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Birth Control and Time Zone Changes: How My IUD Made Me a Happier Traveler

For years, part of my trip preparation was to determine the time zone difference and then note two things: the times of day it would be best to check in with my kids, and the hour I would need to take my birth control pill because of those time zone changes.

The latter was always important to maintain the optimal 24-hour dosage spacing in order to avoid the nausea of taking my birth control pills too close together or the cycle problems of spacing them too far apart. Getting the timing right often meant that I would need to deal with popping a pill at inopportune times—like while wandering through a street market or paddling in a kayak. And when I eventually ended up on a pill that required me to eat before taking it, things got even trickier.

IUDs and Travel

So I decided to try an intrauterine device (IUD). The technology has come a long way in the last decade, and as someone who changes time zones regularly I liked that it would simplify my travel.

And it has—I don’t live in fear of forgetting to pack pills, I don’t have to make unnecessary time-zone calculations, and I no longer interrupt travel adventures to medicate. Having an IUD allows me to pack light and focus on the destination, not watch the clock.

Opting for the IUD has streamlined my trip prep in other ways as well. I’ve cut out the long phone calls with my insurance carrier about covering additional pill packs for longer-term travel. I no longer debate whether to pack an extra month of pills in case my suitcase is lost or stolen. And I get to skip the last-minute trips to the pharmacy, which were always one more thing than I had time for when I was about to leave on a trip.

Having an IUD means not being tethered to a pill pack and an alarm clock. That may sound like a small victory, but it’s one I notice and celebrate every day on my travels.

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Follow Christine Sarkis on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.

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