Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WARNING: TMI. My IUD Experience [NSFW I Guess?]

This post contains womanly information, if anything involving the vagina, periods, bleeding, or anything medical that happens down there grosses you out, STOP RIGHT HERE! I'm pretty sure my family reads this, so family this is very personal so also feel free to not read :P
*I should also add I'm obviously not a medical professional, I got most of my info from my doctor and the pages and pamphlets I got from my doctor before and after this was done. This is just MY personal experience so far. Everyone reacts to things differently, so do what's right for you, girlfran! 

What is an IUD? 
IUDs are little T-shaped pieces of plastic or copper inserted into the uterus. Ouch, right? There are two types of IUDs: Mirena (low dose of hormones) and ParaGard (the copper one, no hormones, which is what I got). 

How do they work? 
Mirena prevents the egg from leaving the ovary, keeping sperm from getting to the egg. It also thickens cervical mucus can also block sperm to prevent it from joining the egg. 

ParaGard is essentially a sperm killer. Apparently, copper is a sperm killer, which I never knew. The copper IUD makes sure that there are a bunch of copper ions in the uterus to kill the sperm. So it's a sperm killer. ParaGard can also be used as an emergency contraceptive if used within 5 days of unprotected sex.

Both affect the way sperm moves so that they can't join with an egg (I'm getting most of my factual info from the paper they gave me when I was done, personal stuff coming in a second). 

IUDs are one of the more effective methods of birth control. See this chart for effectiveness of other forms of birth control, and IUDs are the most effective next to abstinence. Fewer than 1 out of 100 women could get pregnant every year, where as with the typical birth control pill 8 out of 100 women could get pregnant every year. 

Advantages of IUDs
  • Mirena
  1. Fewer menstrual cramps
  2. Lighter periods/less blood loss (sometimes periods stop after a few months)
  3. Less anemia (iron poor blood)
  4. Good for 5 years
  • ParaGard
  1. No hormones (main reason I chose it after MUCH research)
  2. Can become pregnant as soon as it is removed
  3. Good for 12 years. 12 years! 
  4. Can be used for emergency contraception within 5 days of unprotected sex
Disadvantages of IUDs
  • Mirena
  1. Low dose of hormones, if that bothers you 
  2. Can't keep it in as long as ParaGard (though, 5 years is a pretty damn long time!)
  3. Uncomfortable insertion process
  4. Cramping and/or back ache for a few days after procedure
  5. Irregular periods or spotting between periods in the first 3-6 months
  6. Expensive up front, but you'll end up spending less money over time
  • ParaGard
  1. Kills sperm, if that bothers you
  2. Uncomfortable insertion process
  3. Cramping and/or back ache for a few days after the procedure
  4. Heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps
  5. Expensive up front, but you'll end up spending less money over time
Risks (though, rare)
  • Perforation- The IUD could make a hole in your uterus when being inserted, and could be pushed through the wall of the uterus and damage your internal organs. Surgery is sometimes needed to remove the IUD if this happens. 
  • Expulsion- The IUD could slip out of the uterus, and you may become pregnant if this happens. It must be removed if it comes out even part of the way. 
  • Pregnancy- Extremely rare, since IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control. If pregnancy does happen, the IUD needs to be removed immediately and your doctor should make sure you don't have any issues or other health problems with you or your fetus. 
***Again, risks are very rare. 

