Written By: Bettie Camaro
The IUD saga continues – and I am happy to finally report some progress!
Like many unmarried 20-something-year-old women who have never had a baby, I found myself jumping through many hoops in order to attain the highly coveted IUD. If an IUD is something you have considered, please take my advice: the hoops are worth jumping through, even with every frustrating dead end you may feel like you’ve hit.
My OBGYN is a very open-minded, nonjudgmental, well-educated woman, and as a person, I like her very much. Because of all of these positive characteristics she possesses, you can imagine my disbelief when she wasn’t even willing to discuss the possibility of an IUD with me after I expressed how unhappy I was with the pill. The sad part is more doctors hold this mentality than those who don’t ; I know too many other women who have fought this same battle.
I was shuffled from one pill to another with the promise that we could still try different pills if I remained unhappy and not myself on the new one. Being a firm believer that life is much too short to waste any time unnecessarily feeling miserable, I cut through the tears of frustration and dialed the number for Planned Parenthood. I said I wanted an IUD and they made me a consultation appointment for the following day, just like that.
I met with two wonderful women for my consultation. They sat down and spoke with me about why I was unhappy with the pill and presented me with all of my options, even discussing the two different types of IUDs I could choose from: the copper Paragard, or the plastic/progestin-based Mirena. In 2012, it should not be this mind-blowing and exhilarating to be presented with choices, but after 3 months of being shot down, it was a gigantic breath of fresh air.
Now, time for the big, bad gory details: I do not have a high pain tolerance, especially down there. I took plain old over-the-counter ibuprofen an hour before my insertion, the procedure took a grand total of 15 minutes, and I felt like I had a mild case of menstrual cramps for about a day and a half – I’ve definitely had worse cramps before than I did from the IUD insertion. Seriously – that’s it. Having your cervix washed, then your uterus measured and opened is nothing I would describe as “pleasant” but if pain is the reason doctors aren’t even willing to discuss it, then I say without any remorse they need to find a much better excuse.
IUD statistics speak for themselves. They are the most effective method of contraception (aside of course from abstinence) and last 5-12 years without ever needing to remember to take a pill or change a patch. Set it and forget it! Depending which one you choose, it can even make periods much lighter or disappear all together. Those perks aside, say you change your mind and decide you’re ready for motherhood – you can get pregnant again the same day your IUD is removed with no waiting time like many other methods of contraception.
I’ve had my IUD for about a month and a half now, and while my body is still adjusting to it (random spotting for the first few months is normal), I finally feel like myself again and couldn’t be happier with my decision to leave my OBGYN and advocate for myself. The ladies at Planned Parenthood were absolutely wonderful and even had me laughing during the procedure – if you can make someone laugh while they’re in the stirrups, you have a true talent! While it is 2012 and something like this seems like it should be outdated, I can’t stress enough how important self advocating is. You know your own body better than anyone, even the professionals, and you deserve, above anything else, to at least discuss the options you’re comfortable with and know why you keep getting no’s. If you can’t get that answer, it might be time to look elsewhere.