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 have had Mirena for almost 5 years now. It will be removed in July, which I’m a little scared about but I have A LOT of friends that have it (that have had kids and have not. Note: I have never been pregnant). My experience with getting it put in was that it wasn’t too awful (take some OTC pain killers though…most docs tell you to). The awful came later. I had horrific cramps that sent me to the hospital. They prescribed me prescription pain killers, which I had to take semi-regularily for 3 months. They told me that while the pain was not uncommon, it is not unheard of. I’m the only person out of say about 10 of my friends that have had such pains. I had slight bleeding/periods for about the first 3 months. From 6 months in until about 4 months ago, I had no periods or pain. In the last 4 months I have had cramping and some spotting. Also, it seems my PMS has increased (my poor partner! haha).

    All that said, pretty sure I’d do it again if it didn’t cost so much. I do plan on getting it after I have kids. I just don’t feel like going through all that again with having to have it removed about 2 years later to have kids! lol

    • O and I have anxious depression that through help from doctors, I have discovered that increased estrogen makes worse. So Mirena with it’s progesterone only is incredible! And a lot better than the pills that are so touchly with having to be taken on time!

  2. I have paragard, and I LOVE it, despite its many challenges. I was on the pill for years, and once I lost my health insurance it got too expensive. Plus, I had noticed that my sex drive had dropped down to nearly nothing, and lo and behold, once I stopped taking the pill things got much better.

    Anywho, I can honestly say the insertion was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Not so painful as tearing my ACL, but yeah, really intense. It didn’t take too long, but I was really working hard to manage the pain the whole time. I will say, however, that the doctor who did it for me said that I seemed to be having a much harder time of it than many women shed done this for, so it’s likely that my experience isn’t going to be everyone’s. I went home and curled up with a heating pad, some ibuprofen, and some cookies, and I felt much better in a couple hours.

    My period went INSANE. I have never had rough periods. A few days of being stressed, a day of cramps or so, and that’s it. Post IUD, eight full days of INTENSE bleeding, lots of pain and sensitivity, and a RAGING libido. (That part I don’t mind.) Plus, I now only get my period every six weeks. Don’t get why, but it’s like clockwork.

    Unfortunately my body rejected the iud after a couple months, possibly because I was using a mooncup, though my doctor says its equally possible that my body just spontaneously expelled it. I got a new one, and I’m using sea sponges for a bit.

    So yeah, it’s been a rough ride. But, honestly? I still LOVE the IUD. I never have to think about it, it’s non-hormonal which is not depressing my libido, and my period, though INSANE, is like clockwork. Plus, my insurance covered it, and now I won’t have to pay for anything for over a decade. So yes, IUDs have their challenges. Bring someone with you to hold your hand and coddle you after. Rest after. But for me, it was just soooooo worth it.

  3. Mirena love!!! I got it a little over a year ago…I think I’ve had 3 periods since then? It’s ridiculous. It’s perfect. In a PERFECT world it would also help adult acne more, but as it is not yet a perfect world I just had to go to a dermatologist. But yeah, I’m in a long term relationship and a baby would not currently be the right direction for us, and it’s really great not having to worry about that.

  4. I’m now on my second Mirena and I love it so much! Insertion at Planned Parenthood was pretty easy, I spotted a lot for the first few months (along with enlarged boobs and a lot of cramping, so basically several months of PMS), but my periods ceased almost completely after the first year or so. It’s great and I’ll keep using it until I’m either trying to get pregnant, or hitting menopause. (I’m child-free, fyi.)

  5. I am currently on my second Mirena IUD and have had no issues with it. It hurt quite a bit when inserted, but after that tender first day, I was fine and after a few weeks of light spotting, my periods disappeared completely. I opted for Mirena because I heard the Paraguard can make your periods worse. I just had my second one inserted last week, after baby #3 and plan to keep it in until we are more comfortable saying that we are absolutely finished having children and hubby gets snipped. It’s hard to say if Mirena was the reason for my mood swings/weight gain the first time around, because I was in a bad point in my life and not taking care of myself. So far, I have not noticed any issues this time, but my circumstances have changed drastically and I don’t foresee any issues. It is covered by Medicaid in my state, and so much easier and dependable than anything I would have to remember to use. My first daughter was the result of a broken condom, and my second was the result of forgetting to take the Pill on time every day. I’m just not comfortable sticking something up there myself and trusting it. I’d rather have the doctor do it so I know it’s done right!

