Contraception advice please Claire Q!

Liz wrote:

A huge thank you to everyone who posted support last week. I felt alot better knowing that other people believed me.

Thankfully simon believed me too and the whole thing has made us a lot stronger.

Could I please ask for some advice from claire. Simon and i are having incredibly bad luck. The second condom in a month broke this morning and I am going to go yet again to have the morning after pill when the shops re-open tomorrow. I have been reading about getting an IUCD fitted and i was wondering about the logistics of it. I read that a doctor would need to fit it which is fine but do I ring my GP 3 hours drive away and ask for an appintment to talk about it, or can I get it sorted more quickly by contacting the sexual health clinic here and asking them if they can fit me in some time. I have no idea what questions i should be asking to be honest. i know the general things that the NHS can tell me about what the IUCD is and what the side effects are, that I will need a local anaethetic etc. I just need to get it sorted soon and i don’t want to go on the pill agai. I was crap at remembering to take them.

Oh my goodness though, guess what? I crashed my car into a post on friday night.

I’m really not having good luck at the moment.

At least i’m in love.


I’m sure Claire will post something soon. In the meantime, a quick conversation with her yeilded the following suggestions from the pair of us (we’ve been drinking, and we expect you’ll appreciate a sober answer from her tomorrow):

  • Before diving into the IUCD as a solution, be aware of some of the alternatives: Claire and I successfully used the injectable contraceptive for about a year, maybe more, without problem. You get an injection once every three months, so it’s hard to forget (and you can be up to a week late and still be covered), and it works in the same way as the pill, so if you’ve taken that without side-effect before, it’ll “work” for you. Plus, after the second or so injection, your periods will stop as your hormones become “levelled out”. Downsides: well, it’s an injection in the arse. It can be performed by any sexual health nurse, so you could probably get it done, like, tomorrow if you so wished.
  • Also consider the implant. Works the same way, again, but lasts 3-5 years. You *can* feel it in your arm, if you know where to fondle, but it’s otherwise very discreet. It’s added under local anasthetic, and is apparently only uncomfortable for a couple of days (and again when it’s removed or replaced).
  • Okay, now we’ll get onto the coil. I’ll share with you some of my experience of it, but bear in mind that Claire will undoubtedly have a lot more to say. Claire initially reported some discomfort and pain when having it inserted, owing to her small cervix (before 1990 or so, the IUD would typically only be offered to women who had given birth before, to reduce the risk of repeatedly jabbing the cervix with what is essentially a plastic tube from a biro). We decided on the IUCD based on several factors, including the fact that it lasts longer than the implant and that there is no local practitioner qualified to do the implant – factors that may not be relevant to you or have different importance weightings. In addition, there have been half a dozen times when I’ve felt the (quite sharp, be warned) “tails” of the coil during sex, and on one ocassion even managed to leave a mark. It’s always possible to maneuver the tails into a different position (either with a well-placed finger or simply by shifting sexual positions). Okay, disadvantages aside: the IUCD works from the second it goes in, can be used as a substitute to emergency contraception (so if you can find a doctor tomorrow, you’re laughing), and you’re theoretically fertile again from the second it comes out. Apparently there’s a risk that it can come out of it’s own accord (happened to an aunt of mine once), but again, for a non-mother, it’s very unlikely.

Did I mention you have to have check-ups on the coil for weight gain? Perhaps you do for the implant, too, but – if you can stomach it – the implant seems to me to be a preferable option. Just my thoughts.

Oh; and if you’re considering switching from a barrier to a hormonal method of contraception, and you haven’t already, it’s a great excuse to get tested for all the other things a barrier keeps you safe from. Make a day trip of it and see the STD nurse: you know you want to!

Good luck with it. Claire and I are, I’m sure, available for whatever questions you can throw at us – between us, we’ve tried pretty much every contraceptive method under the sun.