No It’s True IUDs Are the Best

Kat Stoeffel at NY Mag knows what’s up: “You can’t tell a woman’s method of birth control by looking at her, but you’ll know if she’s using an IUD, or intrauterine device, because she won’t be able to shut up about it.” SRSLY THOUGH. IUDS R GR8. BBC (best birth control). Get one. Get two! (Get one.)

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67 Comments / Post A Comment

ThatJenn (#916)

I am stupidly worried about the string. :(

myrna.minkoff (#272)

@ThatJenn What is to worry? I will say, it is a little stiff immediately after insertion, which my partner had said he could “feel” but it didn’t seem to hurt him, and the longer it’s inserted, the softer it gets. Mine has curled up.

hellonheels (#1,407)

@ThatJenn There’s nothing to worry about. My doctor sliced the strings off mine during a LEEP and was totally unconcerned about it. Apparently they almost never float off somewhere they’re not supposed to.

blueblazes (#1,798)

Putting in and taking out = NOT GREAT. But totally worth 5 years of irresponsible sexing in between.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@blueblazes Or 10 years if you get Paragard. TEN YEARS.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@blueblazes I read the article on the hairpin about IUDs and how few people have severe pain and totally believed it when I got my IUD. I was like cool lets just pop in and get this thing done!

And oh my effing deity of your choice, it was horrible. I fainted. I went all clammy. It was EXCRUCIATING (mostly the “uterine sound” she did that and I was dying and then my doctor was like “oh I’m going to insert your IUD now” and I was like “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT WASNT IT”) I got dizzy and nauseous and basically wanted to die. I had to call my mommy to come pick me up.

I still get worse cramps than I had on the pill. BUT I got it because the mirena is the most effective form of BC, so I’m still glad about that and I’m thankful I have 4.5 more years until I have to undergo anything with the IUD again.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@MissMushkila Basically I just wanted to give my horror story. But don’t let it scare you! (do make them give you real painkillers – I got the doctor to prescribe me percoset before I left)

@MissMushkila I had a pretty painful insertion period and cramps later that day which both made me nauseous and associate Ethiopian food with wanting to puke. Fun! BUT I still evangelize because before I had it inserted, those were my normal period cramps and I haven’t had them since.

sventurata (#27)

@MissMushkila So… are the cramps worse, equal to, or less than non-BC cramps? Mine already make me want to curl up and die.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@sventurata I don’t know how mine compare to non-BC cramps, because I’ve been on birth control since I was 14…My dermatologist prescribed the pill to help my acne, and I was on it until I got the IUD. And I’m not the typical IUD user, in that I loved the pill! The pill was great! It cleared up my skin and I could skip periods and I had very few cramps! So I miss those things, and I switched mainly because I don’t trust myself with my weird schedule these days.

nonvolleyball (#305)

@sventurata supposedly the Paragard can make cramps worse, & the Mirena makes them better in the long run. I had a Paragard for a long time, & am in the first couple months of a Mirena now, but there were some intervening health issues that prevent me from making a perfect direct comparison.

that said, though, the Mirena does seem to be better than the Paragard in that regard (stay tuned for my forthcoming chapbook of IUD-related poetry), & the insertion thing is really its own separate issue. it is kind of awful, but if you’re prepared for it–& can take time off work if necessary–it’s deal-with-able.

I can also report that getting an IUD removed, which I was totally terrified of & thought would be just as painful as insertion, is actually no big deal whatsoever.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@nonvolleyball See, these were all the horror stories I read when I was getting mine inserted, and for me, it was just not that bad. Sure, it hurt, but I have hurt myself a lot worse in other ways. There was no puking or taking off work or needing someone to drive me home or taking my boyfriend’s Vicodin from his kidney stone. I was totally fine.

ciphressinchief (#1,880)

@sventurata With Paragard, the cramps/bleeding was worse the first few cycles, but normalized. I’m about 8 or 9 months in and love love love it.

This Is Relevant To My Interests Because:

I am getting one tomorrow!

I went to a see a new general physician yesterday who shamed me for it (“messing with God’s system”) which just made me a million times more excited (and made my Thursday “one thing” to call and dump her as my doc).

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@polka dots vs stripes Whoa. God’s system???

@WaityKatie “We get a monthly cycle for a reason, and doing unknown things to it with an IUD is asking for problems later.” I was curious what BC methods she WOULD suggest instead, but I was afraid of the answer, so I didn’t.

