Disclaimer: Just like our birth control blog post, I am talking about my own experience and feedback in this post. I am not a doctor and this should not be considered as legal advice. You should seek appropriate counsel for your own situation.
I asked to have an IUD inserted when I was 18. I am now 27 and on my second one. Over the years, I have seen many women that were never offered that option and barely know what it was. If you are looking for a hormone-free alternative for your birth control, I gotcha.
Ok, what’s the IUD in the first place?
First of all, IUD stands for Intrauterine Device. It is a birth control system, and just like its name says, it is a little device inserted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy to prevent pregnancy. You have two options available for you: one is made of copper and hormone-free, the other one sends progesterone hormones. I personally have the hormone-free one.
How the copper IUD (hormone free) works:
The IUD releases copper ions into your cervix. Copper makes your uterus a pretty hostile environment for sperm. Your cervix begins to produce a thick mucus that sperm can't navigate navigate through to get to your egg.
Now that you know, you and I are about to become very close….
When the pill drives you crazy.
I was on the pill for a little bit over 2 years and after a while, I noticed some side effects: my mood was changing drastically, I was crying for no reason and just wanted to lie down on train tracks. My libido had decided to run away to Mexico, having sex was painful (#litteraldryspell).
Long story short, I realized it wasn’t normal and it sucked balls.
I knew a bit about the IUD from sex-ed in school, and when I did my research, I found out there was a hormone-free version that lasted for 5 freaking years, so my mind went “BINGPOT!” (Brooklyn 99 fans will know). I booked an appointment with my gynecologist at the time, and off I went.
“But you’re so young/haven’t had children yet!”
Not gonna lie, in order to get this IUD, I had to go through small obstacles with my doc. The first myth was that you need to have had children in order to get an IUD inserted. I heard it was because it could make you sterile. WRONG. It was maybe true 45 years ago, but definitely not nowadays, and absolutely not with the copper one.
The second obstacle was concerning my age, which honestly has nothing to do with it. As long as you are sexually active, you can definitely have an IUD.
My doctor insisted that I try the micro pill, which has fewer hormones and is to be taken exactly at the same time everyday (#superconvenient). I tried it, didn’t do anything, I went back to the office and said “that’s it”. And hallelujah, we did it.
Let’s do it!
First of, you will have to be off the pill (slowly and with your doctor’s recommendations! You don’t stop the pill one day to the other like Fanny said here) . Since I had tried another pill variation with less hormones, I transitioned slowly into no birth control at all.
Then, you will get a blood test done. It is to see if everything is fine with you, if there is a chance for your body to reject the IUD, because yes, it is rare but it can happen.
Once you are in the clear, you will have to wait for your period to get the IUD inserted.
The good news? It lasts for 2 minutes. The bad news? It sucks.
I am sorry to be blunt, but it is painful (and I like to think I have a fairly good pain tolerence), especially when you are on your period, it’s already not a fun time. If you have had a pap test done before, it starts like this and the boom sharp pain and it’s over. You are left with a device in your body and very likely some cramps for the rest of the day.
I am going to be real with you, in my opinion, the pain is worth it. A few minutes of pain for more than 5 years of peace? Sign me up. Actually I already did, I am on my second IUD.
The Pros and some advice for you, my fellow uterus owners
You will be good for between 5 to 10 years depending on the brand you use for your IUD. FREEDOM.
You won’t have nasty hormones injected in your body and we all know that hormones from birth control are not your friends, girlfriend.
Once it is inserted, you don’t have to worry about a thing. I personaly have mine checked every year to make sure it hasn’t moved and in 8 years, it never did.
No need to have an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a pill, no freak out when you are not home and forgot your birth control, no fear of running out and not being able to get a prescription.
Its efficiency rate is 99%, woot woot!
Way cheaper alternative than the pill too. I paid my IUD around $145 for 10 years. Boom.
Besides the short pain, I really don’t have cons. Yep.
Don’t go alone to your insertion appointment. It ain’t a day in the park, you may feel a bit dizzy and it is definitely not recommended to drive afterwards and also….
Take a day off so you can chill afterwards. I spent my afternoon in a hot bath after my insertion.
You will go back on your real period. While you are on the pill, you don’t have real period per se and having your “real ones” can be painful. I always had cramps even while on the pill and a mild endometriosis, so I was already on the sucker team so it didn’t change much.
It doesn’t protect you against the STDs. If you are having multiple partners, you still have to wear condoms until you all get tested.