Apparently, and unfortunately, I am a part of the 17% who found my IUD insertion brutally painful.
“She must be almost done,” I thought to myself as the sweat from my back trickled down on to the medical chair. You can imagine my disbelief when my doctor softly said, “Okay, I’m just about to insert it…”
The process wasn’t easy for me but every woman’s body is different. I remember thinking, “the appointment is over, I can toss away my birth control pills, and I am a happy gal.” Sometimes with pain, comes pleasure.
Here’s what happened when I went in for my IUD insertion.
A day before my insertion appointment, I was given a prescription for Misoprostol, a medication that softens and dilates the cervix. Since I have been missing periods, due to my birth control pill, my doctor suggested I take Misoprostol as a relaxer. Instead, I cramped. A few hours before my appointment I was already bent over from stomach pains. For whatever reason, I decided to not take ibuprofen. I considered myself strong, capable of handling pain, and made the poor choice of not preparing myself before the appointment. (Do not make this mistake.)
I felt at ease sitting in the office. I suffer from vaginismus and feel like I experience pain in conjunction with my vagina quite frequently. I remember thinking, “could this really be that bad?” Looking back, I think I was a little too presumptuous.
I was led back to the restroom where I was asked to give a urine sample. Like any yearly appointment, I undressed waist down and relaxed until my doctor arrived. I felt calm and sure of myself. I glanced over at the small table next to my chair — a cup of Iodine soaked material and a box that read “Mirena” were placed in preparation.
Once my doctor entered the room, she requested that I scoot down to the stirrups, like with any regular pap smear, and proceeded to gather her equipment. With the speculum inserted, my doctor cleansed the anterior and posterior areas of the vagina. During this process, loud squishing noises came from my vagina. It’s a pretty unexplainable sensation. I began to feel nervous.
Peering over the curtain of my lower-half cover, my doctor held up her arm and presented to me the tenaculum, an instrument that helps stabilize the cervix. This is when and where I felt a deep and intense concentrated pain. Basically, the worst cramps that I could ever experience. My doctor explained to me that this was the hardest part and that the IUD still had to be inserted.
My doctor came around to me and let me feel the strings at the end of the IUD, the strings which I would need to feel to make sure it stays in place after insertion. Sweating heavily at this point, I barely remember touching the strings nor did I care about touching them. I just wanted to close my legs and go home.
Inserting the actual IUD was a breeze even though I was still reeling over the cramping. The arms of the IUD are bent and a tube with the IUD is inserted. Once it is properly situated in place, the arms open out again and create a “T” shape.
I felt dizzy and hot — like I needed to lay down for forever. My doctor gave me two Motrin to calm my pain. I ended up taking four.
I had planned ahead and wore my Thinx panties for any possible spotting. I slipped off of the medical chair and quickly realized, I was overheated. I slumped back down and relaxed for a while and requested water from the nurse. They told me to take as much time as I needed and to leave when I felt secure. I’m not sure if I didn’t eat or drink enough beforehand but 30 minutes later I found myself propped in the waiting room, too nauseous and delirious to walk myself to the bus outside.
After about an hours rest lying in a park in downtown Chicago, I was able to head home. Now that I have had my IUD for a few days, I feel good. I happily tossed the remainder of my birth control pills away and am relieved when I remember that I don’t have to depend on that responsibility in my life. The cramping lasted two days and I didn’t have any spotting afterwards, although I was prepared to. IUDs are the best way to prevent pregnancies and are 99.4% effective. If you’re curious of how to prepare for an IUD, I would recommend doing as much research as possible and to call your doctor for a consolation. While my experience was painful, it is rare.