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 had the copper IUD (no hormones) on three occasions (pre-kids and kid spacing). It is, by far, the only form of birth control I would go back to. I had NO problems, easy periods and once it was in, I totally forgot about it.

    When we decided to try to get pregnant, I just made an appointment to have it out. Easy.

    My only warning – when I had it inserted prior to having given birth – IT HURT! After a couple of vaginal deliveries though … it was nothing.

  2. Not an IUD…but another option for you.
    Implnad (not sure of the spelling)
    It’s a small flexible rod that’s put in your arm. It’s good for 3 years, has the lowest form of hormones on the market (breast cancer history…yay) and it’s super simple to put in. (Haven’t taken it out yet)
    Overall, I love it. I call myself the Implnad pusher. It’s less time then the IUD, there’s nothing in my uterus (which freaked me out) and it’s (to my knowledge) the only birth control that completely stops ovulation. Which was important to me for personal/religious reasons.
    Bonus: After one weirdly long (like 3-4 weeks) period, my period stopped completely. Which, yes, freaked me out at first, but you get used to it. No cramps!
    So…if you’re looking for a Pill alternative, but you don’t want to go the IUD route, talk to your Docotor about Implnad. 🙂

  3. I had a copper Paragard for almost three years, and didn’t handle it well. Insertion was quite painful, but the procedure was very brief and smooth. I had horrible cramping and bleeding for most of a year after insertion, which eventually settled down to spotting for about half the month and a continual low-grade discomfort. I had it removed when I re-entered the dating pool and didn’t want to worry about the strings damaging condoms, and was amazed to realize how much it had been contributing to a general sense of ickiness. I’d gotten used to the constant discomfort and the altered smell/taste of my vagina, but I felt so much better after having it removed. Mirena (hormonal IUD) may be a better choice for me, but I tend to have negative reactions to hormonal birth control (pills, rings) so I’ve been afraid to drop hundreds of dollars on something that might have to come right back out.

    I have endometriosis and no children, so your mileage may vary.

    • Ask your doctor about a birth control pill with the same type of hormones as Mirena first. From my limited knowledge of pharmacology (thanks grad school) and my own personal experience, women tend to be sensitive to different types of progesterone. (Not hormonal birth control is created equal- it’s not only the dose that differs but the actual form of the hormone. Science.) It’s not exactly the same, but I am trying Levora birth control pills since they has the same type of progesterone as the Mirena IUD. Hopefully this will indicate whether i can tolerate this particular progesterone (levonorgestrel). This pill is not exactly the same, though, because it is systemic and also contains estrogen.

      • I’ve been playing the trial and error game with my birth control pills because of this difference in progesterone to find one that works for me. So I definitely agree that if your doctor can find one that’s similar, you’ll be more likely to find the transition comfortable.

  4. I had a Paragard IUD for about four years, and I think it’s a really fabulous and underrated form of birth control. I went off the pill due to horrible side effects (daily brain-splitting headaches), so I wanted to avoid anything with hormones. Plus the idea of the Mirena eventually stopping my periods was not appealing – I need that monthly assurance that I am not, in fact, knocked up! The insertion process definitely hurt, but I was mostly back to normal by the next day, with just a bit of period-like cramping.

    The IUD did make my periods heavier and more painful, especially at first, but overall the downsides were minor compared with what I experienced on the pill. It took me a few months to get over the fear that it would fall out or otherwise malfunction (you can check the strings that protrude slightly from your cervix to make sure it’s still in place), but then, I am extra crazy-paranoid when it comes to pregnancy.

    I can’t speak to the removal process, because I had mine taken out while I was under general anesthesia getting my tubes tied.

  5. I had the Mirena put in 5 months ago, and I love it! No more pill and barely-there period. Also, I found my libido had dropped to almost nothing on the pill, and its come back to something closer to normal within a week off the pill.
    The procedure:
    They gave me a pill for some kind of stomach syndrome that gets placed in the vagina about 12 hours earlier to dilate the cervix. It causes some mild cramping.
    I tried it first with the baby doctor in my GP’s office. She tried to put it in, but she was kind of aggressive and sloppy, and I hadn’t been told to use the pill early enough so it hadn’t started working. She stopped and told me that I just couldn’t use it till after I’d had a baby.

