Of Contraception and Choices

WARNING - "women's" issues post ahead!!! If you're a guy, if you're not comfortable talking about women's issues, or if you think this is not in good taste for a public blog (akin to talking about bra's and stuff, only worse!), feel free to skip this one. You have been warned.

I've been on the 2-month injectable contraceptive Nur Isterate (also called NetEn) for over 10 years now. Not that I need "contraception" as such (I'm a recycled virgin! :) ), but rather for its side-effects.

The women in our family on mom's side have always suffered the most awful period pains. So much so that my mom ended up having a hysterectomy a while back. They found nothing wrong with the uterus, but still can't tell us women-folk what's causing the 3-days-of-not-being-able-to-move pain. We've just had to cope.

Injectable contraceptives have provided a semi-solution. A year or so's use, and "that time of the month" starts to gradually disappear, to the point where I have not had to spend a single cent on women's products for at least 8 years, probably more. Marvellous. No more pain, no more period, no more PMS, no more nothing.

Except perhaps weight gain. Though I could probably find other causes for that one, instead of shifting blame to an innocent syringe.... :)

However, I'm rethinking this injectable thing. And the contraceptive thing too. For a number of reasons.

Firstly, I'm weeks overdue for my next shot. I simply keep forgetting to pop in at the clinic while they're still open. Being a recycled virgin, that's nothing too worrying - no sex in sight. And "that time of the month" has yet to make an appearance, as my body is so stocked up on those particular hormones that it will take a while to wake up to the fact that normal cycles may resume.

Secondly, because I'm well aware that the levels of hormonal contraceptives that end up in our water systems (after water treatment, which removes impurities, but not the hormones) are killing off species like frogs and fish, who can no longer reproduce normally. And that bugs the heck out of me. There's also rumours that this stuff is affecting humans - male AND female - and their fertility. I don't want to be the cause of that either!

And thirdly, because I'm currently browsing the web to actually check on what this stuff is doing to my body long-term. And it's not a pretty picture. Granted, Depo is more dangerous than the one I'm using, but there are joint issues like, and I quote: "skin disorders, tiredness, headaches, nausea, depression, hair loss, loss of libido, weight gain and delayed return to fertility". There's an increasing bone-mass loss percentage for every year you're on this stuff (osteoporosis later on), and "and a possible link to breast, endometrial, and cervical cancers" (from the same article).

Do I REALLY want to submit my already-not-in-optimal-health body to all THAT?

No, I don't. And I suspect that because I've been on it so long, the risk is pretty high.

But then I think about what it's going to be like coming off this stuff - the return to pain, and bleeding, the expense of women's products, the monthly mood swings, the erratic behaviour of my body as it purges these artificially-introduced chemicals and stabilizes itself once more. (Explaining to my son what all those things in the cupboard are...)

Yuk. Not nice. Don't want to go there. But I don't think I can avoid it, knowing what I do.

I have to admit, when I started on this injectable stuff, no-one really sat me down and said "here's what you're risking". They just got out the syringe and needle, popped the top of the little vial, and stuck it in my hip area. No counselling, no information, no nothing. Which is pretty scary.

Typing this, I think I've made my decision. I'm not going to go in for my next injection. I'm going to suck it up and face whatever my body has to do to deal with my choice, and work at cleansing my system of something that shouldn't be there in the first place. I'm going cold-turkey, not taking something else like the pill to gradually wean me and stabalize my cycles.

Wish me luck! And if you find any mad, ranting posts here in the next few months - you'll know why! :)