7:55 am - 03/18/2012

Menstrual Extraction

Heyo -
Menstrual extraction can "bring down" your period, at home, safely, without drugs.
I searched the archives, and it's been mentioned, but comments are scant.
Have any of us done this? could you tell me about it?
it seems like an ideal thing to know how to do safely,
especially in places like texas and pakistan.

http://www.womenshealthspecialists.org/self-help/menstrual-extraction
nickelshoe 18th-Mar-2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
I would not be comfortable with the insertion of objects into my uterus in a non-clinical setting. The uterus is a sterile environment, so doing this under non-sterile conditions seems like it could lead to a uterine infection.
roseofaurora 18th-Mar-2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
I second the above concern and also want to note the problem with vagina-owners performing this as an attempted abortion in later stage pregnancy out of ignorance and desperation and seriously harming themselves because a later stage pregnancy won't just "extract", and may result in horrible complications ranging anywhere from miscarriage to infection and death. </p>

I may be partial to this procedure being available in a non-clinical situation such as at a spa by a certified person... I mean we have aestheticians operating things like lasers and needles for "beauty", this could be just another procedure in that sense. It would probably be no more awkward than a Brazilian wax.

I'm just scared to think of what a frightened, four month pregnant teenager may do to herself with this thing available in the home.

atalanta0jess 18th-Mar-2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
I don't know much about it, honestly.

But I do want to say this, as a counter to some of the other comments. Providing information to people always has risks. So does allowing information to stay in the hands of the elite few. Giving women information about how to control their own bodies creates some risks, but so does allowing doctors to be the sole keepers of that information - and as we see in so many countries, and increasingly in the US, those risks are huge.

Women are not infants who need parental or doctoral supervision. Given information like this, they can decide for themselves whether this is worth pursuing. For some, a uterine infection might be easier to deal with - less dangerous, easier to get treatment for - than an accidental pregnancy.

Things like this make me wish that communities and networks of women were stronger. It's true probably, that this isn't something ideally learned from the net and practiced on yourself. It sounds like something that could be appropriately learned from a midwife type of figure. It's a good example of why it has been important for patriarchal structures to keep women isolated.
mydocuments 18th-Mar-2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
I am much less concerned at the thought of endometritis and sepsis than I am the thought of DIC. Endometritis and sepsis can be treated. Ligating the uterine arteries and causing a massive hemorrhage is not something that can be easily fixed without immediate abdominal surgery and the transfusion of massive amounts of blood products.

I agree that one of the huge obstacles facing a woman's freedom to choose is the fact that abortion is now only obtainable in hospitals and surgical centers, but in my opinion, this is not the answer.

Edited at 2012-03-18 04:50 pm (UTC)
atalanta0jess 18th-Mar-2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Right - actually my grandmother was hospitalized due to a hemorrhage due to who knows what, but it was suggested that she may have tried to perform a home abortion.

If you re-read what I wrote, I wasn't advocating that people attempt this DIY style. My comment about communities of women was meant to suggest something very similar to what you've suggested below.
mydocuments 18th-Mar-2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
How awful for your grandmother. I hope that she survived though?

I just wanted to be sure that you knew infection wasn't the only risk. In specific, I was trying to address those part of your original comment. For some, a uterine infection might be easier to deal with - less dangerous, easier to get treatment for - than an accidental pregnancy.

My apologies if I came across as a know it all or as though I was trying to lecture you. I try to be cognizant of that, but I suspect that more often than not, I still come across as an Obgyn Hermione Granger.
atalanta0jess 18th-Mar-2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, she did, thanks for asking. I don't know many of the details, and probably never will...its something I always wonder about.

Thanks for the apology, but none needed. :) I was being a little glib about the risks probably.
mydocuments 18th-Mar-2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Menstrual extraction is also known as manual vacuum aspiration and is an older methods of early pregnancy termination, as well as a means to obtain endometrial tissue biopsies. Its not something that you can just do, without any training whatsoever, for multiple reasons.

(1) Inserting anything into the uterus is painful without a cervical nerve block. Although they say that you won't require any dilation to insert the cannula, its not going to just slide in there easily. It will be painful, and you run the risk of having a vagal response to cervical stimulation and passing out -- dangerous if you are attempting a self extraction.

(2) Not doing this procedure in a sterile environment can lead to endometritis, which can lead to infertility or sepsis, and sepsis can be deadly. Furthermore, any retained products of conception can also lead to endometritis if they are not expelled.

(3) Forcing anything into the cervix and uterus runs the risk of damaging the uterine arteries. When women die of botched abortions, this is typically what they die of. They bleed out quickly, then go into disseminated intravascular coagulation, meaning all of their solid blood clots and all of their plasma just bleeds out. It is a very bad way to die.

At the very least, this is not something that should be attempted on oneself. I would be less opposed to a group of women learning and plying this trade outside the boundaries of the traditional medical setting.
frolicnaked 18th-Mar-2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Inserting anything into the uterus is painful without a cervical nerve block.

This was my first thought as well. I've had objects of similar diameters (3.9mm and 5.0mm) inserted into my uterus -- with cervical dilation for one (at least) and with pain management for both. It still hurt, at least enough that I would not have wanted to be the person who also had to control the device while it was making me crampy.
knittinggoddess 18th-Mar-2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
It's still painful WITH a cervical block! At least, I could still feel my IUD be inserted, open up and pushed into place. The last two were still incredibly painful. It was just that the teneculum didn't hurt, and I imagine that the insertion itself was significantly less painful without the lidocaine.

