Friday, February 16, 2007

Move over bacon, now there's something leaner!

I'm contemplating upgrading my birth control. Don't get me wrong, I love the Nuvaring. It works beautifully. I don't have to think about it for a whole month. But it does cost me $30 a month because there is no generic available yet. ('Cause I'm so cutting edge with my BC. Hey, if I can't be fashionable on the outside...) Also, I have to remember to refill my prescription, find a time to go get it, and then remember to, you know, use the thing on the right day. It's not exactly rocket science, but then again, it is fertility I'm messing with. You can never be too careful.

So yeah, I'm looking into Mirena. It's an IUD that covers you for 5 years. Five years! I have to find out about my insurance coverage but if they do what I think they'll do (based on a friend's experience) it will cost me a $10 co-pay and $60 for parts and labor, so to speak. Doing the math, the Nuvaring at $30/month for 5 years means I'd be shelling out $1,800 (still only 20% of X's vasectomy reversal surgery. Ha!) versus the $70 installation of this IUD. I'm willing to save $1,730.

The only weird thing about Mirena is that their website pretty much states that they don't know how or why it works:

Q. How does Mirena work?

A. There is no single explanation of how Mirena works. Mirena may:

Block sperm from reaching or fertilizing your egg

Make the lining of your uterus thin (this may also result in benefits like less menstrual bleeding over time)

Stop the release of your egg from your ovary (but this may not be the way it works in most cases)

It is believed that all 3 of these actions may work together to prevent pregnancy.

Um, yeah. I'm glad it does work but it is a little...unnerving that the reasons are unclear. A little too much faith based science for this atheist to handle.

What is also somewhat odd is that the website only really caters to women who have already had children. If they were smart they would advertise to the single gal who is on and off her BC because of her various relationships. Hello? Women don't want to be spending all that money and time on pills when they aren't even getting any. This is perfect. After the inital investment, it's always there. As long as you use condoms while you're still in the "I don't know if you are healthy" stage, its all good.

I'll hear back next week as to whether my insurance does actually cover this. Then, I just have to make an appointment, and wham, bam, thank you ma'am, I am free to fornicate with wild abandon. Or at least with less fear of pregnancy. Although I'm sure Friendster Guy would encourage the wild abandon part. (And no, all you Christian Coalition people stumbling upon this blog, birth control does not encourage a person to have sex. It encourages them to have educated sex. Plus, you don't want me to have an abortion, do you?)

I am a little concerned about going back to the non-chemically regulated periods though. I don't like surprises.


Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

Mirena works because of the hormone it releases. It doesn't use estrogen like most BCP women take, but it would be like the mini-pill that breastfeeding moms take because they can't have the estrogen. They're both effective, but the combo-hormone pills aren't as strictly reliant on timing to be effective, whereas the mini-pill needs to be AT THE SAME TIME, EVERY DAY. With the IUD, the timing is controlled automatically. I think the Q&A thing on Mirena might be more relevant as to why they don't know exactly how the hormone prevents pregnancy.

If it only cost that much, I'm going to be a bit upset. My doc convinced me not to do the IUD because having it for a only a year (which is all I'd like to have it in for right now) wouldn't be cost efficient. He did also say that it gets more effective after the first year, so that could still have been a factor.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

Oh, and about targeting women with children...

I'm not sure they should really approach it that way specifically, but I do know that IUDs are absolutely not recommend for women who aren't in monogamous relationships. IUDs can increase likelihood for complications from STDs, especially pelvic inflammatory disease. It is sort of wrong to imply that women without children wouldn't be in monogamous relationships, though.

pagalina said...

My doctor said that the mirena actually still helps regulate periods because of the hormones they release. And apparently IUDs are the most reliable BC outside of tubal ligation. I'm seriously thinking about it myself.

tjdygon said...

I had asked my Dr about IUD. She said it isn't reccommended for women that haven't had children. It can be uncomfortable in the uterus and it can lead to problems having children in the future. She had done it for women without children, but like she said it can be uncomfortable.
I'm going through birth control issues not too.

