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. My two best mates have IUDs and they love them, they have said it was painful getting them put in but neither of them have periods since getting them put in and I haven’t noticed any increased moody-ness or bad skin.
    Having said that I am too chicken (i have been told its normally worse for women who haven’t had kids) but I got implanon (the hormone releasing rod implanted in the upper arm) instead and its been quite good. My skin is a bit worse now, but I don’t get periods or any other side effects and I am not worried about getting pregnant! YAY!. They give you a local anaesthetic when they put it in, it doesn’t hurt much the area is just a bit tender for a few days. I have had it in for about a year now and they last 3….might be an option for those who don’t like the pill or IUDs

  2. Well, you don’t even know it’s there, although your partner might get a stabby feeling until the string softens up. I had no period after about 4 months, but I did find that I had the worst acne of my life at 25 and NOTHING helped. Until I got my Mirena pulled out. Took a couple of months, but my skin is almost back to normal. That’s not even one of the reported side effects, and isn’t supposed to be possible because of the localized hormones, but nothing else in my life has changed. I mean, diet, laundry detergent etc etc.

  3. Hello, all! I am a teenager who recently got the Skyla put in — the new, smaller, version of the Mirena specifically marketed to young women and/or women who have never given birth. I absolutely LOVE it. On the pill, I was constantly ridden with anxiety, as I all too often accidentally skipped days or took pills late. After awhile, I knew it was irresponsible for me to continue using the pill as my primary birth control method, so I started searching for more long term alternatives.

    Like many of you, I too had heard some of the horror stories about IUDs. Particularly from young girls like myself who had had complications due to the size of their IUD. I went into my gyno assuming I would end up with the implant, not the IUD. However, my doctor informed me of the Skyla which, due to its smaller size, does not come with as high risk of complications and discomfort for teenagers/young women. After going home and doing some research of my own, I decided on the IUD over the implant, mainly just because I was more comfortable with the IUD insertion process than having skin broken & an implant placed inside my arm. (For those of you who are considering either of these methods, the side effects are mostly the same — though women may react to them differently — they both last three years, they are both covered by the Affordable Care Act, basically the only huge difference is the insertion process).

    My experience with the the Sklya IUD went as follows:

    Insertion: Pain, discomfort, bleeding, but no light headedness as some people experience.
    Day of insertion: Hardcore cramping, some bleeding, general discomfort. However, my discomfort must not have been that bad, as I was able to have sex.
    First few weeks: Continued cramping, pain after sex/orgasm, strange sensation during orgasm (as if the IUD was putting pressure on my uterus), bad mood swings/general irritability.
    First month: Mood swings, occasional cramping, low sex drive.
    First period: Very light with fairly normal symptoms.
    Second period: Light bleeding, but abnormally long period (about two weeks or so all together) followed by some cramping.
    Next few months: Symptoms slowly started subsiding and eventually went away all together. Some abnormal bleeding, but very light.

    The first month and a half or so I was considering getting the IUD removed if my symptoms continued. Thankfully, I decided to wait and give it a few months, and now I couldn’t be happier. Basically all my symptoms are gone, plus my periods are lighter than ever before! I am hoping eventually they might go away all together. I have a great, low maintenance, nearly perfectly effective birth control method for 3 long years. Now if only Paraguard will come out in a smaller form… So I can skip the hormones all together!

  4. Hi!! I know I’m coming late to this conversation – and I didn’t read every single comment but – I did want to add my positive experience to the stories out there.

    I got Skyla about 4 months ago and am loving it. I was having some mood problems with the pill, and honestly I was sick and tired of taking it. I was ready to try something else, and Skyla was described to me as the “Little sister” of Minera – slightly smaller and meant for a shorter period of time.

    So far my experience has been overwhelmingly positive.

    *Nothing to remember
    *My mood improved DRASTICALLY – I went from always exhausted, no sex drive, and constantly overwhelmed to feeling like I can handle my life, and take on some new tasks – and my sex drive went WAY up. We’re talking sex kitten status here.
    *Did I say sex kitten as a pro yet – cuz it’s awesome. Not only do I want sex more – but it also just feels better.

    *I am getting some acne on my back and shoulders where I’ve never had it before – but it’s not a deal breaker for me.
    *I haven’t found a ton of info about how IUDs react with other medications like antibiotics. So I’m not sure when/if I ever need to use backup.
    *It was very painful for me when put in.

