Lesson #59: The IUD

by Rachel on December 13, 2010

After getting sick of listening to my birth control alarm go off every night, I decided to switch to an IUD. Since it’s becoming a lot more popular among young women, I thought I’d share the experience — an event I’m now referring to as Cervix Slam 2K10.

Here is what I think you should know…

1. More doctors than you might think are down with the IUD. A lot of people are surprised to hear that that the IUD is now being used by women who are young and childless — it used to be pretty exclusively reserved for women who had had kids before. You can see why girls want it — it keeps you baby-free for up to five years and is a pretty “set it and forget it” method. I had heard that finding a doctor who would do it would be challenging, but when I asked two doctors in the group I go to about it, they both said it was a great option. Once I knew my doctor was down, I just wanted to find out what my insurance would cover, and I was delighted to learn everything was covered. Ask and you shall receive, right?

2. Don’t pee right when you get to the doctor’s office — at least not until they give you a cup! Neither the Mirena web site nor the receptionist told me to come with a full bladder, but I did anyway. And then when I asked to use the bathroom before my appointment, no one stopped me. When I exited the bathroom, I saw my doctor and nurse and said, “Oh hi! I was just going to the bathroom before you’re ready for me!” My doctor said, “Oooh…did you happen to save it?” Well, sir, I don’t generally save my pee unless am explicitly told to do so.

Apparently, they have to do a pregnancy test right before inserting the IUD. I started chugging water in an effort to go again. They came and prepped me in the meantime, but then we were all kept waiting until I could go again. (Luckily, I turned it around in about 15 minutes, something I was rather proud of.)

3. Know what’s going to happen to you. Reading the Mirena Web site was somewhat helpful…but reading this post about an insertion experience was the best thing I could have done. The Mirena site gave me an idea of what all would happen, but I would not have been prepared for the pain had I not read Libby’s account. Not that I was totally prepared for the pain.

4. Know that it’s going to hurt like hell. Let me just start by saying that I have a very high pain tolerance. From a nose ring in college to Brazilians and laser hair removal to a tattoo to major surgery, I never really stress about pain when it’s for the greater good. I thought that if I could handle all those experiences without any major issues, I could handle a little old IUD insertion. I’ll admit, though, after reading Libby’s story, I was really nervous.

And my anxiousness was justified, because I can honestly say that this was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.

Because I had read Libby’s post, I knew there were going to be three moments of “big pain.” She said that people cry and even faint. So I was prepared for it…but then, I was so not prepared for it.

I wasn’t exactly screaming…but that’s probably the closest description for what I was doing.

I’m sure you’ve all experienced some form of “Hey, that thing is kinda big!” pain. Yeah…that’s one thing, and sure, it’s not fun. But. That’s pain in your vagina, which actually doesn’t have a lot of nerve endings. Pain deep up in your insides? Is a whole other story.

Honestly, if someone told me that a masked man had just come into the exam room and shot me in the gut, I would have believed it. It felt like the worst cramps you could ever imagine…times a thousand.

Now, if you ask your mom/aunt/older sister what it feels like, she is going to tell you something very different — because she has had children. Going through a cervix that has at one point accommodated a baby, and going through a cervix that still gets a little skeeved out by tampons are two completely different things. Do not listen to anyone who tells you she went for a run later that day if you know she also went home to her child.

I took pain medicine ahead of time, so maybe that helped a little (I can’t even imagine if I hadn’t). Even with that, I’m surprised I didn’t pass out or throw up. I had a strong urge to do both. After the procedure was done — it only took about five minutes — I just had to lay there for a few minutes because I could barely breathe. Pain like that just takes it out of you. I was dizzy, nauseous, and just holding my abdomen.

5. Plan to have a chauffeur. The receptionist said I could plan to drive myself home, as did Libby, but I decided that I’d probably want a little TLC after this, so I asked Eric to drive me. Best decision I’ve ever made. If I hadn’t had him to drive me home, I probably would have sat at the office for another hour because I felt way too weak to do it myself. Once in the car, I had to recline the seat all the way back because sitting was so uncomfortable. Every time he hit the breaks — which was a lot during rush hour in Houston — it hurt. Just…everything hurt.

