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Women Shared Their Birth Control Preferences and Fails

From shots to pills, when it comes to birth control and ensuring safe sex women have all sorts of options. Still, choosing a method of birth control can be a pretty difficult thing to do. After all, varying types of birth control work in different ways to prevent sperm from reaching an egg but can also have different types of hormonal effects on a woman’s body.

We scoured Reddit and other boards to get advice from women about the types of birth control they use and the answers were pretty eyeopening.

Check them out below!

“I had Mirena for the full 5 years and LOVED it. I also had cramping from time to time and having it put in was painful. I decided once the 5 years was up I was going to try for a baby and had a perfectly healthy pregnancy. I too am forgetful and it was great not having to worry about periods or getting pregnant for 5 years without having to take something every day or week. Highly recommended!” –EssJayy7

“Lesbianism. 10/10 would recommend. 100% effective and feels amazing.” –

“I used Cerazette, which is one of the “mini/pop pills” if I remember right. It worked well for me, I had no real issues and it stopped my periods completely. The only difficulty was making sure I took it every day but it was much more flexible than the Pill for that (you could take it within an 8 hour time frame per day, something like that, without putting yourself at risk). I think the only side-effect I really had was a fluctuating sex drive.

Due to moving to a rural area, I swapped to the Depo-Provera injection for 3 months at a time. I had this done twice. It was absolutely horrific and I regret this a lot, it caused deep under-skin skin infections that I would struggle to say even counted as acne. They were black and horrible and look months of being off the injection and a good skin care routine to shift, and even now the particularly bad area is much more prone to acne when I am stressed.

It also made me hungry a lot of the time, I was very tired, my sex drive went bust, and my temper was horrific. It all creeped up on me during the months so I only really began suspecting it could be my birth control in my fourth or fifth month of having it active. Never again. My favourite birth control right now is having a girlfriend. No real side-effects right now except a definite loss of sleep.”- TheGentlemanCat

“I like my Mirena, it has it’s problems here and there but I keep it inserted because it has completely stopped my period and I don’t have to remember to take it everyday like a pill change it weekly or monthly like a patch or ring. It’s kinda just set it and forget it. Very effective with typical use over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.” – faytality

“it has it’s problems here and there. If you don’t mind sharing, which side effects have you experienced with Mirena?” –childfree_IPA

“I LOVE my Mirena, second time having it. More spotting the second time around. No issues here. I also tried the copper IUD which made my periods heavier and more painful. Tried Nuva Ring as well, worked fine, no side effects. Just more of a pain in the butt to remember to change it.” –mexican_viking13

“I had the Nexplanon insert in my arm. I get migraines with auras as well as some other conditions, so before that I was taking progestin only pills, from which I had no side effects. I was told the Nexplanon was progestin only. I don’t know how true that was because I immediately had horrible side effects including constant bleeding, migraines 4-5 times a week, loss of vision in left eye, numbness on left side of body, and vicious cystic acne all over my face. I had it implanted in June and removed in September. My symptoms went away almost immediately after (except the acne which was a long battle.)

My roommate actually suggested Nexplanon to me because she had migraines and was very happy with her results. However, she did not get auras.

Point is: what works for one person will not work for everyone, and always monitor your own symptoms. Yes, side effects are common in most birth control methods. However, you know your own body and if you feel seriously wrong, tell your doctor.”- bobfoxsky

“My first ever method of birth control was the Nuva Ring, which I tried for maybe six months when I was 18. Honestly, having the full dose of hormones in my body the whole 3 weeks on/1 week off cycle messed with my moods a lot, but I was also a new freshman in college in an unfamiliar city, so it may have just exacerbated my difficulty adjusting to my new life at that time.

My second method was the pill (I forget what brand, but it was a pretty standard generic that the campus doctor prescribed to everyone without listening to my concerns about mood swings on Nuva Ring) and that was…okay. I can’t remember how long I was on that one.

My third method was the Depo Provera shot (I should have listened to my mother who told me that if I reacted badly with mood swings to Nuva Ring, that a shot of hormones that wouldn’t wear off for 3 months was a terrible idea). I gained a lot of weight and became very depressed/moody on that method. I only got one shot, so it lasted 3 months, my periods stopped altogether and I just generally didn’t recognize my personality during that time. It was awful. I didn’t have a period for 6 months total, even though it should have worn off completely after 3. Everything was off balance!

After the Depo shot, I talked to my actual PCP about all of my birth control experience up until that point, and she put me on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, because she felt that it mimics the body’s natural cycle a lot better than a standard ‘same dose of hormones all the time’ method. My first full cycle of Ortho actually induced me to get my period back after Depo, and it was such a relief to feel normal again.

I’m currently still on Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, though I took about a one year break from it when I wasn’t particularly sexually active/not in a relationship, so I was using condoms only during that time. I love it. I never had particularly bad periods or hormonal acne or anything, and this pill just makes me feel like I’m on my normal cycle. I have an alarm to remember to take it every morning, and use condoms as a back-up if I do forget a pill.

My advice would be not to experiment with a method that you can’t escape from (like the IUD or in my case, Depo Provera) when you’re in college or already dealing with big life changes, because 3 months while in school was a long time , and I almost messed up my grades and was in a really tough spot mentally.” –gingeroh

I have had mirena for the past 5 years.

Pros:

The most reliable birth control, especially because human error doesn’t really factor into it (I would probably forget about the Pill all the time if I had to take it daily.)

Lasts 5 years.

It’s the lowest dose of hormones out of all hormonal birth control.

Greatly reduces period or stops it completely. I had a heavy period that lasted 7 days before mirena. It gave me iron-deficiency anemia. My doctor suggested mirena so that I’d stop losing so much blood and it worked.

I haven’t gained weight or lost my sex drive or become depressed. My skin is very clear but I don’t know if it’s due to mirena or not.

Cons:

Spotted non-stop for the first 3 months after insertion. Both times. This suuucccckkks.

Insertion hurts a lot, but it’s over quickly.

Some people have said that it makes deep sex a bit painful. I have not found this to be the case, but I like getting my cervix bumped so YMMV.

I get moody the week before my period. Really moody. I usually have a good cry due to existential angst and the futility of all human life the day before my period. And then I’m fine.” –_lollipoppins

“I also had a terrible 3 months after insertion. I feel as though nobody really told me about the possibility of that but I bled quite a lot and has significant cramps for up to a month after insertion. I got checked out and all is good now and I’m very happy with the Mirena, but just wanted to share that possibility since I didn’t know.”- captainkaykay

“All the pills: won’t ever take them again. There was just so much unpleasantness with having my hormones so messed with. I did really enjoy the punctuality of my periods though.

Copper IUD: love it, kind of. Insertion was NbD, and although I did experience cramps for the first time in my life with it, the non-hormonal, “set it and forget it “ mentality was great. Totally got pregnant with it in though, so that’s not awesome. Now I have a two year old.

Condoms: not being a gooey mess at the end it awesome.” –Lovelyfeathereddinos

“Totally got pregnant with it in though, so that’s not awesome. Now I have a two year old.

Sorry to hear that, that was my first laugh out loud of the day though.” –sideways8

“I have an IUD. I despise it. The insertion was horrible, having it in is horrible, getting it taken out will require sedation of some kind. It’s definitely messing up my internal systems, and the residual pain from repeated invasions is difficult.

I’m not sexually active, I got this because it was supposed to make my periods easier and also the doctor told me she wouldn’t help me if I didn’t get it. It made my periods less heavy, but they last longer, I bleed more frequently, and my cramps have become more in-depth.

Plenty of people have had good experiences, in fact, most people do. But I’m not one of them and I knew that going in. I wish I had just refused.” –Bmoreisapunkrocktown

“I’m… fairly certain doctors can’t say that. Sorry you had a bad experience with it, sounds awful. Bad insertion, maybe?” –ZeketheKnight

“Being gay. It’s the best. Highly recommended. 10/10. Side effects may include increased orgasms, shared emotional labor, doubled wardrobe, cats.”- BaylisAscaris

“I have been on the copper IUD for the past 2 years and it is my preferred method because it is hormone free. I do have heavier periods and more intense cramps, but these were things I have dealt with my whole life so it wasn’t that big of a deal for me.