RachelG8489 (#1,297)

@polka dots vs stripes Um, confused. IUDs (particularly copper, but even hormonal) do less to your monthly cycle than, say, the pill. Or the variations on the pill that limit you to four periods a year. IUDs are, as far as I can tell, magic. Good for you for deciding to dump this doctor!

@RachelG8489 She seemed to think that because it stops your period in some women (the side effect I am hoping for!!) that that might make me infertile or something? She also mumbled something about how she recommends different birth control for ladies partially based on how often they have sex (?!?!?!). She gave other terrible advice; basically every solution she had for my problems were anti-medicine and anti-science. It was very, very weird.

sea ermine (#122)

@polka dots vs stripes Honestly, I’d report her to the hospital. They should know that one of their staff is dispensing terrible medical advice. You knew better than to listen to her but some other woman might not. If she isn’t part of a hospital there must be some sort of medical board you can write a letter to.

RachelG8489 (#1,297)

@seaermine Second that! Make a complaint! This person should not be doing BC consults if she’s going to lie to patients. Modern IUDs don’t make anyone infertile, and the only reason to consider “how often you have sex” when prescribing BC is to make sure people are still using condoms on top of hormonal options if they have non-monogamous partners (because STIs are not fun). Or I guess if someone has bad reactions to hormonal BC, to consider whether going condoms-only is a decent option.

@RachelG8489 @seaermine Oh yeah I’m definitely going to complain when I call to change my appointment, I just haven’t done it yet! And she meant “how many days a week” you have sex, not like, how many different partners. Totally weird, totally inappropriate, and yes, totally getting reported.

blueblazes (#1,798)

@polka dots vs stripes I’m in an admin role at a healthcare facility, and YES, report this person in their own practice and to the parent organization. Report her on Yelp, etc., as well.

theotherginger (#1,304)

@polka dots vs stripes ok, so, my doctor kind of sex-shames. it’s canada, so getting another one is a bit annoying, but, still, is covered. I had to self-advocate to get my IUD but it. is. the best. Report that and let us know how it goes on Thursday!

@theotherginger She was a doctor at a big general practice, so I can pretty easily pick another doctor at the same location (I hope). My gyno is pretty awesome, that’s who I’m seeing tomorrow. It wasn’t so much the sex-shaming as it was the anti-science attitude that I shouldn’t mess with “god’s creation.” So, should I have not gotten my flu shot then?

I will report back on the One Thing column!!

Brunhilde (#78)

I’m too skerred.

nonvolleyball (#305)

@Brunhilde you can do it! I’ve done it three times. even though it’s not something I’d voluntarily undergo without any reason, it’s manageable (just take lots of ibuprofen & get a scrip for a stronger painkiller if you’re worried), & keep in mind that a lot of ladies don’t even find it that painful.

honey cowl (#1,510)

“You can’t tell a woman’s method of birth control by looking at her, but you’ll know if she’s using an IUD, or intrauterine device, because she won’t be able to shut up about it.”

YEP DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY IUD???? I LOVE MY IUD!!!!!! IT IS THE BEST BIRTH CONTROL METHOD EVERRRRRRRRRR.

No hormones (paragard)! Made my period more regular! No babies for TEN YEARS! Planned Parenthood has no-interest payment plans! IUDS ARE THE BEST THING EVER!

honey cowl (#1,510)

@Lauren I have outed myself as an IUD evangelist elsewhere on the Billfold & Hairpin & I just CANNOT resist an opportunity to talk about HOW AWESOME THEY ARE

myrna.minkoff (#272)

@Lauren preach.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@myrna.minkoff Yeah I tend to get a little zealous.

theotherginger (#1,304)

@Lauren totes a legit thing – esp because so many people (including non-PP doctors) are really un or underinformed

sintaxis (#2,363)

Actually the best birth control is lesbianism. We’re recruiting!

sintaxis (#2,363)

@sintaxis PS It’s free!

nonvolleyball (#305)

@sintaxis but will it work with a Diva Cup? :)

(I assume you’ve seen this, but just in case…)

Summer Somewhere (#1,772)

@sintaxis Yes! The lack of BC worries was pretty high on my list when I started dating my current lady-friend. Before that I had a horrible IUD experience, hooray.

minijen (#656)

When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t…blood pressure out of control, a weight gain of 40+lbs in less than a year, migraines, the first 6 months after insertion were constant cramps and bleeding, then nothing for the next 1.5 years. I had it pulled because of the blood pressure/weight/migraine issues. I have now spent 2 years trying to get back to a normal cycle. It’s been a blessing of no action for several months, then a nightmare of 2 month cycles that end with me in the ER for blood loss. I’ve been discussing a hysterectomy with the doctor, since that may be the only solution left to stop this.

