What are your experiences with the new generation IUDs?

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Related: Did you know that there's a Cross Section Biomedical Illustration of Intrauterine Device in Position Peel and Stick Wall Decal? Ain't life grand!?
Related: Did you know that there’s a Cross Section Biomedical Illustration of Intrauterine Device in Position Peel and Stick Wall Decal? Ain’t life grand!?
Has anyone used a new-generation intrauterine device (IUD)? My doctor brought it up, and it sounds like a great form of birth control. They are often more effective than the pill, and WAY more effective than condoms. It used to be that only women who weren’t planning on more children were prescribed an IUD, but now more studies have indicated that the IUD can be removed at any time and women can get pregnant if they wish.

I like the idea of local medical interventions (a hormone-relasing IUD) when possible, rather than systemic (the pill). However, I frankly am still a little creeped out by something in my uterus. And nobody I know has ever used this form of birth control.

Clearly everyone should only take medical advice from their doctors, but I am asking for personal advice here. Have any Offbeat readers had favorable or negative experiences with one of the new generation IUDs? How did it fit into your lifestyle? -Inquiringmind

To tell you the truth, I’m curious about this as well!

I’m super-squicked out by the thought of something in my uterus, too. So that’s stopped me from actually going forward with an IUD. Any Homies out there have experience with ’em that can lay down some knowledge?

REMINDER: We want to stay away from any kind of medical advice in the comments, but we do encourage you to share your experiences and link to additional resources.

Comments on What are your experiences with the new generation IUDs?

  1. I wanna know peoples experiences with this. I am totally freaked by the though of something just chilling in my uterus for 3-5 years like “Yo dude, I got this.”

    • I had the Mirena IUD placed after my second child was born. I really loved the idea of not having to worry about having to take a pill every day since it is easy to forget with a toddler and new baby to care for.
      It wasn’t very painful to have placed, but I did experience bleeding immediately that pretty much continued the entire nine months I had it in.
      My whole life I’ve always had remarkably clear skin, even as a teen. Within a week of getting Mirena my skin broke out in deep & painful pimples that nothing would clear up- and I tried it all!
      I began to feel very moody for no reason- almost like I was PMSing all month long.
      I experienced this odd head to toe itching that nothing relieved. It was especially bad on my scalp- I thought at first maybe it was dandruff even thought I didn’t have and flaking or I was allergic to my shampoo, so I changed shampoos a few times. No luck, it only got worse and the rest of my body itched just as bad.
      My period never stopped, I bled like a period for the first few months which was very gross but my DR said it happens. It became a bit lighter, but I still bleed pretty much daily the whole nine months I had my IUD.
      I also gained a good deal of weight even though I wasn’t eating more and I eat very healthy. I’m a small person naturally and had already lost my baby weight before the IUD was placed, but I gained 20 pounds even with proper diet and exercise.
      I finally called my dr because the itching was just way too much and the pimples literally stung my face.
      She said my body’s hormones were too out of balance from the Mirena and advised removal since my symptoms were only getting worse. The itching was better within days and the weight began to come over quickly also. My skin on the other hand was very hard to get back to normal. It took a few months to my hormones to fully get back to where they were before, and once they did my skin responded to regular acne creams and cleared up.
      I really want this IUD to work out! My husband and I decided we don’t want anymore kids by weren’t ready to take permanent measures just yet, so it seemed the the perfect solution. But I was one of hose women where it just didn’t jive with my body. My doctor said it isn’t very common, but just looking on a few message boards online I found countless stories of women with similar symptoms. It did upset me that my doctor really tried to downplay it to me, but right in front of me online I was so many stories similar to my own. It made me wonder why they don’t list more of these possible side effects officially? I’m not condoning Mirena in anyway, I just wish I’d know about the lesser spoken of side effects going into it so I didn’t go crazy trying to figure out what was happening to my body after having the IUD placed.

      • You might be a good candidate for the copper IUD Paraguard, not Mirena (the hormone one). I had to stop ALL hormonal BC for similar symptoms. Sometimes we just don’t jive with the hormones in these things!

        • I’ve had a Paragard for almost 6 years now, and I really love how low-maintenance it is. I love being able to have sex anywhere, any time, and I wouldn’t be able to commit to always taking a pill at the exact same time everyday because I’m not nearly that organized. I couldn’t imagine switching to anything else, particularly birth control of the hormonal variety.
          Side effects:
          – Longer, heavier periods
          – Right after I got inserted I was severely crampy and bleeding for about three weeks.
          – Two years ago a doctor discovered during a checkup that it had prolapsed and become lodged in my cervix. Apparently it had been that way for some time, because she couldn’t move it at all. I had to go to a gynecologist to get it removed and re-inserted. Weirdly enough, it never even felt like anything was wrong when it was stuck there.

          I hope my description of the side effects doesn’t scare you away. Even knowing all this, I would still tell my 20-year-old self to go for it because it’s the best combination of long-term, super-effective, low-maintenance, and relatively noninvasive that I’ve been able to find (without talking a doctor into letting me get my tubes tied).

        • If Mirena didn’t work out, Paragard will likely not work out either. I’ve had both. Mirena tried to expel itself, and Paragard poisoned me. The copper acts as a hormone.

      • Your doctor didn’t downplay it, and I’m sorry it took 9 months to trust your gut and get the IUD removed.

        The reason there are so many horror stories about IUDs on the internet is because women who have an issue with it, they’re the ones that want to shout it from the rooftops. If you get an IUD and you love it and have no problems with it, you’re not going spend time and energy to post on some internet forum telling the world about it, right? The ones who have issues are the ones who are the loudest, but if you go by what you’ve “heard around” instead of the data, you’ll be hearing a lot of horror stories, and very few of the ‘Love it’ stories.

        I’m going to echo what Kristen suggested, Mirena is a VERY low dose of hormones, so you may want to talk to your Doc. about Paragard.

        your friendly neighborhood sex educator

        • I said my doctor down played it because she really did. We had a ton of back and forth on removal (I wanted it out, she said stick it out because my period would stop all together soon) on the basis of the bleeding alone. If I’d know. Sooner that the very seemingly unrelated symptoms were from the IUD I would have demanded it much sooner. Who would assume a ridiclously itchy scalp was from their IUD? I would have been able to determine they were had any symptom aside from the bleeding been listed on the material directly from Mirena or my doctor told me herself going into it. It simply upset me that she didn’t disclose any knowledge of those symptoms until I was back in her office demanding removal.

          • I was in a similarly shitty situation, that has shaken my trust considerably. I understand that our symptoms were not typical, but it doesn’t mean that they weren’t a result of our IUDs, or a major problem. Within hours of removal, my heart palpitations, pain, and nausea were relieved. 18 months later, I just got a haircut to even out the areas where I lost 25% of my hair. My IUD prevented me from caring for my infant, and actually made him sick, as I was nursing him, and my malnourished state affected my milk supply.

        • “The reason there are so many horror stories about IUDs on the internet is because women who have an issue with it, they’re the ones that want to shout it from the rooftops. If you get an IUD and you love it and have no problems with it, you’re not going spend time and energy to post on some internet forum telling the world about it, right?”


          I’ve had both the Paragard (before getting pregnant) and now the Mirena, and I’ve been happy with them both.
          The Paragard made my periods heavier and cramps more painful, especially for the first 9 months or so, but I liked having no hormones. I had it for about 6 years and got it out a few months before we started trying for a baby.
          With the Mirena, I’ve had no side effects. I haven’t gotten my period back, but I’m also breastfeeding, so it’s hard to say which is the cause.

          Until/unless one of us gets sterilization surgery, I don’t imagine myself using any other form of birth control.

