Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Getting an IUD

The first time I tried to get an IUD my doctor said no. This was about ten years ago and doctors were still clinging to the idea that only women who had already been pregnant were good candidates for the tiny little sperm fighting device. In the ten years that followed, I stuck solely with condoms as my main birth control method. This was mostly due to the fact that I spent the better part of the decade without insurance and condoms were easy and readily available.

When my insurance kicked in a month ago, I once again pursued the ever elusive IUD. This time it took a simple phone call and I had an appointment just two days later. Since most doctors recommend that you be on your period during the insertion, the timing was perfect and it didn't cost me anything out of pocket.

During the two days until my appointment, I read everything I could about what the experience was like for women who had decided to get an IUD. Some of the stories were reassuring, and some were more than slightly terrifying. Some women experience minor cramps. Okay I can handle cramps. Others ended up with a punctured uterus. Uh...

For anyone who doesn't know, an IUD is inserted into the uterus through the cervix by a healthcare provider. IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control available. Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they use an IUD. That's a success rate of 99.9% and requires almost no upkeep beyond checking the strings.

For me the process was straightforward and quite tolerable. I experience one or two major cramps and that was it for the most part. There was a weird sensation of being able to feel that there was something in my body that stayed with me for a few days. I'm sure it was in my head, but it was still slightly unnerving.

At this point it has been a month and I continue to experience cramps. While I almost never had cramps during my cycle in the past, now I have them regularly. They are bearable and more of an annoyance than anything. Honestly, the hardest part has been the irregularity of my period. I've had several days where I've spotted for no reason and my period started a week earlier than usual. My period also stopped completely for a few days after I had the IUD inserted and then came back. It was kind of bizarre. Most women who get an IUD stop having a period completely though so I know it's just something my body needs time to adjust to.

And that's that. The sense of relief I feel is worth more than a few cramps and so far I am quite satisfied with the whole process.