7/25/16
What Do You Think of Your IUD?

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make YOUR CALL on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

What do you think of IUDs? I keep hearing about how it’s a great contraceptive choice for women in committed relationships — it’s super effective, it can last for up to 10 years, just get it and forget it! My problem is I don’t think I could forget it. There’s something about having a foreign object shoved through my cervix and embedded in my uterus that really makes me cross my legs. Am I just being a baby about this?

— IDK

Should IDK go for an IUD?
Let her know in the comments below.

5 Comments

  1. I started on birth control about 13 years ago, before I was sexually active, due to debilitating cramps, and have been on some form continuously ever since (first the patch, then assorted pills). Last year I decided it was finally time to get an IUD – I hated having to remember to take a pill every day at the same time and was also experiencing frequent breakthrough bleeding as a result of my body becoming overly sensitive to continuous cycling (I only had my period once every ~2.5 months since I took three packs of pills back-to-back). After doing a ton of research and talking to friends with IUDs, I decided that Mirena was the way to go.

    The insertion was definitely painful, but I think it was exacerbated by my nerves, and after the actual insertion I was only left with some strong cramps that were eased with Advil. I’d also planned my day accordingly, and came home to a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix to binge. After the day of insertion, I was pain-free, and so excited for my new, pill-free life.

    After the first few weeks post-insertion, I started spotting, and then having light periods, on a pretty regular basis. In fact, I’d estimate that I was bleeding to some extent around 50% of the time. I also broke out a lot on my face as well as on my back (which had never before been a problem area). I stayed on Mirena for a year before I couldn’t take it any more, and after being informed by my doctor that if those side effects hadn’t cleared up after a year they probably wouldn’t ever go away, I had it removed. I was so disappointed, since I am now back on the pill (albeit one with a higher dose of progesterone than my old prescription) and can’t just “forget” about contraceptive use. On the bright side, my skin cleared up a few months after I had the Mirena removed, and so far I haven’t had any breakthrough bleeding.

    That said, I have plenty of friends on Mirena (and one on ParaGard) who have nothing but rave reviews for their experiences with IUDs. They are all period-free and did not suffer any adverse side effects. Additionally, I never had a partner say he could feel the IUD (in fact, I couldn’t even feel the strings myself because the doctor cut them a little bit too short), and none of my friends has ever had an issue with their partner being able to feel it.

    In conclusion: don’t worry about your partner being able to feel the IUD, because that is highly unlikely to happen. Do, however, be aware that different women’s bodies react differently, and an IUD may not end up being the right option for you.

  2. I freakin’ love my IUD. I started out with Mirena (hormonal version) and that did not work out for me. I’m not gonna lie: the fitting process – and the pain immediately afterwards – were extremely unpleasant. However, these were magnified in my case as I have a retroverted uterus, so even routine pap tests are routinely hideous.

    After 6 months, due to problem side effects with the hormonal version, I switched over to Paragard (copper version). This time I knew what to expect, pain-wise, and that made the fitting a lot less gruelling. I was better prepared, and took a lot more horizontal recovery time in the hour or two immediately post-fitting.

    It’s been smooth sailing ever since, and 1000% worth it. Other than the moments when I check it’s in place, I cannot feel it at all (although anecdata: friends with unusually well-endowed partners report that their partners can and do feel it during intercourse, though not uncomfortably so). Best contraception I’ve ever had, by a mile.

    1. I’ve just read the useful info from Lisa below and I can confirm that my period on IUD does last a couple of days longer. In my case, however, it isn’t heavier. There has been no accompanying increase in period pain. I also experience a few days of thicker and more copious vaginal mucus, starting a few days after my period ends. Again, having researched it, this seems to he something that a small percentage of users experience, but by no means all.

      1. I also found my second fitting to be much easier and less painful – knowing what to expect was helpful. Obviously from both our experiences it’s clear, if one doesn’t work you can always switch to the other and that everyone’s experiences can differ!

  3. IDK~

    Getting an IUD was the best birth control decision I have ever made. Over the 15 years of my sexually active life I have done the pill, depo shot, back to the pill, nuva ring, back to the pill again, and finally to the IUD. I do not see myself changing birth control methods ever again. As far as not being able to forget it, I admit that this never even occurred to me. I know it’s there, sure, but I can’t feel it so there is not some constant reminder. I wonder what kind of birth control you are currently on? One of the reasons I wanted to switch was because I HATED having to remember to take a pill every day at the same time and worry when I forgot it or took it late. Now that to me was something I could never forget! Even when having sex with my partner hoping that I was protected! I never have to think about that now. I do have a disclaimer. I originally started with the Paragard and had it for a year. As many have reported if you do research I did have horrible cramps and a very heavy period. It was one of those things I thought wouldn’t happen to me for some reason (go figure) but it did. As much as I wanted to just grin and bear it, after a year I decided it was not worth it to me to deal with those side effects. Three months ago, I switched to Mirena and couldn’t be happier. Almost undetectable period and an awesome birth control method! I recommend it to all my friends. Good luck in your decision 🙂 And hey – if you find out you can’t forget about it, you can always have it removed!

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