          • “The reason there are so many horror stories about IUDs on the internet is because women who have an issue with it, they’re the ones that want to shout it from the rooftops.”

            ^Keep in mind too that the numbers sometimes look scary because there are a lot of people using it. Saying something occurs in 1% of the population makes it sound downplayed. But if 100,000 people use it and 1% have a bad reaction, there are suddenly a thousand people with the problem. So even if you see a thousand people suffering from a bad side effect, it doesn’t mean it will for-sure happen to you. Statistics is weird. Just make sure you’re absolutely educating yourself. It’s totally possible your side effects are rare enough that your doctor simply didn’t see anyone else have that reaction. And, like you said, who would guess that an itchy scalp would be connected to your IUD?

            I’ve had the Mirena for just over two years now. And I mostly love it.

            The cons:
            * Super painful going in. The actual procedure was moderately painful (not a pain level I could ignore, but I could grit my teeth and get through it). I want to shout this: HAVE SOMEONE DRIVE YOU HOME AFTER. I nearly got in a wreck because about halfway home I started getting severe cramps and nausea. Thank god I lived nearby. It was over in about 5 hours.
            * I had spotting-level periods for about 5 months after I got it in. That sucked.
            * I’m dreading the day I have to have it removed.

            The pros:
            * After the long period, I haven’t had one since. Seriously, it has been about a year and a half of no periods. And that is fabulous.
            * I can barely remember to take a multivitamin, no way would I remember birth control.
            * Super effective. I’m not pregnant!

            Long story short, when my little sister asked me about birth control options, I told her about the pain but I still recommended it.

          • We’d always planned on getting hubby snipped after we were done with kids but I’ve loved my Mirenas so much I think I’m just going to get another one instead. Even with supplementation I have a hard time keeping my iron levels up if I’m having regular periods (with the Mirena I have 2-3 days of light spotting a month). Add at least one day a month of terrible cramps and I see no reason to put myself through that ever again.

            I’ve had 3 Mirenas and the experience for each has been great. The insertion of the first (before I’d ever been pregnant/had a baby) was painful and their was about 5 hours of horrendous cramping afterwards so I highly recommend having someone to drive you home. I don’t know that I could have done it if I hadn’t lived less than two blocks away (the only reason I even had my car is that my appointment was right after work). The removal on the other hand was easy; less painful than a pap smear! I also was able to get pregnant right away.

            When I went to have my second inserted 8 weeks after my son was born I was all prepared. I left him at home with one of my moms and my other mom drove me to the office. Shockingly that insertion didn’t hurt at all and I had zero cramping afterwards. Second removal was equally painless and I was again able to get pregnant right away.

            For my third insertion I didn’t even bother with any backup even though this time I was using a birthing center 45 min away. I took the baby with me (the ladies in the office held her during the procedure) and we were fine to go home immediately afterwards. Third removal was a breeze and although it took a little longer to get pregnant this time (8 months) I attribute that to be 33 and declining fertility rather than the Mirena.

            FYI for anyone for whom cost is an issue even with the ACA you should look into ordering one from Canada. My midwife wrote me a prescription and I was able to get one for about $250, roughly 25% of what it would have cost to order through their office. Obviously your care provider has to be ok with this but it’s worth a shot.

      • You might want to look into something like Flexi-T. It is a non-hormonal IUD. It has a tiny copper thread wrapped around part of the plastic “T” and works like kryptonite for sperm.
        I got mine placed and the first month bled all month, but more like heavy spotting than actually having my period. Then had a heavy period the next month with cramping but now my cycle has settled out to being as it was before I had it placed.

    • I got the Paragard IUD 4 years ago (it’s good for 10 years). Unlike the Mirena, it doesn’t release hormones which is the main reason I got it, aside from the obvious birth control benefit. I LOVE IT.

      It didn’t hurt much to get put in, it was just uncomfortable. I had a light amount of bleeding for about a week but no problems since. It’s great to be rid of the hormones I was getting all those years on the pill and now my cycles are naturally occurring.

      As background, I haven’t had children and the first doctor I tried to get it from didn’t want me to because of that, but I found that it’s because there’s a lot of misinformation about IUDs, even among doctors, because of all the problems the original IUDs had in the ’80s. For me, this has been the best birth control option and I’ve had no issues with it all this time.

    • The only thing that I don’t like about Mirena is the hormones. I should have known better than to choose it over the paragard without hormones since I never tolerated pills, or the ring very well. The PMS is pretty severe and my periods haven’t stopped, just slowed down a lot. I can never feel it, neither can my man. I plan on having more children and I will get an iud again but just not Mirena. I should also say that the reason I chose Mirena is bc my best friend had it and LOVED it, so obviously it’s different for everyone. Good luck ladies, let’s keep our pregnancies planned! Lol

    • I have had Mirena for about 6 months now and I LOVE IT!
      Our 2 year old was concieved when I was taking …err… forgetting to take the pill. I could never remember!
      It was affecting our sex life after he was born, because I was so afraid of getting pregnant on accident again, so I just decided I might as well try Mirena. I was pretty much settled on trying it, and if it didn’t work out, well then at least I would know.
      I love not having that nagging feeling of “OMG! DID I FORGET MY PILL!!!” panic, like I used to.
      The insertion went great. I was nervous. But realized, hey, I pushed a freaking baby out of that cervix, for real, a tiny IUD is no sweat. Spotting of course on and off for about a month. Periods now are very light. Less cramps, less mood swings. No freaking out about being pregnant. Im actually looking forward to planning our next baby, since I know that I can plan it!!
      My only gripe is the acne. It blows. Alot. It’s like being in high school all over again. I’m probably super sensitive to it, because after the baby my face was flawless – and I loved it. However, I’m getting into a skin care routine again, and it’s helping. That’s the price I’ll pay for being sure that we don’t have another surprise 🙂

    • I wish I was one of the women for whom IUDs are contraceptive silver bullets, but my IUD experience was terrible. I had a copper one for about nine months – I actually kind of like getting my period – it makes me feel healthy and physically connected to the passaged of time, so I opted to skip the hormones. So yea, things were pretty much fine at first; the side effects were so subtle that I chalked them up to my monthly cycle and its accompanying mood swings. But then, I got a terrible, but I mean terrible – the pain was EXCRUCIATING! – yeast infection. Turns out, the teeny tiny string attached to an IUD is the perfect host for yeast. For about three weeks, I tried all the typical yeast infection cures – over the counter and home remedies – nothing helped. In fact, my symptoms over time my symtoms got worse and worse. It was so bad and so.. specific? I mean, I really actually felt the thing; maybe that sounds absurd? It is incredibly small, but I swear I could feel a burning, stabbing pain located so specifically. So I had the thing removed and relief was immediate! I’ve been IUD free for almost two months and do not regret my decision.

      • I’ve had Paragard for going on two years and overall, I do love it. I never enjoyed taking pills and how the hormones messed with my cycle so I opted for the copper T. Since insertion (which was very painful for me, since the T was accidentally pulled out and then the nurse had to run and get a SECOND one for a sterile SECOND insertion), there have been a few problems. I noticed I was more prone to BV, like way more prone, and I developed a chocolate cyst on my ovary. Now, I hve been considering getting it taken out but I can’t bring myself to it knowing that there really aren’t many safe and non hormonal options that work this well.