  6. I’ve had a Paragard for a little over a year now with no problems. I’ve never had children so there was some pain when I had it put in. The reason I got it was because regular birth control wasn’t working for me, I had the NuvaRing for 4 years and would often forget to take it out; with the IUD I don’t even think about it. I do have a bit of a heavier period and some minor cramping now but that isn’t anything some Midol doesn’t fix. I highly recommend the IUD to anyone who is considering it, I’d rank it as one of the top decisions I’ve made for myself.

  7. I just got the mirena installed last week. It was the most painful vaginal experience of my life. However, it was only like a 10 minute procedure. I went home, had horrible cramps, ate my weight in ice cream, and then fell asleep. Next day I was totally fine. I had some bleeding, but it stopped after a day. No real side effects yet, but I do feel like my libido skyrocketed. Best of luck!

  8. I had paragard for a few years. I worked at PP at the time and it was free, and a bunch of girls in the office had them. I liked the idea of being hormone free.

    I found it very painful having it inserted. I had brutal cramps for two weeks.

    Two years later, I started having unbelievable bleeding episodes. Huge clots of blood were coming out. I was alarmed, so I went to the doctor for ultrasounds and whatnot. There was nothing wrong except my IUD was falling out and causing all the cramping and bleeding. So they removed the IUD and that was that.

  9. Am nearing the end of Mirena #2, and couldn’t love it more. Used to have the Psycho Periods of Doom™ that lasted 10 days, and had me bedridden for 1-2 every month, even on the pill. After Mirena, no periods, no PMS, no freaky hormonal stuff.

    The insertion sucks. Not going to lie, it’s painful. A lot. Worst period cramps x 4 for a day. Hot bath, warm compress on the abdomen, and some painkillers, and it will be gone before you go to bed, and then you will forget about it for 5 years. Even still, couldn’t recommend it more highly.

  10. I have the non-hormonal IUD. Couldn’t feel it (besides it being a bit uncomfortable) when they were putting it in. Have had no problems since. My periods are a wee bit heavier, but nothing I can’t deal with. Only downside is I can’t use the diva cup, becuse I have heard that the suction can dislodge the iud. And I don’t want ANY more babies!

  11. When I was 20 I decided to get the Mirena IUD for a variety of reasons (sensitivity to certain condoms, normal HBC causing bad mood swings, I was in a monogamous relationship etc etc). My gyno is pretty progressive and had already suggested it in years past. I’ve never given birth and a lot of gynos will still (even though the technology is now advanced enough that it shouldn’t be a problem conceiving after removal) not give them to women who haven’t had any kids. The insertion was kind of scary, they numb your cervix a little and first they inserted something in to help open it up I guess and then they put it in there. I was super crampy for like a week and spotted a lot. And for the first few weeks after when my bf and I had sex- once or twice he said he got “poked” by the strings (it didn’t hurt him, he was just surprised lol). The strings do soften up pretty quickly though!
    I really love/d my IUD. I’m actually due to schedule an appointment for removal of it since I’ve now had it for the 5 years. I won’t be getting another one since I am not in a relationship or having any sex and honestly it’s expensive (the insurance I’m on won’t cover it and it’s around $400 I think). But if I were in a long term sexually active relationship I would def. consider getting another one.

    Oh and with the Mirena there was an added bonus: after your body gets used to it, sometimes you period goes away! I would have some spotting here and there but I can’t remember the last time I really had a for real period.

  12. Not only did my mother conceive me while having an IUD…
    …but I had a mirena for two years and had some crazy side effects including acne, depression/confusion, discharge, weight gain, constipation and complete loss of libido. These symptoms all disappeared a few months after having it removed. The depression thing is scary, especially since most places you look say it effects more than 1 in 10 people with IUDs. BE WARNED!

