I'm considering getting an IUD (Inter-uterine Device), what can I expect from the procedure?
Well congrats on taking the time to research your birth control options and taking control of your vagina!
I hope our blog about Birth Control Methods helped you out, or will help you out if you find yourself still weighing the Pros and Cons of an IUD by the end of this blog.
So let's get to it, the break down of the IUD insertion process.
1. Talk to your GYN. He/She will be the one performing the procedure. If you have not given birth yet, then you will have to get the IUD inserted while on your period. This is necessary because the cervix is wider during menstruation, which will make insertion of the IUD past the cervix and onto the vaginal wall easier.
Yes, this is kind of awkward... and a few more awkward things will happen before insertion:
-The GYN will feel your cervix with their finger.
-You will get a pap smear. This is a swab of the cervix that will test for any abnormal cells before the process. This doesn't hurt... but it is uncomfortable, especially if you're not expecting a Q-Tip to rub around inside your vagina and on your cervix...
2. When you're ready for insertion:
-You will lay flat on your back, with your legs up in stir-ups.
-Relax. Take a deep breath. Sing a song in your head. Pretend you're anywhere but at the doctor's office getting something placed into your uterus.
Being tense adds tension to your muscles, which means your vagina will tense as well, making sliding the IUD up to the cervix a little difficult for the GYN.
So, whatever you have to do to relax, hold someone's hand, ask to play music; then get it done.
-The GYN will then slide the IUD (attached to a long metal-tweezer like object) into the vagina, and then push it past the cervix, where finally they will attach it to the uterine wall.
This will feel like eternity because of the discomfort but really it is almost 5-10 minutes.
Doctors will say it feels like cramps times 10, an uncomfortable pinch.
I don't want to scare you, but I'll keep it real. It was not cramps times 10 for me, nor a pinch.
The only way I can describe it is like kitty claws on the inside of my vagina.
Depending on your pain tolerance, who knows. It doesn't last long though. It really is a new sensation and pain in an area that doesn't necessarily get discomfort like that, so it is hard for the mind to comprehend the whole insertion moment.
But just like that, it's done.
-The GYN will remove the metal object after insertion. You will take your moments to regain your composure, and then you can sit up and gets yourself together.
3. You cannot have intercourse or insert any objects into your vagina for up to two weeks after insertion.
4. You will have major cramps for the rest of your period. Taking a pain reliever is best. The cramps are the uterus's way of trying to deal with a "foreign object", if the contractions get too harsh the uterus can actually expel the IUD- thus making the experience useless.
So take what you need to (and follow prescription instructions) in order to dull the pain.
Now, depending on whether your got a hormonal (Mirena, 5 years) or non-hormonal (Paragard, 10 years) IUD, the next few months will look a little different.
With any hormonal birth control, the effects on your menstruation cycle change, as well as your hormones during certain times. Your body will need to adjust to these changes and it may take around 3 months (or more) for your body to get back on track.
With the non-hormonal, your body is just adjusting to the new object that has just been placed in your uterus. It may just take around 3 months for your uterus to regulate menstruation again, but you are not dealing with any change in hormones. The IUD may even change the cycle of your menstruation, making it longer or shorter, increase in blood flow, and/or come somewhere in the range of 24-28 days.
Either way, it is good to start keeping track of your menstruation cycle after insertion. It will help you figure out what is "normal" for you again.
It is also important to check to see if the strings leading down past the cervix are at a normal length (4 cm) every month. You just relax, slide your finger into your vagina and feel up to your cervix. NO PULLING. You are just feeling the strings out.
AND remember your ANNUAL GYN appointment!
(You will have a follow-up appointment with your GYN after insertion around 2 weeks after.)
Still Considering It?
Great! Now that you have all the information here is where you should start considering the Pros and Cons.
-Both are long term birth control plans, without regimens. The hormonal lasts up to 5 years and the copper is up to 10 years. They can be taken out beforehand, of course, whenever you decide you want to plan a family.
-Insertion is not comfortable.
-Insertion is a quick process.
-Can change your menstrual cycle and increase blood flow as well as cramps during menstruation.
-There is no protection against any Sexually Transmitted Infections or HIV.
-No intercourse for two weeks after insertion.
-Foreign object within the uterus.
You can take all these points and decide for yourself whether or not an IUD is for you.
For more information you can check this site: IUD
Good luck! Stay Safe! And Take Charge!