    • I’m a married 36-year old, no kids, into year 2 of my second IUD. I got my first Mirena in 2006, after one too many “missed period/pregnancy scare” situations on the pill. The insertion hurt like the dickens, but after that it was fine. I experienced some spotting on & off for several months, and some months I’d have some cramping. My PMS/PMDD symptoms all but disappeared – there were some months I had a day of the crazy, but nothing close to what I’d experienced prior to insertion. Without medical insurance, I left the mirena in about a year & 1/2 longer than the usual 5-year plan. My new doc said it was nothing to worry about, and in mid 2012 I had the old one removed and a new one inserted in the same visit. I will say that I felt the decline of hormones in the last year of having the old one, and my PMS symptoms returned.

      Since having a new Mirena inserted I’ve had no problems. In the first week prior to the “strings” being trimmed, I accidentally pulled them a bit while washing myself, and felt some pain & cramping. I had a checkup the next day & the Dr. said it was all fine. Sometimes my period will be spotty, some months it’s heavy. Last month I bled for a week, dried up for 9 days and then it came back for another 4. Overall it seems a small price to pay for not ever having to worry about pregnancy. When this IUD has run its course, I may opt for the copper variety, or I may go back to Mirena. Either way, I would highly recommend it to my friends.

    • This is a really helpful forum with down to earth responses. I’m due for a fitting today. However I still can not decide between the copper IUD or Jaydess/Skyla.
      I tried levonogestrel before and found I had a big issue with dryness. However the dose in Jaydess is so low I’m wondering if it would cause the same issue. The smaller size of the Jaydess is attractive to. However – hormone free is also brilliant for so many reasons. It just seems so large.
      I would like to know if any other women had difficulties with the hormones in Jaydess.
      Zeb 🙂

    • I had an Mirena IUD for 5 years and just recently had it removed. I found it to be really effective, easy and didn’t have a problem (or a period) in those 5 years. I will say that have it put in was a bit painful, lots of cramping as the are putting it in there, other then that, I would definitely recommend it and will consider getting it again in the future.

    • Loved my Marina IUD till it stopped working at 4 years and 3 months. My son is now almost 7 and I’m still in shock. Other than it’s obvious inability to prevent a pregnancy I had no complaints or ill effects. My periods were light to spotty at the heaviest and no appreciable weight gain or mood swings either.

      • The failure rate of Mirena is approximately 0.2% in the first year and the cumulative failure rate is 0.7% after 5 years. I’m truly very sorry you lost the failure rate lottery, but that does not mean it is not an effective form of birth control.

  2. I couldn’t use the pill anymore for various reasons, so I got an IUD (Mirena) inserted a few years ago. Overall I’m very happy with it.

    Pros: No forgetting to take a pill or running out of condoms, and my period disappeared which is pretty fantastic because so did the awful cramps that used to go with it (not to mention the mess!)

    Cons: Fuck it hurts getting it put in! When I booked the appointment they told me I’d be able to go right back to work after getting it inserted – yeah, that definitely didn’t happen. Also, while my pill was covered by my insurance, the IUD isn’t so I had to pay for it (still worth it)

    • I second all of this. I’ve had the Mirena for almost two years now and I love it. It works 100%, my fiance and I don’t use any other kind of protection and I know I won’t get pregnant. It did hurt like hell when they put it in but I was back to normal the next day. I never get a period, though I do get cramps for about a day every month, so I know my lady parts are still working.
      My insurance didn’t cover it either, so you have to buy it from the company and then pay the doctor’s vitis charge too.
      I’m having mine taken out in two weeks because we are ready to start trying for a baby after our wedding in June.

      • Just to clarify, Mirena or Paragard (or any method of birth control besides abstinence) absolutely DO NOT work 100% of the time. You most definitely CAN get pregnant on an IUD. It may be less than a 1% chance, but that chance is still definitely there.

        Your friendly neighborhood sex educator

        • it’s also really important to WAIT before having sex when an IUD is inserted- it needs time to get, uh… settled in. sexual activity within the first month could jostle it from its resting position and reduce its effectiveness.

          • Really? When I got mine replaced last year, the doctor told us we could go for it right away. I was having none of that though, I just wanted to curl up with a hot water bottle.

          • Hmm.. I’ve never heard of this. IUDs can be used as emergency contraception…

          • My doctor told me to wait, I believe, 10 days before “putting anything up there.” I think she said this had more to do with the possibility of infection than effectiveness of the IUD.

          • Gonna echo other commenters here and say I was told it was fine to have sex as soon as I wanted. My OBGYN told me I could go home and have sex right away. I could even have sex right there in his office, but he didn’t recommend that for other obvious reasons. Although I was in too much pain to even think of sex.

            For me the insertion itself wasn’t really any more painful than a flu shot, but instantly my uterus went DO NOT WANT and continued shouting at me so badly that I was curled in a ball on the couch for three weeks. I also nearly fainted in the Dr’s office. The doctor though was pretty prepared for the effects – they offered painkillers beforehand (though I couldn’t take them because I can’t use NSAIDs, and they didn’t have any Tylenol) and had pads on hand for the blood. I had an hour long bus ride home afterwards and I honestly barely remember it – I pretty much only made it home through sheer determination.

            So for anyone going in for their first IUD, I would recommend they take painkillers beforehand, have pads on hand (I had to send my hubby to the store to grab some since I normally only use tampons, but I was so sore there was no way I was getting those up in there), and a ride home from the doctors. You may not end up needing all of it, but if you do, you will be glad you were prepared.

          • My dr told me to wait at least a week before having sex as the hormones in the Mirena IUD would take a few days to start working as birth control.

        • I totally agree…I got pregnant with my second baby even with the IUD inserted…then they couldn’t find it either. That was fun 😛 Eventually, it was determined that it must have fallen out!

        • I got pregnant on Mirena. It was a nightmare pregnancy because the doctors could not guarantee any level of safety for my baby. Luckily I never had a rupture from the IUD, and delivered a healthy baby at 39 weeks. The doctor had to reach up into my uterus to pull the Mirena out.

        • abstinence doesn’t work 100% of the time either. People are forced into sex without their consent, or they slip up and don’t use abstinence “perfectly” of their own accord, despite that being their contraception plan. I’m tired of people acting like abstinence is a certain way to prevent pregnancy because no one unfortunately can guarantee 100% ‘perfect use” of abstinence.

    • Just wanted to add to this. I had the copper IUD put in after the birth of my second son, and it was painless. I’ve heard it hurts far more if you’ve not given birth.

    • I will second all this as well – except for the pain part. I did have Mirena put in after my first child so that probably made the difference.

      And my periods used to be so bad that I would have to stay home the first day and now they are very very light and painless. I am probably going to have it out soon to try for another child, but I will absolutely be putting it back in afterwards.

      • Seconded, hurt like a bitch to get in (whereas the copper iud did NOT, I have had both). Caused like 20lbs weight gain which melted off when I got it removed and slightly more yeast infections (but not as many as with the copper, its something to do with the strings).

        My period stopped entirely but I would spot blood whenever and at really irritating times. Good form of birth control, but I went back to the copper.

    • Mirena SERIOUSLY changed my life by stopping my periods.

      TMI info: My periods were so long (eight days) and heavy (new pad each hour for first three days) that I had anemia for 15 years. Couldn’t do BCP because it severely aggravated my depression. Not only do I no longer have to plan everything based upon proximity to a bathroom, but without anemia I was finally able to start exercising without always being out of breath.

      That said, I had a friend get it who had the opposite reaction to Mirena: near constant bleeding. So it really depends on the person.

    • Oh. My. God. Getting the Mirena inserted hurt. FWIW, I’ve never had kids, so take that into consideration when considering the stretching ability of my cervix. Because my overall experience with the Mirena was so positive (and I apparently had first-time Mirena insertion amnesia), I ended up getting a second, once the 5-year time limit with the first one had expired. With both, the insertion process was so painful that I passed out and had a seizure. (Note: I have epilepsy and have a history of having a seizure after fainting, so the seizure thing likely won’t happen with other folks.) However, when my doctor told me that I’d likely experience “some pressure” during the insertion process, he proved his ability to lie.

