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[Member Discussions and Questions] Rheumatoid Arthritis and Birth Control Advice?

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December 4, 2013

One of our Chicks wrote in yesterday:

Is there any advice from the RA chicks about birth control? I’m going to my doctor(s) soon to discuss starting, is there anything thing you would suggest I bring up or try?

As always thank you for your time and input. It is greatly appreciated. (((pain-free internet hugs)))

What our members have said so far:

Melissa – The Depo jag is great, doesn’t interact with any RA meds, and can be used long term (good if u change to RA meds that its dangerous to fall pregnant on).. One jag every 11 weeks and u don’t have to worry.

Janet – Natural Family Planning (NFP) works and is much, much better for your body. With all the stuff we have to take for our RA, it makes sense to find a solution that is non-chemical. Just be sure to find a doctor who knows how it works or look up NFP on the Internet to find a practitioner near you who can teach you. It works.

Kirsten – My RA always gets totally crazy around period time, so what I have done for the last year plus is to take BC continuously. It helps keep my body a little more stable and also has a nice side effect of no real periods unless I stop the pills – which I usually do two times a year or so when the breakthrough bleeding is bad enough to merit it. I will say though that means I’m usually on my period for longer – 2 weeks to a month or so. But I’d rather have one bad month where I know it’ll be bad about every 6 months than a bad week every month.

Bri – I hated to take another pill and since RA has a lot to do with hormones I didn’t want to mess with that. I have had an IUD for 9 years and I love it. No more periods causing flares. Not for everyone but it works for me.Good luck on your search

Becky – Any birth control I used interacted poorly with my RA/lupus meds. I had a tubal and ablation in June as I’m finished having children.

Candice – I have an IUD as well. I got it after having my second child and it is a blessing. No pill to remember or anything and it lasts 10 years.

Amy – Mirena for me… the first 4-6 mos u have mild side effects but well worth it. No other side effects after that!

Nicole – I love my IUD

Julie – I haven’t been able to take the pill, the jag or coil or anything that has hormones in it. It gives me a major flare which results in me trying to sleep standing propped against a wall. Was the worst flare if my RA life, which is 20 years on now. I hope you find something that works for you. Trial and error I suppose. Good luck. Xx

Autumn – I haven’t had any bad side effects while using nuva ring, plus it’s one less pill you have to worry about taking!

Amy – Mirena has been wonderful. No med interactions. No side effects. I’m on my second one.

Sara – continuous cycle birth control, no more painful periods

Pennie – My RA is pretty severe. Oral birth control affected my liver function and even caused a lesion on my liver. I tried the Nuvaring only to have vaginal skin inflammation & burning. I then tried an IUD w/ hormones(forgot the name), that was the worse! Since an IUD is creating uterine inflammation my body did NOT like it and I flared like never before! Nightmare!!!
I now use Implanon. It’s inserted under the skin in one of your arms and lasts 3 years. I’m on my second insert and it has worked the best. Unfortunately it is very possible for our period to become unpredictable and trying the “Natural” method simply is unwise. The meds we take are too dangerous to risk getting pregnant on.
Good Luck!! I hope you find something that works for you!!!

Mayce – I would highly recommend the IUD, not taking another pill is a major plus. And you don’t have to think about it. I have had two. The first one I had in for several yrs and then decided i wanted one more child. Had it taken out had a baby then had another put back in. Coming up on the ten yr mark so i will getting another one.

Linda – I could never be on one because of my lupus. Yet I know there are some now that are very low in estrogen

MA – I have the Mirena and haven’t had any problems with it so far. I have had it 5 years and I am about to get it replaced and will be going that route again. I love it!!

Melissa – I’ve been using depo for years. No interactions, no period.

Callie – Continuous cycle pills here, too. Because I flare like mad during my period, having fewer periods really helps. But unlike the comment above, I have 3 or 4 periods, and they are very short (5 days max).

Jennifer – I have the mirena too. My gynecologist actually recommends it to her RA/AS patients. Since it has progesterone and not estrogen it tends to eliminate those “period flares”. I have found it really made a huge difference and you can’t beat not having a period or the worry about getting pregnant for 5 years.

Renee – I use a Mirena IUD, which I love. It has helped in numerous ways and is estrogen-free, a plus for those of us who experience migraines. I’m approaching the 5 year mark and will be having it replaced for sure!

Bari – I used the nuvaring which was great but my insurance company thought it was a “designer” method and my co-pay was unaffordable. I got the Mirena IUD and love it

Kristin – Ladies with IUDs- did the hormones affect your mood “feeling crazy” or libido? BC pills have for me which is why I refuse them. Your Insight is appreciated!

Gemma – Been on Depo injection for 14 years, never had a problem x

Heather- I have also used depo for years with no problems at all and no periods! Nice to have one positive physically!

Betsy – I’ve been using the Nuva Ring, but developing an allergy to the hormones. I’m switching to para guard, which is the copper IUD. You can use it as short or as long (up to 10 years) as you want.