Why did I choose to get the ParaGard IUD inserted over any other birth control option? 
  • I had been off and on different hormonal birth controls since I was probably a freshman or sophomore in high school. I felt more…myself for a lack of a better word, in between the times I wasn't on BC. Even on low dose hormone birth control pills, my moods were all over the place and my sex drive died. Every. Single. Time. BUT on the plus side my acne completely went away! 
  • My doctor recommended that I get off hormonal birth control because I suffer from pretty severe migraines. No, I don't just get "excruciatingly bad headaches", though that is mostly what it is, there are more differences than a bad headache and a migraine that people don't realize. Migraine sufferers get dizziness, tunnel vision, seeing "stars", sensitivity to light, extreme exhaustion, nausea, and even vomiting. Anyway, according to my doctor, hormones may even make migraines worse and/or more frequent.
  • I don't have to worry about birth control June 23, 2026. 2026. That's twelve years! I'm not sure if I will keep it in for the full 12, but I do like that I have that option. 
  • I could've gone with another option, such as condoms, NuvaRing, etc., but as you can see by my blog, I am very slack. I don't want to chance forgetting to put something on, or in.
My story
I have Medicaid, so the cost was not an issue for me. I had to go in for my birth control consultation (also free with Medicaid), and my doctor and I decided that an IUD would be a good option for me. She explained the difference between Mirena and ParaGard. The only reason I picked ParaGard over Mirena is because, even though a very small amount, Mirena has hormones in it. I want no hormones. None. She wrote me a prescription for Misoprostal (spelling?). I was supposed to put it in 2 hours before my appointment to soften and open the cervix more to make insertion more comfortable for me and easier for my doctor. Previously I was on the Depo shot, so I wasn't used to making an appointment since I could go in at any time to get my shot. 

I took the pill (by take, I mean shove a pill up my hoo-ha) and went on my merry way. Turns out they were full that day and I couldn't get it inserted. So I call back later that week and they say I have to wait until the end of the month because they ran out of ParaGards and had to order more. Fine. What about that pill that's supposed to make it easier? They said they'd call me back because the physician wasn't in at the the time. Because of a few unfortunate circumstances, I wasn't able to re-call my doctor until the day of the procedure. The receptionist called the physician and called me back. She said not to worry about the prescription, they would dilate my cervix there and numb my cervix. 

So, I finally get to my appointment. I'd read online that doctors have different ways of numbing the cervix: a spray, a cream, or a Novocain shot like you would get at the dentist. I ask what methods they offered; they only offer the shot. Great. On top of this painful insertion I have to get a SHOT IN MY CERVIX. YES it hurt, like a bad pinch in a place where you are not at all used to being pinched. I'm assuming it's even worse for us ladies who have never had kids, never had to get biopsies for cervical cancer, etc. Ugh. Lucky for me, I do yoga occasionally and my doctor has a very calming and reassuring voice. She suggested I take some deep breaths and relax my muscles (relaxing those muscles makes it MUCH easier). She even asked if I did yoga because mosts people don't have the mental power to detach a little bit and breath/relax like that. I'm not sure exactly the order of things that happened after that, even though she told me step by step what she was doing. I just kind of blanked out and focused on my breathing the rest of the time. The rest was just some more painful pinching and VERY bad cramping. Yes, it hurt very badly, but it was a fairly quick procedure.

I took 600 mg of ibuprofen about 45 minutes before my appointment as instructed by my doctor. I also got my Xanax prescription refilled just because I'm a complete wimp and knew I would basically have a panic attack and back out if I didn't take it. It also helped my muscles relax. I must say it helped tremendously. Obviously don't take a prescription that isn't yours; ask your doctor first and see if that's an option for you. 

Originally, I had a deal with my boyfriend that he had to come with me for moral support. We live within walking distance of my doctor, so we would have walked. It just so happened that my mom wanted to get some food in me before my appointment and also drove me and dropped me off home after the appointment. I can definitely say I'm glad she was able to drive me back because I was cramping WAY too hard to be able to walk all the way back. And it started raining right when I got done, of course! 

My appointment was at 2pm, I got back home around 3:30. The cramps when I got home were so bad. I usually don't have bad cramps when I get my period anyway, so it may have just been me adjusting to the new feeling. I still have very bad cramps right now (3:30 am!), but not as bad as earlier. I've been laying down, keeping up with my ibuprofen taking, and keeping a warm towel over myself to ease the cramps. I guess it's worth it so far? I'm not bleeding like everyone has been saying, but maybe that will come tomorrow. We shall see! 

Again, sorry for the TMI. If you have any questions feel free to comment or email me, I'll be glad to respond!

Update: I did indeed bleed like I had my period for a few days after the insertion, and have been spotting off an on since. The spotting is really nothing though, because it's REALLY light spotting. 

No comments: