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 a copper IUD for 3 years. Started out ok, and I LOVED the idea of non-hormonal, effective contraception. Insertion was no problem. They say that you’ll get longer or heavier periods at first but they should get better – but it was the opposite for me. As time went on, pre-menstrual cramping got more and more excruciating, and my periods got worse and worse. From a few hours of cramping and 3-4 days of bleeding pre-IUD, I was getting a solid week of cramping followed by 8 days of bleeding. When I had a 10-day period and realised I was anemic, I gave up. Currently giving my uterus a break (back to the 4-day periods! yay!) and considering getting a hormonal IUD…

  2. I was weirded out by the idea of having a Thing living in my uterus too, but my doctor had a “demonstration” Mirena sitting around the office and she let me play with it. It’s tiny and squishy and flexible (and dark green), which wasn’t what I pictured at all. That’s when I finally decided to get one.

  3. I’m a pretty healthy 27 year old who has never had children, and my natural periods are pretty normal (2-3 days of heavy flow, 3-4 days after of normal, 2-3 days of very light flow). I also have a history of depression, and I had to stop taking other hormonal birth control because it made things worse (acne, weight gain, mood swings, no libido, etc). After a long, in-depth conversation with the lovely people at Planned Parenthood, I went for the Mirena IUD and had it inserted last month.

    – It was definitely uncomfortable going in, but I was given a local injection to numb my cervix, so it was just some serious cramping. I was advised to take 800mg of ibuprofen an hour before my appointment and another round 4-6 hours later. It was very much necessary.
    – Cramping lasted a few days, as did the bleeding. I’ve got a sensitive cervix, so I wasn’t surprised that the bleeding lasted a little while.
    – After about a week, I felt a lot more normal. I was advised not to have sex for the first week to allow the hormones to kick in and let the IUD settle in.
    – My period was all out of whack for the first month. I bled from insertion for the first week, had a few days off, then had a period that lasted about 15 days. Nothing heavy or crazy, just normal flow for a few days, then really light flow for 5 days or so, then a couple of days with no bleeding before repeating again. Super frustrating, but it finally let up and has been normal since.
    – I have experienced a little cramping post sex here and there. Nothing severe, but I feel like I can feel it in there sometimes, especially if I have orgasmed or I’m near my period.

    I think everything will be fine in a few months. I’m keeping a close eye on things, but I seem to be doing fine on it. No crazy skin or weight changes, no mood swings, no loss of libido, so all is good for now.

    I think if you’re considering a change in birth control, you should speak to your OB/GYN at length about your options and concerns. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with, and be sure you keep an eye on yourself for changes or discomfort. What’s right for one person’s body is not necessarily what’s right for another’s.

  4. I got my Mirena IUD inserted at the end of January this year. I’ve never had children. During the insertion, I did have very intense cramping and intense cramping for the first few weeks. Then I had my period. The cramping was still intense and my periods lasted for approximately 2 weeks since your uterus is trying to get rid of the extra lining. After three months though, my periods have become normal and the cramping is gone. I don’t even have any cramping during my period!

    In terms of sex, I was told I could participate immediately after insertion; HOWEVER, I highly encourage everyone to wait about a month to let the hormones begin to circulate well in your system and within your uterus to acclimate to the IUD being there.

    The cramps as first sucked, but my periods are normal now, my moods during my period have evened out. I have a thyroid imbalance which also affects my reproductive hormones. I feel so much better! All my hormones have stabilized. I experience a little more acne, and my weight hasn’t really changed since I’ve had it. I love love love it, but I’m still keeping track of how my body feels and how my moods are over the next year or so to see if anything changes. I encourage anyone else who is considering one to do their homework and to make sure you’re aware of your body’s changes post insertion.

    I highly encourage it, even as a woman who has never had children, and especially if you have hormone imbalances.