6. Buy a heating pad ahead of time. One of my first thoughts after the procedure was, “This needs heat on it.” I don’t own a heating pad, so we stopped at Walgreens to get one. Getting out of the car actually helped — I found that standing was a little bit more comfortable than being in the car — but I wish we hadn’t had to make any stops. All I wanted was to get home and lay in bed. I also recommend having some ice cream in the freezer — that’s pretty much the only thing you’re going to want to eat after.

7. Clear your schedule. Because I hadn’t known how much pain I’d be in, I didn’t make any plans for the weekend and I am so glad I didn’t. I’m sure the recovery time is different for everyone, but when you decide to have this done, don’t commit to anything big for the next couple days because you just may not be feeling up to it. Personally, I found that I felt better about two hours later — and by “better,” I mean, I started to have a bit of an appetite (for ice cream) and I felt like I could move. But then I stayed at that level for the rest of the night and the next day. Thank goodness for the History Channel marathon of “America: the Story of Us.” I needed that ten straight hours of entertainment.

Late on Saturday, I felt better, so Eric and I went to get some food and wandered around Kohl’s…and by the time we got back, I was feeling a lot worse for the wear. I went straight back to bed with the heating pad. It got better and worse for the rest of the day, so then Eric just accused me of faking it, and said that I was in the most pain when I wanted him to do something for me.

8. Make sure your SO knows what you’re going through. I didn’t want Eric to come into the exam room with me, and I spared him the details of what exactly they were doing in there — I want him to think of my vagina as fun place, not a scary place — but I did want him to feel a little sympathy for me. Immediately after, I was trying to put on a brave face and not cry, so I’m not sure he realized how bad it was. I mean, that’s the only explanation I can give for why he made a joke about fisting as we were getting in the elevator. My eyes started to well up. “Too soon?” he said, as I hobbled to the car. The next day, I asked him if he’d take three swift kicks to the balls if it meant he’d be sterile for the next three years. He plead the fifth.

9. Remember that your body forgets pain. It’s weird how this morning, I can’t really remember the pain. The worst of it was over within a couple hours and from there, it felt pretty miserable, but your body does forget pain. Even though I spent Friday and Saturday feeling like I had sustained a traumatic injury, this morning, I feel completely back to normal.

I’m really interested to see if I notice a difference from the lower dose of hormones. I also have no idea what will happen to my period. I was on Seasonale for a few years, and I got very used to the lack of periods. Allegedly, that will happen again, but probably not for several months.

Earlier this fall, even though I hadn’t missed any birth control pills, I had started to get a weird set of symptoms, including nausea. Everyone and her sister was hinting at me that I was with child, and even though I knew I wasn’t, I decided to take a pregnancy test, just so I could say, “NO FUCKING WAY” the next time someone said, “Hope you’re not pregnant!” in response to my “I haven’t been feeling great lately.” It was my first time taking one, and, after spending $15 I didn’t have for a Walgreens brand two-pack, I managed to pee all over myself and the bathroom during my quest to find out exactly what I already knew. That was pretty much when I decided I wanted a method that was more effective than the Pill.

I love the benefits that the IUD has to offer. It’s five years of birth control, of never having to worry about missing a pill, of never having to get a prescription refilled (which has been an ongoing pain in the ass since I moved to Texas), and of never having to pay a co-pay. So, of course, now that I’m pain-free, I’m saying that it was a good idea. In five years, when I have to get that little sucker removed, I’m going to be singing a different tune.

But ultimately, I learned one thing from this experience and that is that childbirth now terrifies me. I really only like pain when it’s going to make me skinner or sexier. I guess this made me sexier though — I mean, I’ve watched enough “16 & Pregnant” to know how much of a turn-off the alternative is.

Update: In December 2011 I had my IUD removed.

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie December 13, 2010 at 9:27 am

After a weekend with lots of fun time, I was literally researching gyno’s in Boston to set up an appt about getting an IUD (bad reactions to the pill) when I opened my Google reader and read this. Thanks for the honesty about the pain. I’ll admit I’m a little afraid now, buuuut not as afraid as I am off having a baby!


2 Liz December 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

I think everyone has a different experience, I had the mirena inserted and all I had was some very mild cramping.