    I read a lot about how painful exactly it would be – and everything I read basically said, “Yes it hurts, but I would do it again.” I didn’t understand that at the time, but I do now. It hurts – and more then any other pain I’ve experienced before. But then it’s over. And then life is easier. So one day of discomfort was worth it for me to stop worrying about getting pregnant for the next 3 years.

    I hope that helps. If you’re thinking about it – I say go for it!! They can always remove it whenever you want if it isn’t working out for you…

    • I asked that antibiotics question to my doctor when I got the Mirena and she said since there’s still the copper wire in the IUD (even though it’s also hormonal) that I didn’t have to worry about any sort of backup when on antibiotics.

  5. oh my. There is so much convo on this. But I’ll put in my two bits. I’ve had mine for 2 years. I’ve had 4 periods during this entire time. I was ochy for 2 days after getting it down. Getting it done hurt like an S.O.B. But I love it. I have never had children and I have never been pregnant with it. I use the Mirena IUD and it actually helped my depression. My hubby to be and I love it! we haven’t used condoms in over a year and we…boy how do I say this tackfully? We go all the way with sex and we don’t hold back. Zip worries. Zip Cramping. Zip pain. Fuck yes. 🙂

  6. Mirena for just under 5 years. Moderately painful to insert — nothing horrid, but definitely unpleasant, but it was over quickly. I had mild cramping for a day or so. Spotting the entire time I had it, and very slightly moodier (or maybe that was lack of sleep because I had a small child.) Removal was…an adventure. It was stuck. Hurt like hell to pop it out, and I bled at the level of a heavy period for about a week.

    Would I do it again? Yes, although I might like to try the Paraguard and see if it has fewer side effects for me. Part of this decision is informed by these graphs, showing the number of unplanned pregnancies over (up to) 10 years of use for various types of birth control:


  7. I’ve had the Mirena for almost two years now and I LOVE it. I wish I could go back in time and tell 20 year old self to get one instead of being on the pill, which I could never remember to take. Insertion was very painful, I’ve never had a child so my doctor gave me a drug to soften my cervix beforehand. It still hurt like a mother and I had to chill at the office for a while because I got a little shocky. Anyway since then I’ve had no period and no negative symptoms whatsoever. When this one runs out I’m 100% sure I’ll be replacing it with another Mirena.

    • Was it the cervix softening pills that you had to insert into your vagina? Because I had that and I swear it DIDN’T HELP AT ALL. I have a very high pain tolerance and I actually almost through up from this. Also, because the pills dilated my cervix they also (apparently) dilated my colon and after I got the IUD inserted I had to pretty much violently poop.

      I was terrified for a week until my checkup that I’d shit it out that very first day, haha.

  8. I need to talk to my doctor about getting an IUD. I tried the ring in the past, but taking it out for sex is a hassle and makes me less likely to be in the mood for sex. (My partner at the time complained he could feel it.) I regularly miss my antidepressant, so there’s no way a pill would work as birth control! I currently have the patch, but I’m obviously allergic to the adhesive and it doesn’t even stay on very well. The hardest decision will be choosing between Mirena or Paragard. I like the way hormonal birth control has helped my acne in the past, but the patch hasn’t been helping me AT ALL the past couple of weeks (I think it might actually be making my acne worse).

    • I have had the Mirena IUD since January now and I’ve not had such bad acne since secondary school. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, I have spots on my face and chest.
      I do enjoy not having heavy periods and horrible cramping anymore. Usually I get a few days of spotting but that’s it. When it was first inserted I had spotting for almost a month.

  9. I had Mirena placed 3 months after I had my 2nd child. We aren’t sure if we want anymore but definitely not anytime soon. It was a little uncomfortable but nothing major. I had a little a little spotting for 2 or 3 days after, mild cramping, I was working out themail same day I got it. I’ve had it for 7 weeks now. My skin and weight haven’t changed So far which is nice because the pill really messes up both those things for me. I’ve had one period since getting it and it was incredibly light and short (had to wear a panty liner for 3-4 days with almost no cramping. Usually I can barely get out of bed my cramping is so bad and it’s 4-5 days of heavy flow. So this was a lovely change. I have cleaned up my diet and am working out a lot more and am finding the weight is very slow to come off. Much more so than I would have expected. But I’m also on another med that has been known to cause weight gain so I can’t say which it might be assuming it’s even either that’s causing it to be so hard. So far I’m quite happy with it.