  5. I’m on my second Paragard – the first one, years ago, was discovered by my doc trying to escape. Grr. That was an expensive few months of birth control. The one I’ve got now, knock on wood, seems to be hanging in there. I’m nulliparous (no pregnancies).

    Insertion hurt like a son of a bitch both times, cramping afterwards, and I about came off the table during insertion. Deep breaths and making the doc talk to me helped. Also I had a few months of hormonal mood wonkiness because of the switch from Nuvaring to copper IUD – B complex helped with that, though, and it’s leveled out fine. I have more cramps and heavier, longer periods now than I did on the Nuvaring. I’m happy with my choice, though.

  6. I had the mirena placed after my 2nd child. It was a nightmare. I bled for a solid 6 months. I stuck it out, waiting for my body to regulate. My hormones were a complete nightmare. My hair started to fall out. My skin was terrible. The IUD actually fell out at the end of 6 months. Insane. My body took a long time to recover from it as well. And because I also have an underlying autoimmune disorder I ended up having clots from the use of mirena and a possible mini stroke (all because of the interaction with my disorder, not from the IUD alone). For me, it was terrible.

    I have several friends though that love it, and have had it several years. I think this birth control is not for everyone and the only way to know if it is going to work for you and your body is to try it out. You and your body will know very quickly if it is not a match. Having it removed is a simple office visit.

    Good luck.

  7. I have had my IUD for over 4 years now. One of my main motivating factors was the effectiveness and hassle-free-ness of them. I also have had a lot of negative side effects from hormonal birth control, so I opted for the Paraguard.

    Aside from some slightly more intense cramps and heavier flows the first few months having it, it has been amazing. I forget it is there, it never bothers me, and over the suratio is so muc less expensive than other forms of birth control. It is also good for 10 years, so I can take my time and have kids when we’re ready.

    I would recommend and IUD to anyone, especially the hormone-free kind (My Doc said you can always take hormones if you need them for other reasons on top of it).

  8. I have the copper IUD.
    I love it.
    No hormones, no forgetting bc and then freaking out. My sex drive is back like before bc and no big side effects except bad periods and more cramping.
    I was in a bad car accident 2 weeks or so after insertion and it stayed in place.
    Only thing… I have never had kids and it hurt a lot going in. I ended up passing out and I’m a tough gal I think. But it’s 5-10 min of OOOOUCH then done. And I just learned if you do not tolerate insertion well you could go to a gynecologist and have laughing gas while it’s done. That was from a friend who could not get one at first because it hurt so much.
    I have tried EVERYTHING else and I am sticking with the copper IUD until I have all my kids then tubes tied. Definitely.
    Also it is effective immediately. My doctor said we were safe to get it on right away, she just wanted to leave the room first. LOL.

  9. I have the Paraguard and think it’s great. I used to have very light flow for 2-3 days and now I have med/heavy flow for 3-5 days. Other than that things are great! Paraguard can be used for up to 12 years before it needs to be replaced, and no hormones. It is a nice long term solution. I don’t plan on having children so it is also very cost effective. It will only cost be about $1500 to avoid pregnancy until menopause!

  10. I had the Paragard (copper, no hormone) IUD inserted about 8 months ago after almost 8 years of being on the pill. The insertion was uncomfortable, but not overly painful. I had taken a couple of ibuprofen ahead of time, so maybe that helped. It felt like a bad cramp. I’ve never been pregnant, so I was expecting way worse.

    I didn’t get my period for about two months and when it did come, it was heavier and longer than what I experienced with birth control. Since then, my periods are light to normal and last about 5 days. I also discovered that I naturally have a 35 to 40 day cycle. Who knew?

    The first time we had sex after the IUD, I felt some kind of odd pressure, but that disappeared once I relaxed and got into it.

    The only weird side effect I’ve noticed is heavier/thicker mucus discharge before my period. It was especially noticeable right after insertion for the first few months, but has eased up since.

