All About the IUD

For years I feared this tiny device known as the IUD (intrauterine device for beginners). After being on hormonal birth control pills for eight years, I decided that future comfort outweighed my fears, and I bit the bullet. I got an IUD in Spain with my excellent Spanish insurance, and I’m here to spread the word to anyone with a uterus and an interest in an IUD.

I seriously wish I had gotten it sooner. I feared the insertion process the most, and it was uncomfortable but not nearly as painful as I imagined. My tattoos were definitely more painful! The insertion took less than 5 minutes and felt like a bad period cramp. I was able to function normally after the appointment, even walking over a mile home to my apartment. Overall I would describe it as manageable.

There are two types of IUDs; hormonal and non-hormonal. The hormonal IUD feeds a very low dose of progestin (no estrogen!) directly into the uterus, so it is not absorbed into the bloodstream like the pill. The non-hormonal IUD is wrapped in copper, which acts as a natural spermicide. Hormonal IUDs are known to reduce periods or even eliminate them. Non-hormonal IUDs do the opposite at first, escalating period pain and likely making them heavier.

IUDs are a good long-term birth control solution, but also temporary. Hormonal IUDs last up to 5 years and non-hormonal ones are good for 10-12 years! But when you take them out, that’s it. You can get pregnant immediately!

This is obviously very personal, but I wanted to share it because it has improved my quality of life. I no longer take a daily pill to control my horrible PMS, and it shows. My headaches are almost non-existent, and I have no mood swings or mental irritation. While I was on birth control, I was taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen quite frequently for headaches or cramps. In the two months since I’ve had my IUD, I’ve barely taken any medication.

Leading up to my appointment, I only read negative, scary things on the internet, but in reality, everyone I know who has one absolutely loves it. I wanted to share a positive story. For some context, Pap smears cause me to have nervous breakdowns. I never thought I could go through with this. But I did, and so can you if this is what you want for your body!

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