Is An IUD For You?
May 17, 2010 14 Comments
I apologize for any guys who may be reading this post, but we’re going to talk some female business now.
Two months ago I got an IUD inserted. I wanted to wait until the dust settled with it to talk about it and why I decided to get it.
So I’ll write this in a question and answer form:
SS4BC, what type of IUD did you get?
I got a Paragard IUD – which is a non-hormonal based IUD. There are two types of IUDs. The other is Mirena, which is a hormonal based IUD.
Why did you choose Paragard?
My mother died of breast cancer when she was 42, and I have been off birth control since my brother was diagnosed with cancer in 2002. Since that time I’ve been strictly condoms to avoid adding extra hormones to my system. However, while I still completely support the use of condoms, I’ve had two incidents in the last year where condoms have failed me and I had to get the morning after pill. Seeing as the morning after pill is just a giant dose of hormones, this didn’t seem any better as “back up” birth control then just being on the pill.
The only non-hormonal birth control methods are either physical barriers (condoms, cervical cups, diaphrams) or Paragard. I decided then to give Paragard a go.
How much does Paragard cost?
I got my IUD inserted through Planned Parenthood. You need three office visits to get your IUD inserted.
- The first is just your normal annual exam with STD testing to make sure that you don’t have any infections and to make sure you’re not pregnant.
- The second is the actual insertion which includes a “sounding” of the uterus to make sure it is large enough for the IUD, some drugs for pain, a test to make sure you’re not pregnant again, and a hematology analysis to make sure you’re not anemic.
- The third is done a month after your IUD is inserted to make sure that it is in the proper place and has not been rejected.
If I didn’t have insurance it would have cost me $967 for all of these visits. Or $181 for the annual exam, $752 for just the insertion visit and $35 for the follow-up. However, with my insurance I just had to pay a $25 co-pay for each visit. Or $75 total to get my IUD inserted.
How long does an IUD last?
The Paragard IUD is approved to last up to 12 years. That’s right, I just paid $75 for 12 years of birth control (if I want it). A per month fee is 52 cents per month over 12 years. Even if I only have it for 3 years, I’m still only paying $2 a month for birth control. That’s a pretty good deal as far as I’m concerned. Way better than the $10 co-pay I paid per month for birth control pills when I was on it. Mirena is not approved for as long as Paragard, at only 5 years.
Did it hurt getting it inserted?
Yes. Yes. Yes. The insertion process was not fun in the least. I was in so much pain I wanted to pass out and throw up at the same time. However, that pain lasts for only 3-5 minutes at the most and afterwards is bearable. They gave me a pain pill before hand, which I took. I wish it had been stronger. Also, I got it inserted while I was on my period. This is recommended because the cervix is already “open” as it is dispensing menses. Apparently the entire procedure hurts worse if you’re not on your period. Also, some doctors will give you a drug that will dialate your cervix. I didn’t have this so I can’t speak to how helpful it would be, but it seems like it would help.
How did it feel after insertion?
After I got the IUD inserted I drove myself home, no problem. But I did not want to go back to work. I sorta could only just sit without it hurting. I was popping advil when necessary for the first 36 hours. For about 3 days after insertion I felt very crampy in general. My uterus was trying to expel the IUD but couldn’t.
My period was 11 days long. Which felt like an eternity – especially since I couldn’t use tampons. The next period I got lasted only 6 days, and I had minimal cramping before hand. My third period I had less cramping than I normally did before the IUD insertion and it has thus far been 3 days (My normal period without any external factors is around 3.5 days).
I can still FEEL the IUD in me, especially during exercise. Which is an odd sensation to know that something is there, but I’m thankful for that because it is a reminder that it is working. However I don’t have any pain associated with in anymore.
Would you recommend Paragard to others?
Based on my experience thus far, yes. However I should warn you that the rejection/removal rates for IUDs are very high. Within the first year, on 78% of women are still using their IUD. The major reason for that 22% removing is the pain associated with the IUD and because of the IUD being rejected by the uterus.
There are also other side effects:
- Embedment can occur. This is where the IUD becomes embedded in the uterus and must be removed by surgery. Obviously the longer you have the IUD the more likely this is to happen.
- Perforation. If the IUD is not inserted correctly the IUD can perforate the uterus. The IUD is no longer protecting you from pregnancy and it can cause damage to other organs. This can also require surgery.
- If pregnacy does occur, there is a higher likelihood that the pregnancy will be ectopic and have to be terminated.
- Some people think that IUDs can lead to sterility, however this is a very rare side effect and only happens if one of the above as occurred (perforation or embedding). 80% of women become pregnant within 1 month of removing their IUD. With Paragard, you could get pregnant the day you remove your IUD because there is no hormonal balance to get back in order.
Can you feel it during sex?
No. I can’t.
All in all I’m pretty happy about my decision to get the IUD. Financially it was a great move. I’ll be sure to give you guys any updates on my IUD if I have a change of heart, but so far I really like it. If you have any questions, please ask, I’d be more than happy to answer.
Here are some links if you would like sources for some of the facts I posted.