    Overall, I love my IUD. I love not having to worry about a prescription and taking a pill every day. I love the statistical reliability of an IUD. And I LOVE not having added hormones in my body. I suffer from depression and it’s important for me to not have any other factors contributing. I suggest it to everyone!

  11. I know this is pretty late and it may have already been discussed, but I just came across this post and wanted to add my two cents. I was diagnosed with depression a few years ago, but after a year of therapy and anti-depressants, I was told I was in “remission.” I felt GREAT. A year or two later my doctor suggested I try Mirena. Less than 24 hours after it was inserted I was sobbing uncontrollably and severely depressed for NO reason. I knew it had to be the Mirena, so my doctor took it out. A day later I was fine. She knew I had a history of depression and still prescribed it, so I don’t know if she’s a quack or doctors don’t know about the correlation, but I just want anyone else is in my shoes to know about this beforehand. It was horrible!

  12. I’ve had the Mirena IUD for a little over a year now and it’s been a mostly pleasant experience for me. There was discomfort and cramps for about a week after it was inserted, but nothing that Advil and a heating pad couldn’t help. I still have a period every month but it’s very light which is a plus. There was also a while of spotting but nothing too bad. After I got it, the worse thing I did was read all of the horror stories that some people have! I think it really is a different experience for each woman who decides to get it. But I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about becoming pregnant anytime soon. Good luck!

  13. I have one and have had it for 2 years. I have no problems with it. I’ve been on the shot, pill, patch and ring and all of those have had their problems. 2 years into the Mirena and I love it. I will continue to have them as long as I can.

  14. I had the Mirena IUD inserted 6 months ago. I haven’t had kids, but I did have a miscarriage in 2009. The most painful part of the insertion for me was when my gynecologist measured the inside of my uterus–everything else was easy by comparison. I expected to have some cramping for about 24 hours after insertion, but it was actually three to five days of really intense pain with dizzy spells so I basically lived in the bathtub with books and candles and ibuprofen. I found the level of pain very similar to my miscarriage. The first period I had on the IUD lasted about two weeks, but over the last six months my periods have gotten lighter and shorter and this month I didn’t have a period at all–just some cramping and barely noticeable spotting. I do sometimes have some spotting in between periods, but I honestly think it is stress induced and not related to the IUD. I also have found that now that I don’t have to deal with condoms (which dry me out and make me itch and are uncomfortable in general) my sex drive is much higher than it was on the nuvaring (which also caused sex to be painful). For a while my partners could feel the strings attached to the mirena (one reported feeling “poked” by them!), but I think the strings soften over time because my partners don’t seem to feel them anymore during intercourse.

  15. I had my Mirena for 5.5 years. It was painful going in, I had some massive cramping for about 24 hours, and then all was fine. No side effects, no problems, no pregnancies.

    Getting it removed was a lot less painful than putting it in, and my husband and I are not expecting our first baby! I can’t use any birth control with synthetic estrogen, so this was the perfect choice for me, and I don’t think I will ever use anything else.

  16. I currently have my second Mirena. For the most part I love it. Got the first one after developing epilepsy following my older daugter’s six-week-premature birth (emergency c-section) back in 2008. I couldn’t take systemic type birth control due to the anti-seizure meds they put me on. The patch SUCKED! I had no confidence in it at all. Mirena hurt like crazy to put in (had to go to the ultrasound room for visually assisted insertion.) Fast forward to December 2010, had it removed after talking to high-risk OBGYN to try for second child. That hurt like crazy too! Got pregnant with second daugter 2 weeks later! 🙂 Had her in October 2011. Six weeks after her birth (by VBAC with an episiotomy) had second Mirena placed. Again painfully with ultrasound guiding the way. The pain is intense but could also be affected by the Intersticial Cystistis I was finally diagnosed with in December 2011. That answered a lot of questions about chronic pain for years. Anyway, not ready for another pregnancy, especially with the 16 weeks of progesterone shots and 3 months of contractions I experienced with my sencond baby. My girls were totally worth all I’ve been through but Mirena is the best option for me right now for birth control. I do have depression and hard to lose weight but could be combo of anti-seizure drug and love of cheese. One side-note though (TMI alert!) I’ve had a yeast infection almost every month since the last insertion (my daugther just turned 2!) Ug. Supposedly it’s not the Mirena but I really wonder sometimes.