      Once it was in, though, my periods stopped entirely. I was in a monogamous relationship and did not use condoms, and had no birth control issues. My sex drive did suffer, though, to the point where I had the second one removed prematurely (which also hurt, quite a bit). If you’re lucky enough to not deal with the sex drive side effects of the Mirena and have a cervix that is less sensitive than mine, though, I recommend it whole-heartedly.

      • Oh man, seconding both of your points! I’ve never had children, and getting the Mirena in hurt so much that I almost passed out. No seizures (no history of them either), but I got cold and clammy and my blood pressure dropped so much that they made me lie there for a while and gave me juice before I felt up to leaving.

        I actually got mine out after just two years (and yes it hurt, but I felt more prepared), even though it made my periods pretty much stop after a few months of light spotting and it was nice not needing to take a pill every day. Problems:

        -My libido, which before then had been very high, dropped pretty low.
        -Certain positions hurt that never had before.
        -I got pretty bad constant acne, which I never had during years on the pill.
        -While I didn’t miss the cramps, it was pretty weird not having a period and I sometimes wanted more reassurance that I wasn’t pregnant.

        It’s been about 5 months since I got it taken out, and my skin is finally much clearer and I’ve liked getting my cycle again (despite the cramps and blood). The sex drive is also starting to come back. Everyone’s different, but personally, taking a pill every day has been very worth it for me to feel more me again.

    • Completely agree with you, Allison.

      I have had the Mirena IUD for about a year now. I needed a different form of birth control.. I did NOT want to get pregnant and the various pills I had been on were causing really scary changes mentally/emotionally and physically for me. Unfortunately (like some posters above mentioned) there were SO MANY horror stories from women who have had either IUD inserted. I was terrified!! But, I decided to go with the medical information I read instead and went for it! I’m so glad I did!

      It is extremely painful to have the IUD inserted, especially if you have not had a child before (this means your cervix has never had to expand therefore causing more pain, like in my case). I made the poor choice of having it inserted the day before the 4th of July. I had waves of very painful cramps for 3-4 days and was spotting for about a week. From then on I only had cramps and bleeding once a month on a regular schedule. After about 4 months I stopped bleeding completely (yay!) and now the only sign of my “period” is a sour mood and some occasional cramps.

      I LOVE the Mirena IUD and suggest it anytime I get into a conversation about contraception!

  3. Awesome! My IUD is in the mail so I can get it put in next week!
    I decided to go with the marina – its the 5 year hormone releasing kind. There was another non-hormonal releasing kind that lasts 10 years.
    I talked to a few of my friends, and they said that they liked their IUD’s. My friend who was using the marina wanted to have kids, so she got it popped out and it didn’t take long at all before she became pregnant.
    Another friend went with the 10 year non-hormonal because the marina’s releasing hormones messed with her moods.
    Both said it hurts going in, but it doesn’t hurt to get it taken out.

    If I remember next week I can post if it hurt or not lol.

    • I just got my IUD in yesterday. It hurt. A LOT. a lot a lot. like it feels like the worst cramps ever x10.
      They didn’t offer to give me anything, they just said “well, when you’re ready you can leave”
      I took some ibprophen when I got home, but it hurt for a good 2-3 hours after. I woke up this morning with no pain, and it only hurts when i move around or sit funny. But it doesn’t hurt that much. I also don’t feel sick. If I do get any weird symptoms I will come back and post them, but I have a feeling it will be smooth sailing from here.

      I have never had kids, and she said it went in fine.

  4. I got the Mirena IUD placed after the birth of my son 5 years ago. At first, it seemed like a really great deal. My midwife assured me that unlike birth control pills, I would not experience side effects associated with systemic hormones. Over the course of these 5 years, I gradually started experiencing some very vague symptoms. I was always exhausted and started needing to sleep 12-14 hours every night. I had a fog over my brain that I couldn’t shake (like pregnancy brain). I started getting ovarian cysts a couple times a year (painful!). I couldn’t lose the last 15 lbs of pregnancy weight. These symptoms were getting more severe as the years past. My midwife assured me it had nothing to do with the IUD. Well, I got that IUD out about a month ago. Since then, my sleep is back to 8 hours per night and I wake up feeling refreshed. My brain finally feels normal, and I have lost some extra weight I’ve been carrying around. Maybe there’s no connection, but I swear there was. After doing a bit of online research, I have found that I am not the only one that feels this way.
    On the plus side, I didn’t have a period for 5 years! woohoo!

    • I had the ParaGard copper IUD and had an experience somewhat like that. I read about the side effects, but I was having some hellish problems that weren’t listed anywhere. I told my gynecologist what was happening, and she said it was unrelated to the IUD. I had her take it out anyway. Funny: I never had the symptoms before the IUD, and I never had them again once it was removed.

      There are more horror stories than positive ones out there, and I’m not going to share my horror story because it’s not a typical reaction. Just know that insertion does hurt no matter what, but if it works well for you, it’ll be great. If not, have it taken out.

        • I haven’t had children and have a very small uterus. I’ve attempted to get a ParaGard put in TWICE. Both times did not work since the device was the exact same size as my uterus, and the doc could not get it to go all the way in.

          Let me be blunt: It was the most intimate pain I’ve ever experienced and it was so bad, I had to have my partner come with me for the second attempt to drive me home. Uncomfortable to me is stubbing my toe, or slamming my shoulder into a door because I didn’t look where I was going, or getting a pap smear. This was pain.

          However! I am a small percentage, and what you experience will most likely be not be what I experienced. I find it a bit rude to disagree with what someone else finds painful. My 5 on a pain scale might be a 10 on yours, or vice versa. For the IUD, it DOES matter whether or not you’ve had children, and your situation will always be unique to you.

          I still desperately want one though, since I cannot use any other forms of hormonal BC. For more info, I found this LJ community here to be very kind and informative: http://iud-divas.livejournal.com/

          • I think what enchanted was disagreeing with was “Just know that insertion does hurt no matter what,” since it’s not an absolute requirement/inevitability that insertion will be painful. It could be anything to nothing, crampy, slight pain, or very painful.

            Your friendly neighborhood sex educator

    • everything you described is actually a really common reaction the mirena! i know tons of people who had the same reactions! i know someone else that suffered from major depression from it too.

      • I felt great after having my first baby, no baby blues or anything. At 6 months post-partum I got a Mirena and slowly fell into a depression. Went on anti-depressants. Decided to have the Mirena removed and switched to copper. Depression symptoms eased up and I went off the pills. Started to lose weight. Decided after another year to get pregnant again. Had the copper IUD removed (ouch) and 3 months later (no charting or anything, just occasional sex) I was pregnant. This was after 4 years of continuous IUD use.
        Pros of Mirena: no pain, no cramps, hardly any period (1-3 days of light spotting)
        Pros of copper: no hormones
        Cons of Mirena: hormones caused or contributed to depression
        Cons of copper: heavy long periods each month (7-10 days of heavy bleeding) and pain with removal.

  5. Not my personal experience, but two good friends have used them. One has had hers for 4 years and loves it, tho recently started to experience period-like symptoms (spotting, cramps, acne) again recently. The other friend had hers for a few months and was completely miserable the whole time (agonizing cramps) then it ended up starting to migrate or something like that so she had to have it removed (surgically even? It was something awful, sorry I don’t know the exact details). I have a kid and the doctors really push IUDs and birth control every time I see them. But I have been using Fertility Awareness Method for 2 years since my daughter was born with nothing but great things to say about it. I’m not always meticulous about it, but we do plan on having another kid so pregnancy wouldn’t be a huge deal if it did happen. I have really hated all forms of hormonal birth control. I understand why people use the IUDs but at this point I’d rather get pregnant than get my uterus punctured (it’s rare I know, but yikes!)

