Why I Hate My IUD

Last summer, after more than 15 years on the pill and a number of conversations with my boyfriend about whether my lengthy overdose of hormones had me concerned about our future conception efforts, I decided to take the plunge and shed myself forever of impossible bubble packs, impractically small meds and annoying cell phone alarms. I was getting an IUD.

And while it sounds like it was simple, this was not a decision I took lightly”I did countless hours of research, I had borderline-TMI conversations with two female coworkers who loved their IUDs, and I made not one, not two, but three trips to my family doctor before I finally booked my appointment at the local women’s hospital to have Mirena, a local hormone-based IUD that lasts up to five years, inserted. By then I was pumped. I had all the information I needed: promises of carefree sex, not having to remember a silly pill every day and the potential that my periods would get lighter or disappear forever. I was so very on board with all of the above.

But apparently, I missed the small print. Because six months later, my experience with my once highly anticipated IUD has been less than stellar. I was pissed. No one told me this was how things might have played out. If they had, I might have reconsidered my decision. So, here I am, telling you that sometimes (contrary to your doctors raving about them) IUDs aren’t all their cracked up to be and this is why:

The insertion hurts like hell

I don’t care what anyone tells you about this process, but if they tell you it feels like mild cramping, they are definitely lying to you or have a freakishly high pain tolerance. Not only is there some pain when they clamp open your cervix but then they bring out this weird torture device/measuring stick to record the length of your uterus (cue cramps round one) and then they insert the IUD. The best way to describe it? Imagine someone squeezing all your internal lady bits in a mechanical vice grip and that’s probably a good starting place.

My sex drive was basically non-existent

One of the first things I noticed in the first few months with my IUD in was that I went from literally having a super healthy (maybe overly healthy?) sex drive to literally drying up like a well. All the things that used to turn me on were basically useless and getting lubricated? Pssh, forget about it. Things improved (barely) as the months passed and my hormones regulated, but alas, I still live in fear that my girl parts will never work the way they once did. 

Not having a period is really freaking scary

One of the biggest draws of the IUD for me was that Mirena, an IUD that releases small doses of hormones directly into your uterus, can cause your periods to get lighter and, in some cases, disappear altogether. I had one period after my first month and then¦ crickets. I literally haven’t had a period since last summer. Sounds glorious, right? Wrong. It is actually terrifying to not have a period when a) you’ve literally had one every month since you were 12 years old, and b) you are nowhere near ready for a baby. I have stuck my fingers up there and felt around for the silly strings they leave hanging out (so you know it’s still in place inside) more times than I’d like to count in many panicked oh-god-what-if-it-fell-out-and-I’m-pregnant-and-drinking-tequila moments.

My hair grows at insane speeds¦and in weird places

I shave my legs and my underarms every damn day right now. My bikini line? A lost cause. And my eyebrows? Forget waxing once every couple of weeks, I’m now plucking them every other day. And this is not even mentioning the once non-existent hair that is now growing on my face, my stomach and, weirdly, my toes. Like seriously, toe hair? COME ON.

I won’t deny that there are some very convincing pros when it comes to having an IUD put in and, my dear, I truly hope that if you too take the plunge that you have an experience with very little pain, much more sexiness and a lot less hair than me. I, however, will be ending my IUD journey in a few short weeks and it is going to be a very welcome farewell.

Tags: birth control, birth control pill, contraception, IUD

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  1. Avatar
    • Erin
    • March 19, 2016

    Not sure if you’ve discussed it with your doctor, but there’s always the copper IUD option. It lasts up to 12 years, is hormone-free, and is reportedly just as effective as Mirena. It also tends to run cheaper. Drawbacks: well, insertion #2 for you likely won’t be any happier and monthly periods can be more painful and heavier, at least for the first little while. You will continue to have your periods, though, which may relieve some of your fears (I feel like I’d have a full stock of pregnancy tests on hand if I were you… Does Costco sell them in bulk?). BUT the biggest bonus would be the lack of hormones if you’re concerned about conceiving and fertility in the future. I’ve been thinking about making the switch myself and have been for two visits to the doctor and nearly two years of researching, so I can relate to your uneasiness. Anyway, thanks for your honesty. I was thinking about the hormonal IUD, but being someone who already has way too many hair growth issues, I think I’ll opt for copper.

  2. Avatar
    • Kate
    • March 18, 2016

    I absolutely LOVE my mirena iud (so far)! I got it inserted end of Jan ’16. Insertion was a breeze for me!! I’ve never had kids, so I was absolutely terrified of getting it inserted. I was drenched in sweat just sitting in the waiting room. I got it done at the woman’s college hospital, and my doctor was amazing. I was scared for nothing. The cramping post insertion was pretty awful, but for me, the less I moved the more it hurt! I ended up going for a 12k run that night.

    I’m super pumped for no-more-mensies! I’m planning on stocking up on dollarstore pregnancy tests. I think you can get super cheap tests on Amazon. 50 tests for 26$ CANADIAN.

    I’m sorry your iud didn’t work out. Hopefully you find a form of BC that works for you!!

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