  17. I’ve had 2 IUDs: Skyla and Mirena. They are made by the same company, but Skyla has a lower dose of hormones and is physically smaller in size. Insertion DID hurt, quite a bit, like intense cramping. There was an initial adjustment time of about 2 months, and random cramping happened for a few more months after that. My periods have been light and irregular with both (I was irregular before).

    By the way, I was just 20 when I had my first one inserted and I have never been pregnant. Having something inserted into your uterus is strange, but then again so is taking a daily pill. There is no way I could remember to take it at the same time every day or to get my prescription filled. I travel a lot and it just wouldn’t work for me. That is why I love my IUD. I had it inserted and there is no maintenance.

  18. I have a Mirena. This is my second go-round with the Mirena IUD (the last time I had one was about 5 years or so ago, and I only had it for about 6-8 months). My symptoms this time have been basically the same as last time; my periods basically stopped, occasional unpredictable spotting, an increase in cramping that isn’t associated with any particular time of the month (but I don’t cramp when I am menstruating, so ANY cramping is an “increase” for me, and this cramping isn’t particularly intense, and generally lasts 2-3 minutes a couple times a day), random swings in my libido (I’ll be incredibly horny for five days, then uninterested in sex for three or four days, then incredibly horny for a day or two, then…you get the idea). But overall, it hasn’t been bad.

    It is worth noting that I have PCOS, and produce fewer female hormones than most women and far more free androgens than many adult males. I do not, however, have a history of irregular periods (my PCOS was diagnosed via hormone panel and other symptoms). Do to my hormonal condition, it is possible that my response to the hormones in Mirena may not be representative of a standard response.

  19. I have paraguard. I had it placed 6 weeks after my second child was born. I had a blood clot because I got pregnant while on birth control, so I cannot have anything with hormones. I was terrified. The placement, the complications, the threads. Everything about it was scary. My doctor finally got me to agree to it after an hour of arguing, and telling me that most girls my age (24) end up wanting more kids, and he didn’t think I should do anything permanent. Finally I agreed with the stipulation that if it started freaking me out too much at any point in time he would personally come into his office if he was on the clock or not and take it out immediately ( I have anxiety issues). He told me to take tylenol 15 minutes before my appointment. He had everything layed out which was really scary, and I almost walked out. My boyfriend at the time turned me around, and push me into the room. Skip to the insertion. It was like a really bad cramp. They opened up my cervix with these things that looked like scissors. The IUD was attached to this really long stick. It was creepy. The bleeding started immediately, and he had me get up slowly. I felt fine… until I got home. I couldn’t leave the couch for the rest of the day. I napped most of the day just to avoid the pain. It slowly got better over 3 days. The bleeding lasted two weeks. I was told I could have sex after 2 weeks. I didn’t for 6 weeks because I was so nervous. He never felt the threads… ever. He didn’t have any complaints. I however Started getting cramps everytime I had my period. I know you’re probably thinking “yeah so what that happens to everyone.” I never had a period cramp in my life. And they are not just regular period cramps. Curl into a ball, think about calling an ambulance, feel like my uterus is falling out of my bum, labor contraction level pain cramps. On the plus side I love not having to worry about birth control, it’s very low maintence, I have had no other issues with it, my former boyfriend loved not having to worry about my birth control, or condoms, and once it’s in you don’t even feel it. So it’s great, but not without it’s downsides.

