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Question about birth control...

K, so this probably isn't the best place for this post to go, but I'm really eager to learn the answer if I can, and I'm stumped on my own... So here goes...

I use the depo provera shot for birth control. I'm also vegetarian. Are the ingredients in the depo provera shot (medroxyprogesterone is the active ingredient) animal derived, or are they synthetic? If it is animal derived, what forms of birth control are animal friendly? Or, if nothing else, is there a resource I can use to find this stuff out?

Thanks a bunch!
Julianna

No commercial-"doctor reccomended"-seen-on-tv-type birth control is vegan friendly, as they all are tested on animals.

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This one is a hard one for me. I'm generally a strict vegan, but I can't see anyway around nonvegan health/medical products. I've tried homeopathy, I tried as much alternative treatment for different things as I can find and afford. Nothing has ever worked. So I try to stay healthy so I won't need them, and I try not to focus on the poor animals and the possibly lactose base as I swallow the contraceptive pill every night. This is something I've wrestled with, but getting pregnant right now wouldn't help the anyone, especially the animals.

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i dont know about the shot but i do know that the copper iud doesnt have hormones at all. if i ever remember to call my dr's office then im going to make an appointment to get one.

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I *heart* my IUD; it's solved all sorts of "second chakra" issues for me.

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i dont know about the shot but i do know that the copper IUD doesn't have hormones at all. if i ever remember to call my Dr's office then I'm going to make an appointment to get one.

Is that the new improved IUD?  Back many years ago, some IUDs caused perforated uterus' in some women.  There were even deaths directly related to this happening.  I'd discuss it with my doctor and do some research.  Unfortunately, I don't need birth control because of my age (and infertility to boot.)  I haven't used any form of birth control for over ten years now.  I just remember that there was a bad problem with IUDs once.  Sorry to "rain on your parade."

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Some doctors are reluctant to allow women who haven't yet had children to use a copper IUD, since it can cause infertility.

Demulen is a pill that does not contain lactose in the active pills - however the hormones are animal sourced, the other inactive ingredients are animal sourced, and since it has a generic, you might have some issues getting the insurance company to cover it (if you have insurance).

You can consider a diaphram or Lea's Shield. But then you would need to use a spermicide (Nonoxynol-9 here in the good ol' US), which is tested on animals and mostly likely has an animal sourced inactive ingredient. There used to be a product in the US that didn't contain nonoxynol-9 (I can't use the stuff - allergic), but they failed to perform some tests the FDA wanted them to do and thus were taken off the market here. I don't know if you can still get it in Canada. I've heard, though I do not know if this is true so maybe someone can help me out with this, that pharmacists (in the US) can prepare some sort of vaginal microbicide. The finished product wouldn't be animal tested, if that were the case. I don't know if the contents of that product would be animal sourced, however.

Your truly vegan options are condoms and natural family planning. You might be able to do some research and see what they did "back in the olden days" for birth control, but from what I recall from history class, most of those substances were extremely toxic and actually abortifacients (in the medical, legal sense of the word).

I wonder if hormones such as estrogen and progestin can actually be  vegetable-sourced. When I worked for an insurance company during the start of that whole Medicare Part D nonsense, a woman called up and asked if we covered vegetarian sourced progesterone cream. Her doctor prescribed it for her because she had some sort of disorder where she was pretty much allergic to everything, and thus could not have Premarin.

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I used the depo shot. Not for birth control reasons, but for treatment after my surgery (I had endo) to stop my monthy "friend" to give my body time to heal. BUT I'm not sure if I want kids. So I don't know what to do. I hated the depo, because of the "spotting," but I'm thinking about using it again (just because I can't remember to take ANY pills, let alone a birth control pill). I became vegan ON the depo shot. I hate to take anything, but I hate to have a kid at this point in my life (we really can't afford it, and I'm getting older).

Sorry, I high-jacked the thread, but I need advice.

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i talked to my doctor about the hormone-free IUD a few months ago.  it was a total no-go for me.  doctors are hesitant to put them in women that haven't had children yet because if your cervix has never dialated it's really difficult to put the iud in.  they also make your periods more painful and longer lasting, unlike the pill. 
 

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Hi!  I am a friendly vegan who has been reading these boards quite a bit lately, but nothing had quite inspired me to sign up and write anything myself until now, so I realize I have limited cred here.  Nevertheless, I HAD to respond to comments regarding the IUD. 

First of all, I have a (non-hormonal copper) IUD, and am so in love with it I don't even need to "use" it with a real person.  Just kidding...  But seriously, here are the reasons I love it:  It is 100% drug-free, animal product- and testing-free, environmentally friendly, zero-maintenance, safe, more effective than the pill, and is not providing The Man, aka Big Pharma, with a continuous income.  These are all similar reasons for using the Diva Cup or the Keeper for your monthly feminine needs instead of buying disposable products every month, which is why I affectionately call the IUD "the Keeper of birth control." 

