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Busting IUD Myths: 4 Facts that May Surprise You



(via smithpse)


I’ve officially been on the IUD 3-4 months, which means it’s time for a check up from the doctor.

I cannot emphasize enough, even if your doctor does not mention it to get a check up appointment in 3-4 months after getting an IUD inserted. This is because in the first 3 months you do have an increased risk of expulsion of the IUD or perforation of the uterus. It is a small percentage, but still a good idea to make sure that everything is fine. They’ll do a pelvic exam and ask you about any side effects or questions you have.

As many of you know, I have horrible periods and cramp 24/7. On the IUD I’ve only had a little bit of spotting, a almost negligible amount. I still am cramping 24/7 but it’s a lot less. I did have an incident one time after intercourse I had some of the worst cramps in my life. I haven’t had intercourse since but I’m hoping that it was just a one time thing. My doctor said this all can happen, but my body could still be adjusting to the IUD (I have mirena, so it is a larger IUD and I’ve never been pregnant so it is the first time anything has been in my uterus). She suggested that if I’m still cramping in 3-4 more months to make another appointment to come in. By 6-8 months of having an IUD if you don’t love it you should try something else. Because I have a problem with cramping and horrible periods and a transvaginal and over the stomach ultrasound showed nothing, if I am still having issues by January, they will give me a laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is the best way to diagnose Endometriosis or PCOS. They’re hoping that even if  I do have something wrong birth control will treat it. If I am still having issues they’ll continue running tests since I have been through combination and progestin only pills, the depo shot, and now the hormonal IUD.

So y’all may find in January or February a post about how laparoscopies are done and if I get a diagnosis. 

I really hate getting my period. Everything about it. I heard that many birth control options make periods light--some even making periods disappear completely. My question is, is it safe to completely stop having your period? I know it's a natural bodily function, but I don't plan on having kids now or in the future so I'm not really worried about it affecting my fertility.


Yes!  It’s perfectly healthy.

Let me explain:  During your normal menstrual cycle, you have estrogen telling your uterine lining to build up, up, up.  Then, you have progesterone telling your uterine lining to shed.  Some people have PCOS or other hormonal dysfunctions where the estrogen tells the uterine lining to build up but there’s no progesterone to tell it to shed.  In that situation the uterine lining will keep building up with nothing keeping it fresh or keeping it from accidentally becoming cancerous.  That’s what we’re worried about in this situation - the un-moderated uterine lining becoming a space where cancer cells can proliferate uncontrollably.

However, birth control uses those hormones to trick the body into doing certain things.  For example, a consistant low dose of progesterone stops you from building up a uterine lining in the first place.  That means that when you’re using the mini-pill, Nexplanon, Depo shot, Mirena, or Skyla IUD, you’re not even building up a uterine lining at all, making it so that there’s nothing to shed during your period, so no period bleeding.  Yay!

You don’t have to worry about cancer with those birth control options, because there’s no unmediated proliferating happening to begin with.

And the beautiful thing?  None of them affect your fertility at all.

So how to you stop getting a period?

  • Take your birth control pills continuously - that means skip the placebo or “sugar” pill.  Take only the pills with hormones
  • Use your nuvaring for 4 weeks straight and then switch to another without a “period” week
  • Get a Mirena or Skyla IUD
  • Cross your fingers and get a Nexplanon or use Depo
with the contraception needle/shot, my family (mother and sister) have both had severely bad mental reactions after receiving it (my sister is now on the bar and a lot better thankfully). I've ruled out getting the needle because there's a high chance I'll react the same way. Would it be safe for me to go on the bar? Could I still have the same reaction? I've been on the pill before (Levlen ED) but it gives me horrible nausea, I've tried switching brands but they're too expensive.



The thing is, is I’m assuming here that is they had adverse reactions to the shot, I’m guessing it was because of the hormones in it. And as you can see, depo provera and implanon/nexplanon are both progestin-only birth control. So maybe the implant might not be a great idea? I mean, if it works for your sister it may work for you, but it may not. All birth control is going to work differently for everyone.

My best suggestion is to maybe look into non-hormonal methods like the ParaGard IUD or check out combination methods like Mirena? Once you do some research on those, definitely speak to your doctor, they’ll be able to help you choose a birth control that’ll be most beneficial for you, it may take a bit of trial and error, but don’t give up! - Paige

Can I jump in here?

The Depo Shot and Nexplanon are both progesterone-only, just like Paige stated above, but more interestingly than that, they both use very similar types of progesterone.  Additionally, both methods use very high levels of progesterone, unlike any other method.

Because of this, both methods have a quite a few side effects, most of which are similar.


