Menstrual Cups and Internal Birth Control

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Life is a barrage of many experiences – including unexpected ones! You may be flirting with the person you’re crushing on, and within a few hours end up in bed together. But alas, neither of you have condoms or protection to make it a safe activity (no matter how fun it could be!)

And what about periods? Not everyone has a regular cycle, whereby they know exactly what day their period will fall upon. This catches many women by surprise who are just going about their day, when suddenly blood flows and they literally need to catch it fast!

When you try and put safe sexual intercourse together with a period it doesn’t mean your life has to stop. You can have sex and be safe and have a period and still enjoy. There are just certain things you need to know!

Using an IUD alongside a Menstrual Cup

First things first, you always need to stay protected. Life is flowing, you have aims and goals and a baby is not on the agenda. A great option to protect yourself against falling pregnant is an IUD.

How Do IUDs Work?

Well firstly, you need to know that apparently IUDs are 99% effective and are the most popular form of contraception worldwide. In the United States alone, 1.3% of all women use it. That figure may seem small, but according to how many women there actually are in the United States (165.92 million), a massive 2,156,960 use it!

IUDs are shaped like a “T”, with a string attached to it that leads into the cervix so that you can always check that the device is in place.

Although it is available at most places, you still need to go to a gynecologist to insert it for you – so make sure you go to a reputable doctor that has great references!

The Different Kinds of IUDs

One type of IUD is coated in copper and can be left in the uterus for up to 10 years! The other type of IUD releases the hormone progestin and lasts for 5 years.

So how do these actually prevent women from getting pregnant. Well, doctors believe the copper make the uterus toxic to sperm, while slowing and damaging eggs, while the progestin make the women’s cervical mucous thicker and hostile to sperm.

IUDs are so effective as birth control that they can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex (but still try be careful – spontaneity can often lead to interesting consequences). It is important to note that IUDs DO NOT induce abortions.

Advantages of IUDs

  • There is constant, every day relief that you don’t have to worry about contraception.
  • Using an IUD is easier on your budget, saving you a ton of money on contraceptive pills.
  • The hormonal IUD that releases progestin can make your period lighter or even stop it all together after a year – now, isn’t that a cause for relief! The only con with this is that cramps and bleeding may be worst, at first.
  • The copper IUD will make your periods heavier, but at least it will be hormone free!
  • It is completely hidden.
  • It costs very little.
  • It is extremely low maintenance.
  • IUDs are highly effective.

The Cons of Using IUDs

Don’t forget that as with everything good – like Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Caramel Fudge ice-cream, which cannot be eaten every day for fear of weight gain – there are cons involved with using IUDs.

IUDs can make bleeding heavier and cramps can worsen after insertion. With persistent pain and bleeding your doctor may even have to remove the device from you as it obviously doesn’t work well with your body.

IUDs also increase pelvic infections after a few months after insertion. If you are among the 1% that actually fall pregnant with an IUD, you have to immediately see your gynecologist and have it removed.

This is because it can increase the risk of a miscarriage infection in the uterus and preterm birth of a baby – meaning you may give birth to a premature baby.

Now that you know exactly how IUDs work, you need to know how it works alongside a menstrual cup. Personally, I see this as a marriage, a contract whereby they work together for the greater purpose of the body!

When Menstrual Cups & IUDs Marry

Firstly, a big myth is that menstrual cups cause a suction that can pull out your IUD. Of course, menstrual cups cause a certain amount of suction, but if you insert and remove the cup correctly, there shouldn’t be the amount of suction needed to remove the IUD. You just need to be careful.

What’s important is that when you remove the cup, you break the seal. So, when you remove the cup and feel any pulling, tugging or pain in your lower abdomen, let go and try again to break the seal from a different place.

If it still hurts, stop what you are doing and go get advice from a medical professional.

What Are the Risks of Using a Cup With an IUD?

The real risk of using an IUD with a cup, is not the suction, but the pulling of the strings. Fear not! The strings are trimmed down by a medical professional after the IUD is inserted inside of you.

In general, they are trimmed to be around 3cm long. This of course can vary, based on your anatomy and what they think is best! You can always insert your fingers into your vagina, and feel where the strings end.

When removing a menstrual cup, it is advised to break the seal or the suction by pinching the base. It’s important to pinch the base because if you pinch higher, you could pull the strings.

You have to keep this in mind, particularly, if your cervix is low. You need to make sure you are not pulling on the strings. Just try make sure to pinch from the lowest part of the cup.

Keep in mind your IUD can come out of you on its own accord within the first three months. The statistics involved in this happening are 0.8%-5%. IUDs can come out because of previous pregnancies; how high the IUD was placed and other unknown factors.

It is sometimes advised to wait three months before you insert a cup again after inserting an IUD as it can come out.

One of the most important things to know is which cup to use based on the height of your cervix. In other words: best menstrual cups for a high or low cervix.

Having sex with a menstrual cup and IUD is also perfectly fine. Just be more gentle than usual and talk to your partner before getting to the action!

Using a Contraceptive Vaginal Ring Alongside a Menstrual Cup

Like IUDS, menstrual cups and contraceptive vaginal rings can be used together. Here is what you need to know if you are considering this:

Things You Need to Know About Using Contraceptive Vaginal Rings

The contraceptive vaginal ring is a soft, flexible plastic ring that goes into the vagina. It’s also really easy to self-insert. It stays in place for three weeks. After this, you have a seven-day break.

When first using a contraceptive vaginal ring, you will experience a lot of discharge. This can last up to three months. It’s a great way of preventing pregnancies.