  10. I recently had Mirena placed when I had a c-section (my Dr. was able to put it in during the procedure). If I had any cramping–it was just a part of the healing process. It’s been nice to not have to worry about taking the pill (which I was terrible at). I did bleed pretty heavily for the first 6 weeks, but now I barely get a period. The only real issue I had was because I got it placed during the c-section when my uterus contracted back to its normal size the strings where SUPER long and I had to get them trimmed. I am very pleased.

    • I have used a menstrual cup with the IUD! I have the Skyla IUD, which is the smaller version of the Mirena. The strings on the IUD are very short, so they shouldn’t interfere with the menstrual cup.

    • I don’t use a menstrual cup, but I don’t really get a period anymore since the IUD. Every month or 2 I’ll get a little bit crampy, and see a little bit of blood when I wipe after peeing, but nothing even gets on my panties. I don’t even wear a pantyliner during these times it’s so light.

  11. I had a copper IUD put in before having children, and it hurt like pure hell. After having my little, I got another one with no issues and then after my second and last child, I just got my third copper IUD about a year ago. The second time went fine but this third time I kept having pain off & on. I went in and they saw on ultrasound that it had scratched my uterus during insertion. Since it didn’t poke it we just watched and waited, and it’s fine now. My periods this time have become long though–7-8 days. Not heavy bleeding but so long, could be something else, but this is my experience with them. I choose the IUD because of it not having hormones and enabling spontaneity. I absolutely love it for those reasons.

  12. I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of my Mirena insertion. I love not having my period. (I wouldn’t mind having a period so much if I had any way of knowing when it would be, but I was not blessed with a regular cycle.) I love not having to constantly take pills or even change out a ring. I love not having to go to the doctor every 3 months for a shot.

    I have always struggled with acne, so it’s no surprise the Mirena has made that worse. When I think about having to have my period again, though, I wouldn’t do that just to get rid of the acne. Even if my fiance gets a vasectomy, I don’t think I’ll give up the IUD.

    I have a log of my weight since before the insertion and while it went up a few pounds, it was really nothing significant. We’re talking like 3 pounds.

    The first time we had sex after it was put in, my fiance could feel it poking him, so when I went back for my followup the doctor tucked the string up into my cervix for me and it’s been no problem since then.

    The insertion was very painful; enough that I cried out, though once I knew what level of pain I had to deal with I could do it without vocalizing. I’ve never been pregnant and am a relatively small person so I think those things contributed to the pain level I experienced. To make it worse, he didn’t get it in right the first time, and had to take it out and put another one in, so I had to go through it twice in the course of 10 minutes. Based on their reactions I think I was in more pain than most women are who get them. I wish I had taken a pain killer ahead of time, though they did give me some afterward. I do not recall the removal of the first one being painful, but perhaps it was only in comparison to the insertion. I had taken the afternoon off in anticipation of the pain, but I wish I had taken my fiance up on his offer to accompany me. Even though I walked (sloooowly) home, having the moral support and someone there to help me at the restaurant where I stopped to rest and eat would have been so very helpful.

  13. I’ve had a Mirena for about three years. It really hurt having it inserted (which they warned me about since I don’t have kids), hello steel rod entering uncharted territory…After a week or so of cramping and spotting, it’s been amazing! I haven’t had a period since the first month after it was inserted which in and of itself is a huge money and pain saver.

    • This is pretty much my exact experience. My doctor was afraid I’d break out more since I’d been on the pill so long prior to getting the IUD but I haven’t experienced that either.

  14. The Mirena threw my body into a horrible hormonal imbalance after about 13 months that has taken about 3 years to resolve. I would not recommend it to anyone. Google “Mirena Crash” for a taster.

    Although I’ve previously been on hormonal bc pills, I’ve sworn off all hormonal bc because of this one experience, which at many times I thought would never end despite having it removed.

    Imagine if they taught us to track our cycles and get to know our bodies instead of relying on some synthetic hormone (Levonorgestrel – google that, too) that has horrible side effects. No thanks, Bayer! If I had known your horrendous track record before listening to my midwife, I NEVER would’ve let you anywhere near me. My one life regret. NOT WORTH IT.

