Did you know that oral contraception is not usually advised when you have a stoma?
Ladies – did you know that, with some types of stoma, you can’t rely on oral contraception because you can’t absorb the hormones consistently into your body via your bowel?
Some of you might be thinking; "well, duh!" But my GP still prescribes me enteric-coated antibiotics (which won’t work properly for the same reason), despite my now having had a stoma for over 7 years!
I got pregnant because I didn’t realise Ulcerative Colitis could cause The Pill to fail!
Plus no one ever told me that The Pill doesn’t work reliably when you have Ulcerative Colitis, let alone a stoma. I was such a divvy. I knew that The Pill can fail when you have stomach flu and similar issues but I just didn’t make the connection between short-bout illnesses and my ongoing UC. Hence, 8 years ago, it was a massive shock to find out I was pregnant!
Finding out my contraceptive options
After Callum was born, I attended a proper Family Planning Clinic to find out my contraceptive options. The people that run Family Planning are the ultimate experts. The title is deceptive – it’s not just for people that want to have a baby, it works in reverse too.
I was initially offered the Coil (Intrauterine Device - IUD), the Implant or Depo-Provera injection. I can’t have the Coil because my reproductive organs are as mangled as my bowel, so I picked the Depo injection. I’m not going to lie; the idea that your periods might completely stop on that form of contraception did sway my decision.
7 years on and due to the associated risk of osteoporosis, I took a break. It has also recently been published that the Depo injection may worsen existing depression (which, as I’ve blogged about previously, I am prone to) and that’s what finally spurred me on to change my method. So I found myself back in the more aptly named ‘Women’s Clinic’.
There has now been a further contraceptive breakthrough for those with absorption problems and that’s the Contraceptive Patch. Unfortunately for me, I suffer with migraines so I can’t have it because it uses the same hormones found in the combined pill, which can put me at higher risk of strokes.
It’s the Contraceptive Implant for me
So for me now, it looks like I’m moving onto the Implant. And the good news is that, although this lasts for 3 years, you can have it removed whenever you want if you experience any adverse reactions or side effects.
Just one more thing for us to have to think about! But I hope my research and experience is helpful to some of you who are at an earlier stage of the journey, trying to decide your options.
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by Michelle Williams
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