Birth control is such a blessing—but for me it’s also a curse. There are so many options out there, but I can only use a few of those options. I have migraines with the aura, and estrogen puts me at a higher risk of having a stroke. I was on the combined pill (estrogen and progesterone) for 3 years when a nurse at planned parenthood told me that my doctor should have never put me on it in the first place. They flagged my patient profile, so now I can’t get the combined pill, which, I mean I don’t want it now anyways.
PP sent me home with a handful of pamphlets of other options that left me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. After reading pages and pages of horror stories about the shot, the implant, and IUDs, I was terrified to try anything else. My other options were cervical caps, diaphragms, or sponges. I have a thing about sticking my fingers up there, and I’m allergic to spermicide, so those options were out. I decided to explore the copper IUD more, because who wouldn’t want BC without hormones??
I read hundreds of reviews on this particular IUD—success stories and horror stories. The odds of all of the bad things happening were extremely low, but it still freaked me out. Birth control that had no hormones, and didn’t have to be taken out for 12 years? Count. Me. In.
In August of 2017 I set up an appointment with a gyno and didn’t look back. Putting up with 2 minutes of pain for 12 years of bc? Hell yasss!
Two minutes of pain? WRONG. It took them 20 minutes to insert my IUD because we all found out that my cervix is off to the side and tilted back. It took them 15 minutes to prep me (putting the speculum in, attempting to find my cervix many times, putting the numbing agent on my cervix, and measuring my uterus) and 5 minutes to put my IUD in. The IUD didn’t want to settle in at first, so they had to re-insert a second one. After they FINALLY inserted it, I walked out of there with the worst cramps I had ever experienced. The cramps lasted for 3 days and then my uterus finally calmed its imaginary titties and accepted its new companion.
You guys. I fell in love with this IUD! Yes the insertion process was painful and lasted way longer than expected, but I didn’t have to think about taking birth control everyday or even inserting my bc when needed. I had it for three months, and then it started to pinch me. Sometimes it would be so unbearable I had to drop to the floor. The first doctor I went to said that I was just experiencing intense period cramps. The pinching continued, and picked up some more, weird side effect friends, so I sought out another opinion.
(The side effects I was feeling was: constant fatigue, heart palpitations, anxiety, lack of sleep.)
The new doctor said that women who get IUDs, especially the copper IUD, can experience intense and painful cramping followed by abnormal side effects. She suggested that I take over the counter pain relievers to help.
The pinching and weird side effects continued, so I sought out another opinion from a gyno. The pinching had been going on for 9 months, and finally a doctor agreed that this wasn’t normal and suggested an ultrasound to make sure that my IUD was in the right place. As for the abnormal side effects, she would need further testing to confirm it was a result of the IUD. I was so relieved that someone was finally doing something about the pain that I was feeling. But, of course, there was an obstacle in the way: my insurance refused to cover it, so needless to say I couldn’t afford it. I dealt with the pain for the rest of the year.
In January of 2019, I went to the gyno for a pap smear (if you haven’t done this you should get one!). She was getting me ready for my pap smear when she looked at me funny. She goes, “Are you in any kind of pain?” I told her that sometimes I feel this extremely unbearable pinching sensation, but every time I go see someone about it they dismiss me. She told me that they should have taken me seriously because half of my IUD was sticking out of my cervix. I was appalled; I went this past year living in pain because no doctor would take my concerns seriously.
My gyno had to take out my IUD. I didn’t want to endure the pain of getting another one, so she explained my options. I could either get the arm implant, the shot, or just use condoms. 1) I was not going to jump onto another form of hormonal birth control without researching it first and (2) Condoms don’t always work. I always have some form of bc and use condoms for added protection.
I decided to take a break from bc and sex all together. With this break from birth control, I got my health in check, and all of those other problems I was having while I had my IUD went away. Next time I’ll fight for my health even harder. Don’t forget to pay attention to your body and be your own advocate.
What are your birth control horror stories?
Has anyone used the arm implant?
I would love to hear from you!