3 Pfieffer April 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Ok, I’m a little late to this post but I literally (literally) just had an IUD placed about 20 minutes ago. And apart from mild cramping, it was totally fine. The cramps were annoying since I never get them with my period but I figured there had to be some trade-off! I’m so excited for the locally-acting device rather than systemic hormone pills every day. Although, when I asked my ob-gyn resident about the pain, she said most people do fine but there are a few who feel as if they’ve been shot in the head. I’m glad my experience wasn’t as traumatic as RW’s but I AM hoping to find out that I need new skinny jeans in a few weeks! Fingers crossed!


4 Rachel December 13, 2010 at 9:28 am

Perfect timing! Let me know if you have any other questions — I’m happy to help!


5 Eunice December 13, 2010 at 9:29 am

This scared me.

But thank you for sharing! I haven’t considered an IUD. I’m assuming that you can just get it removed if you want to have kids before 5 years?


6 Rachel December 13, 2010 at 9:31 am

Yep, you can have it taken out at any point before then!


7 Lauren December 13, 2010 at 9:35 am

I hope I don’t burst your bubble by telling you that Mirena isn’t fool proof (I’m sure you already know that). My former boss was using Mirena for about 7 months when she found out she was pregnant. With twins! It sounds so painful to me. I’ve had an internal ultrasound and they attack your cervix with that as well and it is very painful. Since I don’t need birth control for birth controlling purposes and only hormonal purposes I think I stick with Yaz and let my cervix stay away from the slamming! Thanks for the honest post.


8 Rachel December 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

With twins? YIKES. Obviously I know no B.C. is foolproof — but I do feel better knowing it’s more effective than the Pill, and less prone to human error. But thanks for sharing that with me and with everyone else — I appreciate it!


9 Kionda December 13, 2010 at 9:38 am

OMG woman! I’m just glad that the pain has subsided and it’s all good now.


10 Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing December 13, 2010 at 9:41 am

Ouch! I’m feeling slightly sick to my stomach from your description. While I have no plans to have am IUD, my husband did just decided it’s almost time to start trying for a baby. Ouch, ouch, ouch!


11 Kaleigh December 13, 2010 at 9:43 am

I got Mirena about a year ago and have loved it. I stopped getting a period about 6 months in and haven’t had one since! Score! Luckily for me too, the insertion wasn’t as painful for me as you described so I’m thinking it’s, again, one of those every-person-is-different things. I wasn’t ready to go for a run afterwards but I was able to drive myself home and chilled out for the rest of the day and the day after I was fine. The actual insertion did have those 3 shots of intense cramping but I also had an AMAZING doc and he made me feel so comfortable, expalined everything as it happened and warned me to take a deep breath each time I was about to feel a cramp which I imagine helped a lot.
A word to the wise though, be careful in the first couple months with sex…. About 2 months after I got Mirena, one wrong move left me with intense cramps for a night and I called my doc panicing the next day. He said that’s a normal thing at first while the strings are still new (ie. not softened up yet). That only happend once though and no problems since!


12 Rachel December 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

Ooooh wow, now I’m scared all over again!! Hope that doesn’t happen to me, but thanks for the warning!


13 Paige December 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been considering an IUD for many of the same reasons as you, and it helps to know the negatives of the whole thing. I’m surprised if it’s that painful that they don’t give you some sort of anesthetic? Can I opt in for an epidural or, you know…unconsciousness? Because I’m okay with that. I wasn’t conscious when I had my wisdom teeth removed, why would I want to be conscious for something that sounds as atrocious as this?!


14 Alli December 13, 2010 at 9:54 am

I am SO GLAD you wrote about this. I’ve never read about someone my age getting an IUD – it’s usually from the POV of a late 30’s/early 40’s woman and prefaced by “This is for moms only!” – but it’s something I’ve been seriously considering for a few years. Unfortunately, my doc isn’t as open-minded as yours and shot me down right away, but I’ll be getting new insurance in January and probably shopping around then.

Also, “I want him to think of my vagina as fun place, not a scary place” made me seriously lol.


15 Summer December 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

Honestly, this made me a little nauseated to read. Thanks for the honesty, Rachel—I know this is an alternative, but I have feeling that getting a little sick to even read about an IUD is probably not a good sign.

