Quantcast

Monday, June 4, 2012

201

Intrauterine Devices FTW

"When women say to me that they want to use the pill, I say, ‘That’s fine, but it’s 20 times less effective than an IUD.'"
—The IUD giant continues to reawaken from its slumber. (And, in case you missed it, "IUDs, or A Detailed Guide to Long-Term Sperm Scarecrows.")



201 Comments / Post A Comment

dj pomegranate

Less than 1% failure rate! <3 u IUD!

E Wren

@dj pomegranate That makes me a miracle baby!

MoonFlavor

@dj pomegranate Yeah, my sister just got surprise pregnant with hers in. It can happen.

beatrix

Awesome!! I want one!!@l

blee

Maybe someday I'll have a job and health insurance that isn't terrible and I'll be able to afford to get one.

noodge

@blee check with your local hospitals - I'm in Philly, and at Penn there is the "penn family planning and miscarriage support center" at the main hospital, they have a fund for those who can't afford birth control - it covered my IUD 100%

blee

@teenie I'm actually in Philly and I'm pretty sure that I know people who work at Penn Family Planning (I'm fairly involved with the repro justice community here), but I was under the impression that they only offered that service to women who had had abortions or other services performed at their clinic. I'll ask around though!

noodge

@blee yeah, do that - it wasn't the case with me, although I'd miscarried recently prior to getting it.

travelmugs

@teenie @blee Philly here too. When I chatted with my (Penn) OBGYN about it, unsure if my insurance would cover it, she said that Philly's Planned Parenthood will give you the Mirena, for a very low sliding scale co-pay (around $50), if you say you need birth control and suffer from heavy cramps.

blee

@travelmugs I went to Planned Parenthood a few months ago for birth control and talked to the doctor about IUDs, and she quoted me $700.

travelmugs

@blee Whoa, sorry about your experience! I only know what my OBGYN told me (my insurance ended up covering it, so I got it there). I'll have to stop spreading misinformation about Planned Parenthood being magical IUD fairies. If only...

Mingus_Thurber

@blee Dude, seriously? I make more than enough money to have to pay for everything out of pocket at PP--I blow the top off of their sliding scale--and my IUD was only $300. You might want to talk to the office staff, as they have a better understanding of what stuff costs than the docs and NPs.

BTW, the NP at my PP was absolutely fantastic about inserting an IUD in a nulliparous woman who'd never had one before. My second insertion was a cakewalk (because I knew what to expect) but that first one was as good an experience as I could've asked for (that involved pointy things on my cervix).

MissArgentina

@blee i went to planned parenthood and qualified for the income based benefit. it was free!

MissArgentina

@Mingus_Thurber i completely agree. i'm on the west coast but my NP at PP was great too.

Lady_Terminator

@blee same here, i think it depends where you live. There was no sliding scale for my pp. They quoted me $600.

amateur hour

@all Anyone who's in Pennsylvania, look into the PA SelectPlan for Women. This is for uninsured or underinsured women who have a lower income...I fit in this category at one time and got the Paragard put in for free! I'm sure other states have similar programs. It also pays for yearly pelvic exams and is just a great program if you don't have much money.

Just an FYI, they do try to steer you toward other forms of birth control (I'm assuming to save money) but if you ask for the IUD it will be covered. And I was able to go through my regular doctor, which was another nice thing.

blee

@amateur hour oh really? I didn't know that Select Plan covered IUDs! I have crappy individual insurance from Aetna (my father insisted that I not go without health insurance when I went to graduate school) but I might see if I can somehow get on Select Plan too.

amateur hour

@blee Yep! I was just looking at the SelectPlan website for a friend and you can still qualify for it if your insurance is crappy. It helps if your health care provider is knowledgeable about the SelectPlan because they really try to make it seem like you can't get an IUD.

I go to the Mazzoni Center at Jefferson in Philly and I can't praise them highly enough...started going there when I had insurance, and then when I was uninsured I found out they offer sliding scale services, so my office visits were like $25! They are just wonderful, it's the best medical environment I've ever been in by far. If you're ever looking for a new doc. :)

MuffyStJohn

That's it. If Obamacare gets upheld and the free BC provision stays in, I'm getting myself a copper cross.

The Lady of Shalott

I'm afraid of pain, but I should really just pony up and get one of those suckers installed. The idea of not paying for pills every month and not having to fret about going to the pharmacy all the time is REALLY COMPELLING.

Mad as a Hatter!

@The Lady of Shalott It was really worth it for me. I tend to recommend it to my girlfriends like I'm in a birth control commercial for Yaz or something. I don't know about other experiences with the insertion, but mine wasn't pleasant. I believe it does depend though on whether or not you've given birth before, and I have not. However, the pain doesn't last, and then you're left with a silent, uterine guardian!

MilesofMountains

@The Lady of Shalott My insertion really wasn't that bad at all. It wasn't much worse than having a guy accidentally hit my cervix while having sex. I haven't ever been pregnant, either, although I did have a drug from my doctor to open my cervix which probably helped.

OhMarie

@MilesofMountains Thanks for this! The "hitting the cervix" description is oddly reassuring. I've been really afraid to get an IUD because of pain as well.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@The Lady of Shalott Agreed w/ Hello sweetie - the pain part fucking sucks, but everything after that...I mean, if I could crawl inside my own uterus and hug this thing on a daily basis I would.

saul "the bear" berenson

@The Lady of Shalott My insertion hardly hurt at all, it wasn't comfortable, but it was more weird-feeling than painful. The only pain was crampy, no sharp pain or anything like that. Totally worth it.

BosomBuddy

@The Lady of Shalott My insertion wasn't very painful either. I felt a strong twinge for only a few seconds before it was over. I would have endured much more for the benefits of the IUD.

sarah girl

@The Lady of Shalott I will say that my insertion was painful, but it doesn't last for long. I know that mine was a bit worse than normal because the doc realized halfway through that my uterus was tilted (awesome) and had to do some adjusting, but even with all that it was no longer than a minute, probably shorter.

themmases

@The Lady of Shalott My Mirena insertion was painful, but after they let me lie on the exam table for a couple of minutes I was pretty much able to take some ibuprofen and walk it off.

Now, every once in a while I remember about periods and wonder if I should be wondering where mine is. Then I remember about the failure rate that has been quoted as slightly lower than sterilization and go, "Nah, I'm just experiencing one of the features."

Punk-assBookJockey

@Sarah H. My ute is also quite tilted! My GYN said it had never taken her anywhere near that long to get and IUD inserted before. I was so so so so nervous about it, because I had heard horrible tales, but when I got there my doc said she was going to give me a little numbing injection on the cervix. I almost wept with releif! I had even called before hand to ask if anything was given for pain and the office staff didn't say. But I don't think that is standard from what I heard from others. But after she gave the numbing injection I didn't feel anything, and even the injection only hurt a teensy bit.

wharrgarbl

IUDs are great, and fantastic, and it's awful that women can't get them because they can't afford them or can't find a doctor who won't give them static based on misinformation and outdated information. But if you get proper instruction on pill use, take it as directed, and have continuous access to your scrip, that effectiveness gap narrows considerably.

WaityKatie

@wharrgarbl Agreed, plus the pill makes you Master of Your Period, which in my mind is pretty much its greatest benefit. I guess for people who can regularly convince other people to have sex with them, it might have another greater benefit...can't seem to remember...

EternalFootwoman

@wharrgarbl True--every birth control has two effectiveness rates, one for perfect use and one for actual use. In real life, people forget pills or don't put on condoms or condoms break, etc. An IUD's perfect use and actual use effectiveness rates are the same because once it's in, you don't have to remember or do anything. Same with Implanon (which is underutilized, in my opinion). For a lot of people, those are big "ifs", so an IUD is a better choice. But it is a little disingenuous to imply that an IUD is going to be a better choice than the pill for all women. In school we were constantly being told--the best birth control is the one a woman will use.

KatnotCat

@WaityKatie I love the pill because it makes my skin look fucking fabulous. And I'm still not pregnant so hey why not.

SarahDances

@wharrgarbl Word. I'm getting mine a week from today (god willing), but you would not BELIEVE the rigmarole I've gone through to 1. convince my doctor, yes, I really want this, and no, I am not going to let you talk me into nuvaring instead; and 2. actually get his office to order me the damn thing so it's covered by insurance. SO MUCH RAGE; SO MANY PHONE CALLS.

wharrgarbl

@EternalFootwoman I genuinely don't understand why Implanon--I guess Nexplanon now--isn't used more. Sure, the shorter effective time period than a hormonal IUD is a bummer, but it's got most of the other benefits and doesn't require your uterus to cooperate.

@SarahDances The hell? He knows that if you change your mind, you can just come back and have him remove it, right? It's not exactly a difficult thing to get it back out if you hate it.

redheaded&crazy

@wharrgarbl I think I'm idealizing my experience with the pill in retrospect because I experience such insane paranoia using just condoms. But ugh I feel so resentful at the idea that I have to get something installed in me for some dude, negating any responsibility to do anything on his part. I wouldn't do it unless I was with somebody super serious and wonderful.

PatatasBravas

@WaityKatie I love my magical ability to Decide When to Period! Helps a lot with backpacking and whatnot.

But the IUD lasts for so long! I... I am torn.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@SarahDances Ugh, what the fuck. I mean, I know what the fuck (silly wimminz cannot be trusted to make decisions about their bodies lol), but seriously. WHAT THE FUCK.

When I got my IUD, there were a number of young women waiting with me in the doctor's office, each of them with more than two kids already, each of them SURE that they were DONE with having babies, each of them denied sterilization by their doctors because they had only had girls or only had boys. I mean, OF COURSE we all want a full set, right?! Those nice doctors are just saving us from disappointment later! Fucking gross.

wharrgarbl

@redheaded&crazie Well, you're not getting it for a dude, you're getting it for you. Seizing control of your own reproductive capacity and so forth. It's a good thing!

Dude's still going to have to rubber up--for both of you--because IUDs/the pill/Implanon/etc. don't prevent disease. But at least you're not looking at it going "If you fail and I get pregnant, I am going to find and burn every rubber tree on the planet, do we understand each other?".

WaityKatie

@wharrgarbl Yeah, I mean, I went on the pill for good (or until my doctor makes me stop taking it due to advanced age, at least) after a highly traumatic condom-break incident, in which the guy was kind of like "oh, that sucks, I'm really sorry" and meanwhile I was freaking the f OUT for almost 2 weeks until my period finally came, late, of course. It just really drove home the different levels of Problem that an unwanted pregnancy would be for me vs. the dude. And I fully intended to abort the hypothetical lil sucker, but...I would be the one having to get a surgical procedure, and the dude would have been just standing by, like, "sorry, that's too bad, that sucks for you." No! I control the hypothetical babies now!

redheaded&crazy

@wharrgarbl Ahhh yes I know that this is true! Cognitively I know! But I can't help but feel like I'm the only one making the sacrifice. In particular, if in the context of a committed relationship, we decide to go without condoms?

Although I personally dislike sex without condoms. It's too messy!

wharrgarbl

@redheaded&crazie Then never ditch condoms. And if he whines, look him dead in the eye and, in your best Game of Thrones-I-am-going-to-murder-someone voice, tell him "I got something jammed through my cervix so that our lives wouldn't be derailed by an unplanned pregnancy. We are not ditching condoms." You can also yell "This, I command!", but only if you can do it without breaking face.

olivebee

@all So I am hopping on this thread because ya'll sound pretty knowledgeable, but this article made me go "eep!" Basically, I stopped taking birth control because it made me stop having periods (which were always insanely light and irregular to begin with), and not having a period makes me feel....unwomanly? If that makes sense. I feel like my hormones disappeared or something. Plus there was always the whole "omgnoperiodmeansI'mpregnant!" thing.

So anyways, my husband and I just use condoms, which is know is super risky because we are both completely anti-pregnancy (we want to adopt children, not birth them). So now I am like, should I get the IUD (even though I can't afford it) or end up probably having to have an abortion if the condom ever decides to break? And will the IUD also make my period disappear? Or maybe I should just have my tubes tied? Gahhh so many questions and no one in my life to give me advice.

miss olsen

@SarahDances OH MY GOD ME TOO. My doctor is actually great and suggested the IUD to me, but her front office staff/my insurer/the endless rounds of phone calls brought me to frustrated tears multiple times. I still -- still! -- do not know exactly what it's going to cost. I have a ballpark figure (and it's a little more than I would like, at around $300), but everyone involved denies all knowledge of what the exact cost will end up being.

wharrgarbl

@olivebee Perfect-use with condoms is not a bad deal. If you're going to keep rolling with that, though, you should pick up a preemptive dose of Plan B to be on the safe side. That way you don't have to run around looking for it in the event of an emergency. It's a lot easier now that it's (fucking finally) over the counter.

Copper IUDs tend (but it's not universal) to make your period heavier. Hormonal IUDs tend (but it's not universal) to make them lighter.

If you're positive about getting your tubes tied, Essure seems to be the way to go. Or your dude could get a vasectomy, if he's positive about the no bio-babies decision. If you've got a local Planned Parenthood affiliate, you (or you both) should set up an appointment with them to talk to one of their docs or NPs about all the wonderful, splendid options on the table for you.

sarah girl

@olivebee The copper IUD won't make your period disappear, although it most likely will make them more painful, and probably last longer. They're "normal" though, in that they aren't what is essentially breakthrough bleeding like when you're on the pill (if that makes sense).

Ophelia

@wharrgarbl You seem knowledgeable on the BC front, so question for you... I would LOVE an IUD eventually, but I'm off the pill since we want to have kids soon. That said, there'd be a few years between them. Will doctors do an IUD for you if it's only for, say, 2-3 years? And how long after having a baby do you need to wait to insert it?

wharrgarbl

@Ophelia There should be zero (extra) problems getting an IUD for just a few years--apparently that's a common method of baby-spacing in Europe--but the cost amortization will be less favorable if you have to pay full price.

You'd have to talk to an actual medical person (Mingus?) for the post-baby insertion schedule. If you're going to for copper, I wouldn't think more than a few weeks, but hormonal IUDs might not be recommended for breast-feeding moms, if that's something you're planning on.

Ophelia

@wharrgarbl Gotcha - I'm 99% sure my insurance covers them, so cost isn't an issue (love saying that!..."Oh, no, darling, cost isn't an issue! I'll have the caviar!"), just curious about my options :)

Verity

@WaityKatie Being able to control when my (fake) periods are is the best, seriously. I love it.

WaityKatie

@Verity I am convinced that people who don't see the massive life benefit of this are confined to those who have super easy, light, short periods to begin with. And yes, I hate those people.

TheBelleWitch

@olivebee @olivebee I don't really have any extra advice beyond what wharrgarbl suggested -- have some Plan B on hand, seriously, peace of mind -- but I wanted to chime in with the reassurance that condoms aren't that risky! 98% effectiveness with perfect use, and come on, perfect use is not exactly rocket science. Add Plan B into the mix and it's just really unlikely you're going to end up needing an abortion.

I mean, an IUD or getting your tubes tied may be right for you, I just feel more generally like we all had scary sex ed classes where they were like "If you even look at a penis, you will get pregnant!" and it makes us frightened of perfectly acceptable birth control methods.

olivebee

@WaityKatie Please don't hate us. I'm a living, breathing testament to the fact that light/short periods are not all gravy. For one thing, you can't wear a tampon because it stays dry (gross TMI, I know, sorry). They also still come with all the zits, bloating, and pain of normal periods. And in my case, it's so light that it makes me feel really uneasy....like my body is so abnormal that it doesn't even shed its lining correctly or whatever.

parla

@SarahDances oh honey, I'm going through the rigmaroll AS WE SPEAK. My gyn doesn't want to do an IUD on me because I'm early 20s/no babies and she's...out of touch, we'll say. She says I can't take combo BC because of a medication I take to control my migranes because I will 150% have a stroke (her daughter is around my age and had a stroke on nuvaring, so I get it, but I think it's clouding her judgement a little bit). My neurologist (who I love! and trust!) says I'm fine taking combo BC because I take a super low dose of this other medication, and it only alters the effectiveness of combo BC at high doses, and that he has no knowledge of it increasing your risk for blood clots and that I should get another gyn's opinion (was already doing that! I don't like my gyn at all).

Anyway, so, I asked her about Implanon since it's just one hormone, and I'm bad at taking pills at the same time everyday, and she gave me this whole speech about how I should just get the shot instead because she doesn't do Implanon, and I would have to subject myself to going to Planned Parenthood (the horror!). Side note: we had literally 5 minutes before discussed why my neurologist said I should not get the shot, and I don't really want to deal with having to go to her office that often because her staff is awful. She gave me a prescription for micronor with the caveat that I should see how the single hormone makes me feel before I get a stick implanted in my arm because I have only ever used combo BC, and it has only ever been Nuva Ring, but I went online to read about the side effects and HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS. I haven't gotten it filled yet because it sounds like torture, and I don't know if it's just the nature of the pill, or one hormone or what. At this point I'm so flustered by my gyn being terrible and the potential side effects of this pill that I'd rather just go back on NuvaRing and use a condom if I have to.

wharrgarbl

@contrary :/ Good luck finding a new gyno who won't be weird and horrible about things. That sounds like a lot of unnecessary bullshit to get put through.

