Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Natural Birth Control: Why I Use A Diaphragm

Alright, readers! Are you ready to get personal? Gone are the posts about dryer balls (that's a real thing) and hair rinses. Welcome to the world of Vajayjays and baby boxes and the things you do to prevent children from growing inside of them!

It all started when I realized that I'm on the quest to be all natural, but I'm taking hormonal therapy to prevent pregnancy. As a nurse and more importantly -- as a hippie health nut, I know it's probably not the best idea to artificially dictate my hormonal patterns. However, I don't need any small people running around either.

You see my dilemma. But first I should tell you about…
Possible Benefits of Combination Birth Control
  • Not getting pregnant (yay! woohoo!)
  • Reduces Acne
  • Reduces period flow
  • Helps with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Reduces risk for endometrial 
  • Reduces risk or ovarian cancers (up to 30 years after taking birth control)
  • Serious infection in the ovaries, tubes, and uterus
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Cysts in the breasts and ovaries (not cancer)
  • Premenstrual symptoms, including headaches and depression
  • Bad cramps
  • Regulates irregular periods
Possible Disadvantages of Combination Birth Control
  • Decrease sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain
  • Developing high blood pressure
  • Liver tumors (including cancer)
  • Gallstones
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).  
  • Increase risk of cervical cancer
  • Increase risk of developing breast cancer (this is controversial)
I got all of the above information from Planned Parenthoodcancer.gov, and WebMD. See, I don't make stuff up. 

So I suppose it is a benefits vs risk calculation in which YOU must decide for yourself. I can only present the information. 

Now if you're thinking… 

"Sherri, you've sufficiently scared me, but I really don't want to have a baby and I don't want to just trust that I won't get pregnant!"

Well, I totally understand because that's how I feel! I read a lot about natural family planning and it all sounds rather nice in that you can get the feel of your own body, but  there seems to risk involved. And I ain't got no room for risk. Especially in my vagina.

So there are natural options…

1) Condoms
Yeah, we hopefully all know about condoms, right? But good luck in telling your husband to wear one because he's been spoiled for the last X amount of years without using them. Am I right or am I right? "It doesn't feel the same" {sob, whine, boohoo}

My suggestion: Tell him to be happy he's getting any of that fine woman that you are. 
*Make sure you snap your fingers or gesture to your fine curves as you say it. He'll get the point.

But be sure that you are using a condom that is FREE of chemicals! Many of them have extra, unnecessary ingredients which may harm your baby box. 

2) Female Barrier Methods
Diaphragms, cervical caps, female condoms, sponges and such. As a student nurse, I actually had the chance to play with all of these in a class provided by Planned Parenthood. It was life changing. I know because I remember holding a female condom...

Female Condom
Let me just say that the female condom looks…. interesting. They are BIG and they are noisy.

If you wanted to get it on with a female condom, then this is how it would go down (in my imagination):

Just pictured a beautiful romantic evening that you've had with Ryan Gosling. He took you to Paris on his private jet and you enjoy a lovely evening eating gluten free pastries. When dinner is over he says..


You say, "Of course not, Ryan. I love how thoughtful and selfless you are."

He walks you to the penthouse of the hotel while whispering sweet nothings in your ear. He opens the door and you see candles and rose petals everywhere while you hear Barry White's "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Baby" playing in the background. You dance with him like he danced with whats-her-face in that one movie except you and him dance it so much better. {sigh} It's perfect.

Then you grab this from your purse:


Somehow you "gracefully" place it in your lady garden and you begin to make sweet love with Ryan Gosling. Normally, this would be AWESOME, but you are distracted by the sound of a million plastic bags being rubbed together. Over and over and over again.

Barry White is replaced by a different song. It goes something like this… You've lost that loving feeling. Oh, that loving feeling. Oh, it's gone, gone, gone. Whoa whoa whoa.

Ryan Gosling cries in the corner.

The Today Sponge (the only one offered in the USA)

This is a plastic thing that's filled with spermicide that you stuff into your tuna taco before you do the nasty. 

I have a few issue with it such as the following:

a) It's plastic. Does it have BPA? I don't know because their website doesn't address it. 
b) It contains sulfites
c) It is pre-filled with spermicide that has nonoxynol 9 which is basically a detergent and can be really irritating. 
d) It can cause yeast infections and UTI's

However, it doesn't require a prescription, but it is only around 90% effective.

3) Abstinence.
Like that's going to happen. Ever. {laughs hysterically} Silly, silly people. {falls off chair from laughing too hard}. Ridiculous.