Funny side note: My BFF in college got one, and she kept mistakenly referring to it as an “IED”—which you might know as an “improvised explosive device” or roadside bomb. One of our friends in the military quickly corrected her. Now it sounds like she wasn’t too far off.


16 Melissa December 13, 2010 at 10:14 am

I got the copper IUD last spring and it was very painful but the best decision I ever made. I’ve also not had children, but my doctor was very encouraging. She discussed the whole procedure then let me come back at a later date. I definitely whimpered during the most painful time and I had cramping for a day or two, but overall it wasn’t too bad. For some reason, I went to work afterwords, but I wish I had gone home.
With the copper IUD they tell you to expect worse cramping, but I’ve had lighter cramping and generally feel much better than when I was on the ring.


17 Siobhan December 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

my body has just remembered the pain and now I’m scared! I have an iud but the the mirena one just a copper one and I suffer so bad every month! I’ve had it for four years now and next Nov it’ll be time to get it changed. Don’t think I can go through having it taken out and put back in again now! :-s


18 Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle December 13, 2010 at 10:23 am


I have actually been considering an IUD but my best friend had an awful experience and it’s been holding me back. I have a high threshold for pain too, but this just sounds like too much.

Thanks for posting this.


19 Dani December 13, 2010 at 10:23 am

Ooooooh the pain! I’ve had my Mirena for about 2 years now and love it, but the insertion was horrific. I assumed it was because I have had one child (20 years ago) but had her C-section because my cervix wouldn’t dilate. I figured the amount of pain was a stubborn cervix. I do plan to have another one put in 3 years from now and I’m already not looking forward to it!


20 Paige December 13, 2010 at 10:32 am

Thank you for this post! I’ve been debating getting an IUD for ages and I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about it. I have so much trouble with hormonal BC, though, so I started researching the copper IUD as an alternative. I appreciate you being honest about the experience…I’ve heard everything from, “This will be the most traumatizing experience of your life” to “you might feel a pinch when it’s inserted!”

I’m currently without health insurance, but I’m thinking I might go ahead with this when that situation changes.


21 marie December 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Paige, I have the copper IUD as I can’t handle the hormones- if you have any questions let me know! I love it so far! :)


22 G December 13, 2010 at 10:37 am

Thank you thank you thank you for posting this and for being so open about all this kind of stuff. Coming from a Catholic high school and a family that is super awkward about everything, I am seriously clueless and so shy when it comes to these kinds of things. Google can only help so much and reading a first-hand account is much more believable and understandable. THANK YOU!


23 Sarah December 13, 2010 at 10:51 am

Thank you for posting this! I appreciate that you’re always willing to say it straight up. I hadn’t thought about this as an option before – perhaps now I understand why – but it’s always good to know the alternatives!


24 Smash December 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

Ugh, I feel sick just reading about this. Sorry you had to endure that pain but it defintiely seems worth it in the long run. And I HATE HATE HATE when people assume you’re pregnant just because you feel ill/nauseous. So annoying.


25 Alyson @ Nourished Fitness December 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

Great post! I worked in an Ob/Gyn office for a couple years and they were huge proponents of IUDs, it’s so fantastic that doctors are finally coming around to paying attention to the new & really research that they are good options for all us happily childless folks. … I think I’m still too much of wuss though, ouch!


26 erin December 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

i cannot tell you how PAINFUL it was to have that inserted. I think i had it inserted 3 years coming april. OMG painful. My older sister went through it, she warned me, but not that much. my younger sister just went through it earlier this year, and I tried to warn her that it would be quite painful (and she’s had 2 kids, but both by c-section). She said that was the WORST experience ever, and it didn’t help that her 2 month old baby was in the room screaming bloody murder.

I’m terrified of having it removed and replaced in 2 years. i wish it could stay in longer than 5 years. I don’t plan on having kids, ever. maybe i need to opt for a more permanent solution. the best thing about the iud is not having to take a pill, or not having the time of the month EVER.