  13. I got the paraguard about 2 years ago and love it. I previously was taking the pill and had lots of trouble with depression and emotional fluctuations. I opted to get the paraguard to be hormone free and it’s helped immensely with my mood swings. I still have PMS but my overall mood is definitely improved.

    I did have to pay $50 to have it put in but my insurance covered the rest. There was a lot of pressure but I’ve never had a problem with it.

    Definitely recommend it if you aren’t planning on having children any time soon.

  14. I have a question – as someone who hasn’t had a period in a few years (currently on depo provera, and previously just VERY irregular) would the copper ParaGard IUD encourage a menstrual cycle? I see that almost everyone who had the ParaGard IUD said they had heavier and/or longer periods. For me, a heavier period would just be having one at all. After looking into it both here and other places, I think I really want the ParaGard, I’m just interested in what other people think (or if they’ve had the same situation as me!)

    • In a normal cycle, progesterone levels rise after ovulation. They drop at the end of your cycle, which triggers menstruation. Injections, implants, Mirena, progesterone-only pills, etc. work by keeping your progesterone levels up, which prevents periods and may also prevent ovulation. If you stop the injections, then your hormone levels will eventually go back to their normal cycles, regardless of whether you’ve got a copper IUD, and you’ll get periods again. If you continue with the injections, a copper IUD won’t make any difference (not worth the pain!).

      Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional! Just been reading a LOT about this stuff in recent months, trying to decide which method to try next (recently removed a copper IUD after 3 years due to hellish cramping & 10-day periods).

      • Thanks. I’ve been planning to switch from the injections to an IUD. I had just noticed many of the comments were about mirena reducing or eliminating menstrual cycles, and ParaGard increasing the intensity.

        I personally don’t WANT to have a period (who does? haha) but it would be good for my system and nice to know when I’m not pregnant lol

        I wasn’t expecting medical professionals, just someone with experience and/or general knowledge. Thanks 🙂

  15. most of time i forget my mirena is even in there.It’s been super convient.but the day i got it was really crampy. i hope it doesnt hurt much when it is removed in about a year.

  16. I have had the Paragard for a year now and I LOVE it. When I first went on birth control I used Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo. Over time that messed with my hormones. Then I tried FAM, which didn’t work. I then tried the NuvaRing but that gave me chronic heartburn so I stopped that after the 3 weeks and my heartburn went away instantly. So I did research on IUDs and decided to try Paragard since it is hormone free and lasts up to 12 years. It took a while to get used to it and I was freaked out at first. I still can’t use my cup during my periods because I’m paranoid that the suction will pull at the strings. But my periods are finally lightening up (they were super heavy and crampy for a year) so I’m happy with it! My doctor said that they are trying to do a study somewhere in Europe to see if it will last for 20 years so that will be interesting to find out. I’m good with my 12 year limit though. It’s really a heaven sent for me.

  17. I have PCOS & so have had to be on the pill since high school. Right before grad school I decided to get the Mirena because it seemed like the idea of not having to think about taking something during thesis time. It did hurt when it was put in, and I was definitely sore afterwards, but it wasn’t any worse than some periods I’ve had.

    When my first period with the IUD rolled around, though, whoah NELLIE! Worst cramps of my life, which ultimately let to my uterus EXPELLING the IUD partway. I didn’t want to pay the cost of getting another one inserted so I went back to the pill, which was a real ddisappointment; I so wanted the darn thing to work out!

  18. First IUD: a Paragard, inserted September of 2010, after many years of using oral contraceptives. It hurt horribly when it was inserted, but I had sex day-of and was fine. There was a lot of bleeding for the first month, some cramping, and then it was like I was just miraculously incapable of being pregnant.
    And then I got pregnant. Whoops! Took that IUD out, assuming I’d miscarry, and I didn’t.

    Second IUD: Got this IUD, a Mirena, six weeks postpartum. This time it didn’t hurt at all to insert; the cervix opens up after a baby. There was a bit of spotting for a while after, but I was also postpartum and everything’s a mess down there anyway. No hormonal issues or anything. Ironically one difference I’ve noticed is that sex hurts much less than it used to. Hm.

