With so many people making the lifestyle choice to go vegan, it seemed time to address contraceptive choices for those dedicated to it. With the realization of many dairy allergies and their interference with condom use, it has become critically important that there are alternatives out there. There are a growing number of options for vegans and those with allergies to practice safer sex without compromising their lifestyles. Below, you will find a list of vegan companies and brands listed by what kind of product their method.
Barrier Methods- Condoms & Dental Dams: Many people fail to realize that condoms are made with casein- a milk protein added to the latex. This can be a huge issue for those with dairy allergies. If you have a real allergy to dairy, it may not be the best idea to put it on your genitals. I am aware of some people who have allergic reactions to non-vegan condoms for this reason. If you are vegan, you would obviously want to skip casein-made condoms in order to side step the use of animal products. There are definitely other options out there, but these are some companies you can always trust to be diary-free and vegan friendly with ALL of their products:
- Sir Richard’s Condoms:I am a big fan of this company and their wonderful line of vegan condoms that feature paraben-free and gylcerin free lube. On top of all this, for every condom you buy they will donate one to a country in a need (so far, these donations have all gone to Haiti). Who can’t support condoms with a conscious? You can pick up this brand in Extra Large, Ultra Thin, Pleasure Dots, and Classic Ribbed.
- Glyde Condoms and Dental Dams: This company has been pumping out vegan safer sex supplies all over the world since 1996! Check their “Where to Buy” section to find the website and order in your country. They have been certified by the Vegan Society and PEETA, so you can rest assured that these are trustworthy. They also have fair-trade practices and do a lot of philanthropy work. A+ work, Glyde! You can buy their products in Ultra, Maxi, Slim-Fit, Flavored, and Dental Dams.
- Kimono: Kimono offers us another interesting vegan option. This brand is well known for creating very thin condoms to maximize sensitivity. You can try them in Thin, Microthin, Microthin Plus, Microthin Large, and Microthin with Ribs and Sensi-Dots.
Oral Contraceptives: Birth control pills can be a tricky thing to find vegan since many brands contain lactose as an ingredient. According to the Vegan Society, Pfizer: Femulen contains no animal-derived products. However, it is important to note that just because something is vegan in ingredients does not necessarily mean it has not been tested on animals.
The IUD: Although I can find no concrete website to confirm it, the general consensus seem to be that many IUDs are vegan. Since the copper IUD is primarily made from copper, it may be regarded as a vegan option.
The Shot: According to The Vegan Society, The Depo-shot is vegan. However, I would caution anyone interested in it to look into it extensively and speak with your doctor about if it is a good option for you before choosing it. There are a lot of contraindications and side effects to the shot.
The Patch: The Orthro Evra Patch is also named as a vegan option by the Vegan Society.
Natural Family Planning: I recommend using natural family planning only as a method paired with another method, since it is often not effective enough to prevent pregnancy in many cases. It works by tracking your fertility/ovulation patterns and not having sex when you are most fertile. Doing so requires a lot of knowledge about the human body in general, as well as a familiarity with your own body.
This series of posts on birth control methods will not cover condoms and other barriers to be used during sex. For information on condoms and barriers, see this post. None of the birth control methods discussed during this series are effective at preventing the transmission of STDs and STIs.
An intrauterine device, also known as an IUD, is a small (no thicker than a tampon string), T-shaped object inserted into the uterus to mess with the way sperm moves and intercept it from fertilizing an egg. There are two main types of IUD, Mirena and Paragard. The Mirena IUD is hormone-based, and the Paragard IUD is copper. Once inserted, an IUD lasts for several years (up to 12, depending on the kind) before it will need to be removed and/or replaced.
An IUD is one of the most effective forms of birth control, right up there with sterilization. Less than 1 out of every 100 people using the IUD method of birth control will become pregnant when an IUD has been placed properly. It is also easy to use and maintain. The insertion process takes about 60 seconds and you are protected from pregnancy immediately after insertion. After insertion, assuming that there are not complications, you do not have to worry about the IUD until the point where it needs to be replaced or removed. It is discreet and private, many people who use an IUD say that their partner(s) cannot even tell that it is there. Occasionally, the string that hangs down from the cervix (for removal at a later point) can be felt during intercourse, but this can be trimmed if needed.
The Mirena IUD is hormone based. It works by secreting a small amount of progesterone each day. It contains no estrogen, so there are fewer side effects than other hormone-based forms of birth control, but there are still some hormone-related side effects for certain users of the IUD. The Mirena IUD lasts for 5 years as stated by the manufacturer, but in Europe it is approved for use for up to 7 years. Side effects at first include unpredictable and irregular bleeding, but it is usually only spotting. After the first 6 months, most people’s periods stop altogether, or are much lighter and shorter.
The Paragard IUD contains copper and is hormone free. It is the ONLY super-effective hormone-free form of birth control available, other than sterilization. It lasts for 10 years as stated by the manufacturer, but many studies have shown evidence that it is effective for up to 12 years, and many establishments that provide Paragard insertion services (Planned Parenthood being one of them) agree that it is effective for 12 years. Most users of the Paragard IUD experience heavier, crampier periods for the first few months, but most people’s menstrual cycles return to normal after 6 months.
In a healthy person, regardless of age and whether or not one has given birth or had an abortion, IUDs are a viable option. IUDs, however, are not right for every person. An IUD could be wrong for you if you have any of several health conditions. You should not use an IUD if you: have had a pelvic infection following a birth or abortion in the past 3 months, have or might have an STI, have or might have a pelvic infection, are pregnant, or may be pregnant, have untreated cervical cancer, have cancer of the uterus, have unexplained vaginal bleeding, have pelvic tuberculosis, or have a uterine perforation during an IUD insertion.
The Mirena IUD in particular is not for people who have severe liver disease, or who have, or might have, breast cancer.
The Paragard IUD in particular is not for people who have, or might have, an allergy to copper, or who have Wilson’s disease, an inherited disease that blocks the body’s ability to get rid of copper.
If you are interested in using an IUD as a method of birth control, see your doctor - either a OB/GYN or your general practitioner should be equipped to discuss it with you.