27 Joyce December 13, 2010 at 11:13 am

Good luck with Mirena Rachel! I had it for about 9 months but had it removed earlier this year. You don’t feel a thing during the removal though in case you were wondering. It just wasn’t for me.. lost a lot of hair and a few other issues. IUD wasn’t for me but hoping you have better luck :)

I screamed with they put it in and definitely wonder how in the hell am I going to give birth.. eeek.


28 Valerie December 13, 2010 at 11:37 am

Okay, I always knew I was a brute, but now I feel even more so. I had my IUD put in on my lunch break five years ago. I am one of those assholes who tell people that it was painless. I mean, I had a couple cramps, but I popped a couple of midol and was on my way. I was unaware that my vagina had superpowers…


29 allison marie December 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I am *so* glad you posted this today! I’m going to the doctor tomorrow for a yearly, and on my todo list is to ask about alternative birth control, but now I’m totally not going to ask for this! Toooooooo muuuuuuch paaaaaaaaaaain! I’m so glad you seem to be happy with it, thank you for writing such an informative post – especially for those of us without children considering an IUD


30 marie December 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I’m so glad you wrote about this! I have the copper IUD, even less normal than Mirena, but it is completely hormone-free as hormones turn me into an absolute beast. It looks the same as the Mirena though. Holy pain! I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable I was during and after, but it is SO SO SO worth it now. I absolutely love this thing! No more birth control pills, no paying for anything, no reminders!


31 Lillian December 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm

*Good* doctors will give you Vicodin and painkillers. You should definitely ask for them. My roommate got hers inserted, had Vicodin before and after, and said she didn’t know how people could do it without. Advil will not cut it, by the way. There’s no reason you have to be in that much pain for so long.

By the way, if you’re sensitive to any hormones, Mirena is not a good option. Even if a doc tells you it’s “localized,” all that shit is going into your bloodstream. So if you ever got the crazies on the pill, I would not recommend it.

Another one of my friends? It punctured her uterus. Yep. Like embedded itself in her abdominal wall. She had to have major surgery.

Not to be a naysayer, but it’s definitely not for everyone.


32 Jen December 13, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I’ve been considering an IUD, but I would need a copper one — without any hormones. I’m still not sure if it’s the right choice and will discuss it with my doctor, but it is certainly helpful to hear about the actual experience of the procedure. I had heard it’s relatively painful, but I’m going to trust your judgment more. Thank you so much for writing this post.


33 Caroline December 13, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Thanks for posting this Rachel! I’ve wanted one for over a year now, but I’m a baby about pain… I hope you’ll keep us updated if there’s any more pain/cramping down the road.


34 Rachel December 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I have to comment on this! I got my IUD inserted at 19 and it was a pleasant and painless experience. I know, shocker, right? I was nervous. I don’t have a super high threshold for pain, and I wasn’t too experienced with sex or gynos or any of that, but I knew I couldn’t do the pill any more after my hormones had begun to make me feel asylum-bound. So of course, I chose the copper ParaGard, which is hormone-free and supposed to last up to 10 years. I actually got the procedure done at my campus student health clinic, and the women there were lovely and very helpful — as you said, doctors (and nurses!) are more open to it than some assume. I took some anxiety meds beforehand, and then she used a local anesthetic while I listened to my ipod during insertion. That part was FINE. The cramping afterwards was pretty intense; I was driven home and stayed in bed all day, and was given Tylenol with codeine. But I have not regretted it since! I’m so, so thrilled with my IUD, and so, so thrilled to see one of my favorite bloggers write about it. :)


35 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write December 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Wow. I’m so impressed. I think this post will help ALOT of women. I’m basically past the point where I need birth control like that, but seriously I wish it had been more prevalent a few years ago, because I’d really consider it. Glad you got through it, and hopefully the pain is behind you. xo


36 Robyn December 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Wow, thank you so much for writing this — I’ve been considering this as an option for a while but haven’t done a whole lot of research for feedback from women who’ve done it. I trust you as a writer, so this post is worth a lot to me. Thank you, again. I hope you’re feeling much, much better!


37 Priscilla Charles December 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I literally just blacked out in my chair reading this. I thought I could handle reading anyhting, apperantly my stomach and nerves have gotten weaker. I am hurting just reading that. On a lighter note…. I absolutely LOVE you blog. This post…………not so much. But that’s because of my whole fainting thing!


