My IUD Experience & Why I Stopped
About six months ago, after not being on birth control for nearly a year, I decided to get the IUD. My birth control history began with taking the pill, then after a year of anxiety about missing a dose, I switched to the NuvaRing which was great as I could leave it in for 3 weeks at a time, but it made me kind of crazy. After a break, I decided to ask my gynecologist about the IUD. The IUD, short for Intra-Uterine Device, is a small T-shaped copper or plastic device that your GYN inserts into your uterus. It remains active for 3-10+ years depending on which you choose. As far as I was told, I had three options, the Skyla, Mirena, and the Paraguard. Skyla and Mirena both have and release hormones, while the Paraguard is made of copper and no hormones. Many people choose the lattermost option thinking “it has no hormones, so it won’t mess with MY hormones.” This is incorrect. Any of the three IUDs can alter your hormonal stasis. Many women have reported horrendous periods, hair loss, and mood change on the copper IUD.
So anyway, I ended up going with the Skyla. My GYN said that because I get already very painful periods, the Paraguard would make it worse. I went with the less hormonal of the two options I had left, thinking it would affect me less. Whether I was right or wrong I will never know, but I do know it ruined my life the entire duration I had it in.
Let’s talk about the process of having it inserted. I cannot begin to explain the excruciating pain I felt. First, the GYN put a long rod through my cervix, and into my uterus. Sounds easy, but your cervix is as tiny as a pinhole and nature didn’t intend for anything to go upwards into it. It felt like a fish hook had caught onto my insides and was pulling VERY hard! It was the weirdest, most uncomfortable, and awful sensation I have ever felt in my life. I have a historically very high pain tolerance, and in this situation I SCREAMED! I felt so embarrassed, angry, and hopeless at the same time. The procedure lasted maybe 5-7 minutes, but felt like eternity. I could barely walk and nearly fainted on my walk out. After all of this suffering, I said “this had better be worth it…”
Turns out, it wasn’t. For the next three months, I could feel the sides of the “T” jabbing into my uterine walls, causing the most severe cramping of my entire life on a daily basis. I would be walking down the sidewalk, stop, and sit on the ground in agonizing pain. On top of the physical pain, my hair began falling out in handfuls in the shower, my skin broke out like I had never imagined, and I felt so miserable, anxious, and depressed, I could barely get out of bed! I cried every day and became very irritable. My boyfriend didn’t even recognize me anymore. What was the point of preventing pregnancy if I was so intolerable my own boyfriend couldn’t touch me with a six foot pole. Everything felt so unfair. I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Despite all the initial pain I went through, having it taken out was the best choice I could have made. Within days of it being removed, I felt amazing mental clarity, my pain was gone, and within weeks my hair stopped falling out. It was obvious what was causing all of my duress.
The most frustrating thing about the entire process though was that no doctor would admit that this pharmaceutical drug could be causing me any of these symptoms, despite the ridiculous before and after IUD evidence going on in my body. When I spoke to them they said anxiety is unrelated to birth control (but HOW DOCTOR - your hormones largely control your mood!) I decided “hey, these people are paid by these companies to list off the limited number of side effects that have been released by the creator, so to hell with them” and I took it out anyway.
By the way, if you are scared to get your IUD removed because of the pain you felt with insertion, the removal is 100 times less painful. The GYN simply grabs the strings that are showing through your cervix, and gently slides it out. I barely even felt it. When it was done I asked “did you do it yet?” I highly recommend, if you are experiencing any kind of symptoms like mine, to reevaluate your birth control situation. Good luck ladies! Let’s all hope one day all of this burden isn’t put solely on women!