I'm not entirely clear what they're advocating with the menstrual extraction. It sort of sounds like they're advocating twice yearly abortions instead of regular birth control: [The Supreme Court] did not expect that all women would use menstrual extraction as a backup when birth control failed. They were aware, however, that one or two menstrual extractions a year carry far less health risks than either an IUD or the Pill.

Also, notice the quick little bit of fearmongering about the IUD? (1973-era attitudes wrt IUDs, note.) And wow, the page on the pill is incredibly negative, going along with the cautionary spins on all the other hormonal methods. (In contrast, the FAM and cervical cap pages are mostly sunshine and rainbows.) I'm not sure I trust this site all too much.
knittinggoddess 18th-Mar-2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
Wow, this site is actually sort of pissing me off. Their IUD website is inaccurate, (for example) repeating the myth that IUDs are correlated with higher PID risks. Yet their additional reading article says that the fears are completely overblown for modern iuds, repeating the statistics I've heard about increased risk for the first month after insertion.

Argh. If I say more about this, I think I might violate safe space. But it really steams me when health providers use inaccurate, out of date information. This sort of misinformation does nobody any benefit.
frolicnaked 18th-Mar-2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
Agreed. Overall, the Feminist Women's Health Center has been a reasonably reliable source in the past -- though they've tended to be moreso for things like home remedies for YIs and less so for mainstream medical things like IUDs. But I'm also finding inaccurate info on their emergency contraceptive pill page. Specifically, I'm looking at:
Women should not use ECP's if they have had one of the following:

Heart attack or stroke
Blood clotting disorder
History of breast cancer
Current Known pregnancy
According to the CDC's medical eligibility criteria for ECP use (largely based from the WHO's; I'm linking this because the WHO PDF make my computer go WTF?), none of those are actually contraindicated. (Pregnancy is given an "NA" because, well, if one has a known pregnancy, there's no point in taking EC.)

I'll try viewing the big PDF again to see if this remains the case for the WHO's guidelines, but assuming that is the case -- Suggesting that someone not take EC because of a health risk that may not actually exist... GAH.

PS -- Just checked. The WHO guidelines for ECPs say the same thing.

Edited at 2012-03-18 11:44 pm (UTC)
frolicnaked 19th-Mar-2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Coming back to this, I think it is both fair and safe-spacey to say this:

While I don't know so very much about the procedure of menstrual extraction, I do see that this site is using a lot of outdated and inaccurate information. Making decisions based off of potentially incomplete or outright wrong information is generally not empowering. Therefore, I would most certainly want to cross-reference this with a credible authoritative source to establish both safety and efficacy before I considered it a potential option.
knittinggoddess 19th-Mar-2012 04:59 am (UTC)
Sea sponge tampons work as well as a super tampon. No mention of menstrual cups as alternatives to disposables.

No caveats in the bladder infection section about the dangers of kidney infections.

Seriously, not enough caveats. Check out the emmenogogues section. Pennyroyal?

Does diet actually have an impact on UTI occurrence? I am intrigued, but given the context, skeptical.

Okay. I'm done bringing this way off topic now. Sorry about the derailing, OP.
dkwgdk 19th-Mar-2012 01:13 am (UTC)
I am not sure I'd try this because of fear of infection, but I have to say that the notion of just being able to "suck out" seven days worth of heavy bleeding is extremely appealing.
kuradi8 19th-Mar-2012 01:05 pm (UTC)
"Menstrual extraction can "bring down" your period, at home, safely, without drugs."

OMG, NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!

Those are instructions for "How to Perform an Old Fashioned Abortion."

That should ABSOLUTELY NOT be attempted on yourself, on a friend, or as a "spa treatment!!!"

That should not be done in anything less than a sterile environment and not by anyone who doesn't have any medical training.
verdanthe 20th-Mar-2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
It's clear that this is only an option for very early possible pregnancies.

Yes, it is very important to keep the uterus sterile, but in an age of sterile, disposable, instruments, why couldn't careful, well-educated folks at home do this just as safely as a doctor in an office? A sterile cannula is a sterile cannula, whether the package is opened in a hospital or in a home. a doctor's washed hands in sterile gloves are no cleaner than anyone else's washed hands in sterile gloves.

and yes, out-of-date information is out-of-date (re. IUDs, etc.), but this is something that sounds good for folks to know about that i'm surprised i only recently ever heard about.
alexandra669 Reference article.11th-Apr-2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
http://www.sisterzeus.com/ME_byRebeccaChalker.pdf

http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/1993spring/Spring1993_CHALKER2.php

(Same article non pdf easier to read)

I am looking into this too. Here is a good start article on the first menstrual extraction groups, he what, how and why covering safety concerns and so forth. It is not solely an 'abortion technique' as such, some use it to reduce bleeding time and cramps with the reproductive control being a useful side effect rather than primary intent.

Menstrual Extraction Concept

"We saw the possibilities of using the non-traumatic method for reasons other than early abortion. We had practiced on one another during our menstrual periods and we learned that introducing a four millimeter cannula into the os of the cervix caused very little pain so that it was unnecessary to use any anesthetic. We learned that simple sterile techniques were sufficient, since there was no breaking of the skin or scrapping of tissue. We also learned that it was possible to extract the major portion, or all, of the typical menstrual period. This usually brought immediate cessation of the cramps and other uncomfortable menstrual symptoms. We decided to name the procedure menstrual extraction" : Lorraine Rothman of the LA Women's Self Help Clinic.

I will continue my research and If I do practice will post.

Full article containing above post: http://womenshealthinwomenshands.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/menstrual-extraction.html

Case against article:

http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/1993spring/Spring1993_TYRER.php

Edited at 2014-04-11 04:33 pm (UTC)
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