This is going to be one of those posts that may contain too much personal information for some of my readers – and not in a sexy way either.
I’ve mentioned before that I am not a great producer of hormones; if I was, we wouldn’t be here in the first place, because I wouldn’t have a ten-year-old PCOS diagnosis, never would have used “potential infertility” as my only method of birth control, never would have gotten pregnant in the first place. My body naturally runs on a very low level of hormones, and we do just fine with that: left to my own devices, I ovulate infrequently, get periods rarely, and exist in the body of a skinny 15-year old: small breasts, narrow hips.
I like myself best in this unaltered state, but ever since 1) that PCOS diagnosis, and 2) I became sexually active, doctors have seemed to be intent on altering me. They claim that keeping me from ovulating altogether will give me the best chance of conceiving later on, and they seem to believe that I actually want things like regular periods and more curves.
I took birth control pills for six years, a habit that left my digestive tract completely ravaged, and resulted in me marrying a man I wasn’t attracted to. (Yes, I believe this – and even if I didn’t, it’s so much easier to blame the hormones than my own stupidity.) Then I spent a good two years au naturel, during which time I split with the mismatch and found a better one, enjoyed some amazing sex, and conceived something that wasn’t a baby. All of this is repeat information, as is the fact that when I then went in for birth control, knowing now that “potential infertility” wasn’t going to work for me per se, I asked for something without hormones in it.
They gave me Mirena, because all the hormone-free options (condoms, diaphragms) were, according to the OB, “a pain in the ass.” And since Mirena has all the hormones it needs to work for five years, in a such a tiny package, it followed that I would remain low-hormone, even with it in place.
Well, I passed the two-year mark earlier this month, and I call shenanigans. I no longer have irregular periods; I now have no periods at all, but get random, always inconvenient, bouts of cramping and spotting. For the past few months, I’ve been breaking out along my jaw-line, which location, my aesthetician once told me, is significant of a hormonal breakout; and I’ve also been breaking out on my lower back, which, at least for my body, is a weird and totally uncharted place. Also for the past several months, I’ve been bloated – even when I eat all the right things and drink the right amount of water. The other night, my stomach was upset, and as I held my swollen, angry belly, I told myself that if that becomes regular again, so help me, I’ll pull the damn IUD out myself, with tweezers if I have to.
No wonder I don’t want to have sex – besides the fact that I think it entirely possible for the “tiny” amount of hormones to be fucking with my libido as well. There’s always something weird going on, and how can I feel sexy when my body is being all rebellious?
It’s a catch-22. I’m not really ready to take the thing out until I’m ready to start trying to conceive, especially if using non-hormonal birth control could hurt my chances of conceiving later on, but I’m not sure how much longer I can live with being this uncomfortable and feeling this – artificial? dishonest? – either.