Lori – I hated taking another pill, so I’ve been using OrthoEvra (the patch). It’s fantastic. Slap that baby on and go about your business. It does tend to itch (lightly) on the application site for a day or so though. Small price to pay for the huge convenience.

Dianne – I don’t know much about that and interaction with RA and drugs etc, but I do know that my flareups were tied to my cycle and so I went with the implanon which is inserted into your arm and lasts four years. I don’t have a period on it which has really helped with my daily life. But I am past childbearing age, so it was an easy decision to make. For someone younger it might not be a good idea. It can’t hurt to check into it and it’s nice to not have that one other thing to worry about. I also have fibroids which factored into the decision.

Dana – Mirena IUD. No problems at all. Used to do the pill, but gave me bad headaches.

Ria – I tried the depo shot, the pill, etc but my RA is so severe and I’m already on meds for that I wanted a BC method that didn’t contain more meds/hormones/etc. So my Dr suggested an IUD (the copper non hormonal IUD), and it last for 10 yrs, u don’t even know its there. I got it a few months after I had my son in 2001 so I had to have it removed in 2011. I never had any complications with it; I had normal periods because it had no hormones etc, also it still let my body do what it needed to do so it didn’t mess with my fertility if I should choose to get pregnant again. Coincidentally, after I had mine removed I got pregnant again about a month later, lol… because after u have it removed you have to wait a month before you put another one in… that’s how I got pregnant during that time…lol.. Best of luck!

Heather – I also use continuous birth control (ortho cyclen, which is one hormone level for entire month rather than one that has different hormone levels). I only take the placebos to induce a period once a year. Having steady hormones helps me a ton – I flare much worse during periods!

Lisa – I have had the Morena IUD for 18 months, I have adomiosis and my Gyno. Highly recommended it for my heavy periods. Worked great until about 8 months ago. Started having major flare ups every month despite absence of my period. Developed horrible yeast infections and constant vaginal burning and painful intercourse. My rheum Dr. Said to have it removed immediately. My own research led me to several articles linking RA flares to Morena. I suggest you do your own research and talk extensively with both doctors prior to making any decisions. Now I am back to heavy periods and acute flares and getting very upset.

Sara – Use pill continuously but one which does not contribute to raising triglycerides. Some actively cause triglyceride levels to rise

Rachell – Was on Depo for many years. When I was diagnosed with RA/Lupus at the beginning of the year my Rheumy took me off. He said it was not good to be on it as long as I had and it caused extra problems with autoimmune diseases.

Emma – I’m on Depo, can’t use anything else at this point…

Christina – I took Microgestin Fe 1.5/30 for years. It keeps your hormones at one level all month & gives you a little extra iron during the week of your period to help prevent anemia. Always worked great for me. Just had a baby 6 weeks ago, so I’m planning on using it again soon.

Carol – It’s been a while since I needed birth control. At the time, b/c pills were the most reliable option for me. I was accustomed to taking medication at the same time every single day, so I rarely if ever forgot a dose. I wish there was the variety of options available now! Natural planning wasn’t an option for me – my period was never regular. Also, I knew that kid number 2 would be the last one, and had my tubes tied the day after giving birth with no regrets. I remember telling surgeon “I want those tubes cut, tied, AND cauterized. I don’t want any of those little buggers sneaking through!” She laughed.

Anneke – Mirena too. difficult first 2 months, then amazing!

Sarah – I went through hell with different versions of the pill but I eventually got a mirena IUD and I love it. I’m three years in and will definitely getting it replaced in two years because I love the lack of periods (especially having endo and RA)

Carolyn – I have the Mirena too. I’m onto my second now and they are fantastic. But if our lady is just starting out it may not be appropriate. It is usually only used when ladies have finished their families.

Kelly – 33 yrs old and single, on mirena. Love it. On arava so dr so no issue and recommended it because of all the medicine.

Ange – I use the depo needle that works for 3 months, but was not told at the time of tasking it, that it would take years to get out of my system, I have been trying for a baby now for over 2 years, and I’m still faced with issues because the pill needle is still in my system, I recommend staying away from the depo needle is you are ever planning on having children.

Nadine – I had depo once and did not read the fine print warning against use in women with auto immune disease and ended bleeding heavily for 3 months. Just got a mirina and its been great so far

Rebecca – Willenbring Have an implant called implanon. Lasts for 3 years and I love it!!!

MaryColleen – I agree about the Natural method being unwise. If you’re super in tune with your body and at a place in your life where your health, emotions, and finances wouldn’t be negatively impacted by an unplanned pregnancy, then may be an option. With my luck, I’d be like Michelle within a few years.

Laura – Implanon implant is ace – replace it every three years

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The above is a discussion created by a member and with member generated responses from our Facebook community (facebook.com/rachicks) put into a format so that the discussion can be archived for future answers needed by others in a searchable format while keeping member anonymity. Member provided information, statements and opinions do not reflect on RAChicks.com or all individuals with Autoimmune Arthritis. We encourage all members to seek professional medical advice for any specific questions and concerns as this does not substitute competent medical care.

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