honest. I was suffering serious consequences for 3 weeks after trying less than a week. Gave up after 6 days because of the body’s reaction. Prefer being alive. I kind of wish the companies would also make something lighter for those of us that can’t tolerate the higher levels, almost a bare minimum, because BC is used for many things other than just contraceptive, too.

  • theslyestfox says:

    Girl, let me tell you the copper IUD is where it’s at! It’s only $70-something dollars that you pay once for having pretty accurate birth control for a few years. And without having hormones to fuck up your body chemistry it’s a win-win situation. I’ve been using them for years now and I will NEVER EVER go back.

    • Elena says:

      $70? Did you have insurance, or did you pay out of pocket? Where did you go? I’d like to get the Paraguard, but my family informed me that it was too expensive, since my insurance does not cover contraceptives.

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