Chances are if you are reading this you are either interested in getting an IUD or you have already gotten one and want to see how our experiences compare. My hope is that by sharing my experiences I can show the reality of getting an IUD and provide some insight into what to expect. With any medication or procedure, there are side effects and the outcome is different for each person. This is my story.
I started getting my period when I was 12. This is normal, but my periods were so heavy and I would miss school because of cramps. That was not normal. So, I was put on birth control pills at age 13 to help lighten my periods.
It didn't work.
Again, at 15, I tried birth control pills. At this point, I had learned to manage the pain that came with my periods, but I noticed that the pills were not lightening my period at all. I stayed on them for almost two years.
At this point, I visited a new gynecologist and she recommended I try NuvaRing, which is a plastic ring that you insert vaginally. This was perfect because I put it in for three weeks then took it out, had my period, and put a new one in. It meant I wasn't worried about a daily pill.
Still, my periods were no better.
In November of 2018, I thought about getting an IUD. I was headed abroad for a semester to a country that doesn't have much access to feminine hygiene products and I knew I wouldn't be able to have birth control around my host family. So I looked into getting an IUD.
I attend university out of state so I called my gynecologist back home to see if I could schedule an appointment. There would be a two-month wait just for a consultation. So I thought I would call my campus' women's health center. I had many friends get an IUD on campus and they had great experiences so I thought this was a great idea.
They were able to book me in for a consultation the next day. My doctor was so kind and welcoming. She had a voice like an angel and she made me feel so comfortable. They ran tests and asked a series of questions and I never felt judged. Once she had all of my medical history and asked her series of questions, she showed me a pamphlet of my options for birth control.
We discussed the different options but agreed that an IUD would hopefully lighten my periods. Well, then you have to decide which IUD is best for you. My doctor recommended Liletta or Mirena. I only wanted an IUD for four or five years. She mentioned to me that I could possibly get Liletta for free through the university.
After a few days, she called me with my STI/STD results and told me that I could get Liletta for free. I booked my appointment for a day that I would be on my period. This is important because I have not had a child, so my cervix is going to be smaller and being on my period helps lessen the pain.
I booked my appointment for a Thursday evening because I do not have classes on Friday and I had a free weekend. I knew I would need a few days of bed rest. I planned to have a friend walk me to my appointment and wait to walk me back to my room because I was told I might feel dizzy. Plus, this made me feel better knowing I had someone with me. I was also advised by my doctor to take Ibuprofen 30 minutes before my appointment to help with the pain.
I went back for my appointment. I spoke with the nurse and she checked my blood pressure and everything. I spoke with the doctor and she had me do a pregnancy test to ensure once more that I was not pregnant. This is routine for an IUD procedure. Then I got settled in the room.
The doctor came to speak with me again and explained what the tools were and what the procedure was going to be like. I started to get very nervous at this point and I told her that. She asked me if I would rather try another form of birth control and I said no I am strong. I could do this. So she begins. They swabbed me with iodine which is what is used in surgery to prevent infection. One of the first things she does is check the direction of my uterus, I still am not sure what this means or why they do it but I made a few jokes and we all laughed.
Then she uses the clamps to grab and hold my cervix in place. This is the part where you feel A LOT of pressure. It feels like cramps, but I wasn't in pain as much as I just felt like an elephant was sitting on me. Then, if I remember correctly, this is when she inserts the IUD. Honestly, this made me want to jump off the table and run home. If you've never seen the size of a cervix, it's a hole smaller than your pinky, so, putting something there is not the most pleasant feeling in the world.
Then the IUD kind of opens up and you feel this weird pressure. At this point, I was a little lightheaded from holding my breath, so I felt this weird wave of emotions. She cuts the strings of the IUD and removes the clamp. Finally, there was no more elephant sitting on me.
So, she looks inside to check everything and notices that my IUD had come out.
This happens to every one in 300 people or something like that.
Chances are this will not happen to you, but if it does, the same process is repeated. Disinfecting the area, clamping the uterus, and a new IUD is inserted. I didn't have to pay anything else for the second IUD because I didn't have to pay anything at all for my procedure.
I was done at this point but I was looking pale so my doctor encouraged me to sit and wait for 15 minutes before going back to my room. After my color came back, I was able to stand and walk with no problems or pain. I went to bed with more Ibuprofen, water, and a heating pad at the ready.
I had some serious cramps that first night and was bleeding from being on my period during the time of the procedure, so I just used it as an excuse to eat ice cream and watch Netflix. You will not be allowed to use tampons for a few days so just keep that in mind as well. The next morning I woke up and went to an all-day business event and I was completely fine.
Everyone has a different pain tolerance, but the pain will be completely manageable either way.
It has been eight months now and my IUD is still in perfect placement and condition. My periods are much lighter and shorter. I am no longer nauseous from cramps. I do not have to worry about picking up birth control from the pharmacy or taking a pill at a certain time. All in all, getting an IUD was the best decision for me and I hope my story allows you to decide if this is the best decision for you.