I started off trying several types of the pill, almost all of which gave me intense mood swings. At one point I thought I found a pill that worked for me but ended up incredibly depressed, which I believe was related to the pill. After that I tried nuvaring which killed any libido I had so I just used condoms until I got my IUD put in.” –significantotter1

“Ortho Tri Cyclen: Did the job. Cleared up my acne. Made my periods regular. Made me gain a bit of weight (like 5lbs or so), made my boobs bigger. I had a hard time remembering to take the pill every day at the same time.

Nuva Ring: I loved it! I chose this one because I didn’t want to have to remember to take a pill every day, but I also didn’t want something as semi-permanent as an IUD that I would need reversed by a doctor (and I was nervous about the pain with insertion). I never had a problem with it falling out during sex or any other time. I would use it continually for 3 months at a time to skip my period, then let myself have a withdrawal bleed and I never had spotting in between. My husband said he could feel it sometimes, but it didn’t bother him. I recently went off of it (3 months ago) because I am ttc, and my periods have yet to become regular.

Pulling Out/Withdrawal method: Did not work. Got pregnant after 8 months. Do not recommend unless you are okay with getting pregnant.

Plan B/Morning after pill: I have used this twice, once after forgetting to take my BC pill properly and once when a condom broke. It gave me a heavier than usual period with some moderate cramping, but other than that no side effects and I didn’t get pregnant so it did the job. Obviously I don’t recommend this for regular birth control, but it’s great for emergencies!” –wicksa

“1. Male condoms. I liked the ability to see I was being protected. Decent rate of protection when used properly as well. I didn’t like the interruption involved in grabbing and putting on a condom. I also never trusted them enough to use them without another method. It was always either condoms + pulling out or condoms + pill + pulling out. 2. Pill. The first pill I was on was Lo Loestrin Fe. It caused me to bleed for a week every other week (so, one week bleeding, one week not, repeat). I stuck with it for a couple months hoping it was just a weird adjustment period, but the pattern continued and I couldn’t put up with that. After that, I switched to another pill, Azurette (or a generic version). I’ve had zero issues with it. The only symptom I’ve noticed is that I get more hungry than usual the first few days of my placebo pills (but this was a symptom I had pre-period normally – it’s just been amplified a bit). Like with condoms though, I’ve never been able to trust the pill on its own and always doubled up on protection. 3. Sterilization. I had a bilateral salpingectomy (tube removal) done a couple years ago. I have zero regrets and would do it all again if I had to. It’s permanent, super effective, and makes me feel secure (my lifelong fear of pregnancy is gone).”- Luminaria19

“Pull-out method and I am now 26 weeks pregnant, so you be the judge. But in all seriousness, I was on your basic birth control pill for about a year. I think it was Junel. It made me emotional, crazy, and caused me to put on weight. I later stopped it on my own, and found out from another doctor that “the pill” generally doesn’t mix well with women with anxiety and depression.

Whoops. Someone really should have mentioned this before. Overall when I go back to some form of birth control, I think I will use condoms. They don’t feel as good, but don’t have a chemical effect on my body. Pull-out method works well too, you just need a lot of self-control. Which apparently I do not have!!” –whimsical_potatoes

“I took an estrogen based birth control pills as a teenager. It was awful. While it did regulate my periods, and my skin cleared up, I couldn’t take the emotional upheaval it caused. Instarted having ridiculous mood swings, where I’d be fine one minute and sobbing uncontrollably the next. I’d argue with people, to the point of screaming, and couldn’t calm down. I felt like I was losing my mind, and I became suicidal. When I started planning how I could kill myself, I stopped taking my pills. I felt better within a few weeks. The whole time, I had been telling my doctor that I was having these problems, and he told me birth control couldn’t cause mental health issues, and I just needed to suck it up. I stopped going to him after I stopped taking my pills.

That experience was pretty traumatic, so I’ve been wary or any forms of birth control aside from condoms.

Condoms are my choice right now, and I’ve never had issues with them. They are reliable, and don’t rely on me remembering to take a pill or get some sort of implant.” –chemchick27

“I have used: Orthocyclen BCP- I had breakthrough bleeding for three months. Had to switch.

