I didn’t get a post up last week so this week I’m catching up and am bringing you TWO! So to get this party started I wanted to talk to you about IUDs!
I know that this subject is one that a lot of people have mentioned I should talk about as it’s one that not enough people do. So, because I love to keep it real and get personal, I’m going to share my experience with you. Before I go any further, I want to preface this by saying that there is a LOT of information out there on IUDs and a lot of blog posts and videos on other people’s experiences. This is solely my experience and the information that I was given that I am passing along to you. But I urge you to do your own research and to talk to a health care professional, your GP or family doctor before you make a decision. So, with that out of the way, here we go…
First off… What the heck is an IUD?
IUD stands for Intrauterine Device. It’s a tiny (roughly 28-32mmx30-32mm) T-shaped device that is inserted into your uterus and sits at the base of your cervix to prevent pregnancy. It is a form of long acting reversible birth control, meaning once inserted, it can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years and once removed you can return the normal level of fertility almost immediately.
Ok? Go on…
IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control on the market right now and there are two types to choose from: hormonal and copper. The copper IUD emits copper ions which create a toxic or inhospitable environment for sperm, while the hormonal IUD releases progesterone to thicken the cervical mucus and thin the lining of the uterus which makes it harder for sperm to penetrate and harder for eggs to stick to the lining. Either type needs to be prescribed by a doctor and then once picked up, an appointment is made to have a doctor insert it.
There are pros and cons to each type and brand of IUD, and again that is something that you can find lots of information on. I ended up going with the brand Kyleena which is a hormonal IUD and there are a few reasons I chose this type. Let’s start when this all began though and I’ll tell you how I came to decide an IUD was right for me.
I started taking birth control when I was 14. By now I have tried two or three different oral(pill) forms and the Nuvaring. Last year I decided to go off birth control completely for the first time and I was off of it for almost 10 months. I won’t go into too much detail about why I went off of it, other than I was tired of taking a pill every day but more so, I just thought I wanted to see if it would affect my mental well-being.
When I started hearing more and more about IUDs and how so many people I knew had them, it was something I wanted to look into more, so I made an appointment with my doctor. I can’t recommend doing this enough. It was SO helpful to have all the information I needed from a professional before I went and made this decision. She told me about the different kinds of IUDs and went into detail about each one. She also showed me what one looks like and how it is inserted and what to expect. We weighed the pros and cons in regard to my personal beliefs and feelings and I left with a prescription for two types of hormonal IUDs that I was able to choose from when I felt ready. The reason I ended up leaning towards a hormonal IUD is because I felt like the copper was more unnatural and unsafe to have in my body than the hormonal one, because it only emits a low dose of a hormone which women already naturally produce, and that hormone is localized in your uterus meaning less of it enters your bloodstream.
“I just got over it—it’s a vagina”
This is where most people I think want the nitty gritty and have heard the worst horror stories and I’ll be honest with you, it wasn’t pleasant. I was told to make the appointment for when I would be on my period as that is when it is easiest for the doctor to complete the procedure because that’s when your cervix is a little more dilated and open. I was kind of grossed out at the thought of this, but it made sense so I just got over it —it’s a vagina. I knew when I went to pick up the IUD that it would come in a rather large box so I wasn’t horrified. When I got to my doctor’s office, they made me take a pregnancy test (JUST in case) and then we went over again what would be happening. I got prepped like you would for a PAP smear, bottoms off and feet in the stirrups. I couldn’t obviously see what she was doing, nor did I want to but it started off feeling like a PAP smear. When she told me to start breathing, that’s when it sucked. I knew to expect the feeling of the worst cramps you’ve ever had and that’s about exactly what it felt like. I couldn’t do anything to make it stop except just keep breathing— I knew it would be over soon. The worst part was a wince from a sharp pain which I found out after was the IUD hitting the base of my cervix. After she finished she told me to lay still for a few mins and continue my deep breathing. I felt like I had just been thrown around and kicked in the gut. I was light headed, and so very nauseous. I drank some water and when I started to feel better I got up and got dressed. I had the day off (thankfully, but also not, because I had just sprained my ankle 3 days before) so I headed home to rest. The painful cramps and nausea continued for the rest of the day and most of the next, all while spotting for almost 2 weeks and since then on and off almost every day. This is normal and was what I was expecting though so I’m not concerned. The cramps come and go in waves still, but nothing compared to that first day. They’re manageable, and if not, an Advil does the trick.
So, here we are, four weeks later and I’m still happy with my choice. I know that a lot can change still, and I will keep updating this post if anything drastic does change. But for now, that’s where I am in this whole experience and I hope sharing it with you helped or was at the very least, entertaining. I’ll leave a bunch of links below for you, which I found helpful for me and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out by e-mail or on any of my social media platforms.
The quick Q&A
What kind of IUD did you get? Hormonal. Kyleena.
How long does it last? Up to 5 years
Did it hurt? Yes, but it’s not something that should stop you from getting one.
How long did the procedure take? about 5 mins
Did you take the day off work? Yes
Did you do it alone? Yes
Do you still get your period? Haven’t gotten that far yet, but have been spotting on an off since I got it 4 weeks ago.
Have you noticed any other side affects so far? Just cramps, lower back ache and spotting.