Triple J Is Getting Slammed For Claiming The IUD Is An ‘Eco-Friendly’ Alternative To The Pill

Scene from Big Mouth showing an animated IUD holding hand of blonde girl in pink dress

People are ripping Triple J’s The Hook Up a new one over some pretty fucked up suggestions it made regarding eco-friendly contraceptive options for folks with uteruses, such as opting for the intrauterine device (IUD) instead of the contraceptive pill.

I just know that sentence will hit different for anyone who’s had the misfortune of an unbearably painful IUD insertion.

The Hook Up article looked at ways people can have a more environmentally friendly sex life and reduce waste in the bedroom (or wherever you enjoy getting down and dirty).

It didn’t just cover eco-friendly contraceptive alternatives for people with uteruses, but also recommended stuff like switching to vegan condoms and water-based lube, buying sex toys made from biodegradable materials and turning the lights off when rooting. Alexa, play ‘Lights On‘ by FKA Twigs.

And you know what? If you want to reduce waste in your sex life, those suggestions are all fine, I guess. But there were a few recommendations about contraception that were pretty tone deaf.

“Apart from condoms which we’ve already covered, if we’re looking at birth control that produces the most waste, then that would probably be the contraceptive pill,” the article read.

“So some people chose to use the intrauterine device (IUD) as a more eco-friendly alternative. The IUD is a small contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus.

“It’s 99 per cent effective and can be used for up to ten years to prevent pregnancy. Some people also report having less or no periods, which also reduces menstruation waste.”

Now, don’t get me wrong: finding ways to reduce waste in your life is important. But contraception — and all medications, for that matter — is an extremely personal choice; one that’s dictated by your body, health, budget and lifestyle. And sometimes it’s impossible to make decisions that are both body- and eco-friendly.

The article did acknowledge that contraception is individualistic, and urged readers “to do what’s best for you and your body/health”.

But it also failed to mention how invasive and excruciatingly painful getting an IUD inserted can be. I had the procedure done around three years ago and it was traumatic. I vomited because the pain was so intense, then I passed out. My blood pressure was so low I couldn’t stand up and it didn’t stabilise so I was whisked to hospital. Doctors told me my body was actively rejecting the IUD and the best thing to do was to remove it, so that’s what they did.

My experience isn’t uncommon; I have countless friends who have had similarly distressing ordeals getting that bastard piece of wire inserted — not to mention the fact it can perforate the uterus when inserted, cause mood changes and cramping, and also make you bleed irregularly, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There are people who have no issues with their IUD, and enjoy using it as their form of contraception. But we also can’t ignore that it’s not a be-all-and-end-all solution for everyone.

It’s also important to acknowledge that people take the contraceptive pill for other reasons, not just to prevent pregnancy. According to Healthline, it can regulate your menstrual cycle, make your period less painful, reduce your risk of ovarian cysts, and also manage symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

I have PMDD and the only thing that’s improved it is taking the pill. For years I had PMS that was so severe, I couldn’t drive because whenever I hopped in the car, all I could think about was driving into a tree. As soon as I started the pill, those suicidal thoughts — as well as the extreme anxiety, feelings of helplessness and panic attacks — I felt in the lead up to my period disappeared.

The pill is by no means perfect and can cause irregular bleeding, mood changes and more, according to Family Planning NSW. But it works in the way I need it to, and I’m not going to deal with temporarily feeling suicidal before my period hits just because the pill is less wasteful. Sorry Mother Nature!

Except for condoms, The Hook Up’s article also didn’t recommend eco-friendly male contraceptives. Isn’t a vasectomy a totally waste-free contraceptive option? The onus shouldn’t just be on people with uteruses to change what contraception they use.

We are already fighting for their lives on the daily trying to navigate an inherently patriarchal system, and we don’t need to be guilted into our choice of contraception, as well. C’mon, Triple J.

The real climate criminals are fossil fuel companies and big businesses, not people taking the pill.