This is a health and educational post and does contain some graphic content. Please be aware that this is to educate YOU when you get an IUD. This should in no way be taken as the only medical advice. Consult your doctor before selecting any IUD or Birth Control Option that is best for you.
Being a blogger/influencer you walk a fine line of what to share, and what not to share. And my IUD choice was one I didn’t want to share. You might be thinking “Why?”. This was partially due to the stigmatization associated with IUD’s. Even now with so much information out there on IUD’s, it’s still such a taboo topic. However, after the countless months of research I did, talking to friends, and ultimately feeling a HUGE tug on my heart to share, here I am sharing my IUD journey.
Thankfully with my journey, I knew somewhat of what to ask for and expect when getting my IUD. I knew what type of IUD I wanted, due to other medical things, and was able to educate myself on the right choice that will work for me. But I was still shocked at what I didn‘t know, and what you can’t find researching options. The point of this post is to share my experience, from choosing my doctor, choosing the IUD, and the actual 184 second procedure. Which is something I couldn’t find online, and I think if I knew how my body would naturally react, I would have thought a little more.
There is a TLDR recap at the end of the post
“IUD” stands for “intrauterine device.” Shaped like a “T” and a bit bigger than a quarter, an IUD fits inside your uterus.WEB MD
How do I even pick an IUD…?
For me and my journey, my family has a hereditary blood clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden (FVL) This is a genetic mutation that causes blood clots to form, sometimes seemingly at random. With Birth Control, one of the potential side affects is blood clots. That is a conversation I had, as well as testing, with my doctor early on. Thankfully, I do not have the exact genetic mutation, but I am still “High Risk” for blood clots. The crazy thing about FVL, is you could never know you have it. If you are active, eat right, and overall a healthy, the gene can lay dormant and just not affect you. However, it can be “activated” with hormonal birth control. Which is what led me to choose the ParaGuard IUD, also known as “Copper IUD”.
One common side affect of the Copper is heavier and more crampy periods. If your natural flow is light to medium, and you are looking for a hormone free option, look into ParaGuard! Another IUD option we discussed was Liletta. This is another IUD that offers a slow release of 52 mg of a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel. One side affect is weight gain with Liletta, which for me was a no go due to my past body image struggles. There are countless other IUD’s to choose from. Here is a list of a few that my doctor and I discussed
Common IUD’s include:
- Mirena can prevent pregnancy for up to 6 years
- Kyleena can work for up to 5 years
- Liletta works for as long as 4 years
- Skyla prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years
- Nexplanon prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years (Implant in arm)
Picking an IUD is a choice you and your doctor should discuss in detail. For me, my lifestyle is so go go go, taking a pill once a day at the same time every day was next to near impossible. Even with an alarm, I still could not take it every day. Also for me, the hormone progestin caused excessive weight gain, even at the 25mg I was taking daily. In one year I gained close to 20 pounds, which even my doctor was concerned about. Which is how we ended up choosing Paraguard. The non hormonal IUD that offers 10 years of protection, and acts as a spermicide by forming a chemical reaction with the sperm and copper on contact. Plus, no hormones, lower risk of blood clots!
What to ask before the procedure
This was the part that I couldn’t find on the internet. For me, I just had quite a bit of faith in my doctor and trusted she would tell me what I needed to know for post op. Although, many women do not have that luxury to have a doctor talk to you in leimans terms and tell you what you need to do. Since I don’t have kids, so I was given a cervix softner. This was to help open up my cervix over the course of 24 hours, instead of dilating my cervix which can be traumatic for many women, as well as prolong the procedure. With my benefits, I paid $1.50 for it at the Pharmacy, and they were able to fill it way in advance. For me, I think it made a difference. From the stories I have heard from some women, my recovery time was cut in half thanks to the cervix softer, and insertion was actually less painful.
My doctor also made the point to let me know that she uses the guidance of sonogram to place all IUD’s. Her reasoning is that this helps prevent your IUD from slipping, vaginal wall perforation, and shortens the procedure because she knows exactly where its being placed. In the long run, I am so glad that she used the guidance because holy cannoli it was VERY crampy!
What the IUD procedure did to my body, and why it might happen to you too.
If you’re squimish, skip to the next header.
Don’t let that header scare you. Your body has a natural reaction to having your cervix opened up for the first time. You have a very natural fight or flight response. For me, flight is how my body chose to react. The interesting thing though, is that I never knew THIS would be my bodies reactions. When you are researching IUD’s, and asking people about their experience, everyone has one thing in common. Pain. Cramping. Some people even pass out. Why though? That’s the part that my gynecologist explained after the procedure when I was having all of these symptoms. When your cervix is opened for the first time, sometimes you have a very VIOLENT reaction to this. The thing is though, this reaction is normal. Vomiting, passing out, cold sweats, diarrhea are all normal body reactions during and after the procedure. To prepare all you ladies who are interested in getting an IUD, here’s how it felt to get my IUD inserted.
The procedure lasted just over 3 minutes (according to the sonogram machine, 184 seconds). Firstly, just like a pap smear, they insert the the speculum to open everything for insertion. This felt completely normal, but I just started taking big deep yoga breaths because I was nervous. The doctor swabbed the inside with a big cotton swab of betadine to cleanse the area. This next part was the start of the cramping. After the area was cleansed, they measure your cervix to ensure proper placement of the IUD. My deep yoga breaths were what I tried to focus more on here. It wasn’t that it “hurt” persay, it felt like a bad deep period cramp. Next was the actual insertion and the complete opening of my cervix, which triggered my instinct, and completely normal reaction. The room started spinning and the pain/cramping was so deep in my abdominal area, I passed out for a second or two and started a cold sweat. From insertion to completion it was roughly 15 seconds. And then it was over.
The recovery time with an IUD
Immedietly after my IUD, I ended up staying in the office for about an hour due to me passing out and vomiting. They wanted to make sure I was okay and stable before leaving. Since I do have a high pain tolerance, as well as prepped with the cervix softer and had the sonogram placement, my recovery time was only 6-8 hours. I immediately came home and took a long nap, and when I woke up popped two Advil and hugged a heating pad on the couch till dinner. Overall, it was really like a bad period cramp. Over the next couple days, I did experience light spotting, but that was it. For me, thanks to the care of my gynecologist, everything went smoothly!
Too Long, Didn’t Read…
If you watch my instagram stories, I am by nature a rambler. SO! If you don’t have time to read all of the above, here’s a short recap!
- I picked a non-hormonal IUD called Paraguard. But there are many IUD’s to choose from. Always consult your doctor when choosing the best option for you.
- Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about a cervix softer and sonogram guidance to prevent vaginal wall perforation and extreme discomfort.
- Your body WILL have a 100% normal reaction that could potentially cause vomiting, passing out, and other affects. BUT mine only lasted about an hour after the procedure and I was a-okay!
- Recovery time for me was 6-8 hours and I went back to work the next day. I did have light spotting and on and off cramping for 2 days after.
Overall, so far my IUD experience has been pretty normal. I have been blessed not to have any complications, and just the usual cramps and heavier periods. This post to me was what I wish I had had when I was searching the web for IUD information. I wanted to know what the procedure was like, what to ask for, what my options were, and that’s what drove me to write and share my journey with you all. Please definitely consult your doctor before you get an IUD to find the best course of action for you.