    I went to the sexual health center to try again. I had a kind doctor with lots of experience who got it in. It still hurt a lot – like the worst cramps you’ve ever had x5, but the worst part only lasted a couple of minutes. Then I went home with a hot water bottle and a box of donuts, and relaxed my way through a few hours of lesser cramps.
    It was worth it, but only because it lasts for 5 years. If you’re only using it for one year, it might not be worth the pain.

  6. Thank you so much for posting this question and all these answers! I’ve been debating Mirena for a year or so now because I’ve become really bad about remembering to take my pill. I’m done having a monthly freak out session waiting for my period to come thinking about how I can afford a second kid.

  7. I had the Mirena put in while I was having surgery, so I got to miss all the fun of insertion, and other that spotting really regularly for the first 2 months, I was dandy. I am one of the very few people who still get their period while having it in, but they are super light and come probably every 2 months, I’m a huge fan.

  8. I had the Mirena inserted in 2009 (no previous kids) and it did hurt like heck the first day. After that the pain was nothing. I had some regular spotting for the first 3 months and then my period went away altogether and like many of the previous women stated, so did the horrible, make-me-throw-up cramps that I would usually get.

    My insurance (PacificSource) DID cover it completely as birth control (only paid the $25 doctor visit copay), so make sure you check your plan. But either way, the savings on pads and tampons alone would make up for the cost eventually!

    Also, had it removed recently, and am currently pregnant! I will definitely get another one after this kiddo arrives!

  9. First, some preliminary stuff: I have had really unpleasant reactions to all the birth control I’ve tried. I can’t use the pill because any of the versions I’ve tried have given me daily migraines, vomiting, and cramps. I’m allergic to latex so most diaphragms and cervical caps are out. I’m allergic to spermicide so foams and such are also out. I’m also allergic to copper so Paraguard was out. Also, I had been pregnant before, but lost both pregnancies before the 2nd trimester so the doctor said my uterus hadn’t really stretched so it was like putting it in someone who had never been pregnant.
    I went to my OB-GYN just to discuss birthcontrol, mainly because my parents (I was 22 at the time) were worried that condoms weren’t enough. The ob-gyn really pushed me towards a more permanent form of birth control, which looking back at it seems to be more about her not liking the fact that I was young than anything that had to do with my specific situation. Anyways, they suggested Mirena. I was worried because of the fact that hormonal birth control has been bad for me before and made sure to tell her that and ask lots of questions. She assured me that I wouldn’t get the same problems and would be fine.
    I went and had it put in, and like everyone else has said it hurt, badly, but only for few minutes, then it was just cramping the rest of the day. The doctor told me to expect up to a month of light bleeding and cramps and to call if anything was wrong.
    After about a week I was really sick of bleeding all the time, but stuck with it. But I started getting migraines really often again, 5+ days a week. I gained about 30 lbs, all in my stomach, which is not where I usually put on weight, I started getting nauseous all the time, and I would not stop bleeding or cramping. At 1.5 months I called and they checked me and said everything was fine. When I told them about the migraines and such I was told that it couldn’t be the Mirena and that I should see a neurologist. I started having really weird mood swings, not just depressive ones, but scary angry ones. I started looking online and found a whole bunch of women who had similar problems with Mirena, and even people who claimed it made them infertile. Add this to the fact that at 3 months I was still bleeding every single day and cramping all the time, I wanted that thing OUT. I noticed a discharge one morning and call the ob-gyn, they brought me in and said it couldn’t be the Mirena, but I told them I wanted it out. Everyone fought with me about it, the nurse, the OB-GYN, I felt like they cared more about either the Mirena or me staying on birth control than the fact that I hurt and was scared and wanted it out of my body.
    They finally took it out when I got very firm about not leaving till it was out. The bleeding stopped in a week, as did the migraines, I stopped gaining weight, although I’m still trying to get my body back, the mood swings stopped, and the cramps did too. Upon doing more research I found a physicians pamphlet on Mirena that listed my side effects as possible ones (even though the OB-GYN said they weren’t), and found another study that showed the levels of hormones in the blood with Mirena were the same as with the pill (which my OB-GYN had also said was impossible).
    Beyond the horrible treatment by my OB-GYN, which caused me to never go back, I was really unhappy with Mirena. I felt the advertising and information that was given to me was misleading. I know it works really well for some people, but the hormones in it just wreaked havoc on my body.

