Recently, I’ve been interested in exploring alternate methods of birth control. I’ve taken oral contraception for about three years now and wanted to try something different because I’m afraid that my birth control pills are effecting my anti-depressants (although the scientific evidence is weak, I would still like to look into it) and I want something more-long term. After speaking to a general practitioner on campus when I refilled my anti-depressants, they referred me to another practitioner on campus I could consult with.
At my consultation appointment, I chose the right I.U.D. (intrauterine device) for me and followed the pre-procedure advice before the insertion a few days later. It is the most effective form of birth control out there (over 99% effective, with male condoms being about 82% effective and oral contraceptives about 91% effective, both if used correctly) and I like the idea of having something inserted and not having to worry about it until I’m ready to have kids or five years when I have to get it replaced.
Disclaimer: I will not talk specifics about my device (such as name, risks, benefits, etc.) as there are a handful of I.U.D.s out there and I don’t want anyone to think that because this is the right one for me, it will work for you. This is just about my experience with the insertion of my device. Consult your own practitioner for advice.
Anyway, here’s how it all went down:
One day before: I was prescribed medicine to improve the ease of the device insertion that I took with lunch and dinner the day before and breakfast the day of.
The day of: I got my device inserted by the doctor I met with for the consultation appointment. I’m glad I met with her to discuss my options as she’s one of two doctors who actually put them in. The best way I can describe the procedure is the worst parts of menstrual cramps and Pap smears (except instead of just going into the vagina, they go through the cervix to the uterus) put together. When I asked if the procedure hurts, my doctor replied with, “Not as much as labor” and that’s all I needed to remember to get through procedure. The device is inserted way up to the top of the uterus, so I got to be reunited with the familiar medieval looking tools used for smears. The procedure lasted only a couple minutes, but during which I experienced extreme cramping, so bad that I almost passed out. The good news was that the doctor said my device went in beautifully. I experienced cramping after the procedure as well and needed about 15 minutes to gather myself (similar to what you do after you donate blood). Just for safe measure, I took a nap in the waiting room before going about my day.
One week later: The procedure and right after the fact were the only times I experienced notable cramping. I would have a few minutes of light cramping a few times a day, but other than that the first week after my procedure was cramp free. I didn’t experience bleeding, but I did experience a brown discharge once or twice which is perfectly normal.
Two weeks later: Today, I had my follow up appointment to cut the strings of my device. Since they didn’t go all the way into the uterus, it was a lot less painful (in fact, it didn’t hurt at all). My doctor says everything looks good and over the next few months, the cramps and occasional discharge and spotting should subside.
I’m really happy with my choice and I’m sure my IUD will serve me well as I finish up my undergraduate degree, get my Master’s degree and start my career over the next few years.
I’m not an expert on birth control but believe the increased rate of breast cancer in women (sometimes in their 40s) is due to taking birth control pills for too many years.