Follow:

What it’s like to get an IUD (and why you need one): A Christmas gift, from me to you

The best thing I did all year was get an IUD and play hide and go seek with my mom, so today, I’m here to tell you all about it — the IUD, not hide and seek. Today’s post covers my entire IUD experience over the past six months, and I truly hope that you’ll find it helpful.

I’m going to take the next couple of days off and just leave this up here at the top of theNotice, but I’ll be back shortly. I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season so far, dear reader.

PS: YES I DID TAG THIS AS HOLY GRAIL.

The basics

This is the stuff that you can find anywhere on the internet, so I’m going to gloss over it. Here are the basics on IUDs, as compared to each other and the pill — I’m reviewing the Mirena (hormonal) IUD today, but the insertion process of a copper IUD is the same.

IUD infographic thenotice

As with any kind of birth control, IUDs don’t come without risks — and some of the rare side effects, like perforation or ovarian cysts, are very serious. So if you’re thinking about getting one, talk to your doctor and do a little bit of research on your own. I’m an undergrad, for god’s sake. Don’t just take my word for it.

Why I chose the IUD

Simply put: I really trust my OBGYN. I have had awful periods for most of my life, and oral contraceptives weren’t working out for me — I couldn’t do continuous birth control, and it totally killed my sex drive. (Plus, I have vestibulodynia, which is sometimes linked to the pill.)

(PS: if you experience pain when inserting a menstrual cup–and I know many of you do–you probably have vestibulodynia to some degree. Talk to your gynecologist; it’s usually very easy to treat!)

Anyhow. My doc thought I’d do a lot better with an IUD, and he’s amazing at his job, so I said okay. Most of the serious risks of an IUD occur during insertion, and this guy has done thousands without a single perforation or expulsion. I figured that a few weeks of cramps was a good trade-off for five worry-free years of birth control, and I was reassured by the fact that if my body didn’t like it, I could have it taken out whenever — removal is easier and faster than insertion.

Mirena size

The size of a Mirena (from their site)

What it’s like to have an IUD put in

NOT SO GREAT, YOU GUYS. I’m going to be totally honest here, because it wasn’t comfortable, and the fear of not knowing was even worse than the insertion itself.

Everyone says that getting an IUD is like a really bad period cramp, but everyone is LYING. It’s like a very sharp muscle knotting deep in your gut, and it feels really bad — but it’s definitely not the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I’d say it’s like stubbing your toe really hard, except instead of a toe it’s your cervix. So… worse than most things, but extremely localized and very short-lived.

The process itself is simple: your appointment will start like a regular check-up at the gynecologist, then your doctor will dilate your cervix slightly and carefully place the IUD, which you bring to the office. (Check to see if your health care plan will pay for an IUD and its insertion; mine covered both 100%). Overall, it’s an uncomfortable procedure, but the pain is over very, very quickly.

Ronen Kadushin concept via Jezebel

Conceptual low-cost copper IUD by Ronen Kadushin (via Jezebel)

I found out during the insertion that I have an extremely retroverted uterus with a tight cervix, but my doc says that with most patients, he’s done in under a minute. (The internet says some doctors take up to 10 minutes, so find a great gynecologist if you’re worried about the pain!) It was easy to make it to the one-minute mark, but by the time mine was placed (maybe three minutes later? It didn’t seem like very long), I was unashamedly muttering I have so many regrets and why did I do this at the ceiling.

» If you have a tilted uterus, be prepared for prolonged pain and a follow-up ultrasound. If you’re really worried about the pain, try to schedule your insertion during your period, when your cervix is naturally slightly dilated.

Because your cervix is opened up, expect some spotting when you sit up and for the first week or so — no one warned me about this, and I accidentally bled all over the exam room floor and freaked myself out. But the pain diminished almost instantly and the nurse was really cool about everything (“I’m really really sorry I bled all over your floor but I CaviWiped it twice and I’m so, so sorry,”) so all in all, it went pretty okay.

I was pretty shaky with the endorphin rush when I got up, so make sure to eat well before your appointment and have someone drive you there & back.

Case Western Reserve University

IUDs through the ages — The History of Contraception via Case Western Reserve University

What it’s like to have one

At the beginning? Extremely uncomfortable. I had severe cramping (sharp, localized pain in my gut) for about a month and a half with decreasing severity, and I couldn’t work through the 5-30 second cramps — but when I wasn’t having them, I felt totally fine.

Now, six months later, I’m unbelievably happy with my IUD. I’ve had just three “periods” since getting my IUD in July, and they’ve been amazing: so light that they could hardly be called spotting, and my cramps barely last a half hour (way better than the seven-day cramps I used to get). I’ve seen no change in my skin or sleep cycle, I don’t have pre-menstrual days of despair and crying, I haven’t had a single yeast infection since getting off the pill, and I’m no longer sacrificing my sex drive for the safety of my uterus. Oh: and my boyfriend’s skin no longer smells weird to me.

(The pill, man. It does strange things).

All in all, my IUD experience has been pretty damn amazing. And if all that doesn’t convince you that you need to go ask your OBGYN about an IUD right now, how’s this: I lost five pounds switching off the pill, and I didn’t even put weight on when I started taking it.

—-

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and you absolutely should not take medical advice from strangers on the internet! This post is a reader request, not sponsored in any way by any entity, meant only to share my personal experiences with an IUD. If you found it interesting, I urge you to talk to your doctor (or, better yet,  your gynecologist) about the risks and benefits of an IUD. 

Share:
Previous Post Next Post
Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links and/or products submitted to theNotice for editorial consideration. To find out more, please visit our About/Disclaimer page.

You may also like

  • Annette

    That was a really interesting post. Well written, clear and it's detailed. I've had a Mirena since September 2013 so i hope you don't mind me adding a couple of my experiences that differ to yours. Firstly i'll add a couple of my negatives. Insertion for me was so painful and caused such cramping I actually passed out. My gynecologist did say that it was extremely rare to react so badly. (I do have a history of 2 ops for endometriosis so that might be a cause – it's also the reason i have a Mirena as I don't get on with mini dosed pills). However, this pain didn't last and i was fine a couple of hours after pain killers. I get gross spotting every month. I'm talking brown gunk which is not nice at all. For up to 6 days. Almost yuckier than a period, though lighter. On the positive side, my awful monthly migraines have significantly reduced with the Mirena. From day 2 after insertion it was completely comfortable. My skin is clearer since i've had it. Overall i'm happy with it and pleased I had it fitted but it's not perfect!

    • Not at all, Annette — in fact, I'm really glad that there's someone else out there who can add their own experiences to this post!

      I am so, so sorry to hear that your insertion process was so different from mine. My gynecologist mentioned that some patients pass out, too (I must have had three separate nurses to tell me to have a good breakfast before showing up; apparently a lot of women on campus eat their standard six almonds and a piece of kale and think they'll be fine), so it's definitely something they prepare for — and try to avoid, of course, but it's good to have contingency plans! At least you're already lying down when it happens :P

      All that said, I'm so glad that you're happy with your Mirena now that it's in. I sometimes get gross spotting as well (I think it has something to do with the amount of blood coming out, you know? Like, there's little enough that it oxidizes well before you have to change your pad), but I think my skin's been clearer, too — no more monthly hormonal breakouts.

      I hope your removal goes better than the insertion, when it happens! <3

  • Kate & Zena

    Thank you for this post, Rae! I'm getting a Mirena (hopefully) tomorrow! I can actually only use the brand name Ortho Evra patches and they discontinued them, so I've been hormone-less and crabby. I saw a OBGYN who specializes in pain disorders too and that's what she suggested.

    I'm glad you've had great success with your Mirena!

    • !!! Exciting!! Good luck with your insertion, Katie! I hope you love your Mirena — I definitely agree that it's the best option for someone with a pain disorder. Getting it in sucks, and I do think my muscles in that area are somewhat more primed for myofascial pain now, but overall my pain levels have gone WAY down since getting mine. No more crazy monthly cramps, no more hormones out of whack, no more week-long craping or bloating. The Mirena has been really good to me so far!

      Let me know how it goes if/when you do get one, yeah?

      • Kate & Zena

        I'm getting one Tuesday, but since I'm on my period and my period is notoriously short (about 3 days, almost never four), we're going to see if they'll get us in on Monday. It's a much further drive as it's a different office, but we rather get it in now than have to deal with a bitchy nurse that says it's not proper to get one in not on your period. I DON'T FUCKING CARE!!! (Excuse my language.) You think I'm going through that again? NO.

        I think it depends on your cervix/uterus too with how much pain you'll experience. I tend to be very stubborn about pain; I don't go to the ER unless I'm throwing up and can't even stand the dark when I have a migraine. I mean, I am THAT stubborn and pig-headed. I've gotten used the pain bit; give me pain….the idea of strings is still creeping me out. STRINGS. *shudders*

        I may have to walk like a duck.

        • That's soooo short, oh my god.

          Scrolling down now to read your other comment, but !!! seriously dude that's amazingly short and I am so jealous.

  • Great post! Well explained about IUD. Never knew about this that its better than pills. I will check with my OB about this. Thanks for sharing this.

    • I'm so glad you found it helpful, Judith! Hope it's an option for you, too :)

  • Totally loved reading this post. Women in general need to stop feeling embarrassed or a need to hide what they do to improve their lives and start sharing their experiences to help others! I've never thought of an IUD as I'm still really young and have been happily on the pill for a few years now. It works for me and my heavy periods and breakouts are gone. I love being able to know exactly when my period comes and not to mention I need the contraception. In the future I may consider this as I have no intentions to have children.

    • +1 to all of this, Sharlynn!!! Well said — this whole closed-doors nonsense around birth control is ridiculous, and it's not helping any of us!

      I'm super jealous that the pill works so well for you :P I definitely don't miss filling my prescription all the time (or being paranoid about whether or not I remembered to take it on time), but it's such an accessible, low-commitment option for birth control — I really like how you can start or stop it at any point, and knowing exactly when you're going to have a period is a huge perk.

      That said, the IUD is awesome for lazy girls like me :p It doesn't get much better than once every 5-10 years!

  • Helena

    IUDs and their plastic strings still terrify me, but reading about them is fascinating nonetheless. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hah! You're welcome, Helena — sorry I couldn't abate your fears at all :P

  • Fantastic post, Rae. Before we decided to try to start a family, I really wanted Mirena. Unfortunately two things kept me from switching from pills to Mirena. The first thing was the cost! Even with insurance, it was going to run me a $1000+ ! Though it worked out to be roughly the same cost as a condom a day for five years (if we're talking worth based on contraceptive use, though it would also be providing hormone therapy for PCOS, yadda yadda) it was a mighty chunk of money to come up with in one go. I was also worried – not like it comes with a money back guarantee if I didn't do well on it. The second thing was that two OB GYNs that I brought IUDs up were very reluctant to prescribe it to me since I hadn't had not given birth to a child. At first I was miffed, but after my HSG procedure, I can see where they were coming from. Pushing through the cervix hurt! Mine was closed off a bit so they had to punch through it with this thing that was basically a metal awl.
    I ended up screaming I LIED I DON'T WANT KIDS PLEASE STOP. In the future though, it's my primary choice for birth control. I lost 25 pounds coming off that damn pill!

    • That's such a good point, Mimi — the cost breakdown does work out to be cheaper, but it's a lot to come up with all upfront. (Especially when you take into consideration the fact that it's all non-refundable, even if your body doesn't get on with the IUD).

      I think it's strange that your OBGYNs were reluctant to give you an IUD, though — I think a lot of the time, that kind of thinking can be linked to a doctor who's set in their ways or under-skilled. (My first doc refused to administer one because she worried she might perforate my uterus, which… I mean, isn't that kind of her fault for being bad at doctor-ing, not mine? But, well, this is the same lady that refused to prescribe birth control for excessive bleeding, so.)

      Sending you lots of good vibes for 2015 on the baby-making front!! Yes, even if delivery will be out-of-this-world painful :p <3

      • Mimi

        I thought it was strange too! Their reasons seemed to be primarily concern for the chance of infection upon insertion, though that doesn't hold up as a good reason to me. I mean, for the HSG they pretty much just gave me an antibiotic beforehand to stave off possible infection, though I'm not a doctor I would have figured that they could do the same for IUDs. Doctors, man. I think we forget that they're human too and not infallible.

        • Uh. Yeah, that's actually a spectacularly shitty reason. There should be virtually no risk of infection if it's done right — you don't even have to take an antibiotic after getting an IUD! As long as you don't have BV or an STI (and you should be screened for both right before your insertion) and they keep their tools sterile, that's… not really a thing that should happen :/

  • truecolorjoy

    a very informative post, Rae. i chose the route of traditional chinese medicine to ease my period symptoms and irregularity. it doesn't do anything for contraception directly. however, my periods became clockwork regular so the fertility window was easy to track and i simply abstain during that time.

    • Thanks, Joy! Can I ask what you're using to regulate your period? I haven't actually tried anything from Chinese medicine for this, but I'd be really interested to hear what's working for you!

      • truecolorjoy

        hi rae~ happy new year! chinese medicine is best if tailored to you personally. traditional chinese medicine is really all about bringing the body in balance. since everyone's a little different, a generic formula isn't as effective.
        My recent post Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

        • Thanks, lovely! That's good to know — unfortunately, I don't know of any good practitioners in the city, but I will have to keep my ears open for one!

  • Guest

    I've had the Mirena for 1 1/2 years and it is the best thing I've ever done. No more periods, no awful pms, no cramping, and no decreased sex drive. I did experience very mild discomfort during insertion but I've had 3 vaginal births which probably attributed to less than average pain. I did a lot of research prior to insertion and was quite frankly scared given the number of horror stories I read. My ob/gyn has had 2 iuds so I forged ahead with complete trust in her ability to properly insert the iud. Great post!

    • That sounds amazing, stranger ;) I'm glad to hear that you're so happy with your IUD!

  • This is a great post, thanks for sharing your experience with it! I can't use dual-hormone BC (it makes my migraines worse and more frequent) so Mirena was a lifesaver for me. It eventually did start causing some problems with my skin, but not having a period for 4.5 years sure was nice! Also the not having a panic if I was a couple days late :-) I eventually opted for sterilization, but IUD is such a great option if you want something less permanent. It's baffling to me that I was in my mid-20's before I even knew that was an option.
    My recent post Review: Dinair Personal Pro Airbrush Kit

    • Thanks so much for adding your own experience with the Mirena, Nicci! I'm glad that it worked for you for so long — it's definitely a great option for anyone who's not quite sure about sterilization. <3

  • Swatch and Review

    WHY DO THEY MAKE THEM SO CUTE? Like knowing there is a Mickey Mouse looking character up in my hoo-haa makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy?

    I love sex talk with not-a-doctor Rae. You've got us covered from sex with yourself to no babies please.
    My recent post YSL + Google Glass: The Future is Now!

    • Lol!!! Those prototypes aren't functional yet; they're just conceptual — no way your average woman would sign up to have a penny forced through her cervix! :s

      -Love from not-a-doctor Rae :p

  • howdoesdeedoit

    Really appreciate the depth and breadth of info in this post Rae. I've been on the pill for.. ..ugh way too long now andI definitely do think I'm having some of the side effects you've mentioned. Not very sure if we want to have kids but I know that I'll be looking into IUDs as an option for after ( or before depending on which way the winds of change blow bahah) I know my sister said the same things about her experience with it. Very uncomfortable at first but great later. I'm going to go read about that vestisomething condition now ;) hope you have a great new year !
    My recent post Top DEElights of 2014!

    • I'm glad you found the post helpful, Dee! Let me know if you need links to more info on vestibulodynia; I'd be happy to help.

      If you're not planning on having kids for the next five-ish years, I say definitely look into the IUD! I am SO happy with mine — I'm actually on my period right now, and it's even lighter than my spotting used to be. I haven't needed to use more than one or two thin pantyliners (you know, the ones advertised for day-to-day "freshness" rather than period coverage) a day; it's been heavenly!

      • howdoesdeedoit

        Would appreciate any additional info you have Rae, sure! It definitely does sound wor th the intial discomfort! I was told they don't usually give it to women who haven't had kids yet ..so this is also news to me that you can have it regardless of whether you've given birth before or not. I think we may have kids in less than 5 years but I'm definitely going to get this when I'm done so ty !
        My recent post Top DEElights of 2014!

        • Yeah, you definitely can. It depends on the doc, I think — some of them prefer not to do it just in case they mess up or something goes wrong, but there are risks with anything. I personally feel like the risks associated with an IUD are less than those associated with an accidental pregnancy, but it's really a decision that each person has to make on their own!

          I'm not sure if I would get an IUD from a doctor who doesn't want to administer one, though — I think that sometimes it can speak to their skill level and comfort with the procedure, and if they don't do a lot of them or have had perforations etc. in the past, it's not something that I would want to risk. :s

          As for vestibulodynia, check out these links! [ One two three ] If you have any more questions or anything, feel free to email me — I know how helpful it can be to talk about this kind of stuff with someone else, and my inbox is always open :)

  • Laura

    I really appreciate the post- I'm so undecided right now, but I'll be seeing my doctor in Feb and see what she thinks.

    Basically I have "perfect" periods after being on the pill for 6+ years straight. Different types, but the last 4 years or so no changes. I get my period every month on a schedule that's damn near predictable to the HOUR. Very light. 3, 4 days max.

    So I'm afraid I'll be ruining my body's habit and I'll have to deal with some crazy IUD side affects like I did at first on the pill (nausea, weight gain, skin, etc)- but switching to a different pill solved that. IUD is kiiiind of a commitment I'd have to suffer through for awhile. A friend got a copper one and literally described it as…a bloodbath. Eep.

    Plus with no periods I feel like I'd be super paranoid. Even with the IUD success rate.

    • Oooh. Perfect periods sound awesome, though — light, short, and scheduled. :p I say if it's not broke, don't fix it! (But on the other hand, and IUD might be more cost-effective, and it's definitely less of a hassle.)

      PS: Keep in mind, though, that copper IUDs are like the opposite of hormonal ones when it comes to your period (copper makes them heavier; hormonal makes them lighter), and that most women (66%) do still get a very light period on the Mirena! But yes, definitely talk to your doc if you're interested — or even talk to her and then get a second opinion. There's never anything wrong with getting your hands on as much information as you can before making a big decision like this one!

  • Lily @ChloeAsh

    Thanks for this post, Rae. Now that we've had our 3rd child, we don't want any more children. That said, my hubs isn't exactly keen on the idea of anything permanent, so no sterilization. I was considering a few options and this is one of them. I'll have to talk to my dr during my first postpartum check up on Friday but good to know some insights before discussing with her :-)

    My recent post Empties and Final Thoughts

    • Dude, an IUD sounds PERFECT for you — and you live in a great area of the world for it. (They're less popular here, so our docs get way less practice in putting them in).

      Hope your checkup went well, and keep me updated on the IUD front! :)

  • EuterpesDelight

    Re: Mimi's comment thread: I was given to understand that the odds of a perforation are much higher for nulliparous women, which is why my OBGYN was a bit reluctant too. Fortunately (ish?) for me, since I was getting aura migraines it was basically an IUD or the shot and I was very much like "oh hell no" to Depo, so she relented to the need for the Mirena.

    Your experience of the whole procedure has gone really similar to how mine went! My butt scooted involuntarily away from the insertion pain, but it went away pretty quickly and that IUD gave me 5 years of blissful no-more-goddamn-pill-taking birth control. I actually just a couple months ago had that first one taken out (with strings cut too short originally and thus a somewhat less easy removal than I think most people have) and a second put in. So yeah, I heartily +1 this post ;)

    • That sounds AWFUL :s (The migraines, not the insertion). Intractable migraines are one of my biggest fears; I am so glad that you were able to get an IUD to help with them!

      I mean — hopefully it helped? Yeah?

      • EuterpesDelight

        It was kind of funny; I was getting the aura part and mostly not the pain part. Which, don't get me wrong, yay for *not* having migraine pain. But it meant I was terrified and confused when I got them at first because I had no idea what was happening to my vision. Anyway, yes, they went away, all became well in the land of body chemistry, there was much rejoicing *\o/*

        • That's… actually super weird. And kind of trippy? :P

          *rejoices for the land that is your stabilized body chemistry*

  • Kate & Zena

    I got my Mirena yesterday and you know what? It only hurt when my OBGYN actually started putting it in. Everything else was easy peasy and then BAM! That was awful! And, you know what, it is hard to describe that pain! It felt like really bad cramps to me because I don't get cramps often. I don't usually show when I'm in pain, but I had to breathe REALLY deep and clench and unclench my hands there in the office!

    I agree; it's not the worst pain I've felt (I think that's just something people with pain disorders are just going to say. NOT THE WORST PAIN EVER) but certainly not a walk in the park. I thought I was going to pass out when I sat up so I had to give myself a minute or two to regain my bearings. It took a few minutes to get mine in as my cervix is tilted (yippee! I inherited my mom's cervix!)

    Oh, and no cramping here. :) My lower back is really sore though. I need my Ibuprofen here.

    • Woo hoo!! Katie, that sounds amazing — I am so glad that your insertion went well!

      I mean, also ouch, but well overall. :P How are you feeling now? Cramps still there, or have they gone away?

      • Kate & Zena

        I never had cramps, but my back and neck have been bothering me. It's really just adjusting because I've been without hormones for more than a month. My headaches have been slowly disappearing which is a RELIEF.

        I've been noticing my discharge has been a little thicker with leftover bleeding from my period (that spotting thing I used to get if I went too long without going off my Ortho Evra) which is a little weird and I have no idea if that's normal. I'm assuming it is. I'll probably message my OBGYN if it doesn't clear up in a few days. I totally don't know if you had that, but it's just something I noticed. Pantyliners, woman's best friend for times like these! Never understood their value until now.

        • Still not a doc, but that sounds normal to me! I'm pretty sure spotting (light to heavy; thin to thick) is to be expected for up to a couple of weeks after insertion :) I remember needing full-on pads for the first few days, then pantyliners until around the end of the month.

          Pantyliners = BEST FRIEND. I never even need anything heavier nowadays!

  • sylirael

    Ahh! Another one of these posts-on-topics-that-we-should-all-talk-about-more-(freely)-from-Awesome-Rae…posts. You know what I mean. <3 ^_^

    I have often wondered about one of these, but I'm lucky in the sense that I only ever started the Pill for contraceptive purposes, as my skin was …fine and my periods were…average and I don't have any conditions stranger or more unpleasant than eczema (yet. Which I am profoundly grateful for). I guess for the moment it's a bit moot for me, since I'm reaching that point in my adventuring career where my self-imposed deadline of 'no kids after 35 if I can help it' is getting rather close (once you factor in kid spacing and the time it takes to, you know, *bake* the kid). You want to know the most ridiculous part? I've spent a good chunk of my adult life trying so diligently to avoid becoming pregnant, I have no idea if I actually *can* have kids…or what it will be like if we actually spawn rogue-wizards into the world…

    Anyway, that was my completely useless contribution to the discussion ^_^ I'm super glad that you've had such a great experience overall with your IUD, and that you shared this post with us! (((Rae))) :-D
    My recent post The Freshly Sugared Rogue: Exploring New Lip Balm Frontiers with the Fresh Sugar Berry Lip Treatment!

    • Yay! :D :D I am so glad that you like the POTTWSATAMF posts, Syl :P They are my favourite!

      I actually started wanting an IUD or a prescription for the pill when I was… man, maybe 14-15? But my doctor at the time (thank god I'm no longer with her) refused to give me an IUD, and wouldn't prescribe the pill unless it was for contraceptive purposes, which it — wasn't. I mean, dude, I was a nerdy fourteen-year-old, OF COURSE it wasn't. So, instead, I spent like five years getting crazy woozy once a month and losing a good chunk of my life to cramps and bleeding. (I remember posting about it on MUA once and being like, "shit, you guys, is this normal" and having twenty middle aged women caps-locking me with NO YOU'RE BLEEDING LIKE A STUCK PIG; IT ISN'T… so, yeah, I'm totally enamoured with my IUD. One of the best decisions I've ever made.)

      ANYHOW.

      Kids! Tiny little adventurers! I feel like all of my blogging peers are getting married and baking babies (in their uteruses, not their ovens, just to be clear), and I'm just sitting here, trucking away at my undergrad degree. I want you all to pop out those buns so I can come PLAY with them. I will be the great Auntie Rae, bard of the bards, rogue-in-training of the rogues, who will come with toys and early childhood textbooks and lots and lots of smiles for those with tiny hands.

      When it comes time… keep me looped in, yeah? I will send you all the pregnancy-belly creams and lullaby sheet music that you could ever dream of. ;)

  • vanessa

    I just saw this post and it is startlingly relevant. Just got evaluated for an iud yesterday. I'm going for skyla in feb, but I'm still a bit scared, honestly. My doctor was amazed that I've been using condoms for 7 years while in a monogamous relationship…

    • HOLY that is a long time. HOW.

      (I, too, am amazed. Like, VERY amazed. Bow-down-before-you amazed.)

      Hope your Skyla insertion goes well! You are going to have sooooo much fun after it's in. :P

  • Sarah

    I just booked an IUD consultation with my gynecologist! Thanks for the great post. Super informative. Question… is it like getting a pap smear, instead of swabbing they go deeper and place the device? I guess I will find out on Monday but am curious about the process because I have provoked vestibulodynia and getting a pap is extremely tough. Also, I know you personally might have had an easy time with your diagnosis but vestibulodynia is not "pretty easy to treat" for everyone and I fear that could be a misleading statement to many women. Or it makes other people feel like we just need to "get over it" because other women haven't had as hard of a time during their treatment. For me, it has been and will continue to be a long process of living with and managing the pain. Anyway, thank you as always for your honesty and real talk.

    • Hi Sarah,

      I am so, so sorry that my comment about vestibulodynia was ambiguously phrased — I was trying my best to keep this post short and on-topic, and I see now that I should have worded it more carefully. I apologize if it upset you even the slightest bit; that wasn't at all my intention.

      I absolutely agree that vestibulodynia is a painful, difficult condition, but statistically speaking, it (unlike vulvodynia) really is treatable for most — and for those whose condition is more entrenched, I am fully aware that it is NOT the fault of the individual. (Even mine is still very much present; while I was lucky enough to get my pain levels back into tolerable range within the year, I still experience pain on a daily basis).

      I actually meant my comment in the same nature that yours is coming from, but I see now that I should have worded it more carefully: that is, I wanted to encourage women to seek help for their pain rather than just "getting over it," because a lot of women have no idea that vestibulodynia can be treated. I have a great deal of respect for people like you, whose conditions aren't so easy to treat — it takes a lot out of a person to be constantly in pain, and the fact that you're still advocating for other sufferers (and are brave enough to get an IUD!) is very, very humbling.

      But! Tl;dr, I am so sorry for sticking my foot in my mouth and totally saying the opposite of what I meant. The IUD insertion should be a lot like a pap (but with extra-super-bonus internal ouch), so definitely bring your xylocaine and apply generously! I hope your consultation goes well ♥

      • Sarah

        Hi Rae,

        Thank you so much for your extremely thoughtful response. I agree that more women need to talk to their doctors about the pain. For the longest time I felt like I was just kind of 'broken' or worse, that it was supposed to be this way.

        I live in BC and I don't think MSP will cover the IUD cost. I hope it's not too expensive! eeps.