  10. I had the Mirena IUD for about 1 year. It was great for about the first 9 months. I started getting recurrent infections 3 rounds of Bacterial Vaginosis, Yeast Infections and UTIs. We could not figure out why. I tried all sorts of antibiotics and probiotics. I could not shake the feeling that it was my IUD. I did a little research online for Mirena IUD and infecions. Lo and behold, multiple women have experienced increased infections with the Mirena IUD and have had their doctors insist it could not be from the IUD. Whatever. When I insisted on having my pulled, turns out it wasn’t in very far/deep in my uterus. The gyno said “well maybe that’s why you kept getting BV.” The Mirena IUD makes the mucus around your cervix thicker which bacteria thrive in. Ever since I’ve had it out, no problems.

  11. I’m about 6 months into having ParaGard (the non-hormonal IUD available in the US right now) and I love it! I was totally ready to get off the pill, because I don’t like the idea of being full of hormones…and, honestly, I prefer the idea of a heavier period to the idea of not having one at all (or having a really irregular one), which is what they said to expect with Mirena. So far, I’ve been really lucky. My period is extra heavy, but pretty regular, and with my DivaCup, it’s super manageable. I had some nasty cramps the first month or so, but didn’t even need to take an ibuprofen this month, so my body must have adjusted!

    And I love that it’s just *in there* and when my husband and I are ready to start trying to get pregnant, we just go to the doctor to have it taken out. Also, no worrying about having to take a pill is like magic for me.

    • I should add some more details, given the other things in discussion:
      1) My doctor prescribed me misoprostol (a cervix-softener) and valium for the insertion appointment and vicodin for the aftercare, so my experience was relatively un-traumatic. I’ve never been pregnant, so she wanted to be extra gentle with my cervix 🙂 That’s not to say it didn’t hurt, but it was way less-bad than it could have been. And during the recovery and adjustment, I only have taken like three of the vicodin–which she gave me enough of to get me through a couple months of bad cramps, if necessary.
      2) My doc didn’t emphasize “checking the strings”, but I do reach up and make sure they’re still there after my periods. Mine are kind of curled around my cervix, so they’re not dangling down at all. Like someone else said, there’s NO WAY I wouldn’t notice it coming out, so I’m not worried.

    • I have had the Mirena IUd for 3.5 years now, and will be having it taken out next week Wednesday and a Copper IUd inserted. Mirena is like hell for me, extremely severe migrains, when i hardly every had a slight headache prior to the insertion. Like most women, no doctor really agreed with me that the mirena was causing it, untill just yesteday. I saw a new doctor yesterday and as soon as i told her my symptoms and that i had mirena, she quickly said yes its the hormonal side effect, even though, i have been asking several different doctors untill this point, and all saying “no how can something down there, be affecting your headaches etc etc”. She said i can change over to the copper one, and will prescribe some tablet to help with the removal of the extra hormones in my body now. I have not had a period for over 3 years now and scared about having heavy periods after the copper insertion. Hope i just return to normal with normal periods.
      So, just wanted to say i think everyone’s body reacts differently, but when you start to feel side effects just don’t allow doctors to not believe you, if you don’t feel well don’t let it affect your life. I wish i had it removed as soon as my migrains began and not suffered for 3 years. Oh well, better now than never i guess.