  • Decrease in bone density
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Mood changes


  • Irregular bleeding
  • Mood changes
  • PMS symptoms
  • Weight gain

If your mom and sister both have difficulties with that type of progesterone, I suggest that you try something else.  Consider:

  • Nuvaring: A combination birth control (both estrogen and progesterone) that is in the shape of a ring.  Insert it into the vagina for 3 weeks, remove for one.  Since it acts locally, it should avoid the nausea you experienced with the birth control pill.
  • Paragard IUD: A non-hormonal IUD that is inserted into the uterus for up to 12 years.  Very effective.  No hormonal side effects.  Causes heavier cramping and bleeding.
  • Mirena IUD: A progesterone-only (but different type of progesterone) IUD that is inserted into the uterus for up to 5 years.  Low levels of progesterone. It is extremely effective.  Makes periods lighter or stops them all together.
  • Skyla IUD: A progesterone-only (but different type of progesterone) IUD that is inserted into the uterus for up to 3 years.  Very low levels of progesterone. It is extremely effective.  Makes periods lighter or stops them all together.

If you have any other questions, feel free to check in with me at themidwifeisin.

misspatchwork answered to your post “Quick, if you have any questions about IUDs get your ask on! For today…”

Do the hormonal IUDs have the same benefits as the birth control pill in regards to regulating periods and helping with acne, etc.?

The mirena is really great at regulating periods, in that it can cause you to not have periods and it causes the bleeding and other symptoms to go down by 90%. I’ve heard Jaydess is less good at treating menstruation symptoms, but I’ve not heard enough about Skyla because it’s so new (Skyla users please chime in!). The IUDs aren’t as good at regulating other things like acne because it is localized in the uterus. It’s good in that you have less chance for side effects, but if you want some of the side effects like acne treatment go with the pill.

alullaby answered to your post “Quick, if you have any questions about IUDs get your ask on! For today…”

Do you know if Skyla is truly significantly smaller? My doctor measured me as too small for Mirena even post partum! Major disappointment

Mirena is 1.3 by 1.3 inches, whereas Skyla is 1.1 by 1.2 inches. 

It doesn’t hurt to ask your doctor about it!

song-of-imaginary-beings answered to your post “Quick, if you have any questions about IUDs get your ask on! For today…”

How bad is spotting after periods/insertion?

It largely depends on the person.

For hormonal: The first couple of days after insertion you may need a pad or other period product. I’ve known a couple of people who said they needed to use a light product for up to 3 months after insertion, but usually it’s really light and doesn’t last very long. There’s a 30% chance you’ll stop having periods or won’t have any spotting after 3 months. Usually periods are reduced by 90%, so very light.

I would say if you have spotting after 3 months that’s annoying it’s a sign that you may need to try a different form of birth control.

For copper: a lot of people report that it can be pretty heavy and longer periods and spotting. Also more cramping

Followers, how was spotting for you? Be sure to add what kind of IUD you had.

l-ovelylonging replied to your post “Quick, if you have any questions about IUDs get your ask on! For today…”

How long does the pain/insertion last? I’m Interested in getting one, but I’m so nervous of pain!

The first pain is a little pinching sharp pain as they put it into your cervix. This lasts less than a minute. Then you have some cramps that can be intense last as they get it into place, this is maybe about 3 minutes. You can have less intense cramps anywhere from a few hours to 3 months after that. There are things you can do to help the cramps though, just like menstrual cramps.

caesuria answered to your post “Quick, if you have any questions about IUDs get your ask on! For today…”

What are some ways to reduce pain upon insertion and how effective are they? I’ve seen debate about misoprostol and lidocaine.

I have a post all about that http://fuckyeahsexeducation.tumblr.com/post/96124998600/iud-insertion-preparation-guide

Before Insertion

  • Find a buddy to be there for you. This is VERY IMPORTANT. Not just for hand holding during the procedure, but after the procedure you can be very weak feeling. You may not want to drive and you may need someone to help look after you.
  • Get good sleep and eat a good breakfast. You may want to schedule the procedure in the afternoon to give you time to eat and digest your food. I ate breakfast and it came right back up after the procedure so it was no help at all.
  • Take pain reliever 45 minutes to 2 hours before. Take whatever over the counter method works best for you and whatever dosage works best for you. Again, be sure it has enough time to digest and start working.
  • Make sure to do everything you can to make yourself feel good. I made the mistake of not taking my medications yesterday (I take an antidepressant and anti anxiety medication) which made me feel sick today. I was also heat sick from being out in the heat. Make sure you take care of yourself.
  • Wear something comfortable that doesn’t cut into your belly. I wore a huge sundress and it was great.
  • Go when you’re on your period. This makes it easier to dilate your uterus. Wear pads the day of. Avoid tampons or a menstrual cup for a week after just because your uterus will be irritated and it could cause issues.
  • Bring snacks. It’s very common to feel woozy after and eating something helps a lot. I personally wanted something cold and soft because I was nauseous and having a hot flash, so also bring money and your buddy to make an ice cream run just in case.

