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Non-hormonal options

28 May, 2019

Question:

I am 45 years old and BH have a large family. In the last year I had two miscarriages (one at 12 weeks and one at 10 weeks). I have spoken to a Rav about going on birth control but am having a hard time figuring out which would be appropriate, because in the past there were a few times I used the pill for a short time but each time it messed me up with spotting and irregular bleeding. (The doctor said it was the lowest dose so couldn’t do anything.) I prefer non hormonal types.

What would your recommendation be for birth control that would not cause problems with taharas hamishpacha?


Answer:

Non-hormonal contraceptive options include the copper IUD, the diaphragm, and spermicide such as VCF.

The copper IUD often has an adjustment period of about 3 months, during which irregular staining is common . However, after that point the staining tapers down, although some women experience longer or heavier periods. The advantage is that the IUD may remain in place for 5-10 years depending on the specific model so you don’t have to constantly deal with birth control.

The diaphragm has no side effects whatsoever, so this may be the best method for you if you wish to avoid staining issues. The downside is that it needs to be inserted in advance (up to one hour) every time you are intimate and some women feel it is tedious or dislike the effect on spontaneity.

Spermicide (we recommend VCF) also needs to be inserted before every act of intimacy and is less effective than the diaphragm. However, as you get older and your fertility levels lessen, you can check with your doctor if spermicide offers sufficient protection.

If you decide to reconsider hormonal contraception, you should be aware that it takes time for the body to adjust to the hormones. If there are staining problems, the best strategy is generally to continue for a few months to see whether the situation improves, and only then consider switching to a different formulation. Sometimes a higher dosage may cause few staining problems than a lower one.

See our article on choosing a contraceptive method and speak to your doctor about which is the best method for you.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.

B’hatzlacha!


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