  12. My experience with the Mirena IUD is what finally convinced me that hormonal birth control is not for me. I’ve had issues with every hormonal birth control method I’ve tried (pill, patch, NuvaRing, depot shot, and Mirena.) I had no problems when I got the Mirena inserted (about 4 months after my son’s birth at the urging of my midwife) other than some mild period-like cramps the first day or 2. I also had no pain or discomfort when I got it removed 2 years later (except that apparently the removal wasn’t covered by my insurance so I’m out $400 for something that took literally 3 seconds at my regular gyno appointment) A few says after I got it taken out, however, I started feeling really wonky. When the “off ” feeling didn’t go away after a few weeks, I Googled. Side effects of Mirena removal and discovered that not only were a lot of other women experiencing what I was at that point, but that a slew of other problems I’d been dealing with for the past 2 years were commonly experienced by women who had the Mirena IUD, most notably that I had zero sex drive and that I’d been unable to lose even one pound since giving birth. I know the Mirena and other hormonal birth control work great for some women, but I’m done messing with my hormones.

  13. I’ve had a Mirena IUD since December. I second the comments about the insertion pain. That sucked. And for about two months after I had ongoing spotting, which was annoying. But that has calmed down. I still get my period, but it’s much lighter.

    The strange thing that happened with mine was that the strings somehow got all twisted around each other. I had the IUD checked to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong. It was in the right position, so working okay. My doctors said they hadn’t seen this happen with the strings before and they gave me a few options: Leave it alone, it’s working and the strings aren’t going to cause a problem as long as it’s not uncomfortable for my partner; They could try to untangle the strings but that would risk dislodging the IUD, making it more likely to come out accidentally; or take it out and insert a new one. I opted to leave it alone.

    Overall, I’ve been happy with the peace of mind it’s given me.

  14. I got a small copper IUD back in December, after deciding that I’d had it with the mood swings of hormonal BC, and we didn’t want to rely on condoms alone for the next three years while I’m finishing uni. The first doctor I talked to was a little hesitant about the fact I’d never had children, while another doctor said she highly approved of it for any woman who hadn’t given birth but wanted to give it a go.

    It took probably about half an hour to forty-five minutes to insert because my cervix was so tight; my boyfriend came along to hold my hand and distract me, and then help me on the mile walk home. Insertion did hurt, and I was fairly crampy afterwards, but I’d still rate it less than other things I’ve had done (pilonidal cyst was definitely worse).

    My first period had a lot of painful cramping; I normally only have twinges for half a day, and here I was camped out on the couch with a hot water bottle for a couple days. The cramping got progressively better with each period since. Now I’d say I have a bit more cramping than I used to, nothing a bit of ibuprofen doesn’t fix, and my period has gone from about 4-5 days to about 7 days. I’ll have random twinging on random days in the month, but my nurse last week told me that’s still to be expected.

    The one thing I was concerned about was the very slim chance of causing infertility, so I had a good long think about that and chatted with my partner. We came to the conclusion we’re just as happy adopting as having bio kids, so it wasn’t a big enough concern to keep us from choosing the IUD.

    All of that is very worth not being on hormonal bc, wondering if I’m overreacting from a mood swing, watching my weight go up, etc etc. Also, I’m kind of weird in that I emotionally understand what the IUD is doing to prevent pregnancy, rather than ‘magical’ hormone pills (both my sister and I were conceived on the pill, which probably helps fuel this).

  15. I got the copper IUD, Paragard, “installed” this past December. I chose it because I’ve had bad experiences with the pill before, and did not want to mess with hormones anymore. I’ve never had kids, and am finishing up my 2nd year in a PhD program, so kids are not an option anytime soon. The insertion was the single most painful experience of my life to date, which is certainly saying something. If they offer you an anesthetic, take it!!! I wish my doctor had offered painkillers for after – I think my body was in shock!
    Anyway, I started bleeding once I got home and it lasted for an entire month straight. My cramps are worse than they’ve ever been, and my flow is heavier, but other than that there’ve been no effects on my cycle. My husband can’t feel the strings, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I don’t have to worry about remembering anything, and it’s good until 2022 if I want it that long! I have a friend who started on the pill recently, and I don’t envy her at all – never going back there.

  16. I had intense cramping with Mirena, something I don’t have with any other birth control. My favorite is Implanon. It’s an implanted device they put in your arm, so it has the same benefits of an IUD (length of working, no worries) without the cramping or the strange wires sticking out of your cervix.

  17. I have a paraguard copper iud. I eally didn’t want to mess around with hormones so paraguard made the most sense for me. I have had it for 5 years and love it. Full disclosure insertion was very very painful. I also had heavy cramping and bleeding the day afterward that required a return visit to the doctor. I don’t think it’s that bad for most people but that was my experience. I definitely had heavier periods with more cramps for the first year, they are still heavier and crampier than before the paraguard but totally tolerable (I was a no cramp person before the iud). Other than that I haven’t had a single problem with it and forget its there 95% of the time. I love the iud for what it does but I’m becoming more uncomfortable with a foreign object in me and have plans to have it removed later this year.

  18. I got the Mirena in December and at this point am considering taking it out. I know most people have a great experience with it, but sadly I am one of the people who appears to be very sensitive to the hormone used in it.

    Insertion was really easy and didn’t really hurt at all (I got it inserted mid-period, so no need for dilation drugs), I did get a lot of cramping with it for a couple of days but nothing a bit of advil couldn’t handle. The first month I spotted basically every day, nothing serious or heavy though, mostly just irritating.

    I had a month of great, no thought, easy-peasy birth control. Then last month I noticed my anxiety levels skyrocketed through the roof, I have anxiety anyway but this was 10x worse. Constant, stomach wrenching anxiety about totally irrational fears. I found myself depressed, unenthusiastic about work, separating myself from the outside world, etc. I also started to have crazy mood swings, it was like PMS to the max, I cried about EVERYTHING.

    And then, I got my period and was totally normal again for about 4 weeks when it all started over again. And again. I’ve started to track my symptoms and noticed that I only get these issues the week before my period, once my period starts, I am totally normal again.

    It’s a bit disconcerting to not really be in control of your own thoughts and emotions, so I did some research on Mirena. Something that was not discussed with me by my doctor was that women with a history of depression and anxiety (aka. me) should be cautious about using Mirena because it can start again with the use of Mirena. I have also discovered that there is some beginning of research into insulin resistance worsening with Mirena, which can aggravate certain symptoms of PCOS (which I also have). So far I think it’s pretty inconclusive, but I’m not sure I want to put my body at more risk than I already have.

    There is also a risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, an irregular PAP smear and ovarian cysts. Things I wasn’t aware of when I got the Mirena placed. I don’t think that would have changed my mind in the beginning, but it is something that you should be aware of. Also, many women find that when they get the Mirena removed they get a “crash” of sorts where their body is lacking natural progesterone resulting in depression, anxiety, etc.

    The trade off? It is easy birth control. My last period lasted 2 whole days, I don’t get severe cramping from my period anymore, I actually get a period, and I really don’t worry about birth control anymore.

    I’m going to try and wait out 10 months or so to see if the anxiety and depression worsens or gets better. It could be just a matter of time to see if things even out, but I do know that I can’t keep going crazy every month.

    If you get it, I really hope it works out for you.

    • While I have never actually had an IUD, I had very similar mental issues when I first started the pill (Seasonique). Looked it up and found out that it was a rare side effect for people already predisposed like with Mirena, but most accounts I read online said that it subsided after 3-4 months. I really wanted to try and make it work, so I stuck it out. Fortunately I did even out after about 3 months and my moods/emotions/mental health went back to normal. It just took my body a little while to adjust to the hormone levels, but once it did everything’s been fine. I’ve been on it for just about 6 years straight now and have had zero issues since the first few months. I don’t know if the hormones in Seasonique are similar to those in Mirena, but just wanted to chime in.

  19. 35 years old, never been pregnant, and on my second Mirena.

    I got the first one in Dec 2007. My OB/GYN’s office required me to come in ahead of time for a consult since I was (am) nulliparous (never given birth). I am pretty sure they do NOT require that any longer, but it was a good chance for me to ask questions while I still had pants on. They will schedule appointments with either a midwife or an MD for an IUD insertion, but recommended that I specifically book with an MD so I could get a cervical block (i.e. numbing of the cervix). They also recommended 600 mg of ibuprofin ahead of time.

    I’ll be honest, the first insertion hurt. I apparently have a lip at the top of my cervix that made insertion a little challenging. After about 5 minutes of trying, the doctor asked me if I wanted her to continue trying and to dilate my cervix further, or if I wanted to try again the next month and they would give me some cervix-softening drugs ahead of time. I figured I was already there, so had her keep going and it finally worked. My uterus does not like being disturbed – Pap smears and bumping the cervix during vigorous sex with give me a mild cramp or two – so I was definitely sore and crampy for a couple of days, and I was very light-headed after the insertion. Luckily I had planned the appointment for a Friday afternoon and basically spent all weekend chilling on the couch with a heating pad and candy.

    For about the first 2-3 months I had spotting every day (doc said it was normal) and still had period cramps every month. After about 6 months, I didn’t get a period again until I’d had the IUD for maybe 4 years, and it’s only a little bit of spotting for a couple days. I use a pantiliner and that’s it.

    Fast forward to Feb 2013. I got the first Mirena removed and a second one inserted on the same appointment. Since 2007, my doctor’s office has started giving all IUD patients a dose of misoprostol ahead of time (if you want it). Misoprostol is a “cervix ripening” drug, which basically just makes your cervix easier to dilate/open up. They pulled out the old one (only time as a woman I’ve ever heard “turn your head and cough!”), did a quick STD swap (I’ve had multiple partners recently, and as the midwife said, if she’s down there already, why the heck not), and then they inserted the new IUD. I still have a lip at the top of my cervix so it was still a little bit of manoeuvring, but nowhere near as bad as the first insertion.

    I remembered my light-headed reaction from last time and made sure I had breakfast and ibuprofin ahead of time, and I took juice, a giant Rice Krispie treat bar, and a book so I could just chill in the office after the insertion. The midwife and nurse were very cool with that plan, the nurse just checked back on me every 10 minutes or so to make sure I was ok, and I left after about half an hour. Went home, took a nap, and was really only sore for the rest of the day. I have not had any bleeding or spotting since beyond my usual 2 day period.

    Cost wise, it was $70 total in 2007 ($30 for the Mirena, covered by my prescription insurance; and 2 office visits at $20 copay each). This time around, it was a grand total of $15 for the office visit copay – Mirena cost was completely covered by insurance. Different insurance companies, as I’ve changed jobs since 2007. If you are in the US, definitely check with your insurance company because I believe IUDs are now part of the covered birth control due to “Obamacare”.

    TL;DR – I flipping LOVE my Mirena!

    • I missed the window during which I could edit this, and just noticed a pretty egregious typo up above. It should state that I got an STD *swab*, I did not actually *swap* STDs with anyone. Yikes!

  20. I have the flexi-T 300 (Canadian version of the copper IUD) and I LOVE it. LOVE. No hormones at all! I don’t get all crazy/bloaty/ginourmous boobs! I didn’t get the Mirena because it’s linked to weight gain, and as a recovering anorexic, the risk of a massive uncontrollable weight gain just seemed like a bad idea.

    I had some bad cramping for about a week after insertion, and my menstrual cramps were maybe 20% worse than usual for the first 2 months, 10% worse than usual the 3rd month, and are basically back to normal– actually, a bit better than normal– now (after 5 months). My ovulation cramps are very slightly worse than they used to be.

    The IUD makes my periods heavier but shorter– I figure having something in the uterus makes the lining shed a bit quicker somehow.

