What It's Like to Get a Copper IUD

One of my good friends at Ithaca College recently got a copper IUD. She went to the Ithaca Planned Parenthood Clinic to get it and she's had it for around one month now. The following are several questions I asked my friend and her answers.

 

Q: Why did you decide to get a copper IUD?

A: I had previously used oral contraceptives, but ultimately decided that wasn't the best option for me. I wanted something that was more effective and non-hormonal. Additionally, I did not want the pressure of having to remember to take a pill.

Q: How does a copper IUD work?

A: Copper is toxic to the body, so copper IUDs make your uterus a toxic environment, killing sperm and preventing eggs from attaching to the uterine wall. A copper IUD can also be used as a form of emergency contraception if inserted within five days of unprotected sex. 

Q: How did you decide on a provider this procedure?

A: I was at a point where I wanted to be on a form of contraception as soon as possible, so I decided on Planned Parenthood because of the short wait time for an appointment. It was also easy to set up an appointment online, which was helpful as a busy college student.

Q: How did the insertion go?

A: The provider was very nice and told me what she was doing throughout the whole process. But my experience was incredibly painful and I had a lot of bleeding and cramping during and in the hours following. I was bleeding pretty heavily for about three days afterward, but the cramps became less painful during that period.

Q: Any advice on aftercare? 

A: Although it is rare, IUDs can sometimes be expelled or pushed through the uterine wall. This issue is especially important for people with copper IUDs because if the IUD moves out of place even slightly into the cervix or the vagina, the IUD will not be effective. This does not apply for hormonal IUDs, because they will still work if they shift around slightly. It is important to check your strings during the first few months following insertion and also make a followup appointment with your provider about a month after to make sure it hasn't shifted. Also, take ibuprofen and rest to deal with painful side effects like cramping.

Q: Any other advice for people considering an IUD?

A: Make sure that the decision to get an IUD is yours alone. Don't allow your romantic partner to influence your decision. Also, remember that everyone's experience with contraception is unique. It's important to consult with an OB-GYN before scheduling an IUD insertion to decide if this is the best option for you and your body.