Levlen BCP- I took this for almost four years. It worked great in every way except I gained 80lb on it. I couldn’t lose any weight, despite being fairly athletic. Yasmin BCP- I tried it twice. Had to stop within two months both times because of recurring multi-day migraines. Condoms- Tried and true. I used many brands without issue while dating. Spermicide strips- These look like little Listerine breath strips that dissolve in the vagina. They worked OK, but have a high chance of user error due to needing to plan ahead. They’d be a decent backup. Norethindrone (the mini pill)- This is my favorite and my current method. I can’t take the full pill due to blood pressure issues now, so this will have to do. I don’t have cycles at all when I’m on it, and it’s fantastic. No negative side effects, some great positive ones, and no cycles or babies.” – whats_a_bylaw

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Women Are Savagely Knocking Gender Joke Norms Including The Outdated ‘She Must Be On Her Period’

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Women Are Savagely Knocking Gender Joke Norms Including The Outdated ‘She Must Be On Her Period’

picture alliance / Getty

It’s been said before that humor that mocks normative values can be funny only “if the humor is non-threatening.”

Truth be told, however, most of us known when sexist humor is more harmful than it is funny. According to Research Gate “jokes targeting women were perceived to be less funny, more offensive, and more sexist than jokes targeting men. Additionally, greater perceptions of threat were related to greater perceptions of jokes as offensive and sexist. However, women were not more threatened than men by sexist jokes. While these findings were not entirely consistent with our hypotheses, our findings suggest disparagement humor targeting lower-status groups is perceived more negatively than disparagement humor targeting higher-status groups and these perceptions may be inextricably rooted in threat posed to lower-status groups.”

Women and men of Reddit seem to be able to understand this truth because recently, they’ve been taking these jokes and calling them out for what they are: ridiculous and not so funny.

Check it out below!

“Downplaying how horrible periods can be. I’ve seen so many men act like women are being babies on their period and it’s just enraging.”- OverallDisaster

“To couple with this: downplaying our emotions because of periods. Anger or sadness can’t possibly be because of a bad situation, it it must be because sHe’S oN HeR pErIoD.”- InnocenceMySister

“Literally. And it’s funny because the hormone that increases during a woman’s period that apparently makes them so “emotional” is testosterone.

Edit- My comment has been getting a lot of upvotes so I just want to take this opportunity to tell you all this. I know it can be hard being a woman and things can feel really bleak/tiresome sometimes (especially since it’s 2021 and we haven’t made nearly as much progress as we should have in regards to gender issues) but just remember to keep your head up. Things won’t be like this forever. They have to improve. Hopefully.”- aetnaaa

“That time of the month when we act like a man.”- paisleyterror

“I have pcos which also causes painful periods. Before I knew I had it, I never understood how other women could just “get used to” having periods. Lots of women also downplay how bad periods can be because they don’t know how painful some of our periods really are.”- tropicalparadise27

“Oh man and the first time a cyst ruptures… you’re laying on the bathroom floor thinking this is the end ans now you die and why didn’t I clean the bathroom more since this is where my body will be found.”- TaysteePotayto

“Same thing happened to me dude. I was in college, my roomate thought I was dying and I was like naw, don’t you also vomit till the point of fainting crying because of the knives in your intestines on your period? Not normal I guess.”- porkbunasaurus

“Or when women with easier periods act like other women are lying! I’m very lucky and have never had a difficult period, it’s light with very few symptoms. But that doesn’t mean that I doubt other women when they share their experiences. Just because mine is generally okay doesn’t mean that others don’t have excruciating pain.”- shadesofpink44