  6. I had the copper one (Paragard) for about five years. I loved it at first, though it did hurt like anything going in. I think I actually kinda went into shock after – I slept in the car the whole way home, and felt really really out of it, and all I took was Advil. Some bad cramping at first too. After that first day it was fine. I was weirded out at first too, but the pill was making me depressed, so I was ready to try anything. No issues at all until about a year ago, my period suddenly started getting worse and worse until it was like two weeks long and super heavy and I decided I just couldn’t deal with it anymore, and chose to have it removed. I’m bummed because now I’m back on the pill – feeling better than I did before, but still not entirely myself. Even though I ended up taking it out, I still believe it’s a great option for people, and if your body doesn’t react like mine did eventually, it can last about ten years, or less if you choose, so it’s a great long term option. As far as wrapping your head around it, I got all freaked out about it, but I felt better when I learned that the copper simply makes your uterus an inhospitable environment, making it next to impossible for a baby to even start.

    Best of luck, I think it’s worth trying, and it bought me five years hormone free!

  7. I had the Mirena for a little over a year. At first, it was great. After a while, I started getting random pinching cramps that werent quite painful but were really annoying. Just to be sure, I went into my doctor to have it checked out and sure enough, the damn thing was imbedding itself (which can cause permanent infertility which is NOT ok with me!). So it was removed and I will NEVER go back to an IUD again.

    That said, I know that IUD’s work great for some people and mine was just one case.

    • Can you please elaborate on the “random pinching cramps”? I got these quite often f0r several months after having the IUD inserted, and still get them infrequently (about once/month or so, though not on any schedule). I also have a rather small, tilted uterus which made insertion complicated, according to my OB/GYN who has inserted thousands of these things . Should I be concerned about imbedding?

  8. Pre-kid I used Nuvaring (not covered by insurance but I liked it better than a daily Pill). Post-kid I used Mirena and have loved it (and covered by insurance). No distinct period and worry-free BC. Just had it removed to work on kid #2! It was uncomfortable going in but easy coming out. I was able to lose all (and more) of my baby weight.

    • I currently use NuvaRing–as a heads-up for anyone considering it, my insurance DOES cover it now–though previously it wasn’t covered. Personally, I am quite satisfied with it (I had considered IUDs, but am glad that I went with NuvaRing).

      Before NuvaRing, I’d tried pills (worked well, but it was annoying having to take yet another pill every day), and spent a number of years on DepoProvera (which worked, but left an uncomfortable lump in my arm for days after getting the shot AND it largely killed my sex drive and dried me out, sorry TMI). If I were to have to change for some reason, I wouldn’t go back to Depo, and probably wouldn’t go with pills. Maybe an IUD.

      I’m also considering the Fertility Awareness Method so I can cut down on my use of medications. (Not the same thing as Rhythm Method)

      • I really really liked the NuvaRing. I loved not having to remember a pill (I’m on thyroid meds which have to be taken alone, so I take those first thing in the morning when I wake up and have to remember the pill an hour later… Tough thing for me.)

        My partner however is, ahem, endowed, and he DIDN’T like it. It would freak him out when he’d feel it. He’d even stop mid-act and be all, “What’s that? Is that the ring-thing?” What the hell else would it be? Haha

        I just got off the pill and we’re going to start trying this summer, but I was considering an IUD post-baby, so this is good to read.

        • I used the Nuva ring some years ago and also found I didn’t like it during sex. I’m fairly sure it gave me a UTI the first week I had it. I solved the problem by removing it before sex. You can just give it a quick rinse and reinsert afterwards. You do need to remember to put it back in though! It doesn’t effect its efficacy to take it out for short stretches of time.

          • I currently use the nuva ring (and have for years now) and love love love it. I considered an iud but am a wimp and was scared off by horror stories on the internet (uterine wall perforation,….). I piggyback my nuva rings, using them continuously for 4 months at a time, which was actually suggested to me by my dr and a public health nurse and it’s been great. three cheers for light periods 3 or 4 times a year. I do take it out during sex because we both feel it, but that’s the only issue i’ve had personally. For me it has been a great alternative to an iud, I only need to remember once every 3 weeks, and can set it and forget it. Every body is different so good luck making your choice.

        • I was on NuvaRing for years and loved it for all of the reasons everyone’s listed. I switched to Mirena three years ago because it was going to be way cheaper for me in the long run. I picked Mirena because it’s supposed to make your periods less painful, while the Paragard sometimes has the opposite effect.

          I…definitely had one of the less fun insertion experiences. Turns out I have a very sensitive vasovagal nerve. There was Xanax. There was sobbing.

          It took me a long time (over a year) to get settled with it. I had a mini-period for months, and random cramps (some very bad) for quite some time. But I suddenly had many fewer headaches – apparently the hormones in the nuvaring were triggering them, and the mirena’s weren’t strong enough – so I think the overall pain level was a wash. Three years and I get a little mini-period once a month or every two months…I miss it, really. I feel like I’ve lost a way of keeping time.

        • You can take the NuvaRing out for … a couple of hours? Something like that. Definitely check the specific length of time, but certainly long enough to have sex, if having it in there bothers you or your partner.

  9. I tried to get one almost two years ago. made the appt went and I was told my cervix was too tight so I’d have to make another appt. that cost LOTS of $ for a failed attempt. they have me a pill to take before my 2nd appt (found out later it was the abortion pill) to relax my cervix. it made me crazy loopy. I ended up cutting my hand badly and I had absolutely no clue-was that outta it! at the doctor they tried and instantly was woken up from my daze. my cervix was too tight still and I couldn’t stop crying. it was insanely painful. this 2nd appt cost over $200 again and failed. it just wasn’t meant to be. I would never try again.

    I now have the implanon in my arm and I like it. it’s good for 3 years. it did bruise my arm at first and was slightly uncomfortable for a day or two but nothing bad. I forget it’s there most of the time. after years of the pill it’s nice to just forget! oh and no period. yay!

    I will add that I haven’t had a child so I’ve heard iud’s are tougher or more painful if you’ve never been thru that.

    no clue how to link-sorry! but this is where I got info about iud’s and implanon. http://vaginapagina.livejournal.com/

    • I love the implanon when I had it except that I had hair loss from the ‘surgery’ (just some shock- it grew back in and my hair was back to being thick). I also gained some weight, but otherwise, it was great.

      Turns out, though, that hormones and I react badly to each other. I just thought I was an angry person… now I need solutions that are not hormone based 🙁

    • I went straight from shot to implenon and love it! I haven’t tried and IUD and never would personally, as every person I know who’s had one ended up having it imbed in them and each had to have an emergency removal. I don’t wanna go through that, so I’ll keep with my arm implant – best birth control I’ve ever used.

    • The drug your dr. gave you to take is Misoprostol (brand name is Cytotec). It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and yes, is used as one of the drugs in a medical abortion. The main way it works for IUD insertions is that it softens the cervix. Many providers insist on having the patient take it the night before and morning of, because it makes insertion that much easier.

      Your friendly neighborhood sex educator

    • I had the Implanon for 3 years. I had a tiny bit of bruising but it was a walk-in, walk-out no big deal kind of technique. I never noticed it or remembered it was there except every time I went “OH MY GOD DID I TAKE MY PILL!?” and then sighed because it was alllllll covered. I only stopped using it when I decided for other reasons not to use hormonal birth control.