SarahDances

@wharrgarbl Yes, I also have well-meaning if slightly out of touch gyno. He did the whole "I know they say these ones are safe, but they said that before when it wasn't true, and if you were my daughter, I wouldn't want you potentially having trouble making babies in the future!" and then he gave me a fistful of Nuvaring samples.

And totally with @miss olsen with the frustrated tears. It's been going around and around with the office - talk to this person, who sends me to another person, who tells me they won't order it for me and I need to go direct to the manufacturer, who doesn't accept insurance, and the specialty pharmacies my insurance company recommends don't carry it, so I call back to the office, and nobody returns my call, and they won't put me through to my doctor's voicemail if I ask them, but they'll do it if I start crying, and then he tells me to talk to the office manager, who also doesn't return my phone calls, AND SO ON.

I finally got through to the right person, so they should have ordered it, and as soon as they physically get it in the office, they will call to schedule me. I keep taking deep breaths and reminding myself that yes, this sucks, but in the end I should be good for the next 10 years or until it's time to make babies (Inshallah).

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@olivebee It's been my experience that the Mirena makes my periods stop entirely - which makes me feel a little like a superhero. :) Although I still get all the PMS garbage that would accompany a regular period, so that keeps me grounded. PMS is kind of womanly?

parla

@wharrgarbl thanks. I have a bunch of names of other doctors, it's just a matter of getting an appointment, which hasn't been the easiest. I have been frustrated with this lady/her office for years, but I've been really apprehensive to just blindly pick another doctor off my insurance website and hope for the best like I have with GPs and orthopedists, etc. because it's so much more personal/sensitive (at least for me, but I think for most women). All this stuff with changing BC has really been a tipping point though. During my last visit she commented about how bad my acne had gotten since stopping the nuvaring (thanks! I totally hadn't noticed!) and then didn't mention that micronor can make acne worse and it really put me off.

WaityKatie

@olivebee I think I would think of my uterus as shiny and clean and hospitable if that happened! I understand the abnormal-feeling though, like, being 13 and bleeding through two extra strength pads during one science class, or whatever. Horrible. (EMBRACE the TMI...)

parla

@SarahDances I hate phone tag in doctors' offices, but at least they got it for you! My gyn's office wouldn't even get it (but maybe that's for the better). It sucks now, but you are going to be a superhero with a baby preventing matchstick in her arm in a matter of weeks! Did you have to take a 'trial pill' before they would agree to do the implantation?

EternalFootwoman

@Ophelia I've put IUDs in women who knew they didn't want kids for "only" a year or two. A good provider will definitely give you an IUD even if you "only" want it for 2-3 years.

EternalFootwoman

@everyone Midwives. Seriously. If someone won't give you an IUD because you're too young or haven't had kids or haven't had boys/girls, fuck them and see someone else. Go to Planned Parenthood or find a midwife. There is no reason to be treated with such disrespect.

SarahDances

@contrary Oh, I'm getting Paragard. Sorry if that wasn't clear. I'm pretty sure the only reason they're ordering it for me is because my doctor is so fond of me, and I basically cried the last time I spoke to him about what a difficult time I was having dealing with his office.

Incidentally, it is my difficulties in dealing with their prescription department that served as my primary motivation for getting the IUD in the first place! Seriously, y'all, full time grad student also working 30 hours/week, I do not have time for your shenanigans.

Ophelia

@EternalFootwoman I have an appointment with a practice of midwives (moved, need a new gyno), and I'm pretty psyched about it!

parla

@SarahDances oops! sorry, I thought you said Implanon. Well, whatever it is, they are getting it for you and that is awesome, so good for you!

Plant Fire

@contrary If you still want an IUD I'd try going to planned parenthood (especially if you can't afford one because they often do sliding scales for it and you can sometimes get them free). I ended up going there because it was the only place within walking distance (I can't drive) that accepted my insurance and even though I'm 22 and don't have kids (I actually said I never want kids as my reason for getting an IUD) the doctor was happy to give me a copper IUD and it was a really easy process. So if your having difficulties getting the birth control you want with your gyn I'd consider Planned Parenthood.

parla

@Sea Ermine Thank you for that info, I'm glad you were able to get one. I'm going to talk to another gyn about using the NuvaRing with the migrane medication I take because I think my current gyn is too wrapped up in her daughter's situation to give me an unbiased opinion. I was on the NuvaRing for 6 years and only really went off of it because of this special everyday migrane pill. I definitely considered going to PP about the IUD after my doctor said she thought my uterus was not the best candidate, I just wasn't sure if they'd do it either (that's not an excuse to not do it, I wasn't sure if it was the best option for birth control for me).

slutberry

So, 'pinners. I really want a copper IUD, but I have awful wretched cramps and super heavy periods. Anecdotal evidence from people who have had copper IUDs despite having pretty intense periods beforehand? Was it awful and you cried and quit? Was it awful for a little while and then got okay? Was it okay, just okay, all along?

lalaland

@sniffadee Hmm. I've had a copper IUD for over a year and I am bad with hormones, so I am grateful for it...BUT. My periods before were super light and super painless and now it feels like I am gushing blood every month (sorry TMI) and it hurts quite a bit, even after a year. But maybe I am just a big baby? Anyway, YMMV, and I don't want to advise against it because 1. no hormones! and 2. not a professional, but just some anecdotal information.

Basically, it was awful awful for a little while and now it's just semi-awful but it's still worth it.

null

@sniffadee I never really had cramps or heavy periods before getting my copper IUD and now I have both every month. My periods are a little shorter though. I've had my IUD for about 8 years now and think of it as a trade off.

saul "the bear" berenson

@sniffadee I got my paraguard about 2.5 months ago, and I have to say my first period was a beast from hell. Wicked cramps, super heavy, the works. I stayed home from work one day. The second one was not bad, but it's a big adjustment from what my body was doing before. I understand this is a normal thing and it will ease off after a couple more months, but if you already have bad bad cramps and heavy periods I would probably opt for Mirena, which will help with that, rather than Paraguard, which will make that stuff worse.

sarah girl

@Moxie On the flip side, I've heard that if you already have bad cramps/periods, Paragard doesn't really make them worse. They just won't get better.

slutberry

@Moxie I think Mirena is probably the best bet for me, but I get so nervous about hormones, period. Also copper is really really cool and I get excited about it.

saul "the bear" berenson

@Sarah H. Interesting... my doc said that Paraguard usually does make cramps/periods worse, at least for a while before things balance out. She told me that if I have bad periods I shouldn't get Paraguard because they will be worse. Fortunately my periods were really really easy before, so with Paraguard they're still not too bad.

fondue with cheddar

@sniffadee I was worried about hormones myself, but in the last IUD post I learned that the Mirena hormones are different than the ones you get with the pill and that they're localized, i.e. they only really effect the uterus.

shadowkitty

@sniffadee I have the copper IUD and terrible periods! They were painful, bloody and five days long before I got it. Now they are slightly more painful every third month or so, a little more bloody and six days long.

Really at this point it's not a hell of a difference.

Amphora

@jen325 I've had the copper and Mirena, and Mirena is by FAR better for your period. And as someone who usually balloons three sizes up and goes on rage rampages on the pill, there has been absolutely no weight gain or weird psychological changes.

Plant Fire

@sniffadee I have Paragard and while my first two periods were much worse and bloodier and longer my third one was exactly the same as my periods were pre IUD. I heard for most people they go back to normal within 4-6 months, occasionally a year.

Megasus

Anyone know what it's like getting an IUD in Ontario? My health insurance ONLY covers the Pill. Should I still get a referral to a gynecologist who is good at inserting them (my doc is an older dude, so I doubt he's done it a lot)? How much does it cost (I'm thinking Mirena, because I have Hell Period and people said the not wanting to do it ever side effects weren't so bad with it)?

wharrgarbl

@Megano! You're almost always better off getting a referral for a doc who's experienced at the procedure you're looking to have done. Check with your own doc first, though--he might be more experienced with it than you'd assume.

MilesofMountains

@Megano! I don't know Ontario, but I'm from BC and it was very easy. My GP was very positive about it and had done a decent number before, so I had her do it rather than find a GYN. My insurance doesn't cover it, so it cost $400 (I got a Mirena).

Megasus

@MilesofMountains Welllll shit. Definitely can't afford it right now.

phlox

@Megano! Do you know about the Bay Centre for Birth Control? They are amazing and can answer all your questions. And they have people who put in IUDs all the time so I bet they do it well. (And they sell monthly BC at cost, no pharmacy mark-up!)

Megasus

@phlox Is this in Toronto?

phlox

@Megano! Yes! Bay and College, the southwest corner, on the 8th floor.