“Everyone has different experiences so I can only share mine. I get PMS about a week before I start and I start to get irrationally irritated or sad. Sometimes my boobs hurt or I can’t go to the bathroom for several days. I actually get super hungry the few days before too. Then when I start my period I have horrible cramps in my pelvic region and lower stomach. Sometimes they’re so bad they take my breath away. Sometimes they wake me up in the middle of the night and they’re so bad I could cry. I also have (TMI) really bad digestive issues and constantly have to go to the bathroom. I also get migraines with mine + sometimes that causes nausea. Not to mention the fact it’s uncomfortable having to wear a pad or tampon which can cause irritation. For me the first two days of mine are super heavy so I’m bleeding a lot, and the more you bleed the worse your cramps are. Its bad when you start bleeding a lot and you stand up and it all just gushes out. It’s just honestly horrible for me, especially the first two days but then mine kind of tapers off and gets better, but mine used to last up to a week. I can’t say I block it out as I’m very aware of the pain but I try to take pain medication, wear comfy clothes, use a heating pad if necessary. Sorry this might all be TMI lol, but there’s just so much going on and I think it’s good to build awareness about it!

As far as tips the biggest thing is just to be understanding and patient, never diminishing someone’s experience or pain. I also like when guys don’t act grossed out by it, to me it’s a sign of maturity when a man is able to listen and have an open conversation about it.”- OverallDisaster

Indeed, I think that as a society we’re starting to grapple with the fact that pedophilia is far more common than people assumed. I remember that I was started to be catcalled at 11 and my teens and early 20’s were the highest, and now in my 40’s never happens and is awesome. Men know they’re sexually harassing children, and get away with it because people turn a blind eye, blame the kid, or chose the believe the obvious lie of: I had no idea she’s 12, she looks like a woman, I couldn’t tell her age, like wtf?!

ETA: They knew she’s 12, that’s why they catcalled her.”- dystopianpirate

“Yeah, it’s absolutely insane. I remember getting catcalled (very aggressively) as a 7th grader by grown ass men. I always thought it was because I looked older until I recently saw a picture of 12 year old me. Nope, looked like a child. I was utterly shocked, sad and disgusted at the same time.”-Shaboinker2

“This, just today I was catcalled and basically harassed to the point where I had to step back inside my house. I was simply standing in the front yard with my kids. That’s all I was doing.”- HumanAdhesiveness360

“That’s not it except for especially shitty guys.

It’s more likely that the men in question have had little to no experience with women and thus don’t have enough samples to distinguish between friendliness and flirting.

Plus, a shy woman’s flirting might be less obvious than an outgoing woman’s friendliness, so if they had a shy girlfriend before their calibration could be skewed.

Or they could just be interested and made a move in the hopes of success without assuming anything. Men have to approach frequently to get dates, so asking out literally anyone you find attractive is a fairly common strategy.

Men aren’t a monolith any more than women are and there are loads of explanations that don’t require the guy to be an asshole. Most of the time, the dude’s probably just lonely.”- Odinh153

“The way the medical community approaches female reproductive health in general is awful. A close friend wants to get sterilized because she already has two kids, gets awful depression during pregnancy, and post partum depression that makes her suicidal. She’s happy with her family and out of genuine concern for her daughters, wants to be sterilized so she can be the best mum possible to them. Basically no long-acting contraceptive methods are suitable for her… IUDs either cause persistent bleeding or keep dropping out, implants cause awful bleeding for months etc etc…

But my partner called up a vasectomy clinic, booked an appointment on the phone, and it was done in under a week. No questions asked, no “what if you change your mind”… my friend’s life is genuinely at risk if she gets pregnant again, and it would leave two kids without a mother, but years of trying can’t get her what a man can have for asking once.”- kellerae

“It is infuriating how women are treated during childbirth. Actually abused in other countries.

Also, what I hate is that women always say, well “it hurt but it’s okay”; usually when their tear or episiotomy is stitched up with either no local anesthetic or an insufficient amount. No, it is not okay! Would a man have a vasectomy without anesthetic?