Now why, you ask, does the little inhabitant of my uterus have a reputation that keeps the vast majority of American women from considering an IUD for themselves, and allow well-intentioned and educated women on this message board to propagate mythical information?  My personal explanations for this lie in the paragraph above.  It is a simple and inexpensive device that is not profitable.  Therefore, there is no incentive for the manufacturer to advertise, and a lack of visibility makes many women understandably suspicious of its safety or desirability; this is why it is so important to me to get accurate information out there and talk about my positive personal experience.  I should also clarify that there was a specific brand of IUD in the 70's called the Dalkon Shield, which is what many people are thinking of when they hear IUD and think "bad, infection, death!"  These were made with unsterile cotton strings that in some cases carried bacteria into the uterus, and have NOTHING in common with the copper IUD on the market in the U.S. today (brand name Paragard).  Issaspiders, I have never come across any claims that copper IUD's can cause infertility.  The reason that some doctors are reluctant to give IUD's to women who have not yet had children is because they are more likely to be expelled by the uterus in the first year following insertion.  However, the chance of this happening is still very small.  Many women, myself included, are young (21 when I got my IUD), unmarried, have never had children, and are happy IUD users.  Perhaps "unmarried" just struck a chord with some of you who, like me, are wary of the role of patriarchal rhetoric in medical practice.  Then you would be shocked to learn that as recently as the 90's, IUD's were only recommended for use by "married" women.  "Married" has been politically corrected to "long-term mutually monogamous," and the reason for this is that the most important risk to be aware of with IUD's is that if a user contracts a bacterial STD and it goes untreated for a long time, she is at greater risk than the non-IUD user for there to be complications from that STD, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and scarring, which may result in infertility.  However, an IUD user is not at greater risk than anyone else of CONTRACTING any STD!  I truly hope I was able to get this across clearly.  The point here is that women who use IUD's should follow the same standards as everyone else, including pill users, of using condoms with a partner until you decide to be monogamous and have both been tested.  Like, duh, right?  Apparently medical professionals thought up until the last decade that women could not be trusted to follow these instructions for ourselves, but would have to prove our candidacy for cheap, safe, effective, vegan birth control with a legal contract showing "proof of husband."  If you are a young woman like me who is interested in getting a non-hormonal IUD, you will be able to find a provider who is willing to give you one when you show them that you know what you're doing.  One more thing I would like to mention is in response to Tintexas' concern about uterine perforation.  This is something that can happen when the IUD is inserted and, like expulsion, is very rare, and is known to be related to the healthcare provider's level of experience with inserting IUD's.  Also, nothing I have ever read regarding uterine perforation has said that it has been fatal.  (FYI: This is when I would like to remind everyone of the risk of fatal blood clots and stroke associated with hormonal contraceptive use.)  Because provider experience is important when it comes to IUD insertion, I felt most comfortable getting mine at Planned Parenthood where, because of the lack of incentive to push more expensive hormonal options, the clinicians very often have more IUD experience than private OB/GYN's. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I would also like to mention that the most common side effect of copper IUD's is increased cramps and/or flow, which subsides for most women in the first six months.  That was the case for me.  Also, since you might be wondering, I am not a doctor, just a citizen who is well-read in women's health issues because of my interest in becoming a nurse-midwife in the future.

In conclusion, I sincerely apologize for being unable to avoid turning this into such a long-winded essay, but I hope it was helpful to some of you, and I am happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability!  Yay to vegan birth control!

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Wow mooooooooooooooooooooo (sorry, but I didn't count the "o"s ;)), thanks for all of the information. I might scope out some GYNs in nearby cities.  My local doc refused to give me an IUD because I don't have children, even though the hormones in the BCP are causing migraines and raynaud's phenomenon.  She instead prescribed migraine meds with the pills!  >:(  I'm looking forward to learning more.

Welcome to VegWeb!!!

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thanx for the info. i wanted to get one at my post partum checkup but b/c of my mom talking me out of it i didnt and wish i had. i knew that with a copper iud that if u get it straight after birth that it could end up in a perforated uterus but it was a small chance.

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Mooo, welcome to vegweb! :) That is very interesting and helpful info--thanks! I hope you stick around on vegweb--your knowledge and well written posts would be most welcome!

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Thanks to everyone that replied to this post... I'm still a bit squeamish about an IUD. Perhaps this is foolish, but the idea of having increased period flow/pain... Eeesh. I did a microscopic amount of research, and I'm not keen on the idea of the IUD becoming imbedded in (and having to be removed from) the uterus. Could just be that I've been conditioned to fear the unholy IUD my whole life, and it's not something I can warm up to easily...

