June 02 2021 – Ana Kafie
IUD's have become a popular form of birth control and for good reason. They require no strict schedule of adherence + the hormones are localized to the uterus so they tend have the least amount of side effects when compared to the birth control pill. Like all medical procedures, it is important to educate yourself prior to making any decisions. Here are a couple things to note about the IUD.
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional so please always talk to your doctor about any issues you might be having or if you are considering getting an IUD*
1. Insertion (and removal) can be painful so if you're not down for some cramping (okay, a lot on the first day at least) maybe it's not for you. Think of the worst period cramp you've ever had then x that by 10, that was my experience. The insertion pain lasts a couple seconds only then it's just some cramping for 1-2 days (similar to period cramps) as your uterus gets used to its new friend.
2. IUD's block the sperm from fertilizing the egg either through hormones or copper thus preventing pregnancy.
3. There are hormonal and non hormonal IUD's. Many women I speak with get excited when they hear about the Copper IUD due to the allure of no synthetic hormones but beware. The copper IUD has been known to make periods significantly heavier so it is NOT recommended for heavy flow folks or women with hormonal issues like endometriosis, fibroids etc.
4. The hormonal IUD may stop your period. The hormones essentially thin your uterine lining which is what sheds on your monthly cycle when no egg is fertilized. This thinning can create either very light/spotting periods or none at all. Don't fret though, unlike the birth control pill you are still ovulating monthly which can make it easier when trying to regulate your cycle pre-pregnancy.
5. If you lose your period, tracking your cycle to plan for pregnancy can be a little more challenging however there are many methods like cycle charting which can help with this.
6. Some women experience spotting for a couple days or even months post insertion. I experienced spotting for about 3 months but know of some women who experienced daily spotting for a whole year before their periods disappeared. I also know some women who only experience spotting for a couple of days. Every body is unique so you won't know until you get it.
7. Some women (myself included) can experience weight gain. A theory for this is due to the excess hormone progestin (synthetic progesterone) which can increase water retention.
8. Ovarian cysts can be a side effect, always talk to your doctor if you have a history of cysts already or are worried about this.
9. Sometimes, hormonal IUD's are recommended for women with endometriosis or other hormonal issues. The theory is that the reduction in the severity of your period will help ease the pain that is accompanied during these times which can be quite debilitating and severe. In my experience with endometriosis and an IUD the severe pain has subsided, however dull cramping has accompanied it which visits regularly instead of just once a month.
10. Although rare, it can dislodge or try to expel itself. I do know women who's bodies completely rejected the IUD which caused quite a lot of pain as it tried to expel so be prepared and know the symptoms of what is normal and what isn't.
11. The IUD has strings attached which make it easier for your doctor to remove after. You can feel these strings which are a very thin and wire like. Feeling them with your fingers can help give you peace of mind that your IUD is still in place - no worries, your partner won't feel them.
12. Depending on the device, it can be left in for 3-12 years.
Tagged: Health & Wellness