Since 2009, the amount of female patients choosing intrauterine devices as their preferred birth control has risen 91%.
They’ve been increasingly considered one of the more convenient birth control options available, especially with advantages like not having to take a pill every day and some IUD’s having a long-term shelf-life between 5-10 years.
It has a 1% failure rate, placing it as the more effective method of contraception than birth control pills and even surgery.
While every woman’s individual experience is likely to vary, I have to share my story because despite all the “convenience” IUDs provide, my experience really, really sucked.
At the time my IUD was inserted, I was 19 years old and hadn’t bore any children. My sister—who had birthed three—recommended it to me and convenience was my ultimate reasoning for saying “yes” to the T-shaped IUD.
When it was inserted, I yelled an expletive really loudly. It wasn’t a quick pain either; the insertion process took a couple of minutes, the entire time of which I was yelling so intensely the nurse helping out the doctor clutched my hand and let me take out my pain on her. I hugged her from my seat on the patient’s chair. I cried into her hair.
And then it was over. I couldn’t feel anything. I felt completely normal. I took a Motrin and I went home.
I immediately started heavy spotting, as if it were a period. I didn’t have any cramps really or any abnormal pain.
Then I went to sleep. Or at least, tried to. I probably clocked in a total of 1 hour of sleep; I tossed and turned; it hurt so much I had to cry out. I moaned, clutched my stomach, tried laying on it, tried laying on my back, my side—nothing helped the pain to subside. I woke up my boyfriend. He rubbed my stomach. I took more Motrin.
I had the IUD for about two years out of the total five that it lasted. I ended up deciding to remove it at the recommendation of my doctor, as I suffered a few infections and he guessed the IUD was to blame.
Removing it was the worst physical pain I’ve ever felt in my life, even first to getting it inserted. It was a long, arduous process to find the string and when it was pulled out, I cried hysterically, again relying on the nurse to let me bruise up her arm as I attempted to withstand the agony in my uterus.
My sister had already gotten hers removed at the time. I stalked home, knocked on her door and said, “You didn’t tell me that was going to hurt so badly.”
She said, “Yeah, I didn’t want to tell you and make you nervous.”
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the IUD for the two years I had it. As previously stated, it was super convenient; you don’t have to do anything for years. You don’t have to remember to take a pill, go to the doctor for a patch or a shot—nothing. But in the end, I seldom dolled out a positive recommendation to any of my female friends. Personally, for me, the pain I endured to both insert and remove it wasn’t worth the two years of safe sex I got to have. (Note: IUDs do NOT prevent STIs.)
Now that my IUD days are behind me, I’ve really been struggling making the transition back to the daily pill. Nothing about it is convenient and despite having a 7pm alarm that goes off on my phone, alerting me to take it, I have a difficult time remembering.
Even so, I’ll take the pill over an IUD anyway. I never want to feel that unique pain in my life ever again.
Image courtesy of Getty Images.