I got pregnant back to back, so when I went back to the doctor for my checkup after having my daughter, I knew I wanted to discuss getting on birth control. I didn’t want another surprise baby.
There are so many different choices to make now. I always used birth control pills, but I wasn’t consistent with taking them. So, I wanted to see what other options there were for me.
My doctor suggested getting a birth control implant in my arm. That scared me, so I went with his other suggestion: an IUD.
Does Insertion Hurt?
I am among the nearly 10 percent of women who use the intrauterine device, or IUD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Percent of women aged 15–49 currently using long-acting reversible contraception (Intrauterine device or contraceptive implant) 10.4%
After deciding on getting the device implanted in me, I did what everyone does after leaving the doctor: Google. It didn’t help me with the anxiety I already had about getting this thing. (Tip: don’t go on Google after leaving the doctor).
There were so many stories about how badly it hurt when they inserted the IUD that I almost called and canceled the appointment. Reluctantly, I did go. My experience with insertion wasn’t horrific like the many I had read.
I hardly felt anything, to be honest. They have you lie back like you would with any regular exam (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). Then they had this contraption to insert the IUD. The IUD itself is very small. I mean, tiny enough to put in your pocket. So, that calmed me down somewhat when I saw the size of it.
As they moved on through the procedure, which took all of 5 to 10 minutes, I felt a slight pinch as if something was being clamped down. That was the point when they were connecting the IUD to my uterus.
At that time, the only side effect I had was being lightheaded, but that may have been due to me sitting up too fast. My journey with my IUD was not over though. For me, it was not a joyous experience.
Side effects I Had
My side effects were one of the worse ones, at least for me they were: bleeding and severe cramps.
The bleeding lasted for a long time, maybe four months. It wasn’t consistent, but it was off and on throughout the month. It was very heavy, sometimes including huge clots. I considered going to the doctor about it, but after calling I was assured that was a normal side effect of IUDs.
With this bleeding, I had severe cramps. I mean, doubling over with pain-type cramps. It was so horrible and it made me sick to my stomach. At the time, I was working retail and it slowed me down quite a bit because I always felt sick, for nearly four months!
After the bleeding finally seemed to regulate, I noticed my periods were constantly irregular. The bleeding remained heavy for a long time, but eventually, towards the time I got it removed, it became lighter.
I Finally Got It Removed!
After three years, I got my IUD removed at the beginning of 2021. So, surprise, I went on Google again after making the removal appointment and saw that the removal stories were even worse. People were saying it was incredibly painful, excruciating even.
At this point, I was ready for it to be out of my body. It was like it was invading my body for the three years I had it and I could feel the take over more every day. So, matter how bad it hurt, I was getting it out of me.
The removal was slightly painful. It hurt bad for a second and then it was over. It was like when you are in labor and the contractions are at a 10. It was that for a second.
After my second of pain, The IUD was out and I was free again. The doctor showed me this ugly-looking thing on a string. It honestly looked like an alien. That’s what it had felt like for those three years.
IUDs are very effective at preventing pregnancy. Maybe that’s because of the side effects it causes. I tip my hat to the women who had no side effects at all. That must have been wonderful.
I feel for Britney Spears and her desire of wanting to remove her IUD being denied. I can’t imagine wanting to remove it and not being able to. That seems so cruel. I hope she doesn’t have the side effects I read about or experienced myself.
It was my choice to get and it was my choice to remove it. Every woman should have that right, no matter their disability or capacity to dictate other parts of their life. I know other countries, like Brazil, have laws to protect against this. Why doesn’t the US?
I think we really need to look into the various contraception given to women, as well as dealing with their rights to get them removed. What we really should be investigating is more contraception options for men. Why limit it to just women, when it takes two to tango?
Originally published on Medium.