Post # 1
I’m thinking about getting the IUD put in in December. I’ve been on the patch for years, and I love it, but would love to get on something I don’t have to think about. We’re also not interested in children for a number of years, and after talking to my doctor, the IUD seems to be a good choice for me. Having said that, I still have questions. I was hoping you could give me your thoughts and opinions on the IUD.
I don’t know whether to get the paraguard or the Mirena. I have horrible cramps as it is, and from what I’ve heard the paraguard can make cramps even worse. I’m already bed ridden one day during my period, how much is worse? Is that reason enough to get the Mirena?
What side effects have you had from them? I honestly have no side effects from the patch, but had really bad ones from the pill (I was on seasonique, gained weight, got stretch marks, was bitchy and had very little sex drive). Is there any way to predict the side effects? I’m going to be going a few months without seeing my doctor, so if I get it, I can’t get it removed right away because of distance, so I’ll have to stick it out at least 6 months. I’ve read that that’s a good time to figure out if the IUD is a good choice or not.
ALso, I have not had kids. I’ve talked to my doctor, and she says she has done it many times before in women who have not had kids, and uses a local anetheisa to help with the pain. I’m a bit of afraid of the insertion. How bad is the pain? How long does the pain last?
I feel so lost about this, I’ve been doing some reading and it’s mostly just “you could have this, or this, or nothing, or some, or other” and it’s just confusing me. I’d love to hear personal opinions and experiences, good and bad.
Post # 3
I have a Paragard. Insertion was not too bad at all–it was pretty quick, actually! I am happy about the fact that it’s no worries for 10 years. But yes, cramps got worse for me for a few months, and I still occasionally get a minor twinge I never would have before, and I’ve had it for about a year and a half. I also had nightmarshly heavy periods for about five/six months. Now they are just a little heavier than they used to be before the Paragard, but not too bad. Overall, it works for me, but I might have considered the Mirena if I could handle hormones. I’d imagine that the localized hormones in Mirena wouldn’t affect you the way BCP do, especially if you’re fine on the patch. Hope this helps!
ETA I have no kids either, and insertion still wasn’t bad
Post # 5
There’s an excellent IUD discussion community with LOTS of great info in Livejournal: iud_divas.livejournal.com
I had a Paragard for a while, and I am very unusual in that it made my periods lighter and less crampy than they had been before. But, that is unusual although I know of a couple other people on that IUD community who had the same thing happen to them. I had it taken out after 2 years because my uterus was the smallest size they can fit the Paragard into, and I felt that I had more poking discomfort from it than I should have. Generally I really liked the Paragard, but did end up feeling like it was too big for my uterus and the discomfort that caused wasn’t worth it. I’m going to Canada in a month or so to get a smaller copper IUD which is not available in the US, which will hopefully work better for me.
I have heard that taking vitamin E helps with heavy bleeding and cramps.
If you’ve had trouble with birth control pills, the Mirena might not be a good option for you, since it does have hormones in it. But the levels are far, far lower, and it is supposed to reduce cramps and bleeding. I don’t have any personal experience with it, though.
I do think IUDs are the best option out there, and I have tried a LOT of methods! It’s up to you which one to get– the Paragard with its nice freedom from hormones, but with the possibiity of worse cramps (how much worse varies from person to person, and there are occasional people like me whose cramps lessen); or the Mirena with its promise of less painful periods (and eventually, sometimes, no periods) but the possibility of side-effects from the hormones.
Post # 6
@Creiddylad: Since you asked about side effects. . . I figured maybe you’d appreciate it if I went into more detail.
I want to note that most of these side effects were because my uterus measured at 6 cm (they measure your uterus as part of the insertion procedure, since both the Paragard and Mirena can’t go in a uterus any smaller than 6 cm) and I suspect being the minimum size for an IUD makes the chance of having discomfort a little higher.
Basically, my period cramps changed from being achy and semi-constant, to being sharp, sudden, and poky (as if the arms and bottom of the IUD were poking my uterine walls and triggering weird sensations). But there were less of them, after I adjusted to the IUD (I had a lot of cramps almost all the time for 3 months or so– usually not really bad ones though), than I had had before, which was nice. I also felt that my cervix became more sensitive to impacts during sex, which was not fun at all.
