I’ve been taking the oral contraceptive pill (combination) for the last 6-7 years as my form of birth control as well as a way to treat my acne. In the last 18 months of me taking it, my sex drive has been ridiculously low. It resulted in sex becoming painful because of the lack of lubrication (we never had an issue and so we always underestimated the amount of lube to use). I ended up getting small cuts on the bottom section of the opening towards the perineum which made sex even more undesirable to me! Even when we would use too much lube, by that point I had anxiety on getting cuts and my pelvic muscles would just tense up. It’s just a really shitty sex life for long-term relationships especially when it never used to be an issue.
I decided to go off the pill. I have currently been off the pill for a month now and my sex drive is slowly returning as well as no more issues with dryness. Unfortunately, the idea that I am not on any birth control (only using condoms, calendar method) has caused me a lot of anxiety. I am not comfortable with the odds of preventing pregnancy this way and I was interested in trying the copper IUD or the rod. I would prefer the rod as I would love to not have periods anymore but given that this is a hormone (albeit not combo) I am concerned that this will be an issue for my libido again. As for the copper IUD, I am a little scared of the thread hanging from my cervix as I use a menstrual cup and I don’t want to accidentally pull it out (i know it sounds dramatic, but I’m not the most gentle thing when it comes to removing the cup).
Has anyone gone through the same issues as me?
Hey, @snapesonaplane thanks so much for sharing your experience! I’m so sorry you’ve been having such a hard time being able to have comfortable sex, I’m hoping @nurse_nettie can offer some advice on the more painful side of things.
I’ve had a similar experience, the pill made my libido pretty much non-existent! I got the IUD afterwards which worked out great for me! You can also get the strings cut shorter so I don’t think it would be much of an issue in terms of having it pulled out. Plus, many people on the IUD stop having their periods too, so no need for the cup! (Of course, some people do still bleed or spot so there’s that to consider too).
Just know you’re not alone in these experiences and it’s great that you’ve come here to start talking about things to help get you through!
I’ll link to some relevant topics here talking about the IUD and contraception as well for you to have a look at!
Hi @snapesonaplane there are so many alternatives to the oral contraceptive pill. Each type has its own pros & cons. What’s best for you really depends on your unique body and your priorities.
The copper IUD is an IUD with no hormones at all. This is great for those people who can’t or don’t want to use any hormones. It also starts working immediately after insertion. It can even be used as Emergency Contraception if inserted within 5 days after unprotected sex. The main downside is that often causes heavier & longer periods.
The Mirena IUD is an IUD that includes low dose progestogen (no oestrogen). That means it often is a better option than the pill for people who have side effects associated with oestrogen. It also has the benefit of reducing menstrual bleeding and cramps. Some people may stop having periods altogether.
Both IUDs last 5 years & are more than 99% effective.
The rod, also called the implant or Implanon is another long acting contraceptive. It last 3 years & is also more than than 99% effective. Like the Mirena IUD, it doesn’t have any oestrogen (progestogen only). It also reduces menstrual bleeding & some women stop their periods altogether. The most common complaint is irregular bleeding or light, ongoing bleeding.
Hi @snapesonaplane, thanks so much for trusting us to share your story! It sounds like you’ve been on a bit of a journey with your contraception and I’m sorry to hear that it’s been painful and made sex, which can be so fun and pleasurable, undesirable!
I’ve also been on a contraception journey myself. I went on the pill at 14 to manage extremely heavy periods and came off at age 20 because I wanted to know how my body was going without the additional hormones. Turns out, I had a much stronger libido than I thought! The pill had been impacting me in lots of different ways, and I only realised when I eventually came off it.
I’ve been using condoms + calendar method since, and last week I got the hormonal IUD as it had a much lower dose of hormones (as it’s localised to the uterus) than the rod. My doctor advised against using the cup while I have the IUD just in case the suction dislodges it. I’m more than happy to follow their advice as I’m hoping my periods lighten up enough that I can just rely on my period undies instead.
It can be such a frustrating journey trying to figure out the best contraception option for you. But, know that you’re not alone on that journey! I’ve only spoken to 1 or 2 people in my life that have been totally happy with the first pill they were ever put on. My best advice is to look out for a fantastic GP that listens to you.
Also, as a side note. Lube is amazing and I use it 100% of the time, even when I’m not having issues with dryness. It makes everything so slippery and fantastic!
Thank you so much for all your kind words and advice! I’m definitely going to need to hunt down a good GP to help me out with figuring out my best option. How long do you normally stick with an option before realising it doesn’t work? If I use the implanon, maybe I’ll try some progesterone only mini pills to see how I go. Is that smart?
The hunt for a GP begins!
Thank you again!
@snapesonaplane I know what you mean about the IUD thread and using your menstrual cup because you have to really get hands on to use the cup and sometimes that suction feels pretty strong! From the reading I did do it looks like using the menstrual cup and IUD is actually really safe and very low risk of dislodging it.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong timeframe to try different options – @nurse_nettie is there any recommendations for switching up your contraceptives? I was on the pill (Levlen) for about 6 years when I decided that it wasn’t the best option for me and so I decided to get an IUD which was great for me. Like Nurse Nettie said, every body is unique and it depends on your priorities. Good luck finding a good GP! They’re out there and you can also go to a service like Family Planning NSW to discuss your options.
@snapesonaplane If you’re talking about how you might experience side effects, it depends on the type of contraception you’re using but most hormonal contraception options can take 3-6 months to really ‘settle’ with your body so you can get a picture of how it might interact with your body long-term.
@stephaniaaaah I’ve read this article too! All the reading I’ve done said the same thing, and it’s only this one doctor who inserted my IUD who said I shouldn’t use my cup. I’m really missing it, honestly. I’m going to ask around through the doctors I know and see if I can find an answer.
@nurse_nettie do you know if it’s safe to use a menstrual cup while you have an IUD?
@sextronaut, what @stephaniaaaah wrote is true…the risk of dislodgement of the IUD using a menstrual cup is low. However it’s safer to not use a menstrual cup for up to 8 weeks after IUD insertion. After this time, it should be ok. Take care with the removal (pinching the base of the cup will release the suction at the top near the cervix, instead of pulling) & always check your strings.