9 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting The IUD

by Katherine Barner

I, like many women, use the intrauterine device as my primary form of birth control. I got Mirena inserted about 10 weeks ago, and there were a few things I wish I knew before the process. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not unhappy with this form of birth control. In fact, I quite like it. It’s much more convenient than the pill, especially if you’re like me and don’t trust yourself to remember to take it daily, and I had tried another form of birth control in the past that didn’t agree with my body in any way whatsoever. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and each person’s experience is unique. This is based on my personal experience only, with some influence from the advice I received from my doctor. Also, different types of IUDs have different side effects.

Insertion hurts. A lot. Stock up on ibuprofen.

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It was worse than any cramps I have ever felt, and this is coming from someone who went on birth control initially to alleviate severe menstrual cramping. I would recommend going with someone who can drive you home and taking the day off. 

The pain doesn’t stop after.

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The adjustment stage was also painful, comparable to severe menstrual cramps. For me, it took about two weeks for the cramps to subside.

You may bleed after insertion.

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And that’s totally normal. Make sure to have sanitary napkins on hand; you probably won’t want to stick a tampon up there immediately after insertion.

Not everyone can feel the strings.

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If you can’t feel the strings when you check, the first thing you should do is contact your doctor to ensure that the IUD has not fallen out or perforated, or poked a hole in, the uterus. Also, sometimes the strings curl up or have been broken. If you’re like me and have short fingers and/or a high set cervix, you may not be able to feel them at all. 

But try different angles when you’re checking, first.

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There are tricks to finding the strings if your anatomy makes it tricky. Try the squat-and-feel method first. If that doesn’t work, my doctor recommends to lay in the bathtub with feet pushed against the wall, and sometimes that angle does the trick. Get creative. If you still cannot locate the strings, have your doctor check for them.

Your doc will ask if your partner can feel it. So, communicate.

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Seriously, ask your partner if they can feel it during intercourse. Talk. 

Depending on the type, you may stop getting a period.

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You may also have a decrease in cramps over time.

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Mirena usually decreases cramping overtime, and it’s pretty wonderful. I noticed a decrease after about two months.

It takes time to adjust.

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I was skeptical when I first got the IUD because of the painful insertion, but I have grown to love it. Give it time. And most importantly, if you have any questions or are unsure of anything, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR!!!! 

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