Occasionally I’d feel the end of the strings in my vagina poke me a tiny bit (an itchy little insect-bite kind of sensation) if they uncurled from their usual place wrapped loosely around my cervix. Not a big deal at all, just peculiar.
The last thing may not be a side effect of the IUD itself, but a side effect of having unprotected, non-pulling-out sex! I noticed that I got more yeast infections and UTIs while using the Paragard than I do when simply using condoms. But that is probably because of semen altering my vaginal flora and pH, and me not really knowing how to/being too lazy to clean up in a way that would prevent these things from happening. (Sorry if TMI!!) With my new Canadian IUD, I’m going to be better about such stuff than I was before!
My SO never felt the strings once. It was great having no-worries sex whenever we wanted, without having to prepare in any way. I highly recommend it, just be aware of the possibilities– it is a foreign object in your body and sometimes you’ll be aware of it.
Can you tell I love talking about IUDs? 😀 Sometimes I think I should have been a gynecologist. . .
Post # 7
I love my IUD and have had it for almost 3 years. Mine is Mirena, the kind with hormones. I’ve never been pregnant either.
Pain level was about a 8/10 for 3 seconds. Then I felt crampy (pain level of 4 for an hour or so) but was good to go with some advil and half a percoset. Maybe I’m an anomaly, but I even had sex later that day.
I have experienced no adverse side effects from it. It is awesome.
Post # 8
I’ve had Mirena IUDS since 2004 or 2005 – I’m on my second one. I’ve had zero side effects, other than that I haven’t had a period in years. I started getting a bit of spotting in the last few months of my first IUD but nothing since I had this second one placed in 2009. Which is just swell. You’re unlikely to have the same hormone related side effects as you had with the pill – the hormones are different in terms of amounts and localized to your uterus.
Pain was really not much. I have had a children, but had my first IUD put in when my daughter was probably a year old, and the second (well technically third – the second IUD inserted expelled two seconds later) was 5+ years after giving birth. The pain lasts for literally maybe 10-30 seconds. I was crampy afterward both times, but nothing a heat pack and some tylenol didn’t fix.
I freaking love my IUD. I don’t need to think about anything related to birth control which is great because I am hopeless at keeping on track with pills and need something I can’t screw up. We’ve never had any problems with my partner feeling the strings, I’ve had no negative side effects, and it’s incredibly cost-effective even if you pay out of pocket for the IUD.
Post # 9
I have had the Liberte for 8months now. It is a non-hormonal IUD available in Canada, similar to the paraguard in the US.
I would say the insertion sucked but take 800mg of ibuprofen and if you have anxiety, take an ativan. It helped me a lot and I was able to function much better afterwards.
The first period was the worst. It felt like my first one did and the cramps were nauseating. Almost like someone was punching me in the uterus. But the strings stayed in place so I stuck it out. Each period got better and better until i was able to understand my symptoms. Now it is like clockwork. 3 days before i feel one noticeable cramp then nothing. The day of, i feel a heaviness and a release when it starts. Then on day 3 the cramps are the worst, but have lessened each month to being managable without meds. The other thing is i can feel when I ovulate. It’s a twinge in the middle of your cycle, and weirdly i can feel if it’s the right or left ovary.
Because I was on the pill for so long i didn’t realize how much it affected what I felt and changed how my body is. It’s been 1 year since I stopped the pill and my sex drive is through the roof, i have lost weight rather easily and in a healthy way with minimal effort. My anxiety has lessened and my moods are much more stable. I don’t cry or get offended or bothered as much. The only thing is my skin is much worse. I breakout way more around my cycle and that sucks but i’m learning to manage with new products and regimine. I was having severe migraines from the pills, so to me it is totally worth the side effects in order to not have those migraines.
Post # 10
I got a Mirena about two years ago. I’ve never had kids and have pretty low pain tolerance, so the insertion was really awful for me — I actually threw up. Afterwards though, I really loved it for the first few months… No periods, no side effects….until I started to develop really terrible acne. I’d never had any issues with acne before and it was pretty devastating for me to suddenly have my face covered in painful, cystic acne. It’s been seven months since I had it removed and after a few rounds of antibiotics my acne has final gone away.
