Tag Archives: contraception

Liletta, the New IUD Tested On Women Of Color And Heavy Women

Photo courtesy of RHrealitycheck.org

So, you say you wish you knew whether new medical products – like contraceptives – were widely tested on women of color for safety and effectiveness. And, you wish clinical trials were done on women like you – a big, lovely woman with curves. Well, your wish has come true at least for one new product: Liletta, the new hormonal IUD recently approved by the U.S. FDA to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. The study is on-going to test the product’s effectiveness beyond 3 years.

Liletta was approved based on results from the largest hormonal IUD clinical trial conducted in the U.S. which was designed to reflect the U.S. population. Studied in women between 16-45 years of age, of which 13.3% were African-American and 14.7% Hispanic, Liletta was found to be 99.45% effective.  The product prevented pregnancy in women regardless of age, whether they had had children and regardless of their body mass. The mean BMI of the women studied was 26.9 kg/m2 ranging from 15.8kg/m2 – 61.6kg/m2

Currently, there are 3 IUD options in the U.S. including 2 hormonal options: Mirena and Skyla. IUD’s are one of the fastest growing contraceptive options in the US and this 4th option will aim to be the most affordable hormonal one.  Not expected to be available for insertion until this spring, the prce of Liletta should be low enough for women to purchase it out of pocket without insurance.

And, when you’re ready to get pregnant, the vast majority of women were able to get pregnant within 12 months of removal and some within two weeks.

We Need Some ‘Disruptive Technology’ Up Here in Birth Control!

Ladies, have you tried using birth control but didn’t like what it did to your body? Or do you have infrequent sex and are loathe to ingest a lot of hormones all the time?

Well, you may not be alone. One-third of sexually active women in the US used withdrawal (meaning the gentleman pulled out before he finished the deed) as their birth control method in the last 30 days. (Contraception, May 2014) And, many of these women had used birth control in the past. What’s more, a recent BBC Radio show reported on British women with Master’s degrees and mortgages who shun contraception.  Along the same vein, there are African (and Asian) women who know about birth control and don’t want to get pregnant but avoid using it either because they don’t have sex that often or they’re afraid of the possible side effects. (Guttmacher, June 2014)

So, globally, a lot of women don’t want to get pregnant but don’t use birth control. While some of these women don’t have access to contraceptives for many reasons, many of these women have tried using modern birth control in the past.  So, what’s up with that?

Sounds like we need some “disruptive technology” up here in birth control!

Disruptive technology – or innovation – is something that completely changes the game and often doesn’t use the same players – like big business or big government. Back in the day, “The Pill” was the big game changer. The pharma company Searle launched the first contraceptive pill in 1960 and 5 years later almost 7 million American women were on the pill. But, the pill’s side effects have scared women away and made the FDA leery at times.  While there have been new contraceptives introduced since 1960, often developed in part with US government funding, all of these methods include hormones. They include the patch and vaginal rings which like the pill allow the lady to control the use herself and long acting methods like implants which some see as revolutionary because you don’t have to go back to the medical provider for years to replace it.

Disruptive innovation based on IT is affecting lots of industries. In large urban cities, thanks to almost everybody and their grandmother owning smartphones, the transportation industry is being disrupted with ride share start ups like Uber, Zipcar, Lift, Sidecar and others, that make it easier to get a ride than traditional taxis and public transportation. Now a multi-billion dollar industry, these new forms of urban mobility are the norm and are now facing push back from London to Madrid to Washington, DC. Some would say African cities – home to innovative mobile solutions – are having an even bigger revolution in transportation. People are finding solutions without help from the government – or big business.

But, where is this homegrown, do-it-yourself-using-a-smartphone approach to contraception? According to Aqurance, 59% of pharma executives believe that the industry’s main competition will come from outside the pharma industry in 20 years.  And, 85% of them believe the key to future profit will be focusing on the patient. Will this include future contraception as well? Smartphone apps are making fertility awareness methods more accessible – and effective. Once confined to calenders and beads, tracking your fertility as a birth control method has come a long way thanks to technology and smart phones.

But, new contraceptive technologies and alternatives to modern birth control are needed to address women’s needs. I mean, ladies, we need us an “uber” fertility solution that let’s us manage our fertility and still keep our “lady” feelings, right? Perhaps we need to look for them outside big business and big government.

The Roses Of Fertility Awareness: One Woman’s Experience With Natural Birth Control

Hey there! I’m Rose.

I’m in my mid-20’s, and I’m a southern woman here in the good ole US of A. I’m new to SuzyKnew.

I’m going to take you through my adventures of using fertility awareness as a contraceptive method on my page The Roses Of Fertility Awareness. I just started this year.

So, what’s this all about? Becoming aware of your fertility or times during your cycle when you’re most likely to become pregnant, so you can avoid vaginal sex or use a condom or diaphragm (barrier methods) to avoid getting pregnant.  Some people call this “natural birth control” or “natural family planning.”

When I started learning online about the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), one thing became very clear: I had to learn to be okay with being intimate with my body.

Here in the States – as in many places – the human body has long been held up as both sacred and dirty, dating all the way back to the days of dear old Victorian morality and sexuality, and confusing and disempowering women (and men) for hundreds of years. This mindset has deeply pervaded our mind, affecting individuals of all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic statuses, teaching us to both hate and be estranged with our own bodies – an internalized phobia, if you will.

And of course, this phobia and hate has been un-proportionally put on us lady folk. Little boys masturbate? Oh, it’s just a part of growing up. Little girls masturbate? Call in the abstinence-only educators! Women are often blamed in sexual assault. Well, what was she wearing?  She was asking for it. The Pill was (and is in some parts of the world) denied to women because of the fear that she would have sex with whomever she wanted whenever she wanted (Oh God, no!). In the States, breastfeeding in public is seen as inappropriate. But, media is constantly bombarding us with boobs as sexual playthings for men, right? African American women’s bodies, in particular, have historically been over-sexualized and -publicized and owned collectively by both black and white men.

And, so our bodies are seen as sexual and sensual, while at the same time dirty and somebody else’s. We don’t know or love our own bodies.

One reason I decided to try FAM was that I wanted to buck this misogyny and know and be empowered by my body. Oh, and not get pregnant…by the way!  For me, hormonal birth control, while it had offered me immense freedom and protection in the past (and clearly for many women it continues to do so, hooray for contraception!), was controlling my body. It was another external source dictating what my body could and could not do.  I wanted to cut out this external substance and see what my body would be like when left to its own volition.