Megasus

@phlox I will definitely have to look into it! Thanks!

Amphora

@Megano! A gyno here in the states told me that in Canada you can buy a copper IUD at least for less than $100 with a script.

Megasus

@Amphora Well, I don't think I can use a copper one, because I already have the worst periods ever. Mirena is apparently $400.
@phlox It doesn't say on their site, is the IUD cheaper there?

phlox

@Megano! I don't know, I haven't got one. But they seem to have a philosophy of affordable women's health care so you could call/email and ask.

Nutmeg

Timely article is timely! I am going to Planned Parenthood tomorrow to get a Paraguard inserted. I am excited about this because my body starts off friends with hormones, but then they break up and I get things like hot flashes and month-long periods; consequently I haven't been using any BC methods but condoms, and I would like to not have to use them (once I'm with a regular partner again, which will be never because I'm going to die alone obvs).

Question: can anyone who HATES speculums (like, beyond normal hate? I have only ever had two paps and I was nearly crying both times, the pain was unbelievable) tell me what their insertion was like? I know it'll be bad because of the speculum, but if it's super fast (like a pap) I can get through it with minimal tears.

Also I have light-ish periods, they're really only heavy one or two days, I almost never get cramps, and they only last about 6 days max; how much worse do they get?

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Nutmeg My insertion was painful, but it's mostly just a quick pinch and that's it. It goes pretty fast, from what I remember.

(One time, I got a pap and they used a plastic speculum and it was easily the best gyno experience of my life. No pain! Not freezing cold! I think it was a fellow Pinner who explained that the plastic ones can't be sterilized as easily as the metal ones and that's why they're not as prevalent, but DAMN. It was awesome.)

wharrgarbl

@sudden but inevitable betrayal You can't autoclave plastic, which offends the "We shall burn it in cleansing fires" sensibility of most medical offices.

parallel-lines

@Nutmeg It is probably going to really suck and you should take advil in advance. Don't let them tell you it's no big deal--it fucking hurts and I wish I had asked for meds.

Roxanne Rholes

@Nutmeg I had pretty much the worst insertion experience I've heard of, and there are two things I would advise: first, go to the drug store and get some one-time-use heat therapy patches to stick on your lower belly if you end up with cramps. Second, don't go alone! Have someone else there to bring you home when it's over. It's probably going to take a little longer than a pap, which blows, but you can do it.

And, bonus advice I got from my mom: neaten up your apartment and make sure your bathroom is clean. It sounds crazy, but if you feel like garbage for a few days, it's nice to have your nest in order.

Best of luck! Yay, IUDs!

Nutmeg

@parallel-lines Oh yeah, they told me to take Advil beforehand and it reminded me of the time I had nail surgery and the doctor told me, "Oh, just take some 200mg ibuprofen if it hurts." PLEASE. It made me really miss my old doctor who gave me Vicodin because, hello, my toe was just cut into

sarah girl

@Nutmeg If you're really concerned about the pain, apparently there is something the doctor can give you to put up your lady business that will soften the cervix ahead of time? Although if you're going tomorrow that won't help. I've also heard it's much less painful if you have it inserted during your period.

I won't lie to you: It will hurt. And I haven't seen this mentioned often, but I always tell people - the surprising thing for me wasn't so much that it hurt but that I didn't know how to deal with it. You know how when you have a regular period cramp, your body's instinct is to curl up and contract? The insertion is like a more intense cramp, but your legs are wide open and you're lying flat and CAN'T MOVE. I started crying, partly because it hurt but partly because I was upset and angry that my body was screaming for me to curl up in a ball and I couldn't follow those instincts.

I don't want to scare you away from getting it in, I don't regret it, I just want to help prepare you going in, especially if you're not a big gyno fan! Good luck <3

MilesofMountains

@Nutmeg Like Sarah H. said, there's a pill called Apo-cephalax you take an hour beforehand that will open the cervix a bit more. Maybe call your doctor and see if you can get a quick prescription for it for tomorrow? I took it before my insertion and the pain was not bad at all. I also found one of the worst things about it was that it's in a weird place. It just feels wrong to have something poke you there, you know? And I also had the automatic reaction of trying to snap my legs shut, but I stopped myself before they did much more than twitch.

je suis un ananas

@Nutmeg Getting my iud hurt like hell. I am not a pain wimp, I've walked on a broken foot for weeks before realizing it was broken (another story). But iud insertion... yeah, it fucking hurt.
I think it probably had to do with the fact that I was crazy stressed out when I got it. I had a pregnancy scare and when the test came back negative I had my GYN insert that puppy on the spot.
I don't think ibuprofen would have helped, but maybe something to relax me. I'd recommend something like valium if you can get it.

ETA: regardless of the extreme pain, one of the best decisions I ever made.

RNL
RNL

@Nutmeg It hurt, a lot, and I have no problem with speculums - paps are no big thing to me. It had more to do with opening the cervix. I would consider talking to your doc about a pain killer and maybe an anti-anxiety, if you do that kind of thing? Make sure you have someone to tke you home. I think I had real physiological/psychological reaction to my cervix being opened. It hurt, and it also left me shaky and upset and feeling violated.

I have regrets! I love my IUD! But I wish I had been better prepared.

sarah girl

@RobotsNeedLove Yesss, I felt the same way. Even though I obviously consented 100% to the procedure, I still came out feeling upset and violated and a little scared. Later that evening I just cried and cried, not even from the pain; it's hard to explain, really.

RNL
RNL

@Sarah H. Can we talk about this more? Nobody seems to get it - I tried to tell my doctor and she was like "yes, it can hurt", and a nurse was like "yeah, I hate speculums too!" No, it's not just that it hurts, or that it's invasive to have someone in your vagina.

It's a particular, terrible kind of feeling to have your cervix forced open, or at least it was for me. I was all "this will be no big deal!" and ended up crying at the bus stop (and having to call a cab), crying in bed, and feeling completely incapable of dealing with anything for the rest of the day. I used "pain" as a stand-in for what I was feeling, but mostly it wasn't pain.

(The rest of this story includes me having it inserted on my 25th birthday because the timing worked and the assistant at my doctor's office blithely told me that it was no big deal. I was living with my ex, and we were kind of falling apart after 4 years. He had planned a big night for my birthday, and I couldn't go because I had to lie in bed and cry, and he got upset and laid a big guilt trip on me (because he had to change a reservation, not like he had booked my favourite band for a 1 night show and all my friends were going or something...) And then I had to talk to his parents on the phone, and I couldn't get reception in bed and... oh, it was horrible.)

Lily Rowan

See also this here about IUDs as emergency contraception. Interesting!

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Lily Rowan So, you have the IUD implanted right away instead of taking the pill dose?

Lily Rowan

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Apparently. I guess it's if you go to your doctor right away rather than just getting EC pills.

fondue with cheddar

@Lily Rowan That sounds like a good idea, but scary. What if you don't get the IUD soon enough? If the embryo is already implanted it could be pretty dangerous. Right?

Lily Rowan

@jen325 Yeah, I have no idea. I am not the EC expert! (But I could ask my friend who is?)

fondue with cheddar

@Lily Rowan NBD because I don't think I would use it that way, but if you do find out please share because I'm curious!

Slutface

I want the IUD so bad! But it means I would have to go to the doctors.

antipretty

This article is perfectly timed and now I can talk about my IUD experience with people who will GET IT.

So my family physician doesn't do installations. She'll do pap tests, though, and write birth control prescriptions. When I told her in January that I wanted an IUD, she tried to talk me out of it. "Oh, if you haven't had kids, it's not recommended. You can still get pregnant with it. You're more likely to lose the baby with an IUD in." To all of which I replied "...and? I've done the research, I know what I need."

So she tells me she'll book me an appointment with another doctor in town who specializes in IUDs, and writes me a prescription for Mirena, which is covered by my student benefits so I only end up paying $60 out-of-pocket, and the balance might end up being paid by my work benefits. Great. That office calls me two weeks later, to say they've booked me in for an information session on April 23.

Yes, that's right, I have an information session to sit through first with 40 other people so I can, quote, "get the information I need on whether or not I'm making a good choice for my body". It was 60 minutes of "this is how your reproductive organs work" that came straight out of my 8th-grade Health class. Then, 15 minutes of "here's an IUD and it's going to feel like a menstrual cramp". The session was mostly older women (I'm 26) with their partners, and women with kids. There were maybe 2 or 3 other women my age there.

At the session, it's important to point out, the doctor mentioned that when we picked up our IUD from the pharmacy before our insertion appointment we should also ask for a special pill that will soften the cervix and make insertion easier. She made it sound like the pill was included with the IUD so I finish the information session and speed home to vote in the provincial election minutes before the polls closed.

