BIG HUGE TMI WARNING
I am discussing birth control options for a corn allergy. I don’t reaalllly get that detailed, but if you don’t want to be reading about birth control, um, don’t keep reading.
The following is a round-up of information I’ve been able to gather from reported experiences at the Delphi Avoiding Corn Forums and the Facebook Corn Allergy and Intolerance Group. Any attempt at scientific explanation is my own bumbling attempt at making sense out of what’s reported and what has happened to me, so feel free to correct me on science.
DON’T feel free to correct me on whether what I say happened to me, or someone else says happened to them, is possible or not. If you tell me reacting to these things is impossible or otherwise troll me, I’ll just delete your post with no response. *shrugs*
The following is intended for reference and a beginning point for others to do research on their own. It is not definitive,and I will be updating it as I learn more. I also am aware that at the time of posting, I need references to some claims that I make. They’ll come later.
I have been around and around this, and there is literally no guaranteed completely corn free birth control other than surgery or fertility awareness/natural family planning. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find something safe and effective, but there are possible pitfalls depending on individual sensitivity.
Here is what I know about the options so far.
They seem to be corn-lite at best due to the lubricant. Non-lubed is not okay because they dust those with cornstarch. Apparently there are corn-based solvents used in the production of latex condoms, and probably the polyisoprene, which could also cause an allergy issue. Safe-ish brands I have heard mentioned are Trojan Supra, Avanti Bare, Lifestyles Skyn polyisoprene, and Trojan NaturaLamb- lubricated for all three. Non-lubricated will be dusted in corn starch. Trial very carefully though- I reacted *massively* to the Lifestyles that is tolerated by someone else. Haven’t yet tried the rest to find out due to life and health complications.
These are available in both latex and silicone. The material should be corn free. However they are most effective when used with a spermicide, and there is no known corn free spermicide out there. Some people make their own using various natural products like neem or lemon juice, but I am not going to speak to the efficacy or advisability of doing that. Something else to be aware of with diaphragms is that their effectiveness rate is not great compared to other methods.
Looks like these are typically from silicone so should be corn safe. They are less effective than the diaphragm, however, and they also are most effective when used in conjunction with spermicide.
Hormonal Birth Control Pills
There are no 100% corn free pills that we have found. Some might be corn lite (no obvious corn ingredients but exposure to derivatives). I don’t have any particular brands that may be safe for the not very sensitive. If this is something you want to look into, you’ll just need to look at inactive ingredients and make your best guess. In the US, it is *legal* to compound birth control but it’s considered a bad idea and most pharmacies won’t do it for liability reasons. The hormone levels need to be very exact to control ovulation and the equipment needs to be constantly exactly calibrated. Humans operating compounding equipment for small runs of pills are not set up to be as exact nor to have as rigorous of testing as the mass manufacturers. It’s possible to do and do correctly but the consequences for even the slightest drift in calibration of the measuring equipment are too dire, so most pharmacies just don’t do it.
Depo Provera has corn ingredients and also may cause bone density loss. But it exists as a method, so I’m mentioning it. It’s under the “pill” heading since you have to consume it intravenously for it to work.
Hormonal Birth Control – Non-Pills
This is the safest hormonal option but may still not be okay for the very very sensitive or for those with multiple allergies. Like pills, there is also a variation in which hormones work best for an individual that has nothing to do with corn, so finding something that works for you may involve chasing down a lot of variables.
The Nuvaring (nuva-ring and nuva ring so this comes up on a search later) is made from polyethylene, which seems to be a pretty stable polymer and *could* contain corn. Often enough plastics for medical use are from petroleum but I haven’t contacted the manufacturer to find out. There have been reactions/bad experiences reported to the ring, but no proof that it was a corn reaction.
The Mirena IUD is made from the same material as the Nuvaring, and there is at least one report of a person getting sicker and sicker until they got it out. I can’t say for sure this was corn, but it could be.
Some do okay with the Ortho Evra Patch, but it does have corny adhesive which could build up with daily exposure.
Implanon/Nexplanon is a birth control implant that works similar to the Nuvaring. It is made out of ethylene vinylacetate copolymer. Nexplanon was confirmed by the manufacturer in August 2014 to be from a petroleum source so could be safe for some.
Copper IUD (Paragard)
Copper IUDs are not purely copper, but also contain polyethylene. No one has looked into the source of the polyethylene.
There is some evidence that the hormones themselves in hormonal BC could be an allergy issue for some (thus why allergies change/sensitivity changes during pregnancy or menopause), so of the two IUDs, the copper would be safest. But then again if it doesn’t work for you you need a surgical procedure to remove it.
With all of the above, I would say if you decide to try them watch very carefully to see if you are experiencing a slow decline in health. It might not be obvious, it would probably be a situation where you just got sicker and sicker over time.
Male Contraception (not yet available)
Vasalgel is a temporary vasectomy, basically. The vas deferens is injected with a substance that blocks it off, and then when you are ready to reverse it, another injection dissolves that substance. This has already been used safely and successfully for years in India under the name RISUG, but the American version, Vasalgel, is still going through testing for FDA approval at this time. Clinical trials in humans are expected in 2015.
This is always an option. If you are in a committed monogamous relationship, I would recommend you consider the risks carefully. Vasectomies are far less invasive than tubal ligations and therefore in my humble opinion preferable, however if it is the man who’s allergic to corn, the tubal ligation may be less risky overall depending on sensitivity. (Corn is rampant in medical supplies and a lot of even simple medical procedures can be very risky for a corn allergy.)
Fertility Awareness Method/Natural Family Planning
This sounds like mostly prayer to people who are unfamiliar, but actually Planned Parenthood has a really good overview/writeup of the various methods, including the effectiveness rate. Perfect use of the correct combination of methods actually yields a 99.6% effectiveness rate, but it only gives you less than half of your cycle to “do it” safely. The problem of course is “perfect use,” because who has perfect self control?
And that is the unencouraging round-up of birth control possibilities for a corn allergic person. Sorry!