It contains a combination of two hormones – progestogen and estrogen. These two hormones work in conjunction to prevent an egg from being released, to make it harder for the sperm to reach the egg, and to thin the lining of the uterus so that an egg can’t implant itself.

The contraceptive vaginal ring is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Though, keep in mind that you can still get STDs wearing one. There may be short term side effects. There can be lots of perks too. These include:

Advantages of Contraceptive Vaginal Rings

  • Clearing up acne
  • Easing cramps
  • Making your periods lighter
  • Making your periods more regular

You can get a contraceptive vaginal ring through a prescription from a nurse or doctor.

They can also help you skip your period. Although that does sound great, your body does need to experience periods for optimum health.

The NuvaRing

One of the most popular contraceptive vaginal rings on the market today is the NuvaRing. It is really effective and easy to use. It contains 11.7 mg of progestin, estongestrel and 2.7 mg of ethinyl estradiol.

It was first approved in Europe (The Netherlands) on Valentine’s Day 2001, and its approval was then followed by all fourteen countries in the European Union. That was on June the 12th, 2001. It was approved in the United States by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) on the 3rd of October, 2001. So, it has really been around for a long time!

It’s really comfortable but may come out of the vagina when there is the removal of a tampon, during intercourse, or if you push very hard while defecating. There is no need to worry though, as you will have up to 3 hours to put it back in.

What Is Sex Like with A NuvaRing?

When wearing a NuvaRing, you may be curious as to know what your experience will be with it deep inside you. Well, there are things you should know:

1. The NuvaRing Will React to Gravity Rather Than Be Pushed in Deeper

The NuvaRing is a state-of-the-art vaginal contraceptive ring made to be one of the best of its kind. It is produced in its awesome design to stay put, as the muscles in the vagina hold it tight. Should it travel any higher, it will be halted by the cervix, so there is no need to stress.

After sex you need to check if it is still in place, and if it has fallen out, you need to replace it within the next three hours.

2. You Can Take It Out While Having Sex (For A Short Period)

The NuvaRing can be removed for up to 3 hours – although this isn’t really advised within the first 2-3 weeks of use. Often back-up contraception is advised if you are going to remove it while having sex without it, after all you are using it to prevent pregnancy.

However, it can be removed while having sex, for a short period, but then needs to be reinserted back in. If you and your partner get kinky and want to use toys, it is advised to remove the ring as not to damage it, but re-insert it after use.

It’s important to note to always wash it before re-inserting it and use cold or warm water. Hot or boiling water will affect its efficiency negatively.

3. Men Don’t Feel the NuvaRing

It was found in a 2004 study that seventy two percent of men hardly, or never, felt vaginal contraceptive rings while having sex with their partners.

87% did not feel any movement of the ring, while a whopping 92% said that there was no change in the sensation they felt while their partners wore vaginal contraceptive rings.

When Not to Use the NuvaRing

As wonderful as the NuvaRing is, there are certain instances when you should avoid using it. These include:

  • If you have a fondness for smoking cigarettes and are over the age of thirty-five, it is best not to use the NuvaRing.
    The mixture can be deadly because as you smoke, you risk problems of the heart and blood vessels when combined with hormonal contraceptives, especially if you are suffering with these issues already.
    The combination may cause strokes, blood clots as well as heart attacks, which can ultimately be fatal. This risk only gets more dangerous as you age, especially when you are over the age of 35, and smoke a lot.
  • The NuvaRing should also be avoided if you suffer with high blood pressure that can’t be controlled by medicine.
  • It is advised not to use the NuvaRing if you are on a Hepatitis C drug combination that has ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, including, or not including dasabuvir. The reason is this may increase levels of alanine aminotransferase in the blood.
  • NuvaRing shouldn’t be considered if you have:
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney Damage
    • Eye Damage
    • Nerve Damage
    • Blood Vessel Damage
    • Severe Migraine Headaches
    • Liver Disease
    • Liver Tumors
    • Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding
    • Breast Cancer
    • Any Cancer Sensitive to Female Hormones
    • If You Are Pregnant
  • It is also important to note that the NuvaRing does not prevent STDs of any kind.

Overall, the NuvaRing is a fantastic choice of a vaginal contraceptive ring. If you want to know more information, this scientific data report about the NuvaRing will provide all that you need!

When Menstrual Cups & Vaginal Contraceptive Rings Marry

Menstrual cups do not affect contraceptive vaginal rings’ effectiveness. Be aware that sometimes, when you remove your cup, while you have a contraceptive vaginal ring inside of you, you may pull it out ever so slightly, so just be careful regarding this.

Make sure that, when using a menstrual cup, your contraceptive vaginal ring is pushed in all the way up. You can then you can easily insert the menstrual cup.

If the contraceptive vaginal ring comes out for any reason whilst pulling out the menstrual cup, easily rinse it and re-insert it.

Conclusion

As women, we just want our lives to be as carefree as possible. Periods and worries about falling pregnant should not constantly be on our minds.

So great – know you have options. IUDs work great as do contraceptive vaginal rings. And the great thing is, that our bodies are so amazing (as mother nature intended it to be!) that us women can wear internal contraceptives with menstrual cups and even have sex too!

Just know that when this is all going on you can still get STDs and condoms should always be by your bedside if possible! Go fourth and conquer – and just be safe about it girl!

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/iud-intrauterine-device#1
  2. https://www.sexwise.fpa.org.uk/contraception/contraceptive-vaginal-ring
  3. https://www.bedsider.org/features/360-can-menstrual-products-mess-with-your-birth-control

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