4) Getting your tubes tied or his tubes snipped.
This is permanent so make sure you really want to end your legit baby making days before you go this route, but if you do-- then have fun pretending to make babies. 

5) Breast feeding as birth control
This doesn't work on so many levels. First, you have to have had a baby. Second, it doesn't work.

So just don't do it. 

As a nurse, I used to work on Labor and Delivery and I cannot tell you how many women showed up 10-14 months AFTER their first baby because they thought they couldn't get prego while giving Junior the boob juice. 

6) Natural Family Planning
This include the pull out method (yeah, right-- like I'd trust a man to do that), basil body temperature, calendar tracking, and the cervical mucus method. 



These methods are great in that they are the most natural and you don't have to worry about allergies, chemicals or any health risks. But you have to be okay playing with your lady mucus (see above diagram).

However, it was said by the Office of Population Affairs that between 1-25 couples who practice ONLY natural family planning techniques will get pregnant out of every 100 couples.

Is it just me or does that seem like some really wide statistics. 1% to 25%. It's probably because of user error, but eehhhhh…. It scares me because I don't know if I'm that responsible. I really believe that this has a place, but I prefer to do it in conjunction with other methods, but if you choose to do natural family planning….

May the odds be ever in your favor.{wink}

If you want to read more about Natural Family Planning please see AmericanPregnancy.org

The Diaphragm and Me!
This isn't mine. I thought it would be
gross to take a picture of it
considering where it's been.
I'm sure this one is NEW.
The Diaphragm covers the cervix to create a barrier between those pesky sperm and your glorious egg. You will need to be fitted by a doctor for these devices because if they aren't the proper size then those commando sperms will find their way past your stone cold defense system! No Respect! 

When it's in place, I can't feel it. It's a little odd to insert, but it's not difficult. I suppose that I'm just not used to shoving something like that up in my lady land.

I know a lot of people are scared of this, but honestly, it kind of looks like Meg Griffin's hat from Family Guy. It's not intimidating at all.

It ends up being cheaper than birth control pills in the long run, but depending on your insurance it can be a larger up front cost.  Planned Parenthood usually has a lower cost for care if you are lower income and I HEAR (that means it's a rumor so don't get mad if it's not true) that ObamaCare covers the cost completely. Mine cost $20 with insurance.

The great thing about barrier devices is that you can put it in BEFORE you plan to have sex. For instance, you're going on a sexy date with Ryan Gosling- put that bad boy in before you head out so when you get home you're all ready to go! Also, I recommend putting it in before you go drinking because you'll never remember after 3 (or more) glasses of wine! 

I found this really sexy picture so you can understand how a diaphragm works. Rawr!

Effectiveness
Barrier devices aren't as effective as hormonal birth control for preventing pregnancy. When used alone, the diaphragm is about 80% effective. When used with spermicide they become about as effective as a condom (95%) and if you use it in conjunction with other methods (ex: male condom, natural family planning) you will just keep increasing your odds of staying baby free. Yay!

If you do decide to get a diaphragm or a cervical cap you should also use spermicide to help reduce your risk for getting a baby put in your box. I use ContraGel which is a spermicide alternative which is actually made in the UK, but it's all natural with no hormones added. It also is approved by the European Union which has a lot stricter rules regarding the safety of their products than the USA.

You can find ContraGel on Amazon.com if you want to buy some or simply read a little more about it. Here's some information, people:


ContraGel Website

Disadvantages of Diaphragms: 
Barrier methods like the Diaphragm do NOT protect against STDs. You will need to use a condom if you are not with a trusted partner.

You also can't use a diaphragm when you're on your period.

They also take some of the spontaneity out of sexy time. If your man starts rubbing your back and kissing your neck, you'll have to excuses yourself to go to the bathroom.

More Information
For more info on different methods check out The Planned Parenthood website
If you want more information on Natural Family Planning check out the American Pregnancy site

I hope you found this information helpful and I hope you enjoyed reading about my fantasies with Ryan Gosling (minus the female condom… or whatever).

Reader, if you're brave-- I'd love to hear your stories about natural birth control and/or fantasies with hot celebrities.

Seriously, Ryan-- call me.

Oh, and since we are talking about lady stuff, if you have a yeast infection you can try this natural remedy.

16 comments:

  1. haha thanks! so funny
    and Ryan: yummm!