Cut to May 11. I pick up my IUD the night before at the pharmacy and spend 20 minutes arguing with the clerk that they should be giving me this cervix-ripening pill, only to find out that it was a separate prescription that nobody told me I needed to have written separately. At the insertion appointment the doctor gives me shit for not having taken this pill.

And the insertion? Bar none the second-worst pain I've experienced in my life, aside from slipping a disk last year. Take the worst menstrual cramp you've ever had, call it a 5, and then ramp that up to 11. I spent half an hour laying in the car after it was done.

I spotted for three weeks and never really got a full period. I'm expecting it any day now, but it's supposed to be lighter on Mirena, so we'll see.

My boyfriend says he can't feel the strings. My mother likes to remind me that I was conceived while she was on a copper IUD.

TLDR: my experience was painful and the healthcare system dragged its feet and the doctors I talked to--both women--were incredibly unhelpful and not respectful of my choices. But even with all that, I will still probably have another one put in after these 5 years are up.

Mingus_Thurber

@antipretty HOLY FUCK.

First off, let me apologize on behalf of all women's health practitioners: You got screwed, bigtime, on both the prescription front and the information front. I am so very, very sorry that it sucked all the way around for you, from having to argue with the pharmacy tech to the pain. Let's not even mention the information session: were it me doing it, it'd be all, "Get an IUD! They rock! But so does the pill! And I liked my diaphragm, too!" . . .which is why nobody hires me for such things.

That said: reinstallation hurts much, much less than the first go-round. I just had my second Mirena installed last month; the doc did removal and replacement in less than five minutes, including holding up my old IUD in the ring forceps and waving it around ("Look! It's your old IUD!" I asked if she had any auto mechanics in her family, as that's how I've always been treated when getting a water pump replaced.)

My first period on Mirena was. . . weird. I had spotting for about three weeks, IIRC, and then something like a mucusy weird kind of period for a couple of days. I've only had one "real" period on Mirena--that was about six months after the initial insertion. The rest of the time has been a half-hour bout of mild cramping, then spotting when I wipe two days later.

You'll have, if your experience is anything like mine, a couple of weird months and then be good to go. Please don't fear replacement: I got all worked up about the removal/reinstallation and then, feet still in stirrups, remarked, "Geez, that was a fuckin' CAKEWALK."

meetapossum

@antipretty "You're more likely to lose the baby with an IUD in." ??? Isn't that...sort of the point?

antipretty

@Mingus_Thurber it was so frustrating. I have a girlfriend who is doing her residency in Newfoundland right now and when I vented my frustrations basically said "girl hop your ass on a plane and I'll put it in for you, it is NOT that big of a deal".

The whole process, I felt like I was on candid camera or something. I mean, eally?! It's 2012, you're the generation who fought for my reproductive rights anyway. Why are you roadblocking me at every opportunity?

Crazy. So glad it's in.

Megasus

@antipretty Dear Mom: IUDS are now smaller, safer and more effective than the ones from the '70s.

sarah girl

@meetapossum I think it's more that if you become pregnant with an IUD, there's a much higher rate of ectopic pregnancy/miscarriage/etc. If you become pregnant on the pill, as long as you stop taking it right away the fetus will most likely be okay.

meetapossum

@Sarah H. Oh, I get that, but I think if I were on the pill/had an IUD for the expressed purpose of not getting pregnant and I did get pregnant, I think I'd rather get an abortion than hope the fetus was ok. I just don't think it would be a viable reason for not getting one.

ohpioneer

IUD = one of the best decisions of my life

I have no horror story, nor a compliant about my doctor (in fact, he recommeded it after I complained about hormones). I just wanted to say that, though it certainly hurt getting inserted, it is THE BEST. I don't feel hormone crazy, I have my sex drive back, and I don't get my period (symptoms, no blood).

It is a viable option, ladies!

saul "the bear" berenson

@ohpioneer Ditto! And thanks for sharing your positive experience story. I think a lot of women are scared to take the plunge because we tend to share horror stories much more than stories that go like "Hey, I did something, and it was cool, no sweat, neat huh?" But in this case, those stories are really important in demonstrating that lots and lots of women get IUD's and it's not really a big deal.

New Commenter Name

@Moxie @ohpioneer
I'll add my positive review here too. I've had Paragard about 2.5 years and I love it. Insertion was No Big Deal. At all. (I have vaginally birthed two babies, maybe makes a difference?) It was like a Pap test that took a bit longer than usual.
First period after insertion was a crazy bloody mess, it was ALARMINGLY heavy. Gradually my periods returned to what I consider 'normal' for me. I'd say that took 4-5 months.
A couple months ago, out of the blue, husband asked when I need to start thinking about the IUD again, and I was like "Hmmmmm....about 8 years....?" and he was like "REALLY?!?!?! Awesome!!" and then we continued our practice of having all the sex we want all the time.
Conclusion: if you are thinking about getting an IUD, the answer is yes.

Lady_Terminator

@ohpioneer another positive review here. I think I psyched myself out too much when I went to get my IUD inserted. It did hurt a bit but not nearly as much as I thought it would. The worst part was the cramps afterwards. I occasionally get cramps on my period but those 24 hours post insertion sucked so much. I was curled up on my mom's couch with a heating pad and a bottle of ibuprofen (and mac and cheese, thanks mom!). My period was heavier for the first few months, but now it's pretty normal, it doesn't seem any heavier than before.

I totally recommend doing it because the peace of mind thing is worth it.

Elle Marie@twitter

I love love love my Mirena. I have PMDD but developed high blood pressure on hormonal birth control, so my OB/GYN said that she would no longer feel comfortable prescribing that... and hello, Mirena. I don't really get periods, aside from random spotting every couple of months, and my horrible PMDD-related depression and mood swings are out of the picture. Annnnd somehow, I have insurance that classifies IUDs as "family planning", which is fully covered. I had to pay a small co-pay for the follow-up visit 6 weeks after insertion, but didn't have to pay a thing for the insertion or the device. (Aside: It did hurt a LOT, but the insertion was over really quickly. I felt like I needed to take it easy the rest of that day, but otherwise was fine.)

Mingus_Thurber

And this is what I love about The Hairpin: I can click on an article about contraception and see six comments; when I refresh, there are 52.

emsiela

my doctor here in British Columbia told me that Canadian doctors give out like 100x more IUDs. I have no idea if that statistic is correct (my quoting of it, that is) but it was some huge, shocking number. Way more of my girlfriends up here have one. I can't think of a single friend in the US who has one (I'm a transplant-- friends in both places). What really bums me out is a few conversations I've had about it. One friend said it was "weird" and "unnatural"... as opposed to hormonal birth control??? I feel like they have sort of internalized what their doctors have told them about it, maybe?

Amphora

@emsiemil That's funny, I got one (here in the states) because several friends got them and were really encouraging. It's finally starting to catch on here that this is an updated version of the one that caused so many side effects years ago. My 5th, 7th, and 9th grade health classes made it seem fucking antiquated.

SuperGogo

I'm all ready to go the IUD-route someday soon, but I'm going to have to be careful that my mother doesn't find out about it, considering she's one of those life-begins-at-conception folks. It's bad enough that her daughter might be engaging in premarital sex, but if she thought I was committing baby murder every month too?? Whoo boy, that would not be pretty.

Mingus_Thurber

@SuperGogo You could point to the study in Scandanavia that followed women over ten years and found that IUDs both suppress ovulation and mobilize the woman's immune system to kill sperm, maybe? Sorry I don't have any links; it was done in the '90's.

sarah girl

Okay y'all, I have a kind of embarrassing IUD question. How important is it really to check your strings?

First of all, I am apparently just kind of a cavern inside, because I literally cannot touch my cervix, and it's hard as hell to even get up to where the strings might be. I also have found that for some reason, even though I'm not generally squeamish about vaginal stuff (use a Diva Cup and all that), I have a WEIRD reaction to feeling my IUD strings. Like, it feels like a vasovagal response; the moment I touch a string, I get instantly nauseated/sweaty/dizzy and almost pass out. I'm not pulling on them and don't actually feel any pain, but I freak the fuck out and I can't control it. I think maybe my brain is like "WHOA WAIT WHAT THERE IS A FOREIGN OBJECT IN HERE?!" and freaking out accordingly, even though I'm fully aware that it's in there...

