Warning! This post is a little bit more personal than my typical Born to Sweat posts. Although I do feel like you guys know pretty much everything there is to know about my life. And honestly I am the most un-secretive person ever. This post is about the process of getting an IUD and the decisions that go along with it!
A little while ago (about half a year ago), I started playing with the idea of getting an IUD. This was after one of my friends told me she got one, and her period had basically stopped. I thought (a) there is a way to make my period stop? and (b) I never have to take a birth control pill again?! These two thoughts were the sticking points in me eventually getting an IUD.
So what IS an IUD?
An IUD is known as an Intrauterine Device, and it is a small contraceptive device that is inserted into your cervix and lasts up to 5 years. It is shaped like a T and is just over 1 inch long, although it comes in a box that is about 1 foot in length. Don’t let that deter you though, I’ve eaten burritos that are that long and lived to tell the tale.
There are two types of IUDs, a copper one and a hormonal one. I am going to quickly lay out the main points of each
- No hormones involved, but releases copper ions which kill the sperm
- Heavier flow, more cramping
- Much more cost effective option ($80 approx)
- Lasts up to 10 years
- Hormones are released in the uterus (progesterone)
- Much more expensive ($420 approx)
- Can eventually stop your period altogether by thinning the lining of the uterus
- Irregular periods and spotting for the first few months
- Considered more effective than tying your tubes
I decided I would get the IUD once I have settled down in Toronto, had gotten a family doctor, and was doing pretty well financially. Well, I finally got an awesome family doctor after 5 months of living here, I had just received my tax return, and was ready to go!
The first step I took was talking with my doctor about it. She was super informative and told me that she does about two IUD insertions a week. In my case it was great, because I could make a doctors appointment just like any other, at the time that worked best for me. I had a friend who got the IUD, but had to be on a 6 month waiting list to get it inserted. Really happy that I didn’t have to deal with that. After a couple weeks of indecision, I finally picked the Mirena IUD over the copper. It was 5 times the price ($408 compared to $80), but I liked that it contained hormones (since that replicated the birth control that I was taking), and I liked the idea that it MIGHT stop my period altogether. It was a $408 gamble to take, but well worth it my opinion. Note: The date of my next period came and went, and NO I did not get it. Success! If you are not bothered about the hormones, or about getting your period, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing the copper option.
The appointment should be made on the first day of your period, as that is when your cervix is the most dilated (which makes it ‘less painful’ for the IUD to be inserted). In true Beverley form, for the first time in probably 2 years, my period ended up coming THREE DAYS EARLY. Super uncool of my cervix. I was really worried that it would stop me from getting it inserted, but luckily it did not (more on that later).
The day of my insertion, I was told to insert two pills into my vagina, as it relaxes the cervix and allows it to dilate a bit more. With the pills comes some minor cramping, but nothing too bad. My appointment was at 2 pm, but if it was in the morning the pills would have had to be inserted the night before. I took the afternoon off work, and about an hour before my appointment took two Tylenol.
Getting prepped for the insertion was similar to getting a pap test, except there was a doctors assistant taking big clunky sterilized tools out of airtight bags right in front of me. Like i’m talking, MASSIVE tools. It was a little unnerving watching this happen as I lay there nervously with no bottoms on, but I tried to not think about what each tool was going to be used for. My doctor came in and the first thing she did is measure my cervix. I was really concerned that since my period came early it wouldn’t be dilated enough, but luckily my body did good by me. The measuring of the cervix is… not so nice. It pinches, but only for a few seconds. I’m glad I took those two Tylenol.
The next thing she did was use the massive tool to keep everything propped open, and then told me she was going to insert the IUD. She told me to breath deeply, and started to put it in. It was fine for the first ONE second, and then a deep cramp started coming on. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before – It was very strong, very low, and very uncomfortable. I started breathing even harder and deeper, and closed my eyes until it was over. Once she said it was done, the cramp stayed for about another 10 seconds and then slowly faded. My doctor congratulated me on taking the procedure well, and personally I was quite pleased with myself as well.
I have now had the IUD for about a month, and I love it. I have had to go back once to check my strings (they tell you to feel for them every now and then to ensure that the IUD hasn’t fallen out), but that didn’t take long and everything else was fine. If you have any questions about the procedure then feel free to send me a message! Here are some links you can check out for more information: