The Chronicles of My IUD

Hi! My name is Ashley and I am a 19 year old sophomore at Sonoma State University, and yes, I am sexually active. Why am I telling you this? No, it’s not because I think you care about my sex life...it’s because I recently received the IUD as my first ever form of birth control and boy has it been a fucking rollercoaster that I believe people should hear in case they are considering this method of birth control.

First of all: what even is an IUD?

IUD stands for Intrauterine Device, and it “is a tiny device that’s inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It’s long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods out there” according to the Planned Parenthood website.  

Why I decided to get an IUD:

I am a sexually active teen who has no plans of having kids anytime soon, and I was looking for a method that was highly effective, and wouldn’t cause a dramatic change in my life. Personally, I know that the pill wouldn’t be satisfactory for me because I would forget to take it and do not have the time to go to a pharmacy once a month to wait for half an hour for my prescription to be filled. I also have irregular, heavy periods and the IUD is supposed to slow the flow of your period or stop it completely. After talking to my friends and my gynecologist, I decided to get the Mirena IUD in July 2017.

What my doctors told me:

The IUD is the most effective form of birth control, reducing your chance of getting pregnant to less than one percent, and Mirena lasts up to 5 years. They warned me that the procedure would most likely be painful, but only lasts about ten minutes and that I would notice my period getting lighter and experience irregular, light spotting for the first 3 months.

My experience:

The IUD was not painful for me to get! It felt more uncomfortable than anything else, and I experienced period-like cramps for the rest of the day.  But the most important issue that my doctors apparently never thought to bring up was that you basically bleed every day for the first three months after insertion...I was told consistently that I would experience light, irregular spotting and that my period would basically stop, but I have bled basically every day since August 1st.

In addition to that, I have also gained about 6 pounds since insertion. Since I was never told that I may experience these side effects, i thought something was seriously wrong with my body. My health care provider has a nurse’s hotline that you can call to ask questions for non-emergent issues. The first time I called, I recieved a male nurse and i told him that I had been bleeding constantly for 11 days straight (also at the time I had a slight cold, so I also brought that up just to be safe). The nurse told me that since I had skipped my period the month before, I most likely was “doubling up”.....and then I stayed on the phone with him for another 20 minutes about how to take care of my cold...Nothing about that phone call made sense but I thought that since he was a nurse, he must know what he was talking about. After about another week of constant bleeding, I called the hotline again and told them my issues.

I recieved a female nurse who instructed me to go to the emergency room. I drove a half hour to the emergency room, paid my $15.00 copay and was thankfully checked in immediately instead of having to wait for hours and hours. I was then told by the doctor who was helping me that I was perfectly fine and this was my bodies strange way of reacting to the hormones. She explained how there have been countless girls just like me who were uninformed about all the possible side effects and come into the emergency room just as scared and frantic as me, but that there also isn’t a “pamphlet’ that explains this all either.  After some thought. I decided to keep the IUD til the end of the third month and if I was still experiencing bleeding, among other side effects, I would remove my IUD and proceed to try an alternative form of birth control.

What you should know:

All in all I’m not this vengeful person that hates the IUD and instructs everyone not to use it because it is evil! I just don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else.  Please, if you are considering the IUD, ask as many questions as you can and research everything! I advise to make an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood to ask them about your options, questions and other concerns.

You can visit their website here.