Tell Me I Look Sexy With My IUD Strings Pushed Back: Let’s Chat About IUDs
Posted by Reilly Wieland
September 1, 2017
Let me tell you a true story: I took the birth control pill for less than a month, and it made me feel horrendous. I gained weight, my skin broke out, and my pre-existing anxiety got even worse.
This is where my first true love, my Mirena IUD, comes in.
I’ve never had huge issues with my periods. They’ve never been particularly intense or cumbersome, but, instead, merely just annoying and inconsistent. I decided to get an IUD by the suggestion of my doctor before I went to college. It felt like not only the responsible thing to do as I take my first steps into ~adulthood~, but also, the thought of not having a period for FIVE years sold me. If you do the math, that’s roughly seven dollars a month for a box of tampons, multiplied by twelve months a year, multiplied again by five years: that’s over four hundred dollars and many hours of annoyance that I’m saving. Not to mention that if you’re using an IUD to do what the name suggests, control birth, then they are 99% effective at protecting you from pregnancy.
Even though the Internet is crawling with forums of uterus-having people discussing their IUDs, I thought I’d share some sage advice along with my IUD experience.
Getting the IUD
I’ve had many friends who have gotten IUDs who told me that I should prepare for the worst. They told me it was extraordinarily painful during and immediately following its insertion. I left to get mine with somewhat of a sick feeling in my stomach that it was going to be unbearably painful and that I couldn’t handle it. I don’t consider myself to be somebody who has a low pain tolerance, but I can tell you: the procedure of insertion, for me, was not that bad. Did it feel fantastic? No. Did I leave the office and go on a run? No. But, did I spend the rest of the day taking it easy and popping ibuprofen? Yes.
While I’m saving the discussion of women’s pain not being taken seriously by doctors or a different article, I can tell you that I didn’t find the five-minute procedure to be all that horrendous. If you decide to get an IUD, you might feel differently; but after doing more research, I’ve found that most people who get them explain it to be not a comfortable feeling, but not anything debilitating.
In the Days Following Insertion
This is a good time to tell you about the two different types of IUDs: the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD. Both are small, T-shaped pieces of flexible plastic placed in the uterus past the cervix. The hormonal IUD, which I have, contains the progestin hormone to prevent pregnancy, but also takes a week to become effective (Side note: you probably won’t have much interest in sex because of slight discomfort in the days after you get an IUD, anyway). I got the Mirena IUD, which is effective for five years, but other brands offer a range anywhere from three to five years of protection.
The non-hormonal IUD prevents pregnancy through its copper wiring, which kills sperm upon contact. The copper IUD is effective immediately after insertion, and thus, can also be used as an emergency contraceptive up to five days after having unprotected sex.
Like I said, sex or any physical movement did not seem particularly enticing to me in the days following getting an IUD. Granted, I also had a UTI when I got my Mirena, but nonetheless, the cramping from it was not ideal for strenuous movement.
Though I sing the praises of my IUD, there are an infinite number of factors that you must consider before you get one. I started taking the pill without really thinking about it, just because it was what I assumed would work best because it was the birth control method I knew the most about. In retrospect, I would have considered the factors of my own body while also, more anecdotally, that I literally cannot remember to take a pill every day.
No matter what the reason is for you considering getting an IUD, do some research and talk to your gynecologist. Remember that IUDs don’t protect against STIs, so condoms are also a must with partners of unknown sexual history. Remember to check in with yourself and check your symptoms if you start to feel ‘off.’ Long term birth control is, in my opinion, more convenient than other methods, but remember: you do you.
Image via Wikimedia Commons