I mentioned in one of my last few posts that I'd gotten an IUD and that I would write up an informative piece about IUDs and my experience with my ParaGard.
Last Monday (January 28th) I went in for a consultation at Planned Parenthood to see if I was an eligible candidate - they asked question about why I wanted an IUD: was I in an abusive relationship, did I currently have an eating disorders, did I want a birth control that regulated hormones, etc.
|This is what an IUD looks like.|
Source: Google Images
Why an IUD (intrauterine device)? Why not a different form of birth control, like the Pill, NuvaRing, or male condoms?
+ The IUD is a long-lasting, one-step form of birth control.
Unlike the Pill, which needs to be taken everyday at the same time for maximum effectiveness, or NuvaRing, which has been known to come out during sex, or male condoms, which break occasionally (and emergency contraceptives are pricey, darn it!).
+ IUDs are convenient.
If I don't have any condoms at hand or are currently out, I'm SOL if I want to have sex/intercourse/make love. An IUD is effective all the time (as long as it's in place, which you should self-check a few times a month), and therefore allows sexy fun times to be whimsical.
+ I don't want kids right now.
No babiez for Kelsey. x3
|Source: Google Images|
- The Paragard IUD lasts 10-12 years (Mirena lasts 3-5 years)
- ParaGard is hormones-free -- perfect if you want birth control but cannot use hormones, or simply don't want them. Mirena, another popular IUD brand in the USA, has hormones in it, which rules it out for me. I know how to handle my hormones as they naturally occur, & I don't want hormones dictating how I act. See this article from Scientific American explaining how birth control hormones muck with your mind.
- Ease of use - one insertion, self-checks and you're good to go!
- Convenience - no more falling off the bed trying to grab a condom (You have no idea how often this happens. Shush you - it's not that funny. c;)
- Body Confidence. Let me explain this one: I feel much more secure with my body when I know that it won't be doing things I don't want it to do - in this case, making babies before I've decided I'm ready. The idea of a birth control that I have with me always (as long as it's in place) boosts my body self-esteem greatly.
|This is basically how I feel about my IUD.|
Source: Google Images
Okay, I want one. What's going to happen when I go in to get one?
- Your doctor will sit you down and talk to you about whether an IUD is right for you and your life-style as it currently is.
- When/if you get the go ahead, you'll either schedule an appointment for sometime in the future, or some places like Planned Parenthood will fit you in the same day.
- Before you go in to get the IUD, be sure to take 800 mg of Ibuprofen (Motrin) or whatever painkiller you're able to take at a dosage that works for you. No one told me to take anything before going in, and the IUD insertion hurt like Day 1 period cramps - which for me, are God-awful and can be immobilizing.
- They will then have you de-pants, and measure your cervix. This is why you want some painkillers in your system - it hurts, or at least it hurts in a heavy-&-painful-cramps-while-on-my-period way.
- The pain will typically continue for 24-48 hours, but mine subsided after the first 24 hours.
- The whole insertion process should take 15-30 minutes.
- *Mine took longer because I have not had any children, an abortion, or had anything done that would naturally expand the part of the uterus where the IUD has to sit to prevent pregnancy. If you also fit into my category, there's also a good chance your insertion will take a little longer and put you at a higher risk for IUD expulsion - which I'll talk about a little later.
|Feel for them strings. |
ParaGard, left; Mirena, right.
Source: Google Images
IUDs have two little strings that poke through the cervix so that the doctors are able to easily pull the IUD out. You are checking to make sure these strings are still chilling there and have not gotten longer or shorter by themselves - if they have, this means your IUD is out of place and you need to go in ASAP because you are no longer protected from pregnancy.
*Do not pull on the strings or attempt to push your IUD "back into place" - this will dislodge the IUD and put you at risk for pregnancy or serious side effects.
While checking for your strings, also feel free to check for the plastic tip of the IUD - if you feel it poking out of your cervix or think you do, immediately schedule an appointment to have it checked and refrain from unprotected sex until you're able to have it looked at because, again, if the IUD ain't in place, your birth control won't work.
|I made this on Meme Generator.|
IUD expulsion is when for whatever reason, your IUD doesn't stay where it's supposed to be and slips and moves out of place. This may mean it slips out and you're able to touch it or feel the tip, or it may mean that the IUD has moved farther into your uterus for whatever reason, which is also bad - just because the IUD is farther up your uterus does NOT mean that it is "more effective." It means that your IUD could've pierced your abdomen. Ouch.
IUD expulsion commonly happens in the first few months of having an IUD, and severely dwindles off after the first year.
NOTE: Younger females, in general, are at the higher risk for IUD expulsion. This includes females who have never been pregnant, never gotten an abortion, HAVE had surgery in the area of the uterus or DO have a misshapen/bigger/smaller uterus.
|I shan't lie: I've been pouting all day about my first IUD expulsion.|
It fucking HURTS to get placed!
PCHS Lunch C; 2011.
My IUD started to slip out of place Friday February 1 - fours days after I got it.
How did I know?
'Cause I'm paranoid and was checking obsessively - once or twice a day.
ParaGard's expulsion rate is 5.7% in the first year. I scheduled an appointment for Tuesday (today) to get it checked, and I can honestly say that I've been fairly angry, resentful and annoyed that my body rejected it.
While looking for statistics on Paragard/copper IUD expulsion on second insertions, I was able to find a study that puts the percentage at a 33.33% chance of second expulsion.
I was mad. I still kind of am.
I really, really didn't want to be in that 5%, and I certainly don't want to be in the 33%, so I scheduled another appointment for the future to try again. After this next time, I won't be trying again, which is just as well - my doctor at Planned Parenthood said that if my body doesn't take to it this next time, it means my body is not ready to accept it right now as it is (meaning I could be a better match when I'm older).
Here's the ParaGard patient package insert so you're able to read up on it ahead of time and make an informed decision.
In conclusion, what are your thoughts?
Would you get an IUD? What sort of birth control do you use? :D
*This is merely an informational compilation of facts researched and collected by me, and are my own experiences. I am not a medical expert. Seek medical help for IUD consultation & insertion.
♥Kelsey E. Benedict