    IUDs have worked for me best as far as side effects go, but worst as far as efficacy goes. I’m just hoping this next IUD fails -after- I’m out of college…

  19. I’m probably seconding (or thirding or fourthing) comments before mine, but I only read the first page (and somehow still felt compelled to add my two cents…)

    I’ve had the ParaGard (copper, hormone-free) since six weeks after a C-section delivery (so, one year and ten months). No pain on insertion, heavy bleeding & mild cramps when menstruating (no biggie, in my opinion), only real concern is that the strings scratched my partner in certain positions until I reached in and “redirected” them behind my cervix. I’m not sure how they’re not still scratching him since there is generally cervical interaction during our interactions … but so far, so good.

    It did take me a little while to stop worrying (I understand the science, but srsly, how does this doohickey keep me baby-free??) and love the bomb, so to speak. But… I’m over it and no worries. I much prefer that there are no hormones floating through me (even low-dose pills made me inSANE!), and I like that it lasts ten years.

  20. I had my Mirena coil put in about 3 weeks ago. Despite having had abnormal cervical cells before, my GP ok’d it. I kept forgetting to take my pill and simply am not willing to get pregnant right now.

    Insertion, I won’t lie, was a small first-world form of hell. My blood pressure tanked and I reaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllly felt like I needed the bathroom immediately after, but had to wait. The fire alarm in the surgery didn’t help…

    A sleep and some painkillers later, I woke up feeling shell shocked but better.

    3 weeks on…I occasionally feel discomfort if I slump on the couch. My skin is suffering a little bit, but negligible really. I have shot up 8 lbs, but I’m a hog for snacks by nature, so hopefully it’s a question of balance. My partner is away so I have no sex experiences to report, although he lives in dire fear of having his member prodded by it. It’s worth noting that being upfront with your partner about foreplay could be a good idea. I asked my GP during my post-insertion check today to see if the strings were tucked in behind my cervix, because the last thing I want is for pre-coitus fun to turn into string entanglement and an awkward trip to the clinic.

    Also worth noting, my GP said to watch out for clots, because they can kind of carry away the IUD.

    Again, this is all very person-specific. Some people may feel nothing. I have a stupidly low pain threshold and my cervix is somewhat different after laser surgery for pre-cancerous cells. The post-surgery pain for THAT is the worst I have ever experienced ever and I have broken many, many bones in my time so I have a comparison or ten. So yes, it hurts, bad, but nothing compared to other lady part type issues. It certainly beats giving birth (I imagine) and every birth control has its issues. I was on Yasmin for 11 years and who knows, I may go back. But it’s a choice for now. Sometimes the motive is as important as the method…

  21. Wow! all these issues of pain, bleeding, acne, etc…! why do that to yourself? Natural family planning worked for me my entire reproductive life! No side affects! And my husband and I are happily married. Let me send you to the best website to learn NFP, northwest family services in Portland, OR.

    • Because fertility = high libido! I have never been willing to avoid sex during fertile times, so have used condoms or (more recently) a copper IUD so I get to play when it’s most fun! Sadly, the copper IUD didn’t work out so I’m moving to hormonal contraception, but it seems like an extreme act of self-control to avoid penatrative sex when the body most wants it.

  22. I just had my second Mirena put in at the start of the month, which is for the management of endometriosis and adenomyosis. Not sure if I have made the right decision yet but we shall see.

    Had mixed feelings about it first time around. Loved – no periods after 2 or 3 months, no constant worrying about

  23. I just had my second Mirena put in at the start of the month, which is for the management of endometriosis and adenomyosis. Not sure if I have made the right decision yet but we shall see.

    Had mixed feelings about it first time around. Loved – no periods after 2 or 3 months (big plus), no need for birth control (non-issue) and small reduction in pain symptoms. Hated – getting it in (needed local in cervix – ouch!), my partner sometimes got ‘caught’ on strings and it had a massive impact on mood.

    Had it taken out at last laparoscopy because of the mood side effects. However, have since been properly diagnosed with bipolar and am on mood stabilisers which we hope will help offset things. Only made decision to get it in again because I have no other treatment options left. At least I had it inserted via hysteroscopy under general anaesthetic this time.

    Fingers crossed it will make a difference.

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