  15. Love it story ahead!

    I am 24, never had children or got pregnant and I am in love with my IUD. I put it in 3 years ago and it has been lovely. It is a copper IUD I would not recommend to anyone to put hormones in their bodies ever unless there is a hormonal imbalance you are trying to fix as advised by your doctorS and researched by you extensively! Putting it in was unpleasant and painful but nothing a good dose of ibuprofen could not fix. I was spotting for about 3 days and that was the end of it. I actually have lighter period than I was having before, never got pregnant, there is no discomfort from it, it is freaking cheap compared to condoms and pills and I can have sex whenever without having to think twice about it but then again that is because I have a stable partner now. When I didnt I would still use condoms for flings until things got exclusive and we got tested and stuff. I have to say I also enjoy sex without condom much more. So its all peachy and good in my land. I dont know how it works with fertility and I would not advise someone who wants to get pregnant at some point to go for a IUD before finding out multiple opinions and researching it extensively. Hope it helps!

  16. A big upvote for the copper IUD. Having a little piece of plastic/copper freeloading in my uterus is as weird as taking a pill everyday in my opinion. I haven’t had any problems, plus I don’t have to take a pill everyday… did I mention you don’t have to take pills? No pain during insertion. No hormones, which was good because I didn’t want to affect my ability to breastfeed.

    For reference I am a 31 year old with a 2 year old and have been using an IUD for about 2 years!

  17. Getting the IUD in sucks. (pain, nausea, discomfort, dizziness)
    The first six months suck. (severe cramping, spoting that can come and go for months)
    After that, I recommended it to everyone. (lighter periods, less cramps, doesn’t bother me at all)

    I’ve had my IUD for 4.5 years and will have it taken out this summer. Since having it put in, I have had autoimmune health problems which have been diagnosed as anything from arthritis, to mild lupus to hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In MANY autoimmune forums, there are talks about IUDs causing or making autoimmune issues worse (feel free to google it, immune system fights foreign viruses in your system, why wouldn’t it fight a foreign object?). Plus, I’ve put on about 40lbs since having it put in, and I am curious to see how my body responds afterward. For those reasons, I am not getting another one put in.

  18. I’ve had the Mirena for a little over a year. (Got it in February 2015). I absolutely love it!

    I’m 27 and before this, I had been on different variations of the pill since I was 14. Obviously, body chemistry changes, and for the first 4 years prior to getting the IUD I was getting 2 periods a month. It was awful.

    So, the actual insertion process was very painful for me. Because I had been on the pill for so long, and had never had a kid, I had apparently never experienced real cramps. I WAS NOT PREPARED. I was fine 2 days later, but I definitely needed the heating pad and to take the rest of the day off work.

    According to my doctor, I’ve had the ideal response to the IUD. I don’t really get a period. My skin hasn’t broken out. Basically, every other month, I get a little crampy, pee out a little bit of “period blood,” and that’s it. I don’t even need a panty liner.

    I highly recommend the IUD, honestly. I’ll never use another form of birth control.

  19. This is one the the all-time most helpful and informative posts ever published on this site. Having come to another crossroad when it comes to my birth control, I am rereading comments and seeing what’s new.

    I would love to see a post just like this one but for the implant. I am deciding between the implant and the copper IUD.

    • When I asked about the implant or the shot versus the IUD, my doctor basically said every single person she’s seen get the implant or shot has gained a bunch of weight (like 30+ pounds).

      That heavily factored into my IUD decision.

  20. I have had the Mirena for about a year now and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made– however, the day I got it was hell. The process itself was horribly painful– I’ve never had kids and I’ve heard that can make it more painful. Then I spent the rest of the day vomiting my brains out. I ended up going to the emergency room that night, but our crack ER team couldn’t see how it could have been caused by the Mirena even though it was literally the only thing different in my day. I was nauseous for probably 3 days after (I’m guessing it was because of the sudden surge of hormones wreaking havoc on my body).

    But, I haven’t had a period in a year now (I do take a pregnancy test every few months just to verify, since I don’t have that little monthly reminder), and Mr. Shed is much happier that he doesn’t have to deal with condoms. We are both happier because now sex can be more spontaneous.

  21. May ’17, I’ll have had my Mirena for 3 years. Originally, I was using NuvaRing, but at the time I was in a LDR, and everytime I was able to be with my partner I ended up being on my period, thus pretty much negating the NuvaRing.

    Anywhoo, I’ve never had children, so for me the insertion was fairly painful (I was brought to tears instantly). I got it done through Planned Parenthood, and schedule my insertion for right after my period like they sujested. They didn’t warn me that I was going to basically have a full period again, so that was a shock when I got home. For the first few months after the procedure, I was having a period every 2-3 weeks. It eventually evened out and I’m back to a monthly cycle, although it is lighter than before I started birth control.

    Overall, I’d do it again in a heartbeat and probably will when my 5 years are up.

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