  20. I really LOVE my copper Paraguard. It’s awesome. I was advised to take some tylenol before the procedure to help, and my cervix was super tight (no kids), so it was slightly manually dilated (which hurt). I had crappy period-type cramps for about two weeks, and then it’s been smooth sailing for 5 years since then.

    I know there is still a chance at a pregnancy with this (nothing but abstinence is 100%), especially ectopic pregnancies, which are the implantation of the fertilized egg in a fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. It can’t protect you from what it can’t reach!

    I am very happy with it, and love not forgetting to take a pill. All. The. Time.

  21. After 8 years on the pill, I opted to go with a copper IUD to avoid using hormones. I’ve never had kids and the insertion didn’t hurt – it just felt like menstrual cramps – but as you can tell from the comments, it will be different for every person.

    I had no problems at all with my IUD and I was loving it until 10 months after insertion when I got pregnant. In fact, I’m 6 months pregnant right now! I was fortunate enough to be in a good place and will be able to manage life with a child, but I was still pissed. I know there are no 100% methods of birth control other than not having sex, but after being on the pill for a child-free 8 years and then reading, researching and hearing from a couple of different doctors and sex educators that the IUD is more effective than birth control, I was extremely disappointed with its ineffectiveness.

    When I realized I was pregnant I assumed that the IUD must have become displaced, but after getting an ultrasound, being checked out and having it removed, we discovered that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. It just didn’t work.

    Since this experience I have spoken with 5-6 people who have also gotten pregnant with an IUD. I know some people have great experiences with IUDs, but I think it’s worth acknowledging that it is not uncommon and that you can still get pregnant with a fully functioning IUD.

  22. I know I am obviously late to this post but figured I’d add my experience since its a popular post.

    I had Mirena inserted in January of 2013 and things were great at first. Insertion wasnt as painful as I was expecting, and I didnt really have any after insertion bleeding. But that for me was the best of it. I had continued cramping for the 7 months or so I had it. Any time I would exert myself in any way (even getting up from a sitting position) would cause horrible cramping.

    The other issue I had was an increase in discharge. I didnt have any infections and the discharge was “normal” but there was SO MUCH of it that I had to wear a pad or pantyliner pretty much daily to keep from soaking my pants. I also reeked of that musky vaginal odor that is fine when its in/around your vagina, but not exactly a scent that you want to walk around emanating. It didnt matter how much I bathed or showered either, I simply stank.

    I had to have it removed. I just couldnt live with the constant cramping (that they kept claiming would get better with time) and the embarrassment of walking around smelling badly. It was awful.

    Thankfully once it was removed my body pretty much immediately went back to normal.

  23. I’ve had the Mirena for a year and I like it. There are some pros and cons, though.


    As effective as it gets, as effective as sterilization.

    Light periods. Mine are actually almost gone at this point. I get some spotting occasionally. This is a HUGE benefit to me.

    I don’t have to do anything. I check the strings about once a month, and that’s it.

    My insurance company covered the entire cost. Even if they don’t, it’s probably more affordable to you than other methods.


    I never know if I am pregnant for sure, because I don’t get a real period. I’m more likely to win the lottery than get pregnant at this point (IUD, husband has low fertility, sex schedule has to work around two toddlers), but I keep a pack of tests on hand for when I’m a little TOO interested in pickles.

    I *think* I can feel it, at times. I get some odd cramping on one side once in a while, that I don’t think I experienced before I got it. I need to follow up with my doctor. It could just be intestinal or menstrual pain that is unfamiliar to me after having my babies.

    • I got the odd cramping after getting the IUD and went and got an ultrasound and everything. Then when I got the IUD removed it persisted and eventually I realised it was ovulation pain, which I’d never felt before getting the IUD because I’d been on the pill for years. D’oh!

      Anyway, if you don’t track your cycle you could try it and see if it’s that?

  24. Also, insertion WAS excruciating, even after having given birth to twins. But it only lasts for a few minutes and I didn’t have any pain after I left the doctor’s office.

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