    • I have the implanon as well since I havent had kids yet. I have had mine for 2.5 years and its due to come out this September. Im trying to decide if I want it to again, or want to try something else. I have loved it, though for me it hurt a lot when it was put in my arm. It is fun to show off though, people love seeing it or touching it in my arm haha! Im a little scared about having it come out because of the pain…

    • I’ve had mixed reactions to the implant, as I bled for 2 months after, bled after sex for the two months after that, and now have sporadic but very painful and long lasting periods. It’s probably just me and hormones, but I thought I’d share.

      I also want to warn that the coils can fall out if your womb is too small. Painful, but simple to have removed, but it means I am stuck with the implant.

  10. I had the Paragard put in when I was allowed to after having my daughter. I didn’t want to take hormones orally and I didn’t want hormones in my body at all. I also wasn’t as sure as I am now about having only one child, so I wanted something that could be reversed. The other options were permanent for me or my husband and we weren’t ready for that yet.
    It didn’t hurt too bad, just cramping when it was put in. And my periods were heavier, longer and more painful when it was in. But, after a few months, it worked itself out of my uterus, down where I could feel it poking out of my cervix. It had to be removed. I, along with the doctor, decided to try placement with an ultrasound the next month. Same symptoms, cramping when it went in, not bad. Heavier, longer and more painful periods and again, a few months later, it came out with the doctor’s assistance. I suppose my uterus was not a friendly environment for the IUD.
    We’re back to fertility awareness and condoms. I’d like to not have to worry about it, so we’ll be looking into more permanent options when we can afford it.
    The IUD is different for everyone. I’ve heard that it’s the BEST and on the other side of the coin, though rare, that it’s caused a lot of pain and even perforation. Talking with your doctor can help, as always – your mileage may vary. 🙂

  11. I’m going to try being very honest, without sounding like a horror story, lol. I got mine placed when my son was nine months old, and I was 17. I almost fainted when it went in, but that’s normal. Cramping, bleeding… all normal. I started getting pains in my arms and legs, difficulty breathing, dizziness, heart palpitations… you name it. I talked to my doctor, who simply said it couldn’t be the mirena, and I was too young to have these symptoms.

    I talked to some people online, and found that my experience isn’t uncommon. Turns out, I had barium poisoning. Mirena does contain barium, though they insist it’s safe. I don’t live near any plants, I don’t use heavy cleaners. There is no reason I should have barium poisoning, except mirena.

    Other people have had different issues. I had my mirena taken out five months later, after struggling with every doctor I found, and having them refuse to remove it. It’s also good to keep in mind that Bayer, the company that manufactures mirena, has a long history of controversies and issues.

    I personally (not counting online) know three other girls who had it. One loved it, one had some mild side effects, and one ended up being hospitalized from it. So, there are good stories, but I couldn’t possibly recommend it to anyone.

    • Woah! You’re right in that serious complications and side-effects can definitely occur. But what really terrifies me are these doctors that refused to remove it!! Even if they think know for a fact that your symptoms were unrelated to the IUD, they have no right to force you to keep something in your body. Super unethical behavior.

      Your friendly neighborhood sex educator

  12. I had a paragard (copper) and loved it. Loved it. I had no problem getting it in (of course, I did it pretty much right post baby, when everything is a little loosey-goosey in there anyway) and, while my periods were heavy and uncomfortable, my periods are always heavy and uncomfortable. I never felt it, my husband never felt it, and I never had to think about hormonal anything.

    I had it removed about 5 years later because I was getting a little mid-cycle spotting and I’m a worrier, so every month that freaked me out, even though there was no real reason for it to bother me. My periods are now actually much worse and much longer than they were even with the IUD (ah, the joys of aging).

    Because my periods are so unpleasant (7 days, anyone?) my doc has suggested the mirena. He said about 1/4 of women have long term light spotting, 1/2 women have a very light intermittent period, and 1/4 have no period at all with it. Then there’s always the chance of hormonal skin and weight changes, but you don’t know what those are going to be. I’m on the fence.

    If you’ve been on the pill and haven’t minded the hormones there, I can say that having an IUD is so much easier. You don’t have to think about birth control again, once you get used to it.

  13. I’ve had the Mirena for four years now, and it’s the BEST THING EVER. I literally haven’t had to think about being pregnant for four years. It hurts to get it put in, but as far as I’m concerned that’s a far better thing to experience–I’ll take two seconds of searing pain and an afternoon of cramps over five years of trying to remember a pill and pregnancy scares any day. I also basically have no period. Which is surprisingly great. Every once in a while, a woman will say something to me about how annoying periods are, and I’m like “What? Oh, yeah, those.”

    I had the Paragard for two years before I got the Mirena, and it sucked, actually. I liked that it was an IUD and I didn’t have to think about it, but I was having terrible, terrible cramps every month. So bad I spent days in bed. They kept telling me my body would get used to it, but two years in, it still hadn’t and I couldn’t take it anymore. I switched to the Mirena and now I never plan to use any other birth control ever.

    Also, the reason I had the Paragard instead of the Mirena at first is that I cannot handle the hormones of the pill. It made me so depressed that I would make a joke, my husband would laugh at it, and then I would spend two hours crying about why he hated me. I was scared of spending all the money on the hormonal IUD, only to have it affect my mood. But it hasn’t. I still even have a monthly hormonal/mood cycle even though I don’t have periods. I seriously couldn’t be happier with that.

    • That is awesome to hear! My story is similar- 2yrs of Paragard, horrible cramping that never completely went away, but I loved the lack of hormones as bc pills made me uncomfortably moody and depressed. I’ve had a Mirena for 3 weeks, prescribed for endometriosis that was unmanaged by the hormone-free IUD. I’m glad to hear yours has not been mood-altering, as it was my biggest concern in getting the new IUD!

      • I also has severe endometriosis, I’ve had both the paragraph and the mirena. I HATED the paragard, heavy bleeding, horrific cramping, I lasted a yr and a half on it before I had it removed.- worst thing ever. I tried the mirena, LOVE is an understatement!! Kept it the whole 5yrs, spotted maybe twice a yr, no cramps, no mood swings & I just had a new one put in, cramping for a week & then done. The has been my cure for the endometriosis, but like everyone is works differently for each person.

    • I had a similar experience, the ParaGard was awful, the Mirena is treating me well.

      -insertion wasn’t that bad. Mild cramping. Had sex the next day and was fine.
      -severe, painful breast swelling. I would inflate literally two cup sizes overnight and it didn’t stop until my period started. It’s possible (but we can’t confirm) that I was getting pregnant every month and then miscarrying.
      -bizarre rash that followed my lymph nodes, started the day after insertion
      -cramps that got WORSE over time. It got to the point where I was taking 50mg of ultram and was still doubled over in bed.
      -saturating super plus tampons in literally 30 minutes
      -zero sex drive
      -the string was sucked up into my cervix, so they has to manually dilate me and take it out with forceps.
      -I. Gained. So. Much. Weight. So fast.
      -My partner kept getting stabbed by the strings

      I know the ParaGard has no hormones, but biochemically estrogen and copper react in your body in similar ways. Something in it caused havoc in my body. After I had it removed, my vasovagal response was going off for about a week. I also had severe, sharp pains in my cervix for about 1 1/2 years. Within two months of it coming out, most of the weight has come off, and what hasn’t is because OMG I love food and don’t care about vanity pounds anymore.

