This month I’m celebrating my one year anniversary with the little buddy in my cervix. We’ve had our ups and downs but at the end of the day I’m so glad we found each other! Recently, I’ve found myself having a lot of conversations with my girlfriends about birth control and period problems. I always get asked so many questions about my IUD, so I thought this anniversary would be perfect time to talk about it since my body is now fully adjusted. I know this is a more taboo and TMI topic than other things I post on my blog, but whether or not you think it’s appropriate to talk about you can’t argue the fact that it’s 2017 and things are different. Unless someone seeks out information by themselves, the majority of women and men don’t receive adequate education on women’s health. Even if you’re not planning on getting an IUD, I think it’s important to share my experience. If it helps even one person with their decision of whether or not to get one then it’s worth it!
I got my period later than most girls at the age of 15 during my freshman year of high school. Like most people it was erratic for the first two years, but eventually 2+ years in I started experiencing the WORST periods in the entire world. I never had cramps, pain, PMS, or cravings, but I did have the heaviest flow you could possibly imagine. Even with the largest tampon and largest pad I would bleed through them within two hours, and I could never make it through a night without waking up to stained towels, underwear, and sheets. What was even worse was that my period lasted a full seven days! After three years of this insane bleeding I was sleep deprived and developed anemia. Iron supplements didn’t help and doctors certainly didn’t either; I even tried acupuncture!
I knew something needed to be done. I couldn’t take it anymore! I went to see my doctor here at UC Davis and she recommended I consider some form of birth control. The idea of putting hormones in my body frightened me, but after weeks of research I found the Mirena IUD. The Mirena IUD is a small T-shaped device that prevents pregnancy and helps with most period problems! The progesterone hormone in the Mirena targets the uterus lining; therefore the effects of the hormone released will have less of an effect on the body as a whole. Another reason I was so excited about the Mirena was because it not only lasts FIVE years, but it also wouldn’t be giving me a bunch of hormones and chemicals. Plus, it was 100% covered by my insurance.
I think the biggest turn-off for most women getting an IUD is the scary and painful placement stories that surround them. This is no party. Your doctor literally needs to go up into your vagina, open your cervix, and place it up in there. From what I had read, for many women it can be an extremely painful process that has been compared to intense period cramps and can even be as bad (or worse) than birthing pains…YIKES. So YES. I was SCARED OUT OF MY MIND. I didn’t sleep the entire night before and ended up walking around campus for an hour at 6am the morning of my appointment because I needed to distract myself.
The doctor had prescribed me a medication that I was supposed to put in my vagina in the hopes that it would relax the muscles and make the whole process less painful. Being me, however, I spent a good hour researching this medication and decided its known side effects and lack of solid proof that it would work were not worth it. I was just going to deal with the pain.
Nervous as ever, my bestie Tamanna and I were right on time for my 9am appointment. Here’s what went down: I got naked from the waist down, put my legs in the straddles as I lay on my back, and took a deep breath as my gyno went for it. I am one of those people who laugh when I’m uncomfortable, so let me tell you I was laughing my ass off, and Tamanna was right there next to me holding my hand and laughing along with me. The whole thing was over in about thirty seconds and to my pleasant surprise IT DIDN’T REALLY HURT!!! Thankfully I am blessed with an extremely high pain tolerance and it was nothing more than a really intense pinch in my gut that lasted only about ten seconds. I was so happy and relieved and felt silly that I had been so nervous! I walked right out of that appointment without a cramp or care in the world.
(Note: most women are nowhere near as lucky as me. For the majority of people this will be a very painful process and you might even have horrendous cramping for a day or two afterwards. I am #blessed.)
As promised, it took a while for my period to finally become regular and not super heavy. Believe me when I say I was patient for what felt like forever. I spotted every single day for six months. I must have gone through a million panty liners but eventually it all stopped, and now I’m getting light periods once a month just like I should be!
I am so happy with my decision to get my lovely Mirena and I would recommend it to anyone going through the same period problems that I used to have or anyone who needs a safe and reliable method of birth control. If you’ve made it this far (and you’re a guy) then congratulations! You’re educating yourself on women’s health-a topic that so desperately needs to be a part of the conversations we’re having. After getting my IUD, I’ve realized how many women of all ages have one too, yet it still seems like a scary and unknown mystery to anyone who doesn’t have one! Don’t be afraid of the IUD because its really not scary! Its one of the best things that’s happened to me!
The Mirena was the right birth control method for me and I love it, but at the end of the day it’s all about what you know is best for your body whether that means a different form of birth control or nothing at all! If you’re thinking about getting an IUD or just want to learn more, feel free to leave questions or comments below, send me an email, or find me on social media and I will gladly give you more info about my experience.
For more information: https://www.mirena-us.com/about-mirena/