The Procedure

  • Many places will want a pregnancy test just in case, so ask if you’ll need one. If so, be prepared for a pee test (drink lots of water). You’ll give a pee test first and then wait for the results and the doctor.
  • This may depend on the doctor and the facility but they just had me in a regular room where I’ve had pelvic exams done before. They told me just to take off my bottoms (another great reason to wear a dress) and put the paper sheet over my legs. I entertained myself looking at diagrams of reproductive organs. If you usually have to wait for your doctor a while, you may want something to entertain yourself.
  • The doctor will ask if you have any questions about the mirena or the procedure. Be sure to ask any questions you have. You may want to make a list.
  • You can ask if they do any numbing or if they have anything to make it less painful or easier for you. This will depend a lot on the clinic and doctor. My doctor said that because the cervix has few nerve endings (ha!) there wasn’t really anything to do. Your doctor may be different. Things your doctor may be willing to do include 
    • misoprostol as a vaginal suppository. You would insert it into the vagina ten hours before the doctor visit to further soften the cervix
    • squirting (not injecting) lidocaine into the cervix before putting in the IUD. There is a device called Endocell that can do this. This will also help numb the cervix and ease pain.
  • While the doctor is getting things ready lie back, grab your buddy, and either focus on the ceiling above you or close your eyes. Some clinics will have things to look at on the ceiling. Start focusing on your breathing. Take deep breaths in and deep breaths out. Count to about 7 as you breath in, and count again as you breath out. Relax your whole body. It helps if you start with your toes and slowly relax all your muscles all the way to your head.
  • The doctor will use a speculum to open the vagina. Then they put in an instrument to open the uterus. This will feel like a pinch or a stab. Don’t feel bad crying out or squeezing your buddy’s hand. Remember, just keep breathing.
  • Then they will insert the IUD. This will feel like cramping. The cramping was no worse than a really bad period for me, but I do commonly refer to my period cramps as my uterus trying to strangle itself with the fallopian tubes or my uterus trying to crawl out of my belly button. This will last a little while as they get it into place. I also felt like I had to poop because of the pressure which make it uncomfortable and difficult to relax while they trimmed the strings.
  • Remember, the pain is different for everyone. Don’t worry too much, just focus on relaxing.


  • Take it easy! This period is again different for everyone but I’m a big believer in preparing for the worse but hoping for the best. My first reflex was to run. It was uncomfortable, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, and I was cramping. I just wanted to leave and get home and curl up in my bed. I made it halfway down the hall before I puked up my breakfast (and something neon green). If you feel the least bit woozy or nauseous tell the nurse. Chances are they’ve seen this a million times before and they’ll ask you how you feel. Be honest and don’t feel bad about resting. You may need to lay down for a while, they will let you use the room as long as you want. My nurse brought me ice water and a cold wash cloth. The cold helps a lot. Small sips though! After you feel less like throwing up (or after you’ve thrown up and feel less queasy) eat something. That made me feel the most better. After a while of laying down they’ll probably get you to sitting and then standing. My clinic didn’t let me go home until I could walk to the car on my own. Take it as slow as you need. My nurse said that she’s seen people walk out fine first thing and also saw one person totally faint twice. Don’t feel bad about how you feel and be honest about it.
  • Go home and lay down, especially if you don’t feel 100%. I slept from noon to 6 and felt great when I woke up. Just a little sore and some light cramping.


  • You may cramp and spot anywhere from a day to a few months. That’s normal. You may want to avoid sex for a week to let your cervix heal. If you have any extreme pain, if you can’t feel the strings, or if the strings get in your way go see your doctor. My doctor made an appointment for me at 6 weeks to check on me, if your doctor doesn’t do this you may want to ask for an appointment to make sure everythings going okay and to ask any questions that may pop up. If after 3 months you don’t love it, talk to your doctor.

ellielliott replied to your post “Quick, if you have any questions about IUDs get your ask on! For today…”

Does it make period cramps worse after you get it?

The copper IUD can make you bleed more and make your period cramps worse. The hormonal IUD can for the first 3 months, but after that there’s usually a 90% decrease in bleeding and cramping as well as other period symptoms, there’s a 30% chance your menstruation will stop altogether.

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