Really annoying how we are expected to grin and bear it.”- Suse-

“I just went to the GP to get an extension for my time off work after having ovarian cyst removed. The male gp said to me “I used to be really stingy about giving time off work to my patients until I got a really bad chest infection myself” I was a bit taken aback in his comparison of a bad cold to my abdominal surgery.”- camelsdonthavetoes

“inappropriate behavior from men, especially from a young age. If a boy hits a little girl he “just likes her”. That little boy grows up thinking there’s no repercussion for violence, and keeps hitting women. The cycle just goes on.”-professional_joe

“I know way too many women who think it’s normal to have to do most of the housework and childcare, plus the mental and emotional load of household management, even if they also have an outside job. Also to manage their husbands as if they are children who can’t be expected to remember to make appointments or buy their own clothes or things for the children or holidays or take care of menial tasks without reminders and help.”-FranzLuciferdinand

“My mum managed my dad a lot when I was a kid, but he has genuine problems remembering things, and fortunately I internalized it as ‘Dad can’t remember things so Mom keeps track for him’, instead of believing that all wives manage their husband’s schedule and that’s the natural way of things. He did his fair share around the house and also in our housing co-op. Now that I’m older it makes me sad to know that my parents’ fairly equal arrangement is not the norm.”- ohdearsweetlord

”dressing little girls in a way that makes it difficult for them to move around. your four year old should not miss out on valuable play because she doesn’t want to mess up her clothes or hair. her appearance should be the last freaking thing on her mind. it makes me so angry to see little girls having to sit on the sidelines while their brothers and male cousins play rambunctiously because their parents put them in a dress and expensive shoes. i hate the bullshit propaganda that little girls “naturally” prefer playing quietly indoors and/or alone. sure, it may be true for some little girls (just like it’s also true for some little boys), but you cannot tell me that socialisation doesn’t play a massive role in what kind of play children “naturally” prefer.”-parezcounapina

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The Chilean Government Gave Out Defective Birth Control Pills Which Caused Dozens of Unplanned Pregnancies

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The Chilean Government Gave Out Defective Birth Control Pills Which Caused Dozens of Unplanned Pregnancies

Photo via Getty Images

The fight for women’s right to choose what to do with their bodies is a fight that continues to rage on throughout the world. That fight is especially intense in Latin American countries, where cultural attitudes towards sex and abortion are highly influenced by Roman Catholic ideals.

Recently, women in Chile were provided defective birth control pills from the government. The faulty contraceptives have resulted in at least 140 unplanned pregnancies.

The incident happened when the Chilean government–which is the primary method that women get birth control pills–distributed pill packs that were packaged incorrectly. The pill packs–which went by the name of Anulette CD–had placebo (“sugar pills”) in the place of the active pills.

Reproductive health advocates began hearing rumors that the government had issued defective birth control pills, so they did some investigating. One reproductive rights organization, Corporacion Miles, requested a formal inquiry into the rumors. Because of the inquiry, 276,890 packets of birth control pills were quietly recalled in August of last year.

These unplanned pregnancies are especially challenging because Chile, like many Latin American countries, have very restrictive abortion laws.

Unless a woman has been sexually assaulted or her life is in danger, it is hard to get an abortion in Chile. Because of these laws, women have little means to deal with these unplanned pregnancies. Either that, or they can opt for a clandestine abortion, where their lives could potentially be put at risk.

The Chilean women who became pregnant, after taking every precaution to prevent such a thing from happening, are scared. Many of them, already feeling strained from the emotional and financial strains of the pandemic, don’t feel ready to have a child.

“I don’t think people grasp how hard it is to be a mother for a woman who is not ready,” said Marlisett Guisel Rain Rain, a mother of three who became pregnant with her fourth child after taking the defective birth control pills. “You have to rebuild yourself completely.”

Both the government and the contraceptive manufacturer are pointing fingers at each other for who is to take the blame.

The pill manufacturers are claiming that they have had “no reports” of unplanned pregnancies after taking their pills. But they also insist that if the pills were defective, healthcare workers should have noticed the problem before distributing them. In response, the Chilean government is fining the manufacturer $92,000 due to “quality problems”.

“Women were trusting the pills they were given by state-run clinics,” said said Anita Peña Saavedra, director of Corporacion Miles. “The fault is not only with the laboratory but also with the government. They are both responsible.”

The only bright side that reproductive rights activists see is that this debacle might inspire Chileans to reconsider the countries strict anti-abortion laws come November, when the country will vote on a new government and new constitution.

“This is a very emblematic case to show why having [three legal exceptions] is just not enough and why it is always important to have access to free and legal abortion,” said Paula Avila, a human rights lawyer and head of the U.S.-based Women’s Equality Center.

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