I am discussing birth control options for a corn allergy. Last update: December 14, 2020
Here is what I know about the options.
They seem to be corn-lite at best due to the lubricant. Non-lubed is not safe 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.
If you’re going to do your own research, please note that the ingredients of the lubricants in these condoms is considered a trade secret, and it is likely you will need an actual doctors note of allergens to get details. Even then they will probably issue a statement like “does not contain” rather than disclosing the ingredients.
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.
If you are going to research corn-safe spermicides, you will run into a similar issue with “trade secrets” as with condoms.
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.
Hormonal Birth Control – Injections
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 – Implants/Insertions
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.
Hormonal Birth Control – Rings
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.
Annovera is a silicone, latex-free ring that works similar to Nuvaring but contains different hormones.
Both these rings contain both estrogen and progesterone. There are research articles about a progesterone-only ring, but there doesn’t seem to be one on the market yet.
Hormonal Birth Control- Patches
Transdermal patches may be an option if you are not sensitive to adhesive. Some adhesives are corny, and others are just irritants for many. The transdermal patches I am aware of at last update are Xulane, and Twirla.
Hormonal Birth Control – IUD
The Mirena IUD is made from the same material as the Nuvaring. If you do well with plastics, this could be a good option. Note that unlike the ring if you do NOT do well with the plastic, you will require an office procedure to have it removed.
General Notes about Hormonal Birth Control
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.
Non-hormonal Birth Control -IUD
Copper IUDs are not purely copper, but also contain polyethylene. No one has looked into the source of the polyethylene. Paragard does not contain hormones.
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 everywhere 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!