Whether or not you are interested in trying out an IUD as a form of birth control, it definitely doesn’t hurt to know about them! Keep reading for a first hand experience of IUDs!
I had been on the birth control pill since I was 14 years old, but was experiencing problems with it.
I have been on the birth control pill since I was 14 years old. I had terrible cramps and so I took the pills in a way that allowed me to skip my period entirely (God bless the birth control pill).
But I experienced many of the problems with the pill that a lot of women complain about-such as a weight gain and a reduction in sex drive. I also found that overtime I trusted the pill less and less, I wasn’t confident in my ability to take it at the exact same time every day, and so I found myself relying on multiple forms of birth control.
This was a slight issue because I would rather be in charge of the birth control, rather than rely on the dependability of my partner.
In general I like to have my own control of my birth control and have the responsibility fall into my hands so I am extra careful. Condom use typically tends to be reliant on the responsibility of your partner, and so I wanted a birth control that I was totally “in control” of.
So to mitigate the side effects of the pill and to regain control of my use of contraceptives, I decided to get an IUD.
I decided to give an IUD a try.
The IUD I got, the Mirena, is a T shaped, plastic, 1.5 inch long device that is inserted into your cervix (the lower end of your uterus) and releases hormones that prevent you from conceiving a child for five years. I feel that I should also say that it DOES NOT prevent STDs or STIs, so if you and your partner haven’t been tested you always need to be using a condom as well.
I had my IUD put in on a Wednesday morning. I went alone, my boyfriend had class. I had done some research the night before, I knew it would probably hurt, even more so because my doctor had not recommended to me that I be on my period during the appointment (your cervix is naturally more open at this point in your cycle.) I was extremely nervous, having read horror stories of pain worse than birth and perforated uteruses, but I was still convinced the procedure would be worth it.
The OBGYN walked me through some questions/information at first, and explained the possible risks.
When I got to the OBGYN’s office a nurse walked me through some questions such as was there any chance that I was pregnant or had any STDs, etc. Then a PA explained the procedure to me using a model uterus and told me how to check each month for the strings of the IUD to make sure it is properly in place. She informed me of the risk of perforation (when the device breaks through your uterus during insertion and enters your stomach cavity) and the risks that could be involved if I did become pregnant with the device inserted (miscarriage, even death).
I signed off that I understood these risks and would not sue the practice in the event of them occurring; then I waited, for an hour. My doctor had to go to the hospital to check on another patient so I was left alone in the procedure room to ponder the pain I was about to experience.
The procedure wasn’t exactly painful, but it wasn’t absolutely painless.
When he got back he began the procedure with his PA and an observing resident in the room (don’t you love it when there are three people staring at your vagina?) He performed an exam with his fingers (the worst) and then inserted a vaginal speculum (that thing that looks like a duck) into my uterus. He then tested my cervix by prying it apart with what looked like tongs, I believe to make sure it was big enough to insert the IUD. This was the most intense part of the procedure- think of the most painful menstrual cramp you can imagine and double it. Your cervix really prefers to stay shut…
When he determined that my cervix was in fact big enough (I wasn’t so sure) he inserted the IUD, which caused another, slightly less painful bout of cramping. He then used scissors (scary looking but painless) to clip the strings. Afterwards I was made to lie still for twenty minutes or so because apparently a lot of people faint immediately afterwards.
The aftermath of the procedure proved to me that it was definitely worth it in the long run.
For the next two days I experienced frequent cramping that was very comparable to severe menstrual cramps. The third day was worse, I experienced cramps that brought tears to my eyes at many different points throughout the day, and felt extremely bloated and emotional.
I am no longer experiencing any of these side effects, although I do have the peace of mind of knowing that my birth control is even more effective than a vasectomy. I would absolutely say to anyone considering getting an IUD that while my experience initially sucked, it was definitely worth it in the long run.
Tips for anyone considering getting the IUD.
1. Take some Ibuprofen before you go to the appointment.
2. Schedule your appointment for when you are on your period.
3. If you’re not used to severe menstrual cramps, buy a heating pad and stock up on Ibuprofen.
What else should we know about IUDs? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image source: abcnews.go.com, huffingtonpost.com
Ella is a Freshman at Tulane University studying English and history. After graduation she hopes to work in editing or publishing. You can find her with her nose in a book, on Pinterest, or exploring local stores and restaurants with her friends. She has a passion for travel and a serious case of wanderlust.