Join Date: Sep 2008
| | IUDs and being prepared for pain
When I was a teenager, the first form of birth control I used was the pill. It was simple, and besides missing a few days, once in awhile, it worked great. However, after about 4 years, I decided that I had been on it long enough, and with my mother passing away from breast cancer, I was convinced that I did not need any help in possibly developing cancer myself. I decided that I would no longer use birth control methods that required hormones.
Well, I'm sure most of you know that condoms are not exactly as "fun" as they claim. Though they work, I do feel they desensatize, cause friction, and have had my fair share of breakage. Withdrawal became my primary form of control, and obviously is not a very reliable way to go. I have plans for my future, and they do not involve a baby anytime soon. So, a few years ago I started doing research on non-hormonal forms of birth control. To my dismay, there are very few. I ended up with a the rage of the '80s, a diaphragm (forgive my horrid spelling abilities). It seemed like the best thing, and basically simple to use. However, placement is a huge issue. If it is not inserted correctly, you have a pregnancy issue. Ironically, at the same time my sister had chosen to get a diaphram as well, and within a few weeks of using it she was pregnant. That ended my romance with the diaphram.
So it was back to the tried and true method of withdrawal. I was not satsified with continuing that practice, so I continued my research. I found several websites and documents on IUDs. There were 2 kinds that are allowed in the U.S. My last resort for non-hormonal contraceptives was the IUD, Paraguard. It is a copper IUD that for relatively unknown reasons, inhibits the sperm from fertilizing the egg. I read about the possible side effects, and the possible damage, and decided that for me it was worth the risks. With Paraguard, the minor risks were heavier periods, cramping, and the possibility of being allergic to copper. The major risks (like any IUD) were infection, even PID, preferation of the uterus & cervix, and pregnancy outside of the uterus. Of all of those the most common would be infection, as there is always the possibility of bacteria getting inside when the IUD is being inserted.
Anyway, after weighing the effects, I decided it was right for me. I made the appointment and after a few tests, I found myself signing a few papers and taking off my undies in the exam room. I have never been pregnant, which made me good canidate for an IUD, as it is more likely to stay in place. The one thing I should have researched, or asked my doctor about was what exactly occurs during insertion. I think it would have lessened the tension I felt, as I had no idea what was happening and the specialist that was doing to procedure said little besides, "...this may feel a bit uncomfortable." Before they insert the IUD, they have to measure some part of your cervix/uterus. To do this, they insert a long rod into your cervix. After taking the measurement is when the IUD is inserted.
I've never been one to complain about pain, and have always had what I considered a higher tolerance than most. I've had pap exams, a biopsy on my cervix, and it didn't even make me flinch. I've had my nipples pierced, a large tattoo put directly on the center of my chest, and jumped out of a moving vehicle, without even a tear coming to my eye. BUT, unfortunately in my research of IUDs I never came across anything saying that insertion was painful, or even more than uncomfortable. The measuring of my uterus and the insertion of this IUD was the single most painful experience I have ever gone through. Once the procedure was complete, I stayed in the exam room and cried for several minutes. I thought i was going to throw up, and possibly even pass out. I may have been better prepared if I knew it was going to hurt, but I figured it would be just like having a pap smear done. I'm assuming that it must be much like the pain that is felt when giving birth, as it is stretching your cervix & uterus, and from what the nurses said, it may be less painful for people who have had children as their uterus has already been stretched.
After this experience, I stayed at the clinic for 20 minutes. When they finally let me go, I couldn't even drive myself home due to the pain. The ride home was even horrible. Think of the worst cramps you've ever had from a period, and add about 2-3 levels of pain on top. I took several pain relievers, and if I had any perocets or vicadin, I definately would have been taking those. I had asked the doctor about the removal before leaving. I asked if it was as painful as the insertion, and she told me no. But the corrected herself, and said that it is faster than the insertion. I'm assuming since they have to get back in there, to push the T shaped IUD back into an I shape, it's going to hurt just as bad. However, I hope it will be one quick swoop rather than a repeated jab, over and over. If it was only just one dose of sharp pains, I think it would have been tolerable, but the fact it took several pokes to get in place, that's what made it unbearable.
Once home, I was in intense pain (you know how they ask you, "on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain ever) I would say about a 3/4 for cramps. It lasted for the rest of the night. By the next day I still had constant cramps. I was not until about 4 days later that I no longer had cramps. However, I didn not have any spotting that I had expected. I was afraid to have intercourse with my partner, even 3 days later, due to the pain. I thought it would hurt. However, I gave it a shot. The intercourse was not painful, but afterward, I did begin to spot. The spotting did not stop, and after a few days it turned into light bleeding. Then after a day or two, it turned into a regular menstrual bleeding.
It's been 11 days since I had the IUD inserted. Prior to having the IUD inserted, due to other medications I take, I had not had a period in 4 months. Now, I have been bleeding non stop for over a week, with the flow only getting stronger as the days go on. I'm not sure what is going on, or what i'm going to do. I have a follow up appointment, schedule 6 weeks after the date of insertion. However, I think if this bleeding continues I'm going to make an appointment much sooner. I also have made up my mind that I want to have the IUD removed. If in return for the possibility of not becoming pregnant, with non-hormonal methods, makes it so I bleed non stop and have sporatic cramping daily, and the fear in the back of my mind that there is a hole in my cervix/uterus, I'm down for my old method of contraception. The only thing that is stopping me from making an appointment right now is the fact that it was such a process to have it inserted that it would be a shame if it finally worked out alright. That maybe I'm just not giving it enough time to get comfortable in my body.
Basically, I if things don't change, I definately plan on having it removed. I just couldn't got throught that pain again, immediately after she inserted the IUD or I may have had her take it out right after she put it in. Once I have the IUD removed, I will NEVER have another put in, in my lifetime. I do recommend that other women out there give it a shot, everyone's body is different and who knows, it might be perfect for someone else. However, DEFINATELY do your research and hopefully knowing the procedure and that there is the potential that it is extremely painful, will allow someone to take to approperiate steps and come to an agreement with their provider on how to manage their insertion. There is an option of using a local anesthetic during insertion, which I would highly recommend and ask for.