However, I have had my eye on an alternative to surgical tubal ligation called Essure since it was in the clinical trial phases. Basically, a plastic, spring-like insert is placed in the fallopian tube, and the surrounding tissue grows around it, blocking the tube. (The site's http://www.essure.com, for those interested.) It's now been approved, and I found over 50 doctors within an hour of me that offer this.

I've never wanted to have kids of my own, and have always wanted to adopt an older child when I'm at least a decade older than I am now. I have no interest in ever becoming pregnant, basically. Never have. I know not many doctors will perform this kind of procedure on individuals under the age of 25, but hey, it's worth looking into. The worst thing they can say is "no," right?

Just thought I'd share for the other members of this board that had issues of their own... This might at least be a solution for some of you!

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I just got a copper IUD put in the other day ... and I have no children.

The copper IUD has been recently approved for women without children - so, doctors are no longer holding fast to that rule.

So far, I love it. I no longer feel it, and putting it in was not as bad as I had feared.

I understand the fear attached to the IUD (mainly from the Dalcon Shield back in the 70's). However, now, they're perfectly safe.

My biggest fear is having synthetic hormones in my body. I find that A LOT scarier than an IUD. Chances are pretty slim that it will imbed itself in my cervix. Chances are greater that the hormones will do some weird stuff to me, though.

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You've convinced me. I want an IUD. My only worry is the whole 'it can dislodge itself' thing. And if it's done that I wont be protected. Can you feel when it's moved, or is there a certain time period where one needs to take extra precautions in case in moves?

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everymonth after ur period u will have to check on it i think by feeling where the string is. other than that i dont know how u can make sure that its in place. also a iud can be in for at the most 5 yrs i think. sry if that not much help but thats kinda what i remember from reading about it in a baby magazine.

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In the 1960s, you could practically bend a paperclip and sell it as an IUD.  They have never been totally and completely off the market, even after the Dalkon shield caused so much infertility, uterine perforations, etc. 

I believe there are still Copper 7 and Copper T IUDs out there.  SOME are impregnated with hormones and some are not.  I know plenty of young women who have never had children who use them.  It is not so much of a problem with the cervix as you'd think.  THey are customarily put in during a woman's period because the cervix at that time is dilated enough during that time.  It is a hard concept to grasp, but a normal uterine cavity is about 4 to 6 cm in height and perhaps 2.5 to 4 cm in width.  That is SMALL and IUDs are also small. 

The biggest danger with the IUD is the string.  It dangles through the cervix and into the top of the vaginal canal.  It can literally "wick" infections into the uterus.  This is why they prefer to see married woman use them because the assumption is that they are monogamous.  Unmarried women may or may not be monogamous, or may be serially monogamous, thus exposing them to all sorts of problems. 

The strings can also be sharp enough to tear a condom.  My son is married and his wife uses an IUD.  THey do not have children at this point.  He is, shall we say, intact because I felt that circumcision was barbaric and refused to allow it.  Her strings were not quite short enough and slipped inside of his foreskin and cut him, not once but on 2 occasions.  He thought he was going to die of the pain and I can certainly understand why he would think so.  They have also not gotten pregnant with it and she has not had any problems with it either. 

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Yes, I had mine put in during my period. You can really check to see if the string is there any time. You don't HAVE to wait for your period to end or show up. If you're worried - just check. But, do make sure to use clean hands.

For those interested, my partner can't feel the strings. They don't really stick straight out of your cervix. They're very short, and the ends kind of bend at the lip of your cervical opening. They're still on the outside ... they just lay flat against the cervix, if that makes sense.

Definitely be careful in terms of unprotected sex, though. I'm in a monogamous relationship where both of us were tested for all types of STD's prior to engaging in sexual activity. So, while I'm not married ... I'm not going anywhere to pick up men in bars, and neither is he. It's definitely a better option for those people in monogamous relationships. But, if I were single and just "playing the field" lol ... I'd avoid the IUD. 

When my doctor showed me the IUD, I was really surprised at how small it is. It's not much bigger than a penny, and thinner than a q-tip. Also, very flexible. I have Paragard. And it's actually good for ten years. Which is great, as I don't plan on having kids before then. Mirena is good for 5 years and that's the hormonal one.

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my boyfriend and i are exploring permanent birth control options. so far he is planning to have a vasectomy. the essure thing is very intriguing. i couldn't find out how much it cost on the website, does anyone know? I'm warming up to the idea of an IUD, but the strings kind of weird me out. for anyone who has one would you mind sharing how much it cost?

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I learn so much on here, it's great!  :)

And I might be sold on the copper IUD idea. My insurance doesn't cover it, though (But the pharmacy portion of the plan covers birth control pills and Depo. Go figure). I guess I could go to Planned Parenthood, but I feel sort of bad using their resources when I could probably afford (with a payment plan, at least) to go to a "regular" ob/gyn and get it done. Hmm...

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