Jennifer Myszkowski said...


Several points.

1) I've had Mirena for five months and I haven't had a period. I spotted once, and I wouldn't have even noticed I if I hadn't looked at the toilet paper.

2) It's hella cost effective. I paid a $25 copay for 5 years of birth control.

3) You think you know where your cervix is, but you don't until they shoot that little IUD right through it. Take Advil before you go. My doc told me that it would hurt for a few hours and then I wouldn't feel it anymore. I didn't believe her while I was weeping openly, but sure enough, four hours later I didn't feel a thing, and I haven't felt a thing since.

4) My sister has had Mirena two different times - once for five years and once for three. And now she's on her third Mirena.

5) If you're planning to use your uterus for its intended purpose, Mirena might not be a good choice because it does increase the risk problems with pregnancy, but if you're not, have at it.

6) Anyway, I like it.

Thank you and good night.

Jennifer Myszkowski said...

One more thing to back up what celebrate-woo-woo said. My doctor told me that I needed to have a frank talk with my fella about how he can't have sex with anyone else but me (duh) because if I get chlamydia or gonorrhea and it goes undetected (which it can), I could be knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door. She also said that if I should take up with another fella, I needed to see his test results with my own eyes before cavorting with him all naked-like in an unprotected fashion. She said this like three times. I told her I wouldn't do anything stupid, particularly given what she had told me, and then she basically said it all again for emphasis. So, take this under advisement.

Laura D said...

Ok so im 19, in college, no kids and in a long term monogomous relationship. I went to my doctor and she said she'd put one in for me. Ever since i've been sexually active i've been researching all different types of birth control, so I already knew about the IUD. Despite the pain factor i've always wanted one but didn't know they were availible to women without children. When she told me she would put one in for me, I dialed the insurance company right away and found out they cover it 100%! All I have is a $15 copay and im good to go-which seemed better than paying $30-$35 a month for pills, patches and rings-not to mention the high effectiveness of it. My appointment to get it is in a few weeks and im nervous as all heck! I can handle pain much better than most people but thats a sensitive spot! I hear a few pain meds before hand and I should be ok. Wish me luck girls!

Sassy Pants said...

Good luck! The pain sucks but I couldn't be happier with the results.

Anonymous said...

I am looking into it also because of my endometriosis. It is said to help with that. They don't recomend it to people without children because it is difficult to put it in cause you havent been all streched out or whatever. And if you are sleeping with a bunch of people and contract and std it makes it more likely to get i think. If someone already has all the kids they want but are not in a monogamous relationship then they are more willing to do it because if it cause sterilization it isn't a big deal to someone who has there 2.5 kids.

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Meagan said...

The mirena works because of the combination of methods listed on the page. Physically blocking any sperm, the hormone "making their heads pop off" (my doctors words), thinner lining of the uterus (thus nowhere to implant), etc. The greatest thing is that even though there is a tiny bit of hormone, it's mostly a local effect, instead of multiple hormones pulsing through your bloodstream. In the early days (30 years ago), the strings were braided (not two fishing wire type strings), which could pull an existing infection up into the uterus making it much worse (hence the one girls' doctor making sure she had test results in hand prior to letting anyone near her hooha). However, with the new strings, that issue was pretty much resolved. Many doctors still think this way though, and hesitate to put the IUD into a woman with no children because back in the day, if that infection got pulled up into the uterus, it usually made her sterile. Obviously, we've come a long way in 30-40 years, so I highly recommend that if your doctor recommends against it, go and talk to somebody at Planned Parenthood. In the words of my doctor (at Planned Parenthood) "don't get it put in by somebody who does this 1-2 times a year. There is a risk of your body expelling the IUD, or it moving sideways and attempting to implant in the wall, usually happening when someone who is new TO PLACING the IUD (not new to IUDs and not women without children) messes up. Come to the place where we do 2-3 of these per day....all of us." When I was getting mine put in, there was actually a front desk person who was training to be the information specialist type person (who explains the various options) so I let him watch the procedure so he could provide informed counsel to women considering it.