Yes, it’s anecdotal, but it happens.

@minijen Which one did you use??

sea ermine (#122)

@minijen I’ve heard similar horror stories (and worse) for pretty much every kind of birth control. Well, except for pulling out (which is insanely ineffective), and condoms. But then again there are people with allergies to condom materials so that’s not so great either. I think in general, if you are choosing a birth control that is hormonal or somehow goes inside your body you should be aware that it can go horrifically wrong, but that’s not really a reason not to try something (more of a reason to just focus on finding which one’s work with your body). This is not to discredit your comment, I think it’s great that you’re sharing!! I just wanted to point this out because I find that people tend to focus on the negative much more with an IUD than with other methods (mostly because it’s less common and people know less about it).

minijen (#656)

@polka dots vs stripes – I went with Mirena. The doctor convinced me that even though it did release hormones, it was all localized, so there wouldn’t be any problems. In retrospect, I wish I’d gone with the Paraguard, even though I hear the cramping is the worst.

minijen (#656)

@seaermine – I honestly think that IUDs are the bee knees, they just don’t work for me. Since I’m close to the age when it’d be playing Russian Roulette to get preggers and have a healthy baby, I’m fairly certain that a partial hysterectomy is the best option.

ciphressinchief (#1,880)

@minijen The cramping WAS the worst, for like 2 cycles. Now it’s totally normal levels. I think part of it was weaning my body off hormones (I had been on for almost 10 years… basically went on birth control within 2 years of getting my period!) Anyway, as you can probably tell, I am a Paragard evangelist!!

hellonheels (#1,407)

@minijen Glad to hear a different perspective. I like my Mirena okay, but it’s nothing like the magical panacea I was led to believe it would be. Also I do not, for a second, believe that the hormones are localized as they claim. I turn into a crazy emotional PMSing wreck every month, which never happened when I was on the pill or not on any hormonal birth control at all.

highjump (#39)

Diva cup people are much worse than IUD people.

ThatJenn (#916)

@highjump I was thinking this. (People who have both are kind of hilarious.)

ThatJenn (#916)

@highjump PS I’m a diva cup evangelist myself, so I think I’m allowed to make fun of us?

highjump (#39)

@ThatJenn OMG the people with both are hilarious. “Let me tell you all about how I manage my ladyparts!”

theotherginger (#1,304)

@highjump i can’t do them together. it just hurts. :(

ThatJenn (#916)

@highjump Contrary to popular advice, you MUST break the seal!

@theotherginger That might be the best argument I’ve seen for NOT getting an IUD. The low-dose progesterone-only pill works well for me and only costs me $7/month, and my partner and I don’t mind condoms anyway if that eventually stops being an option for me.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@theotherginger Wait, what? I am considering joining this exclusive, annoying club. Hormonal BC not an option (tried 4 different methods, all result in mood swings, depression) and I need backup method.

theotherginger (#1,304)

@Fig. 1 some people use them together, no prob. it depends on you.
also, I hated hormonal bc, I think I used 2 or 3 kinds with no success. I had some weight gain but less stubborn than the BC kind. Check out the hairpin thread, it is full of many experiences, and discuss with your doctor or local PP.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@theotherginger Yes, for sure. Just hadn’t heard of this combination causing issues before. Beware, world, you may not be large enough to contain my smugness if I get an IUD.

nonvolleyball (#305)

@Fig. 1 I think the Diva Cup folks officially say that they’re incompatible–but I use both, & it’s been fine. (I emailed my doc to confirm, & her response was “absolutely not a problem,” & I quote.)

…I am all about the lowest-possible-maintenance methods for managing my hypothetical fertility & all it portends.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

I just had the unpleasant realization today that my insurance company is choosing not to cover IUDs was a 100% free contraception method under the ACA. I’ve been longing for a copper cross for a year now, and putting it off because I thought I’d get it gratis.

Basically, United Healthcare can suck my left one.