Also, and this is definitely not ideal, I will occasionally check in with my boyfriend to make sure he's not hitting hard plastic during sex and only feeling the little strings. Can...can that count as checking my strings? :\

saul "the bear" berenson

@Sarah H. I think as long as you can feel the strings everything is okay. You can probably just ask your man to make sure they're still there w/ his fingers, you don't have to be scientific about it or anything.

fondue with cheddar

@Sarah H. I've been considering an IUD but I fear that I will have the same reaction. This is not helping my confidence. :(

MissArgentina

@Sarah H. It's a little freaky. I feel like the best way to do it for me is in the shower. I can prop my leg up and get the angle. I feel like if you do it with no leg prop (hopefully you are) I actually get tense and freaked out. Also, when I first got it, the strings were tucked around the cervix. AND I swear that the ease of checking is easier at different points in your cycle.

OR I've had some friends who get their boyfriend to help them out. I know it may seem gross but it's helped troubleshoot and they feel so much better afterward. Just always prop the leg up for the angle!

sarah girl

@Moxie I'm not really a fan of fingers up my stuff during sexy times, so that won't help much :( Because of how our anatomy fits together, though, he is pretty much always encountering the strings during PIV sex. I'll just keep asking him about it, ha.

Mingus_Thurber

@Sarah H. Lie down on your wonderful lovely bed. Prop your hips up on a couple three pillows (that'll help counteract any vasovagal response). Bear down by taking a deep breath in and tightening your abdominal muscles. You should be able to feel your cervix and strings at that point without any associated nausea or strangeness. My GYN used that technique to install my second IUD, and it worked like a CHAMP.

lalaland

@Sarah H. Personally, I NEVER check. I asked my gyno because I have small hands and physically I just don't know if I can even reach anything? So to speak. Anyway, she said it was totally not a big deal and it's been fine and I'm not pregnant *knock on wood* so I think it's all gravy. Don't let that deter you if it's something you want.

dj pomegranate

@lalaland I could never feel my strings, so I gave up trying. Then I went for a OBGYN appt/check-in/pap 6 months after I got my Mirena inserted. I was like, "So...I can't feel the strings? Am I doing it wrong? IS IT STILL THERE!?" And she was like, "Nope, everything is fine and sometimes it's just hard to feel them! See you in a year!"

So I wouldn't worry about it!

Amphora

@Sarah H. YES CHECK THE STRINGS OH MY DEAR GOD. I had the copper IUD and last summer I managed to pull it out without noticing (probably because I was using a menstrual cup, which my gyno didn't tell me not to use because she didn't know what they were, anyway, separate issue) and I was SIX WEEKS PREGNANT before I noticed.

Now I have a Mirena and I'm up in there checking at least once a month.

Plant Fire

@Sarah H. I would check after each period just because that's when you are most likely to expell, at least for the first year. But it might help to lie down or have someone do it for you (when I first got mine I made my boyfriend make sure he could find both my cervix and the strings in case I had issues checking. It also had a side benefit of helping during sex because he can adjust them if the strings poke him).

fondue with cheddar

My boyfriend and I are trying to decide between the two, and honestly we haven't much looked into it yet. I like the idea of lighter and less painful period, but I don't like the idea of a foreign object in my body, some people's complaints about the wire poking their partner, the worry that it will come out or perforate my uterus, the sometimes-painful insertion procedure (which I know is only every 5 [or was it 7?] years, but still). However, I like the permanency of vasectomy (he's got four kids and I don't want any), but he doesn't like the idea of surgery on "the boys". I've come to the conclusion that, of all the female birth control types out there, IUD is the right one for me. But deciding between that and vasectomy is tough!

Sarah Rain

@jen325 If you want something permanent, have you considered Essure? I mean, if you can get your boyfriend on board with the vasectomy, excellent, but Essure doesn't require him to man up.

realtalk

@jen325 a vasectomy is faster, easier and less painful. tell him to nut up (HAHA PUNS) and get a freakin vasectomy already.

fondue with cheddar

@Sarah Rain Essure is intriguing, but it's still putting something IN the body rather than taking something OUT. Even though it's rare, I get squicky when I read about things like "perforation".

@realtalk He read the previous IUD post in its entirety, comments included (what a guy!), and it gave him a better understanding of my reservations. He's leaning more toward vasectomy than he had been previously but is still not 100% comfortable with it. Honestly, I don't know where he stands at this point because it's been awhile since we discussed it, and we haven't really delved into research/decision-making yet.

KatPruska

@jen325 Mr. KatPruska had one about 7 years ago and it is the best thing ever in the history of everything. It's a tiny incision that required maybe two dissolving sutures following a 10 minute procedure. A couple of days of frozen peas on the crotch, submit another sample to make sure those little swimming assholes were permanently trapped in testicular purgatory, and that was it. Plus, local anaesthetic and some good pain meds (which, for some reason, we don't seem to give to the ladies for IUD insertion, which seems totally ridiculous and somehow punitive to me [I think I need to go on a media fast; too much horrible news for vagina-americans and I don't think I can handle the increase in internal cynicism. I was already full-up, personality-wise], but I claim precisely zero medical knowledge). He had a couple of minor cramping-type pains a few times in maybe the next couple of years, but nothing for at least five now.

It's also just, really, really neat-o. Zero pregnancy anxiety!

fondue with cheddar

@KatPruska Vagina-Americans! I love you.

I've talked to other men who've had the procedure, and they all say it's So Not a Big Deal.

Yeah, why DON'T they give us drugs for IUD insertion? Just because there's already a hole there doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to STRETCH IT OUT and STICK SOMETHING INSIDE IT. The only things meant to go through there that isn't microscopic are babies, and the body goes through hours of pain to prepare for that.

Sarah Rain

Even though I’m a statistician, I know four people who got pregnant with IUDs and I can’t get past that (even though I myself have gotten pregnant with other methods)! Also, all but two of the people I know personally with one have had either serious side effects or have expelled it. It’s hard to decide to go through the doctor’s office hassle when I know so few people who’ve had success with it...

lalaland

@Sarah Rain That's (probably, partially, caveats) because people who have negative experiences are more likely to talk about it? I have had the copper IUD for over a year and had to have it inserted twice - it expelled the first time but I did some research and it speaks more to the experience of your practitioner/inserter than the device itself. The second time around, it stuck and I am so grateful to have non-hormonal birth control that will last over a decade. No, it's not perfect, but neither are any of the other options, so here's one for the "success" side!

Plant Fire

@Sarah Rain I heard that most of the issues with IUDs are because they are inserted properly because some doctors (in the US, they're much more common in other countries) don't know much about them (that and the fact that people who had bad experiences are more likely to talk about them, as lalaland said). What I'd do is go somewhere that does a lot of IUD insertions (like Planned Parenthood) so that the doctor is experienced.

Fiddle dee dee

"20 times less effective". This usage drives me crazy.

Multiples are bigger than what they are multiples of, so why not go with something that makes sense, like: "1/20th as effective". Thank you, whoever that was being quoted.

@antipretty, this is my favorite part of your story: "...so I finish the information session and speed home to vote in the provincial election minutes before the polls closed."

Lily Rowan

@Fiddle dee dee Ugh, that makes me crazy, too! I am glad it's not just me.

antipretty

@Fiddle dee dee haha thanks. I lived in an important riding! I had to vote! And ended up running into the polling station with 5 minutes to spare.

glitterary

OH MAN. I was just looking at the IUD page today, before this was posted! Because I am at the moment stuffed with naproxen and huddled around a hot water bottle, and I quite want the Mirena, now, to make it all stop. Problem: I also have seasonal affective disorder and NEED to take St John's Wort six months of the year, and I know the hormones interact poorly with that. Does anyone know whether it does anything really awful, though? Like, I'm quite happy to use condoms, so I'm not bothered if it affects the actual birth control aspect, but does anyone know if it would mess with my periods?

Mingus_Thurber

@glitterary It *might* mess with your periods, because SJW is metabolized using the same pathways as oral contraceptives use. I'd be less inclined to worry about your periods, since the whole buildup/shedding of uterine lining has a less-stringent tolerance than the stopping-ovulation part of the pill. Still, if you have something big to attend, like a yacht party with the Onasisses in Greece, I'd plot out your calendar accordingly and get ready to go one pack to another with no break.

glitterary

@Mingus_Thurber Thank you! That's good to know. I'm in the UK and you can't get SJW on the NHS and doctors tend to be a bit sniffy about it. It's the only thing that works for me, though, so I try to do as much research pertaining whatever potentially related treatment I need in advance to ward off their skepticism.

TheCheesemanCometh

Does anyone happen to know if the hormone level in the Mirena(?) is lower that most bc pills? Not to freak anyone out, but I had to have a chunk of my liver removed due to an adenoma that was caused my by years on the pill, and although I don't really have a need for bc now or anytime soon (sigh), my periods are super heinous, and I keep hearing about this magical thing makes them all but go away, which frankly sounds fantastic. At this point, I'm thinking it's either going to be an IUD or a hysterectomy.

antipretty

@TheCheesemanCometh IIRC, Mirena is a low-dose progesterone-only device. I'm fairly certain the dosage is lower than your standard birth control pill.

