Update: Nexplanon Review

I’ve always been an advocate of women taking charge of their own bodies, which includes deciding when you want to become pregnant. For many years I was on an estrogen pill. After some time, I went on the mini-pill (progesterone) and thought it worked just fine. Minimal side-effects.
After having my LO, my brain was scattered. I knew that taking a pill every day was going to be more difficult. After doing some research, I elected to have Nexplanon put in. Nexplanon is a small, flexible rod inserted in the inside of your underarm by a healthcare professional. It is 99% effective, and has many of the same possible side-effects of a typical combination pill. The rod is good for 3 years, and most insurance companies cover the expensive cost (which ranges from $700-$900 for the rod, and $300 for each minor surgery.)
Insertion of the Nexplanon was quick, and mostly painless. My physician’s assistant numbed the area, and inserted Nexplanon with a small instrument. She then felt to make sure it was in the proper location, and bandaged it up. There was some soreness, and it bruised pretty badly.FullSizeRender

I expected to have some irregular bleeding, but that ended up being a huge understatement. I had irregular and frequent bleeding nearly every day for about 4 months, when I finally elected to have the rod removed. After talking with a nurse practitioner, she advised that this happens with about 1 in 5 that have the Nexplanon put in. Crazy. So, not only was I dealing with insane postpartum hormones, but then this evil birth control rod of death just compounded everything tenfold.

The removal of the Nexplanon was bad. I mean, really bad. First, my nurse practitioner almost cut into my arm without numbing it. In reality, I would have been fine. I just gave birth to a human. But HELLO, let’s not. A nurse quickly stopped her, and she promptly numbed the area. Nexplanon had encapsulated in my arm, so she had to cut way more than what is typical, and it took nearly a half hour. I almost needed stitches (and in retrospect, probably should have had a few.) It’s been several months since the removal now, and I have a scar and some soreness in that spot still.

A quick Google search results in plenty of unhappy consumers that also elected to have Nexplanon removed.

I happily rejoined the birth control pill ranks. 
**UPDATE: it’s been almost half a year since I had the Nexplanon removed. I have a half inch scar, raised above the skin, as well as fairly painful scar tissue. Hoping both the scar and pain will fade, but it really may take some time.**

-Katie

Advertisements

Product Review: Mirena

image

**I am most definitely not a medical professional. This article is based on my personal experiences. As always, please talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions for yourself**

I have had a lot, a LOT of issues with BC. I have tried several different brands and forms with mostly negative results. Before I was married and interested in having children, I wanted a BC that treated strong cramps and heavy, long-lasting cycles. The types of BC I tried before TTC include:

  • Yaz– This daily pill made me feel like my heart was racing and have spells of lightheadedness at random times (the pill was later found to cause severe blood clots and actually does not treat any symptoms of PMS like it claimed).
  • Lo Loestrine Fe– Also a daily pill. This did not treat my heavy, long-lasting cycle and painful cramps.

At this point, my gyno decided I need a constant stream of hormones with no placebo time (like many pills have) So then I tried..

  • Ortho Evra– This is a patch that you place on your waistline, back or rear. It was disgusting. It was like a band aid you wore for one week and then replaced. It left a nasty ring of stickiness (like a band aid) and skin irritation wherever I placed it. It also would come off occasionally in the shower, which left me in constant fear that I was not being protected. I
  • NuvaRing– This is a vaginal ring you replace yourself after 3 weeks in and one week off. This was by far, the worst of all BC I tried. It slipped out constantly and was very gross to put back in myself. But worst of all, it gave me a SEVERE vaginal infection that took two drs (one of which was a urogynocologist) to diagnose and treat. Horrible. Just horrible.

After that horrendous experience, I just dealt with my discomfort and we used the trusty ol’ condom until we were TTC. So after the birth of my LO, I was extremely hesitant to go back on BC but knew it was necessary because I conceived very, very easily and we were certainly not ready for another LO. My gyno suggested Mirena.

Mirena is an intra-uterine device that can stay in for up to 5 years. It slowly releases low levels of progestin into the uterus. The device is inserted by your gyno and small strings are left hanging that are supposed to allow you to check and make sure it is still correctly in place. This BC is recommended for women that have had a child.

imagePROS: When I had mine inserted, my gyno said to me, “pick a four letter word to say now because you’re going to need it when I put it in.” I honestly had to ask her if she was done because I felt nothing other than the usual discomfort of her messing around in that area. It didn’t hurt me in the slightest. I love not having to worry about taking a pill everyday. I have heard some people say that they can feel the strings that are left hanging. I have never had any discomfort. I’ve had the device in for over a year now and (now) I can say that my cycles are short and very light. I still have some cramping, but nothing like I’ve experienced in the past.

CONS: I bled. I bled every single day for almost 5 months. I’m talking several heavy flow pads per day. Mind you, I had a C-section. So this was strictly related to the BC, not from giving birth (I had no bleeding in the 6 weeks after giving birth and before getting Mirena). It was horrible. My poor DH. Not only was my last trimester a painful nightmare, I finally have the baby and we still can’t be intimate because I’m disgusting. Sexy.

It finally got so bad that I was concerned it was not inserted correctly, so I went back to my gyno. She did a full exam and said it was inserted correctly and to just hang in there. My symptoms were not uncommon and if I held out for one more month, it could go away. And she was right. A few weeks after that, my bleeding subsided and I finally began to have a recognizable cycle again. Still, it was quite the ordeal.

In the relatively near future, my DH and I will be TTC again. I am planning an extensive article series on TTC and (God willing) my subsequent pregnancy. I do have a fear of having difficulty conceiving after removing my Mirena. DrugWatch.com states that 80% of women can successfully conceive within one year of removal. Fingers crossed.

I hope my experiences can help you make a better choice on what is right for your body. I can’t say I am a strong proponent of BC after my dreadful experiences, however, it’s a necessary evil in my personal opinion. I’m constantly doing research on what is safest and best for my body. I strongly encourage every woman do the same. Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing my earnest prayers for the development of the male BC pill… *please Jesus, please*

-Chelsea