@MuffyStJohn Mine’s not free either :/ I was hoping it would be, but nope, paying about 40% of the costs.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@polka dots vs stripes For some reason I thought the law mandated that they cover a variety of options, up to and including sterilization. However, my plan is only covering like 5 generic brands of pills (can’t do hormones) and diaphragms (I’m not 85). And I’ll be paying for an IUD 100% of out pocket, because my plan is high deductible. Yay America.

theotherginger (#1,304)

@MuffyStJohn yeah, I think that is the stipulation of the plan – just one form of bc needs to be covered. Since I would imagine that big pharma and insurance are buddies, obvs hormonal bc is covered. Must. educate. world. about. IUD. (yup. I just became what the article said).

nonvolleyball (#305)

@theotherginger I think that Planned Parenthood might offer sliding-scale payments for IUDs, &/or that the manufacturer can help out with the cost to an extent.

…but I don’t know, because I’m lucky enough to have it covered. it really does suck that they’re so expensive.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@MuffyStJohn That was me. $660. But cheaper than an unwanted pregnancy.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@Lauren Well, an abortion is like $300, right?

Anyway, I’ll wind up paying for it out of pocket and seething with rage that we can’t get some support for effective, long-term forms of birth control in this stupid country.

sunflowernut (#1,638)

@MuffyStJohn Yeah just learned that my family is changing our insurance plan to a high deductible plan next year (Jan 1st!!!) with some sort of Health Savings Account and lower monthly costs so it’s supposed to even out/be cheaper in the long run. But I just don’t understand it! And I’d thought that my insurance was supposed to cover an IUD under the ACA but now I’m afraid it’s all going to be out of pocket. So I’m halfway wondering if I should rush to get one before Jan… if that’s even possible. UGH why is navigating insurance so hard. Everything is so confusing.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@Hey Ash

We have two options at my org: A high-deductible plan with an HSA that the employer makes (small) monthly contributions too, or a different plan that is $200/month and has crazy copays and basically still doesn’t cover a lot. Because I’m young/healthy, I figured if I thought my healthcare costs would be less than $2400/year (both the expensive plan cost and the deductible for the HSA plan), I should stick to the HSA and pray for the best. But it does suck that I have to pay so much out of pocket, even though the ACA was supposed to cover basic preventive stuff (a lot of which is still not covered because it winds up being diagnostic at some point).

Oh also? Our plan is based in New York. And our office is in DC. So finding in-network providers? Just try it.

Basically: single payer is the only answer I will accept at this point, because our system is fucked.

sunflowernut (#1,638)

@MuffyStJohn Agreed! Our system is so fucked. I think the idea is my parents are going to contribute a lot to the HSA to cover the deductible, but that means that I have to ask them for money for stuff… which for an IUD? How about, hell no.

At least I just made an appointment for a consultation at Planned Parenthood! I really want an IUD and hopefully they’ll be able to help me figure things out.

theotherginger (#1,304)

@Hey Ash I live in Canada, and given my limited HSA had to pay about 300$ for my IUD (which my other supplementary insurance no longer covers, now that people actually get them, according to my doctor). I think if I had gone through PP instead of my doctor I might have found something cheaper, or an installment option.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@Hey Ash I think the thing that’s most frustrating is the hormone-free ParaGard is almost twice as expensive as Mirena. Big Pharma really, REALLY want to mess with my body chemistry, don’t they?

I’m going to call my local PP to see what sliding-scale options they have. I’m also wondering if I might be able to go through my school’s student health office or maybe even the DC health department. I live in a large enough metro area that there should be a number of low-cost options. But seriously, I hate that every healthcare decision I make has become a matter of extensively, painstakingly researching low-cost options and then subjecting myself to a lower level of care* because it’s all I can afford as a sliding-scale cash patient.

*Not saying PP/HDs are a lower level of care, but in many of my other experiences this has absolutely been the case.

nutmeg (#1,383)

@MuffyStJohn I have UHC (their limited/shitty employee plan through my mom) and I only had to pay a $20 copay- but we had already met the $2000 deductible.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@nutmeg Do not even get me started on low-cost mental healthcare.

/had to wait 3 months to be seen at a training clinic so an idiot future counselor could ask me why I haven’t tried to kill myself if I’m so depressed

ciphressinchief (#1,880)

AND don’t forget this recent study: http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/23899.aspx

“A study to evaluate birth-control methods has found dramatic differences in their effectiveness. Women who used short-term methods like birth-control pills, the patch or vaginal ring were 20 times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who used longer-acting forms such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or implant.”

THAT’S RIGHT, IUDS ARE 20 TIMES MORE EFFECTIVE THAN PILLS.

#ShoutoutToMyParagard

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