Mingus_Thurber

@TheCheesemanCometh Mirena hormones equal about a progesterone-only minipill a week. The best person to answer this particular question is your endocrinologist/oncologist/gynecologist, but I doubt that the hormone levels would be a problem.

wharrgarbl

@TheCheesemanCometh If you don't want to ever get pregnant, you might also look into uterine ablation. No hormones, minor surgery, takes care of the vast majority of period-related uterine issues by zapping the uterine lining.

TheCheesemanCometh

@wharrgarbl I have a 14 year old, so I'm totally done with the kid thing, heh. I need to actually go talk to my doctor about all of it. It's embarassing how long it's been since I've been in for lady business.

angelinha

@TheCheesemanCometh The hormone levels are lower BUT when I switched from the pill to the nuvaring (also a decrease in hormones), I started having what I think were liver-related abdominal and digestive symptoms from the hormones, whereas I was fine (in that respect) on the pill. Small amounts of hormones can still fuck you up in weird different ways. But sometimes they don't at all!

themegnapkin

Related to periods/bc, but not to IUDs: I've recently figured out that I get depressed and feel wretched on certain days in connection with my cycle (it took me nearly 20 years to figure this out). I'm not on anything, and have never been on bc. Would bc even out this wretchedness? Three guesses as to which day of my cycle is today. . .

lalaland

@themegnapkin For me, personally, bc (as in the pill) made the wretched feeling worse, not better. A lot of "no one loves me, I have no friends, etc. etc." every month. And then I got off hormones and while I still get glum every month, it's definitely not to that extent. But it works differently for everyone, so talk to your doctor!

redheaded&crazy

@lalaland I also found that birth control made me scarily moody. Like, crying on the subway for no reason and then crying because I'm crying for no reason kind of thing. It did get better over time. I wish I had kept a mood diary though - if I were to go back on it that's what I would do.

for the record i was taking ortho tri-cyclen lo

MilesofMountains

@themegnapkin BC pills made my mood issues worse. When I'm not on them, I feel like random crying the day before my period, on them, that feeling lasts at least a week.

This is my new username

@themegnapkin I also found BC pills made this much worse. Before I was on the pill I only mild "oh my God this commercial is so moving" moods and on the pill I have "I want to cry at every little thing, and my boyfriend is a jerk (even though he's actually not) and the world is terrible" moods. This has happened on all the types I've tried so far (Tri-cylen Lo, Tri-cyclen, and Allesse). I have also had frustrating spotting issues though so maybe my body just hates the pill.

themegnapkin

@all - thanks, but OMG I *never* want to go on the pill, now. The wretchedness is at least manageable, since I can usually figure out that it's period-related and therefore temporary. But I don't want to feel even darker than this on a regular basis.

anachronistique

@themegnapkin Just to counterbalance, I found that it really depended on the particular pill/ring/patch/whatever I was taking. Some things, no problems at all other than my inherent depression issues; others, massive downswings the week before my period. The one I'm on now doesn't seem to exacerbate my PMS moodiness at all.

TheJacqueline

@themegnapkin this is late! So you might not read this. But I am a raging hellbeast for a few days when I am on my period, and BC helps me remain the calm happy person that I am most of the time. I take Yaz (which I know is not for everyone) and it's been wonderful. I am pretty sure there is a simple test your provider can do to make sure you won't have blood clots on it.

themegnapkin

@TheJacqueline Thanks - that's what I was hoping BC might do. I'll talk to a doctor about it.
I'm almost out of the wretchedness for the month. It's only really bad for maybe 2-3 days/month. But I guess that's 24-36 days/year, which is kind of a lot.

shadowkitty

I've had my copper IUD for a good while now, anyone know off the top of their heads how long I can keep it? I was told ten years but I really want to stretch it as far as possible before I have to do anything about it.

Lady_Terminator

@shadowkitty I was told 12 years.

shadowkitty

@Lady_Terminator Yay! That sounds much better.

Plant Fire

@shadowkitty In planned parenthood they told me that while it's only approved for 10 years that's just because the company is trying to keep themselves safe, and that PP has actually approved it for 12. I figure at the end my 11th year I'll make the appointment to get a new one so I get the most use out of it without getting tooo close to the deadline.

many things do not fly

I may have almost squealed when I saw this thread! I finally decided to get an IUD a few weeks ago because of The Hairpin. When I went in to the doctor, she seemed impressed that I had done my homework, so thanks guys! I'm getting my strings checked next week, but so far so good. I only had a week of cramping and spotting and since that it has been smooth sailing. I call it my UTERUS NINJA! Obviously, there has been a lot of pantomime karate chopping going on in my house lately.

Top Secret!

This seems so timely--I was just researching IUDs last night!

Anyway, I have a small dilemma. I'm a virgin, but hoping/planning to change that soon. Between its permanence (I don't want to have to rely on prescriptions, since I'll be moving around a lot), reliability, and period-improving effects, the Mirena sounds kind of ideal. But since a lot of doctors are already reluctant to give them to women who haven't had kids, I kind of doubt that they'll be willing to give one to someone who hasn't even had sex. But it seems like going on something else for a few months or only relying on condoms are silly ideas. (I am petrified of becoming pregnant, and my mom's really fertile, which seems partly genetic.) Is there another method I should check out, or would gynecologists maybe consider giving me an IUD?

(I should add that I'm in my 20s but have been considering going on birth control since high school, since I sometimes get cramps so bad that I have to spend the day in bed and have an absurdly high tolerance for painkillers.)

dj pomegranate

@Top Secret! Yayyy responsible birth control!

I ended up getting pregnant without penetration (which is why I am such a loud advocate for birth control for everyone, all the time! You never know when you'll meet a particularly hardy sperm...) so I was technically a PIV virgin when I had two ultrasounds, a miscarriage, and then my IUD inserted. In other words, it can be done. (Although I think being pregnancy/miscarriage made my insertion easier since my cervix had some "experience." Ugh.) Talk to your doctor! I bet it's a feasible option.

Top Secret!

@dj pomegranate Yikes! A friend of mine is a birth control baby, her first cousin is a birth control baby, and I think her mother and/or aunt had at least one abortion while on birth control. I think that's part of why she's waiting till marriage. Though all of the above were during marriage, so her fertility's just going to lurk, waiting for a decade or so.

I still have to find a doctor, so I guess I'll try to dig around for one who actually knows her stuff (i.e. won't tell me to have 5 kids first).

dj pomegranate

@Top Secret! Yeah, I had zero problem getting an IUD while being unmarried and childless. I have had some friends who had trouble because their doctors don't want to be liable if they turn out to be infertile later, but they talked their way into it.

I have an awesome GYN and I just said, "I am interested in an IUD...?" And she was like, "Ok, [tells me about IUDs]!" And I was like, "Sounds great, I want one!" And she was like, "I think IUDs are one of the best advances in women's health in the past few decades. Enjoy your IUD!" I <3 her so much. I hope you find an awesome dr like her!

EternalFootwoman

@Top Secret! Honestly, if your doctor (OR MIDWIFE) won't give you an IUD because you haven't had a child (fyi, it's all about childbirth having opened your cervix, not whether or not you've had sex), find someone else. Go to Planned Parenthood, go to a midwife. Because you should be able to get the BC you want without a huge production.

Top Secret!

@EternalFootwoman Yeah, I know it's mostly about childbirth, but I figure that as some people bleed/can't actually have sex the first time they try to have sex, it might complicate getting up in there to put in an IUD. Since I'm outside of a big city, I should have pretty good options, though. Now if there were just a magic little device that had the same efficacy against all STDs...

notfromvenus

@Top Secret! IUD or no, get on something hormonal for those cramps ASAP! The Pill isn't perfect but it can definitely make a big difference.

sandwiches

I really want to get an IUD, but I am 28 and my mother went into menopause - full menopause, not perimenopause - at 33; so I am really worried about having an IUD put in; my swain and I deciding that we're ready to start trying; having it taken out and SURPRISE NO BIRTH BABIES EVER

But I am pretty worried about no babies at all ever because ...he doesn't want any and we were 7 years into our relationship when I realized I do want babies. And I want to keep him. But I also want babies. And our babies would be the cutest. Ever.