    I love it. Sex anytime, no babies.

  21. I had the Mirena inserted about three years ago. This seemed like the perfect solution for me- no more pesky pills, no cost for those monthly pills, high probability of little to no period, lasts 5 years. And I was totally cool with a tiny object inside me. Science! Turned out this was NOT the option for me.

    My OBGYN doc told me that I’d be “a little crampy” after getting it in. This was an understatement. It hurt. Bad. It immediately caused bad cramps and I was hyperventilating from trying to breathe and almost passed out! And while I had been told I could walk out of there, I ended up calling my husband to pick me up; there was no way I could take the subway home!! A nurse had to escort me to the lobby.

    Little to no period? None! Check. That was about the only benefit. Since I’d been on one pill my whole adult life (from 18 until 32), I didn’t realize I was getting benefits from the estrogen. If I’m remembering correctly, the Mirena has a very low level of estrogen (or pnone at all. I think it’s only progestin.) and it turns out I need that. My usually blemish-free skin started to freak out and my skin got oily! Body hair started getting um, more substantial. I basically felt like my body was in revolt since I’d taken the estrogen away!

    In conversations with friends and other docs, I think the pain level that comes with insertion is higher in women who have not had kids. Clearly, we have not seen as much action down there! I think it’s a great solution if you’re already on a low-level estrogen or estrogen-free form of birth control and have had kids.

    I, too, now use NuvaRing, but I’m considering either going back on the pill or “tying the tubes” for good! It’s my preferred method now, but it’s too expensive!!

  22. I had the copper IUD after I gave birth to my son. It was totally painless, as I had a vaginal birth. It’s a really excellent option for women who cannot use hormonal birth control. (The copper IUD has no BC in it, just copper.)

    I had it removed as I have endometriosis and it turned out that I NEED hormonal BC to control the symptoms. But I’d recommend the copper IUD to anyone at all. It’s totally worthwhile.

  23. I got a Mirena in grad school, mostly because I couldn’t really afford the copays for Nuvaring at the time. My insurance fortunately covered the whole thing. It was great for about four years. No problems, and basically no periods at all (which was awesome). I got it out when we started to talk about kids, so that I could track my cycles for a while before we got down to babymaking (then the thermometer broke and I got pregnant. Ha.) No Rx to fill, nothing to forget to take, perfect. Doesn’t work for everyone, but I have lots of friends who have them and LOVE them, and I had a good experience.

    In general I give it a very positive review, though I didn’t get another one after my son was born. I’d planned to, but my midwife couldn’t do the insertion herself at my post partum checkup and I would have had to schedule another appointment, and now we’re thinking about kid #2 relatively soon anyway, so it’s not worth it. (I’m back on Nuvaring, which I can now afford.) But when I’m done babymaking I’ll probably get another one (if we don’t go the vasectomy route).

  24. No personal experience, but I’ve had two close friends get IUDs. Both had them removed shortly afterward. One got hives from some kind of reaction to the copper. The other found out that her boyfriend could actually feel the wires in her vagina during sex, and that they were uncomfortable for him. Not a broad sample but 0 for 2 is bad odds.

  25. No personal experience with the IUDs, but I have a good friend who has an IUD (non-hormonal, she can’t handle hormones, and I’m about 80% sure it’s a Paraguard) and she swears by it; she and her husband have no children and don’t want them, so it’s been a good solution for her.

    Her best friend from college got an IUD at the same time as her, though, and it “fell out” at some point by accident. She and her husband have a darling little boy now, which is at least a testament to the fact that you *can* get pregnant right after its removal.

    I’ve been using Nuvaring for a few years, since my incident with Yaz (blood pressure through the roof), and it’s been a really great solution. I need a low, steady dose of hormones to treat my PMDD, and this has been the perfect balance for me….and I’m oh-so glad that my insurance finally covers them partially. If you’re like me and have issues with pills, but aren’t ready for an IUD, I highly recommend talking to your doctor about Nuvaring.

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