38 Kendra December 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Just reading this makes me a little nauseous but I’ve definitely decided that this was the route I wanted to go. I’m currently trying to decide between Paragard and Mirena. Never having been on BC, I don’t know how the hormones would affect me.


39 Summer December 14, 2010 at 11:33 am

Kendra—I know Rachel mentioned this above, but Libby has the Paragard IUD. You should check out her post about it: http://www.healthisontheway.net/2010/09/an-iud-insertion-story/


40 Betsy December 13, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I opted for the copper IUD in July as I was done with hormones. I went with Planned Parenthood and am so happy I did, they provide a heating pad and gave me tons of honest advice. My doctor told me I would hate this decision for the first 2 months because of increased cramping. I wouldn’t say that a full two months were awful, but it was uncomfortable. Good luck with your uterus getting used to it!


41 elaine! December 13, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Oh lord… I’m glad my doctor advised against it when I asked her about it last year. Not sure I’m up to someone stabbing my uterus. She said for someone with a pre-pregnancy sized lady parts, you have a higher risk of the IUD puncturing the uterine wall. Even if it’s not that common, knowing that it’s even slightly more likely to happen… oy….!!!


42 vanessa December 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Ah, this is re-traumatizing me! I had an IUD *installed* a few years back. I, too, consider my pain threshold to be pretty high. But that shit is no joke. The procedure itself was easy enough to displace myself through, but I had the worst. cramping. ever every single day for the next week until I just couldn’t take it anymore and had it removed. I instantly felt better and now take my bc pill with a smile each day.


43 Cyndie December 13, 2010 at 8:32 pm

ohhhh shit. I really want to try an IUD, but every time I’ve gotten a piercing, I’ve cried. I don’t know if I can handle this.

What I’m REALLY wondering, is how the side effects compare to the pill. I am hesitant to try the pill because everyone I know keeps telling me about how they HATED how it made them fat, crazy, and depressed.

So yes, I know the IUD is still considered hormonal birth control, but are the side effects as bad?


44 jenna December 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm

i agree- this pain sounds terrifying. i definitely don’t think i could handle it even if i really wanted/needed it.

as far as the pill goes, i personally think the key is finding the one that’s right for you. i take loestrin 24, and it hasn’t made me gain weight or feel crazy.


45 Heather December 14, 2010 at 1:27 am

Jenna, totally agree! I’m on Loestrin too, and after the first month I had no problems with hormone craziness or any problems with weight gain at all. You definitely need to see which kind of BC is right for you, because something will most likely work with your body. Rach, this post was super informative, but no way. Props for being tough, but one of my friends got pregnant on it and I just cannot imagine being stabbed in the cervix/uterus. I have a high threshold for pain as well, and I still think this would make me pass out. Do you know if you can have it done while unconcious?


46 Lisa December 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Ohmigosh. You are all incredibly brave! This is one scary-ass post though.


47 Ashley December 13, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Wow, I will be definitely sticking with the Pill and uh, a barrier method. This freaks me out soooo much! But I’m you posted it because my doc was all about the IUD, the ring, etc. NO THANKS!


48 Cynthia (It All Changes) December 13, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I had a very similar experience. It was painful. But I made sure my fiance (now Hunni) knew how painful it was so he knew how much I loved him to do it. We don’t plan on having kids and he was scared of the snip.


49 Brittney December 14, 2010 at 10:39 am

Owww! I hurt just reading this! I’m not thinking of getting an IUD anyway, but had no idea it was such an ordeal. Kudos to you for getting through it!


50 Janet December 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hi Rachel, I’ve been following your blog for a while. My friend Alex refered me :) anyway heres my comment virginity:

After reading your IUD story I decided to ask my doctor about it. She let me know two interesting things 1. there is a pill you can take the day before that softens your cervix, so it hurts less
2. she can give a prescription pain killer before hand to numb the pain

I love your blog


51 Bonnie Bucqueroux December 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Almost 40 years ago, I had a Dalkon shield inserted, and it caused chronic pelvic inflammatory disease that probably left me sterile. In the Seventies, the design allowed the trailing string to wick bacteria into the uterus. Awful. I am confident the new versions are superior, but keep monitoring the literature to make sure research does not uncover new problems.