      -insertion sucked, but took literally 20 seconds.
      -severe pain the first day. Bloating like nobody’s business for one week after, but then it went away. When I say bloating I mean two pants size/ring didn’t fit bloating. But it only lasted a week.
      -Had it done on a Friday and was able to return to work Monday, but I needed the weekend.
      -Sudden and severe cramping the next week for 48 hours. The mirena makes your body SHED that uterine lining. The worst cramps were always when clots are coming out. Otherwise the spotting is so light I don’t even need a liner, and there is no cramping.
      -got HUNGRY the day before I was due to ovulate. Voraciously hungry. Famished dinosaur hungry. Also had this on the mini-pill, so I’m just planning around it from now on.
      -4 weeks later: spotting, cramps I can deal with. Absolutely no systemic effects except that my migraines are gone and I’m a bit calmer.

  14. I have the Mirena, and I love it. I had it put in about 10 weeks after delivering my baby, and it went in very easily. I had some bleeding and cramping afterward, but now I feel great. One con is that sometimes the string works around during sex and can be a bit pokey for my husband, but I can easily adjust the string and then it’s all good. I would totally recommend it, as long as you’ve discussed it with a healthcare provider you trust.

    A friend who hasn’t had a baby also has one. She found it quite painful to have put in, but she managed and felt it was worthwhile. Her’s is non-hormonal as she had problems with the pill, and she has had no problems with her IUD and loves it.

    • Complete TMI question, but..is it easy to adjust the strings? How far “up there” are they? You’re supposed to check once a month to make sure that it is still in…is that difficult? Even that squicks me out.

      • I’ve heard mixed things. I never felt the strings at all. My GYN checked them at my annual appointment and said that was good enough. I’ve heard of others feeling them kind of up like a tampon. I’ve heard in very rare cases that an IUD has fallen out and the person didn’t know, but I’m pretty sure I’d notice if something metal the size of a penny showed up in my underwear or the toilet bowl, even if I didn’t feel it.

        • I’m so glad to hear this – I got the Paraguard 7 months ago and have never been able to feel the strings. I think I have a high cervix, though – when we were doing fertility awareness I could never feel my cervix to test whether it was “soft” or not. Maybe that’s why it resulted in me getting knocked up.

      • The length of the string depends on how long the doctor leaves it after insertion. They put the IUD in and then snip off the excess string, leaving some to come out of the cervix. My doctor said she left about four or five centimeters, that way it comes out of the cervix and sort of curves back up along it. The string is sort of like fishing line, so yeah, a bit pokey if it points the wrong way. I’ve found it very easy to adjust with my fingers when it points downward. I would say that the idea is weirder than the reality, it hasn’t bothered me.

  15. I have a tilted uterus, so (overshare) my cervix is located about four inches into my vagina, juts out about two inches and sits perpendicular with the ground. So I’ve done a lot of looking into IUDs specifically for women with cockeyed cervices. I have absolutely no personal experience with them, I can just share what I’ve read. And it’s worth noting that–everyone’s cervix moves! Some women reported that their usually straight cervix had tilted a few degrees on the day they went in for insertion/removal. It happens!
    In terms of insertion, my gynecologist was willing to level with me about the ease of insertion I’d see with my cervix’s opening, so it’s worth just asking (she thought my cervix opening was a gold star client for IUD. Great? Haha) Many women with tilted cervixes have reported that their gynecologist actually physically moved their cervix into position for insertion, which reporters say ranges from “no big deal” to “OUCH OUCH OUCH”.
    In terms of removal? That’s where I hear the most complaints. Depending on the tilt of your cervix/uterus, your gynecologist may be coming at it all wrong to try to remove it. They’ll work comfortably with you to try to get it out, but several women have shared that they actually had to come for several tries at removal at different parts of their cycles. I’m not sure if it’s true, but there seems to be a slightly high incidence of the strings slinking too far in with tilted cervices. That usually just means a little extra fishing to try and remove it.
    Another issue is the string. For copper IUDs, the string is quite soft and shouldn’t be an issue for anyone. With Mirena, however, the string feels a bit like a fishing line or something. If it’s cut too short, it could be a like a little bristle coming out of your cervix. My gynecologist seemed confident that it wouldn’t be an issue for me, but this definitely gave me pause.
    In the end, the anecdotes I read online just made it seem like IUD was a poor choice for me–my birth control pill has been working fine (and is now free,) so I didn’t feel any need to make a change (especially since my insurance was only willing to cover 20% of the IUD cost.) It’s important to note that I read a lot of stories from women with tilted uteruses/cervices that were glowing, so so in love with IUD, so don’t let me dissuade you! It may be a totally awesome choice for you. I’d just have a serious heart-to-heart with my gyno first.

    • I have a retroverted/tilted uterus and having an IUD taken out was not painful at all! In fact, I hang out in circles (online and offline) where people often have IUDs, and I’ve only ever heard people say that removal was super easy and painless. And retroverted uteruses are very common!

      That’s not to negate people’s experience: I’m sure plenty of people find it uncomfortable. But plenty don’t!

  16. I have had the Mirena IUD since Sept. 2009. I have been very happy with it. I was on the pill before that and was very good about taking it but the idea that I could not worry about taking the pill for birth control was very attractive to me. I had cramps in the beginning but I figured it was just my body adapting to the UID. I don’t normally get cramps. I still get some spotting for my period but nothing that is really worrying me.

    My insurance did cover it. It did hurt going in but I took a nap after and was ok. Granted I had to teach that night so I really did not have a choice but I was fine the next day. I also have not had a kid before so I am sure my cervix was tight but my doc was still able to insert it. The funniest thing about that experience was I was sitting at an OB/GYN office waiting room surrounded by pregnant women. I was happy no one asked me why I was there. 😛

    I did ask my fiance if he could feel it during sex. He said he could but it didn’t bother him any. Honestly the ability to be have spontaneous sex and not worry about birth control has been worth the small discomforts.

    I will be getting out before the 5 yr expiration date because I am getting married this fall, and we would like to get pregnant in the spring/summer of 2014. So we will see how that goes.

  17. I feel like everyone I know has ’em, but mostly the copper one to avoid hormones. The main complaint I’ve heard from them is “period wonkiness, and heavier periods at first.” They seem to love ’em though.

  18. I’ll add another data point and say that I had a Mirena put in after having two kids (I may have a 3rd, not sure) and while it hurt (not worse than childbirth by a long shot, more like a really intense menstrual cramp) for about 30 seconds, it was more or less over after that. I was woozy (again, probably shock) for another minute or so after that, but other than that I was fine. I went to work that afternoon with a heating pad at my desk and it was really no big deal. My first period with it lasted two weeks, just to warn you. The last one (I’ve only had it in for a couple of months) was more normal, but I hear that with time they almost stop altogether. I’ve had no issues, was worried that I’d come across the string at some awkward moment but I haven’t.

    But when my mother heard about me getting an IUD, she freaked a little. I think she remembered the Dalkon Shield affair, and I had to explain to her that that thing had a bunch of pretty stupid design flaws and that Mirena has been used for years in Europe without incident. Related to that, here is a really good article I read when I had the Mirena inserted: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/07/ff_iud/?pid=6094

  19. I have had Paragard (the copper, non-hormonal one) for 6 years now. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I’ve never had a baby, so it took 3 (!!) tries to get it inserted (three separate appointments!), and it was definitely painful every time. My periods are now slightly heavier and more crampy than before, and they last about a day longer, but it’s a small price to pay for non-hormonal birth control that my monogamous partner and I can enjoy. (I have really bad migraines and other issues that make hormonal birth control totally not an option.) He can’t even tell it’s there, and I’m happy because I don’t spend every month paranoid that I could be pregnant. I can’t recommend it enough!

    • That’s funny because for me I get migraines if I don’t take hormonal birth control! I’m glad it works for you, though.