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    1. You can't go wrong with Ryan Gosling. I'm getting a lot of positive Ryan feedback-- I think I should add him to all my posts. I mean, I should try to make my readers happy, right? ;)

      I'm glad you like it! :)

      Delete
  2. I've been using Natural Family Planning for about 15 years (I'm 46). We have two children, both planned. I realize that the "failure rate" quoted for NFP is generally high, to take into account user error. But, the actual failure rate for couples who chart accurately and don't cut corners... is about the same as the pill. For what it's worth, I'm a "fertile Myrtle", and conceived each kiddo on the first try. Just my personal experience.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have always wondered about the user error in Family Planning because the stats seem to be so varied. It always send up a warning flag when I see something with such a large range standard deviation when it comes to errors. It makes me think that the research isn't very conclusive.

      It means a lot coming from someone who actually has done it successfully! Thanks again!

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  3. Thank you so much for this post. I had a lot of trouble with the pill and after having 2 kids now need a solution. I have seriously been considering sterilisation as when I asked my doctor about the diaphragm she really put me off. She gave all of the disadvantages and told me it wasn't really effective and encouraged me to go for the new IUD (no thanks) and newer pills (no thanks). I am going to see another doctor and do some more research having read this.

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    1. Hi! I'm glad that you found it useful. A lot of medical doctors are against the idea of alternative methods of birth control because the pill is so effective. My doctor also tried to get me to get an IUD placed, but there are so many issues with those. In fact, my cousin had her uterus perforated by an IUD.

      I've done a lot of research and it's definitely the right choice for me. Definitely look online and see what you can find because it's a very personally choice. It's effective as most other barrier methods, but a lot of people use them incorrectly by either taking it out too soon or not using spermicide or forgetting to put it in all together. So if you use it like it's supposed to be used, then it definitely can work!

      Good luck on making the right decision for you! I'm sure you'll find the answer. If there is anything I can do or if you have any questions, please let me know.

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  4. Sorry, but if a man isn't willing to consider my protection form pregnancy or STIs by wearing a condom, my trust in him slips quite a bit

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  5. Have you had any issues with the Contragel altering your PH? I've had yeast infection issues with spermicides that contain nonoxynol-9 so I'm wary of using them now.

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  6. I have to say most of the time I avoid these type of subjects but you really did a awesome job of not boring and even made me laugh. I'm so done with my baby making days. However, I have a younger sister & a daughter so I keep myself informed. I have become more aware of all the harmful things we use, put in or on our bodies. Thanks for helping

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  7. I ordered my diaphragm from the UK (ethicalfamilyplanning.com) - prescription could not be filled here in the US. Also my new doctor was completely puzzled and did a hard sell for the pill and other hormonal options.

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  8. I have been told by my doctor and every pharmacy in the U.S. That diaphragms are no longer available. Where did you get yours? I got for for one and everything but then went to fill the script and ran into problems.

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    1. I got my prescription from my local OB GYN and I filled it at a speciality pharmacy, but they did have to order it and have it mailed in.

      Delete
  9. Good reference to learn about your body and what politics don't want you to know: Take Care of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler (spelling may be off, sorry). Describes in detail the natural family planning aka Fertility Awareness Method. They literally promote use of other contraception during fertile or generally risky parts of your cycle. Not as complicated as I thought. Kind of what"fertile Myrtle" shared earlier. What I liked most: taught me things about honoring my body instead of polluting it (like you address) &things I feel I should've been taught 20 years ago instead of being taught how"dirty" my female parts were, etc. The greatest is my husband and I read it together and a fertility coach (Lisa from Fertility Fridays) told me that those that in her years of doing this that have the highest success rate of preventing or planning pregnancy are those who are BOTH absolutely sure whether they Do or Don't want to have kids. It's when 1 or the other or if they are lackadaisical about it that end up adding to negative statistics. Made sense because it takes 2 to tango and I am grateful both of us are on same page!
    Another thing it talks about is WHY is so difficult to get decent barrier contraception that is NON INVASIVE in the US.the politics and money. ..!!

    So I had a copper IUD for 9 years, and hormonal bc for 11 prior. IT SCREWED MY BODY UP. the copper leaked into my body and I gradually became less and less myself, copper excess = zinc deficiency = immune system disfunction!! I became socially anxious recluse who was fatigued all the time, cloudy headed, and constantly having various viruses, and thyroid problems. But the same rude doctors swore it was not the IUD and that they don't sell the diaphragm anymore and I needed another copper IUD or hormones. Shocking. Well, I've been copper free for 45 days now and FEEL MORE LIKE MYSELF, ENERGETIC, and happy again! !! After 9 YEARS! Please, women, do not do this to your bodies like I did! Use alternatives like NFP/FAM or diaphragms like she talks about, or FEMCAP, Contra gel, etc!

    I laughed so much at the mental image of plastic bags rustling! Hilarious! Thank you :-)

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