From Frugivore — At the beginning of summer, I had a long talk with my gynecologist about my birth control options. As birth control is an empowering choice for women to control their reproductive power, the NuvaRing provided my first experience: positive and simple maintenance. It required easy self-insertion, I still had a regular menstrual cycle each month, I rarely felt the ring inside my vagina, and I never felt a sense of discomfort. As I was able to decide when and if I wanted to have a child, I experienced better intimacy, less anxiety, and a liberating sex life.
But then, I had a travel opportunity arise. I decided to move to Salvador, Brasil to pursue an artist-in-residency program to strengthen my creative focus and develop a longer piece of creative work. While I was excited career-wise, I became worried about my birth control options in Salvador. Between my insurance restrictions and the NuvaRing’s availability at local pharmacies, I wasn’t sure if my birth control purchases would be as convenient. Expressing these concerns to my doctor, I was presented with a plethora of options: get off birth control and rely solely on other protection, take the chance of finding the NuvaRing, switch to another form of birth control, or consider getting an IUD.
The truth is that IUDs continue to have a stigma. They’ve become associated with all types of infections and reproductive complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease. The first IUD was founded in the 1970s, which had a multifilament string that absorbed bacteria and provided a passageway for bacteria into the uterus. Since then, the IUD has made dramatic medical advancements, using monofilament strings and better composition materials.
While there are two types of modern IUDs that women can choose, hormonal (Mirena) or copper, I chose the Mirena, a soft, flexible IUD that releases small amounts of hormone locally into your uterus and protects you from pregnancy for up to five years. The Mirena is made of plastic with less than 1% of users developing pelvic inflammatory disease and 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Additionally, within a year of removing it, 8 out of 10 women were able to get pregnant.