My Experience With an IUD

I’d like to start off by saying that I’m not a doctor or medical professional. This is just my personal experience with getting an IUD. 

So, what is an IUD? IUD stands for intrauterine device, and it is essentially a piece of plastic or metal that is placed in the uterus as a form of birth control. They can last anywhere from 3 to 10 years, depending on which IUD you choose. After talking with my gynecologist, I decided to get the Mirena IUD, which is a hormone-releasing IUD that lasts for five years. 

I wanted to try an IUD because I had struggled with my periods for many years. In middle and high school I had very heavy and irregular periods, so I began to take birth control pills to combat this. The pill kept my periods on a regular cycle, but they were still pretty heavy and came with bad cramps. Also, I struggled to take the pill at the same time every day because of my hectic schedule and tendency towards being scatterbrained. So, after doing some research and talking to my doctor, I decided to try an IUD instead. My biggest hope with trying an IUD was that it would completely get rid of my periods. It also put me at ease to know that IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control.

A few months after deciding to get an IUD, I finally visited my gynecologist to have it inserted. Just like a well-woman visit or pap smear, I removed my pants and underwear and was given a sheet to cover myself. My doctor came into the room with a nurse and explained everything that would happen during and after the appointment. She then inserted the IUD. The insertion is actually pretty quick, and mine only took about 30 seconds or so. Whether or not the insertion is painful really depends on who you ask. Before getting my IUD, I did plenty of research. I found women who said that the insertion was not even painful, just uncomfortable, while there were some women who said it rivaled childbirth (I strongly recommend NOT reading all of the IUD horror stories that you can find online. They are just going to freak you out and make you nervous). I’ll be honest, my insertion was pretty painful. The pain was similar to intense period cramps but more heightened, and I left the doctor’s office feeling nauseous from the pain. However, I think the IUD was totally worth it. 

A few days after the insertion, my pain had completely faded. For about two months after getting the IUD, I had continuous light spotting. It was light enough that I never needed a tampon. After four months or so, I stopped bleeding altogether. Now, a year after getting my Mirena IUD, I have not had a period in about eight months. I will occasionally have light spotting, but that is pretty rare (note: Not all people who get IUDs will stop getting their periods, and it may take longer than a few months for periods to become lighter or go away. This is just my personal experience). As for cramps, I rarely get them now, and they are so much less intense than the ones I had while on the birth control pill. 

The only real downside that I have experienced from my IUD is how it has affected my acne. I have always had acne-prone skin, and I’ve tried a lot of different things to get it under control. Because I went on birth control pills for my periods and not my acne, I never considered that it could have been helping my acne. But, a few months after stopping the birth control pills and getting the IUD inserted, my face, back, and chest flared up like never before. I tried oral antibiotics and strong topical creams, but it seemed like nothing could get the acne under control. Finally, I began a hormonal acne pill that has cleared up nearly all of my blemishes. 

After having my IUD for a year, I can genuinely say that I love it. I don’t get a period, and I rarely get cramps. I think that the insertion pain is well worth the pay-off of having a lighter period (or no period at all) and an effective birth control method. Although stopping oral birth control resulted in my acne running rampant for a few months, I was able to get it under control with a new medication. All in all, I think my IUD is amazing, and I will definitely be getting another one when my five years is up.