      For others with hormone-related migraine issues: Ask your doctor about taking your BC pills continuously or even only taking 3/7 placebos and starting the next pack early. A nurse practitioner with a gyn specialty told me to do that once, and IT WAS A MIRACLE. Because she worked at a university and had a gyn specialty, almost all she did was deal with birth control. Ask your doc for their opinion on this, but it was a lifesaver for me!

      • It depends on whether you have migraines with aura (tunnel vision, numbness, other neurological symptoms). If you happen to be one of those “lucky” people who does, HBC is Not A Good Idea because it can trigger more migraines, raise blood pressure, and your risk of having a stroke is greatly increased. If you have PMDD and migraines with aura, you’re pretty much screwed in terms of treatment… not that I would know from personal experience or anything *sigh*

          • TMI warning, and I stress that this is my PERSONAL experience of PMDD: It’s full name is Pre-Menstrual Dysphoria Disorder. For me, it’s getting neurotic and completely disassociated from reality the week before my period, crying for 5 days straight, feeling like someone I love has died (as in, that level of sorrow, not actually thinking someone’s dead who isn’t), strange sense of time passing, exceptionally painful and heavy periods, etc etc, I literally only take birth control to keep my PMDD at bay. Basically, wondered if it was depression for years but it came and went so quickly that it didn’t really fit any pattern for depression or bipolar (it’ll literally be the 5 days before I start) and eventually I found out that it’s PMDD, it’s a thing, and it is DEFINITELY NOT PMS. It can be managed and I would urge anyone else who feels like this to go and see a doctor and tell them that you suspect PMDD as it literally didn’t occur to my doctor until I told him about it, he thought it was depression. For more info, put it into a search engine. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for this. I was starting to wonder if ANYONE had a good experience with the copper IUD. I’m going to talk about it with my doctor next month because the hormonal BC has been wonking up my moods, my libido and given me terrible migraines that were only getting worse as the years went by. Even nuvaring wouldn’t do.

      I’ve be BC free for 3 months now and everything has been getting back into shape. No more headaches! But my partner and I do worry about pregnancy risks with using only condoms, so we’re looking for options.

  20. I had the Mirena for about two years. I was not handling the pill very well and a friend had had an IUD and loved it, so I suggested it to my Doctor. At the time they didn’t recommend it for anyone who had not had a child yet, but due to the severe reactions I was having on the pill they agreed to go ahead and approve the IUD.

    It hurt like a mother going in. The doctor had told me that I should be able to return to work and that ibuprofen would work for the pain. Uh-uh. I had crazy uterine cramps that left me in tears for about a week afterwards. Thankfully my mother took pity on me and gave me some of her Vicodin for the pain!

    For the first month or so it kinda sucked. I was still having some mood swings, and my sex drive suddenly died on me, but eventually my body adjusted to having it in there and things got a lot better – the mood swings went away, the sex drive came back. They say when you have it in that your period could disappear on you – that definitely happened to me. Even though I knew the IUD had a high rate of effectiveness, I still would take a pregnancy test every other month or so – just in case. The only other downsides to having it was that I developed some severe acne, I gained weight (which could happen with any birth control), and developed a bit of a smell down there – something no one else noticed, but it bothered me. Plus it kept poking my husband when we had sex.

    I eventually had it taken out due to the fact that my Husband and I were getting married and wanted to start trying for a baby immediately. I think if I ever get an IUD again I may try Paragard since it’s hormone free. However I have had other friends who have the Mirena and totally love it though.

      • The strings can poke, but it would be very unlikely if it were poking the vagina-owner. More likely it would poke the penis, and it shouldn’t hurt you in the sense of serious pain after the penis withdraws. Most men don’t feel it, a smaller percentage will feel it but not mind, and a very small amount will be bothered/feel pain. This is rare, and honestly has more to do with the sensitivity of the penis than the strings themselves.

        How providers cut the strings make a big difference, so make sure to talk about that before you’re in the stirrups.

        Your friendly neighborhood sex educator

        • I’ve had my Mirena for 2 years now and the first 6 mos were most annoying in terms of “pokey strings.” However, after that point, they seemed to soften up and curl around my cervix, so much that I can’t even find them anymore (my OB-GYN can see them though).

    • The poking, this is my fear too. I tried the nuva ring for 2 months and it suuuucccckkeeeeddd for me because it hurt like hell during sex. I know of other woman who had it add extra fun friction to it.

      I am afraid to get one and the strings will hurt me.

    • I’m curious about the smell you mentioned. I had a Mirena IUD inserted just over a month ago and have noticed a stronger smell than usual from down there. I’m debating making a dr appointment to ask about it. I feel very self-conscious and if it is the Mirena causing the smell may opt to have it taken out.

  21. I have the Mirena and I love it… No period for almost 4 years now, it gave me my 5 years to think about my family decisions. I have one child, thinking about another but didn’t want two babies at once! There was some pain with insertion, but I would still recommend it!

  22. I had the copper IUD (Paragard) inserted after having my son. I loved it at first, especially because it was a hormone free option, but after a while I was convinced that it was screwing with my body. It was impossible for me to lose weight even eating completely clean and exercising regularly. I was constantly tired and just felt sick in general. I stopped liking the idea of something unnatural inside my body. I pulled it out after 8 months and I’ve felt so much better since then. I’ve lost 80lbs and have so much energy. We stick to condoms now. I won’t get an IUD again, I am not a fan.

    • I had a similar experience. I had lost about 70lbs a year prior to deciding to have an IUD inserted, then I had paraguard inserted a month before my wedding. It hurt, but I figured it would since I don’t have any children. Nothing unbearable though. Soon after the wedding I started lifting weights and completely cleaned up my diet. I noticed that I had plateaued, and wasn’t losing any weight at all, but I thought that maybe my body was happy where it was, and I was getting stronger, so I didn’t worry about it to much. Over the last year and a half that I had the paraguard in my weight started to climb. I gained about 10lbs that I couldn’t shake no matter how clean I ate, and no matter how much I worked out. Not to mention that it was super frustrating and depressing to work so hard and see absolutely no results in a years time. I had no sex drive, and my period was super long (like 8 days) and really heavy.

      It was great as far as not getting pregnant. It worked well for that purpose. But right before getting it removed I started getting my period every two weeks, and at 8 days long a piece, I got sick of that pretty quickly. I decided that it was time to get it removed, and since then, I have lost 5lbs and my period has gone back to a normal (for me) cycle of 5 days, with only 1 being heavy.

      For me, I decided that I wanted to take better care of my body, and that meant removing the IUD. I eat clean, and exercise regularly for my health, so I wanted to start fresh with no artificial pill hormones, and no IUD. I’m using a diaphragm for birth control now, and it works fine for me.

  23. I have Mirena. I had incredibly bad cramps after insertion for a week that came in waves – so bad I had to grab onto something to not fall. But since then everything’s been golden. I don’t have periods, it doesn’t poke my fiance, and no babies.

  24. I had Mirena for 5 years. Had it taken out, got pregnant, and had another one put in when my baby was 8 weeks.

    The first time I had Mirena inserted, it was painful. They had offered me prescription pain killers and I had declined them. Take the painkillers. The second time I had it inserted, I didn’t even notice it at all. I guess that soon after childbirth, anything else seems easy :D.

    I love being on Mirena. I have hormone-induced migraine with aura, and when I’m on Mirena I don’t get periods. No periods = no migraines. Although once a month, I’ll still break out in acne and get bloated, like I’m pms-ing. I don’t ever worry about getting pregnant by accident, and I know if we want a second, I can just have it removed and we’re good to go.

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