I stopped by my friendly neighborhood news stand on my lunch today and behold! the new Bust magazine is on the stands. Wheee! I spent the better part of my lunch hour flipping through the pages, skimming through articles on how to alter thrift store finds so they will actually fit, how to make my own raw milk yogurt (?) and why I should pick up a copy of The Notebook Girls this weekend. Ah, bliss. My favorite part about this mag is the plethora of itty bitty ads for online DIY businesses like this one and this one. I could spend the whole afternoon flitting from site to site, spending way too much of my hard earned money on vintage style dresses and thigh high striped socks. I almost wish I still had a period so I could try the Lunapads. (sigh)
Speaking of periods and all things gurl (sorry, boys, I warned you) I saw this headline yesterday:
FDA Approves IMPLANON, The First and Only Single-Rod Implantable Contraceptive
"Hmmmm," I thought to myself, "Self, whatever could this be?" Like any good American I am immediately distrustful of anything the government says is safe and/or good for us so I started to do a little digging. (Hey, these are the same folks that approved fen-phen and vioxx.) Call me a skeptic. Besides, I just found out that the Woman's Health Iniative was only started in 1990 in order to include more women of child bearing age in medical studies. 1990! Up until then, we were just considered "abnormal men" for research purposes so there was hardly any way to tell how a drug might actually work on us. The reasons given were that the scientists didn't want to have to account for a menstrual cycle in their analysis and they were concerned about effects on women who may want to become pregnant. Nice.
Of course, a birth control drug would only be tested on women (I hope!) but let's just say I'm not brimming over with trust and confidence here.
Implanon is a birth control drug that is implanted under your skin in a small "rod", about the size of a toothpick. You can leave it in there for up to three years and it's supposed to keep you from getting preggers more effectively than the pill or the patch. The idea being that you don't have to remember to take it every day or worry about it coming unstuck. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (yep, the Premarin people) had a similar product back in 2000. Theirs was called Norplant. It used 6 rods, lasted for 7 years and spawned quite a few lawsuits by women injured during the removal process and other side effects. Good times.
With Implanon, a doctor uses a local anesthetic to put the device under your skin and you can have them take it out at any time. Once you remove it, you can get pregnant right away. They've been using it in about 30 countries since 1998 and about 2.5 million women have tried it, so maybe it is actually safe. It works by releasing something called etonogestrel, which causes your cervical mucus to thicken. (Did I actually just type the words "cervical mucus"? Gah! I did it again!) The result being that sperm have a hell of a time fertilizing the eggs. Any eggs that might get lucky (or not lucky depending on your point of view) are unable to attach to the wall of your uterus. It also can prevent ovulation entirely.
There are, of course some problems with it. It can get lost in your arm over time so the doc might have to use an ultrasound to find it. A hassle, but not too painful I should hope. They have not done much testing on women who are very overweight, so they don't know how effective it would be or if there is a greater chance of the rod getting lost. The side effect that would creep me out is the possibility of abnormal periods and skipping of your periods altogether. That just does not seem ok.
So, I'm curious what other women think. Would you use this thing if you could forget about taking the pill every morning or worrying that your patch came off in the shower? Do the possible side effects bother you? I'm all for women having more options in their choice to control their own reproductive future. I guess I'm just a little jumpy about new drugs and whatnot. I worry that the financial motivation can override safety or health concerns. I have to admit, I would be pretty tempted to try it out. Of course, with my terrific medical luck the thing would probably disappear after a few months and turn up floating around in my left butt cheek three years later.
Monday..Tuesday...Wednesday...wait, did I take Wednesday? Crap!
I love these demonstration photos. Who has a belly like this!?
Where do I put the patch if I don't have a super model tummy?