November 22nd, 2013

Faerie

3 months on Paragard, and so far not liking it... Help?

I got the Paragard inserted on September 4. I'm now in week 11 and so far it's been a huge source of stress for me and can't decide if I should get it removed, try the Mirena instead, go back on the pill or just say "screw it, all birth control methods are terrible" and be stuck with condoms the rest of my life (I want that to be a last resort). Between a never-ending period and an acne breakout I can't seem to get rid of, I'm at a loss for what to do.

A little background on me: I'm 26, no kids, never been pregnant. I was on oral contraceptives (the "pill") for 5.5 years until November 2012. I never had any issues with the pill. In fact, I really miss it right now because it really helped clear the acne on my face. Right now, my face looks worse than it ever has my entire life, even in high school, and I've become insanely self-conscious. It's one of the reasons I'm considering switching back. But the reason I stopped taking the pill is because I thought 5.5 years was long enough to be putting hormones into my body, which is why I chose the Paragard over the Mirena (which of course now I'm wondering if that was a mistake).

Aside from the acne on my face (which is mostly on my chin and jawline, with a little on my cheeks and forehead), I've also had issues with bleeding. Luckily, no cramping at least. Pre-pill and on the pill, my periods were always very light. A week after insertion, I started having what I thought was an unusual discharge. This turned out to be the slow start of my first very, very long period with the Paragard. The heavier bleeding started two weeks after insertion, lasted about a week and finally led right into more light bleeding or clotting.

The second period started just three weeks after the last one. It lasted 3.5 weeks, immediately followed by more of the light bleeding or discharge or whatever that was, for a total of about 25 days. I was concerned that the "discharge" might be bacterial vaginosis, so I went to get my IUD checked at the doctor. She told me the IUD was in place, and the test results for BV, as well as STIs (this wasn't a concern of mine, but she wanted to be sure), were negative. She said possibly I could be sensitive to copper, or perhaps IUDs just won't work for me. She said I could wait it out more or get it removed.

After about two glorious days with no bleeding or spotting, I got what I assume is another period. It's bleeding of some sort at least. This time the very light bleeding or spotting (sometimes it's red, sometimes it's brownish) started on November 9 and hasn't increased or decreased. This is different than the first period with the Paragard, because there hasn't been any heavy bleeding this time. It's just been about two weeks so far of this constant light bleeding. It usually looks like brownish clots of blood. Sometimes with an eggwhite consistency, sometimes not.

So basically, on week 11, I've had about a total of one to two of those weeks without any bleeding or spotting. The rest I've always either been bleeding (red menstrual blood) or having the constant, light, brownish blood or discharge. And my face has broken out worse than it ever has in my life.

I'm sorry if I sound so hopeless, but this has been really difficult to deal with. I did my research before getting the Paragard and knew longer, heavier periods were a risk, but I never thought that meant 25-day periods twice in row with only a two-day break. Will this ever end? And I had never heard of acne being a side effect with the Paragard. I've started taking zinc, and after about a week, it hasn't made a difference.

Does anyone have any thoughts, advice, similar experiences, etc? I've heard that perhaps using hormonal birth control for a month with the Paragard can help with the bleeding, to get my body back in balance or something. Is that true? I also just read in this community that vitamin E might help? I'm skeptical, but I'd try almost anything.

And does anyone think the Mirena could perhaps work for me instead, or would I have the same issues with bleeding and acne? I'm worried the IUD just won't work for me and then I'm not sure what I would do. I refuse to use condoms alone the rest of my life because they're too risky and I don't want to get pregnant any time soon. And if I can't do the IUD or condoms, then what? The pill worked great for me, but I really don't want to switch back to the pill if I can help it, as much as I loved it and miss it right now, because that was a long time to use combination birth control. The Mirena doesn't have estrogen, so I think I'd feel OK using that even though it's not hormone-free... but that's just another IUD.

Thanks in advance for any help!

TL;DR: Horrible acne, never-ending periods, at a loss for what to do.