What really gets me is when I mentioned this to my doctor when I went to get it removed, she told me that this was really common and had even happened to her (usually it’s from going off of HBC rather than the Mirena itself, FYI). Then my close friend also told me this had happened to her a few years ago. I guess I wish someone had told me how common it was for women to break out when switching from other HBC to MIrena. I might have reconsidered and saved myself some grief & scarring.
Post # 11
I have Mirena now for about 5 months, and I’m all for it now. At first, the cramps were obnoxious because my body still thought it was supposed to contract to get rid of all the period stuff that I didn’t really have. Eventually that tapered off, and I’m down to only the occasional stabby pain when my stomach is upset, since everything is so close together.
I’ve never had kids, and my doctor had no qualms in fitting me for the Mirena. I can’t discuss my pain however, because I had general anesthesia for another unrelated procedure, and had myself given the Mirena while I was knocked out. Easy peasy.
Post # 12
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
I have a Paraguard and i LOOOOOVE it! I’ve had it for 2 years now. To answer your questions:
– cramps: yes, they definitely got worse in general. I never had very bad cramps, and usually they’re just a little worse than they used to be, so really not bad. Maybe once every 6 months I have really bad ones for a few hours, enough that I pretty much curl up in a ball and whimper. So this could be a concern for you. Maybe ask your doctor more about what she’s seen with patients with bad cramps getting even worse?
– pain of insertion: I’ve never had kids either. I was worried about the pain and took 4 ibuprofen plus a muscle relaxant. It definitely hurt but it certainly wasn’t unbearable. The worse pain I’ve every had, a 10 out of 10, was from a broken collarbone. This was like a 6 in comparison. Very much worth it for having awesome, incredibly effective birth control that’s good for 10 years.
I’ve also read that OBGYNs overwhelmingly use IUDs themselves, which is pretty compelling.
Post # 13
I also share the OP’s questions about the IUD. I’ve wanted one for a while now, but I have been a bit apprehensive. You ladies are convincing me I should give it a shot! Thanks for the all the helpful answers.
Post # 14
I’m another vote for a Mirena IUD. I love it! I’ve had it for almost 5 years and I’ll definitely get another one in the new year.
The initial insertion wasn’t too bad. Nothing on a tatoo or anything. I used to get really heavy flows and super bad back cramps and now i have super light periods of a day or so of spotting and barely any cramps. It’s amazing. I’ve got no bad side effects that I can think of! I was on the pill for years before and had gained a ton of weight, and with the mirena i’ve noticed none of that.
Post # 15
I got the paragaurd IUD inserted about 3 weeks ago. And I did not have a pleasant experience. The insertion itself (like others have mentioned) hurts for all of 30 seconds. When the doctor uses the sound to measure your utters is the most painful part but again that doesn’t last for more than a minute. (It is definitely the most painful thing I’ve ever volunteered for. )But if you are lucky like me your body will flip out about there being a foreign object in it. My blood pressure dropped, I felt faint even when laying down, I developed a fever in a matter of minutes, and I got to deal with alternating waves of nausea and bowel pain as my body emptied the contents of my entire digestive tract through the nearest exit. Apparently a little bit of this is fairly typical but it generally passes within a half an hour with no actual digestive tract emptying. But I was seriously sick for 6 hours.
I had SO drive me as a precaution in case the cramps were really bad. Instead he spent the day feeding me water until my bladder was full enough to do an ultra sound to make sure that nothing had gone wrong. As it turns out the insertion was successful and everything was properly in place. So I got sent home with orders to take 800mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours for the next 48 hours. My abdomen hurt for a week but I stuck with it. Because 10 years of birth control is 100% worth a week of discomfort.
Now at 3 weeks I’m pretty pleased with my IUD. I was on the depo shot previously and as a result didn’t get periods and always had a ton of hormones floating around in my body. Well the hormones are dissipating and I’m feeling better. I feel like I’m thinking more clearly. I was also excited to get my period again until it started 9 days ago and I’m still on it. Overall though the period isn’t too bad I just seem to be going through more sanitary supplies than I remember using previously.
Post # 16
I have had the Mirena for 6 months. I got it put in after my daughter was born, so insertion was not painful at all. I’ve heard it’s worse if you have never had a child. It was a small pinch and a little cramping and it was over.
I have had almost no side effects. No cramping, no bleeding, hardly any spotting, no psycho mood swings, no weight gain. I LOVE mine.