Ugh. And now that I have barfed some sad feelings onto the Hairpin, I think it's time to hug a cat and add some whiskey to my coffee.

glitterary

@sandwiches Eek! That sounds like an awkward situation that you definitely need to talk seriously about :^/ Maybe if you feel like it's time-sensitive you could look into getting some eggs frozen, so there's a bit less pressure?

amateur hour

@sandwiches hmmm well, the good thing about the copper IUD is that there is no waiting period (such as with the Pill or Mirena) before you can get pregnant, upon removal. So...there's that. That sounds sucky though and I'm sorry you have to be stressing about this at age 28. :(

eiffeldesigns

I. Just. Can't. Even reading through the comments makes me feel woozy and I actually have psychosomatic pain in my cervix now. Might have to go pass out.

Pills for me, thankyouverymuch.

redheaded&crazy

@Kirs i think i'm with you. it's like, I WANT the convenience and the less moodiness and etc etc but ahhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH there will be a thing in me that is complicated and pointy and ouchy.

since i'm a 5 year old, you'd think i wouldn't need birth control at all

Redheads have even more fun

Here's my deal - haven't been with anyone to the point of not using condoms for a looooooong time, but still on Ortho to control the cramps and heavy periods and the psycho-ness. Getting pregnant is not the worry for me as it is with someone in long time relationship relying on the Pill. Is it worth the Mirena? The thought of not having to go to the pharm every month and worry about taking something everyday sounds wonderful.

Amphora

@Redheads have even more fun YES it is worth it! The box of tampons in my bathroom cabinet is now entirely for show. It's likely that you'll stop noticing your period at all outside of some spotting and a few hours of mild cramps.

cupcakecore@twitter

I am so jealous of everyone who has IUDs, I'm in a monogamous relationship, still managed to get a pelvic infection and mine had to be removed after only a year and a half. :( My gyn put me on the pill, it made me super depressed and now we're just using condoms. My only complaint is that my periods were twice as long/heavy with pretty intense cramping but I felt it was well worth it, honestly. I really hate the idea of being on the pill and the previous 3 months of trying it again only reinforced this.

Plant Fire

@cupcakecore@twitter I wonder if you could try again with a different doctor for another IUD? You might have a better reaction to this one if you find a doctor who has a lot of experience with IUDs. Sometimes that's all it takes. I've also heard that if pelvic infections are an issue it can help to be very strict the first three moths with regards to no tampons, no inserting anything, no unprotected sex and no sex at all for the first week.

ArgosMama

I recently got an IUD inserted (Mirena) and I couldn't be happier! It was a pretty horrible doctors visit when it was inserted but it wasn't the insertion that was painful it was the fact that my blood pressure bottomed out while she was checking the width of my cervix. Thanks to that I have no recollection of the actual insertion although almost fainting and getting the sweats right after was not as much fun as it could have been. That being said, I believe that getting my IUD was the best thing I could have done for myself and my fiance. I no longer have to argue with the pharmacy about how, "no thats not my birth control. One generic is not exactly like the other" also "where is my prescription?"
If you have issues about pain at insertion all I can say is that you have to try it before you knock it. I have no regrets and even less anxiety about getting pregnant. It was a total win win. I feel like I should shout from rooftops how wonderful I think this IUD is. :::::::::Goes off to find accesible rooftop:::::::::

lizaboots

I control F-ed "short vagina" and did not see it mentioned in any of the comments. Are there any short-vagina'ed (I don't even know. It's just an observation my dr. decided to share during a pelvic exam.) among us who can share IUD experience? I've seen women say some sex positions hurt at times of the month when the cervix is low, which is okay, but would that be month-round for me? Because: donotwant.jpg

amateur hour

@lizaboots I have a tilted uterus which may be the same as the short vagina you describe. I have not noticed the IUD affecting my sex life at all really. When I first got it put in, my boyfriend at the time said he could feel it a little bit...but I could not. I got the string cut shorter and he didn't feel it after that. They would only feel it if they were ramming your cervix which f-ing HURTS so you're probably not going to be engaging in positions where that happens. :)

ArgosMama

@lizaboots isn't it weird when Doctors have observations while they are down there? Anyway my doctor observed that I have a "tiny cervix" her words not mine. I currently can not feel my IUD and my shriveled little cervix has been just fine. I would suggest though getting a doctor who is really skilled at insertion because then it takes really no time at all.

amateur hour

@ArgosMama Haha. My doctor also said I had an "extremely tight" cervix...I think because he was having some trouble in the insertion. I was supposed to go to the IUD guy who does them all the time and then he had an emergency so I got shaky hands dude who didn't have as much experience. It worked out though. :)

Scandyhoovian

OK, question. Do the hormones in a hormonal IUD regulate your periods at all (as pills do)? Because the reason I'm on the pill is 50% I don't want a baby and 50% I was diagnosed with "Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding" (seriously, that's what it's called--it pretty much means "we tried everything and fuck it, we have no idea why your uterus is doing what it's doing"), so I need the pill to regulate it otherwise I go completely haywire and my uterus starts just... bleeding and shedding lining whenever it damn well feels like it. So I have to have hormonal regulation.

So, I was wondering if an IUD would provide that regulation, or if I'm completely tied to pills by my dysfunctional uterus.

amateur hour

@Scandyhoovian People with the Mirena typically get lighter periods and after a year or two, minimal to no period. So...it would probably help you with your problem as well.

Griselda Grantley

The year I spent with my IUD was the worst of my life, and I would not recommend an IUD to anyone. I got the Copper T while in grad school, and the university gyno was pushing IUDs on every woman who walked in. It was completely covered by our health insurance, and would last for years - why the hell wouldn't I go for it??

Pre-IUD, I had no cramps and regular, light periods that lasted 3-4 days. After the IUD, I had periods that lasted 10 days (plus spotting) that would fill 2 diva cups a day. I also had excruciating, can't-get-out-of-bed cramps. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, and the insertion was pretty terrible but very brief. The true pain happened later that day, and over the next month while my body adjusted to it. I thought it would get better, so I kept it in, and it only got worse.

After about 12 months, I decided to get rid of it but didn't because I was afraid of the pain of taking it out. Finally, at 18 months of continued nightmare periods, I went to my trusted non-school gyno, and she removed it. There was zero removal pain, and I could not be happier. She's an old-school practitioner, and told me that IUDs have not changed significantly over the last couple of decades. The reason they're back in is that medical thought on the risk of pain and complications has changed.

After my experience, I am totally skeptical of everything I read about IUDs and their benefits. An IUD is just like any other drug or medical device - there are complications and risks, and there is a drug company somewhere that wants you to ignore them. THINK SERIOUSLY before you get one, and be prepared to talk to your doctor about potential complications.

DuchessV

@Griselda Grantley I had a very similar experience. Long, very painful and heavy periods. And then after I had it for about 7 months, I developed a severe backache and a never-ending period. My best guess is that my boyfriend managed to knock it out of alignment during particularly vigorous sex. They probably say this can't happen, but I'm telling you *something* did. The backache and period continued for three months, until I was able to get an appointment with my gyno to have it removed. The whole ordeal irritated my uterus enough that I had to have a biopsy, which is the single most painful experience I have ever had.

I'm glad so many people have zero problems with IUDs. I gather that Mirena is easier on people than the copper sort - but I chose copper because I wanted to get off the hormones. But I feel that it's important for people to share their negative experiences too. I was so worried that something was horribly, horribly wrong with me, and it was in large part because most of what I was reading online was how glorious and worry-free IUDs are.

I considered essure for a while but my IUD experience has put me off having anything implanted in my body ever again for anything less than a lifesaving reason.

lue
lue

I am just having my first period since I got my IUD (well, aside from the 3 week long one that immediately followed getting it in), and it is amazing (Mirena).
Before, I had to empty my diva cup 3 times every day, and the first two days were so painful I could barely do my job, and spent all at home time rocking back and forth in bed.
NOW, it was just like, Hey, look, I must be having my period, because there it is! Much lighter! No pain!
Only drawback: before doing it, I have to check the position of the strings, because my husband got, um, grazed by them, and did not like it. Enter conversation where I end up feeling sort of bad about feeling sort of satisfied that he now knows what it feels like for sex to have that I might-at-any-moment-be-in-serious-pain feeling.

Penne

I had a Mirena inserted 6 months ago and I am contemplating having it removed. I am trying to decide if the benefits (low failure rate, spontaneity for sex, light periods) outweigh the side effects (tender breasts, seemingly extented PMS, random sharp cramping)

My main concern is that it may effect my fertility. I am 34 and I would still like to have a child but not for another year or so. Does anyone have feedback about how easily they got pregnant after having the Mirena removed?

Edmon

I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this web site. I'm hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming as well. Actually your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a great example of it. vigrx coupon code

Edmon

Its like you learn my thoughts! You appear to grasp so much about this vigrx plus

Edmon

F*ckin' remarkable things here. I am very glad to see your post. Thank you so much and i'm having a look ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail? vigrx ingredients

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account