52 Erika December 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm


Your account is spot on. I went in thinking, “I have three tattoos, have run half marathons and experienced a painful event where a rock fell on my head – this should be nothing.” WRONG. So, so, so, so painful.

But, no pain no gain in this case. I’ve been happier ever since.


53 Kali February 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I remember telling myself, over and over “I’ve got a tattoo, I can do anything”.

…and then it expelled, and I had to get another one inserted.><

My new line is "I had an IUD inserted (twice!), I can do anything".


54 Lily's Health Pad January 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Oh, I just have to comment on this! I’m the owner of a Paraguard IUD as of 5 days ago. I chose this IUD because I have dry eyes and hormonal BC was really aggravating them. I thought “ohhh, this is gonna be great because it’s natural.” Let me tell you, after the experience of insertion, wtf was I thinking? There is nothing NATURAL about something sharp and metal residing in my cervix!

Although, I’m not a naysayer just yet. The thing I’m most upset about is I was told by my doc I’d feel “discomfort” when it was inserted and I may have cramps for a few hours after. How about the most debilitating pain of my entire life? PLUS cramps for 3 days. I’ve run a marathon. Getting my wisdom teeth taken out didn’t phase me. But having a metal object shoved up my vagina has scarred me for life.

Knowing what I know now, I would ask for some narcotics before having this procedure done. Oddly enough, all my doc offered me was 800 mg of ibuprofen AFTER it was complete.

At first I thought maybe I was the minority and so my doc didn’t think she needed to take extra precautions to make this experience more pleasant for me, but after lots of google research, I’ve learned that feeling the pain I felt is often the norm. I wish I’d read something like this prior to the procedure so I could’ve known to advocate for myself


55 Alie January 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I take the pill but have had a LEEP procedure done where they cut off a tiny tiny piece of your cervix because of several abormal pap smears and it was NOT fun. I blocked most of the procedure out but my doctor actually injected a local anesthetic to my cervix which HURT and then waited to do the cutting. I imagine the pain it quite similar, I had major cramping the rest of the day and had to take it easy for a few days. They actually suggest taking of work/school for two days afterwards. Hope it works out for you!


56 Kali February 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm

My mirena, painful as it was, was one of the best decisions I ever made for my body.


57 sue March 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

hi rachel: came across you blog on IUDs by good luck, and think it is terrific. your advice is honest, specific and yet doesn’t turn one off to the benefits of the IUD. i was wondering if you would let me quote you on my website. i am a gynecologist in westchester, ny, and think you say it better than i could. sue malley


58 Rachel March 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Absolutely! Quote away — and please link back if at all possible! (If not, no biggie!)


59 Siyam September 11, 2011 at 12:36 am

Sooooooo…I was thinking about the IUD, but I think I’ll stick to the ring. Thanks for being honest though. I know the experience can be different for everyone, and I appreciate your honesty!


60 Angela January 27, 2012 at 2:32 am

Just came across your blog and had to read this post. My boyfriend and I moved to Japan last year. Before we left, I decided to ask my gyno about having an IUD put in, just to avoid the hassle of getting birth control with the language barrier. I went in for my annual, asked about long term options and my doctor suggested Mirena, saying, “we can do it today if you want.” Not knowing any better, and not having read any articles on it, listening only to my doctor’s optimistic review, I said sure! BIG MISTAKE. No painkillers, little warning and pain akin to samurai chopping my precious cervix to pieces followed. I barely stayed conscious for the procedure and immediately called my mom to come gather my limp body from the clinic. However, after two days of being curled in a ball, some random cramping here and there and 1/2 day periods every month, it’s been almost a year later and I love my IUD. So much less hassle. For those considering though, the strings can sometimes be felt by your SO…just a little PSA. Thanks for putting this honest post out there…and for your blog! It has kept me entertained all day!


61 Shelby June 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Removal is much easier. Kinda like walking downhill is easier than up. I actually removed it myself at home. I wouldn’t advise that but, I didn’t have any money to have my doc remove it. It was a good product for me. I rarely felt it or remembered it was there and no babies lol besides my one.


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