What I wish I’d known before I got my IUD: Adventures in IUDs, Part II

by DGO Web Administrator

Hey. Remember me? I have an IUD. Just got it on Dec. 4, 2017. I’m not in a relationship or boinking up the wazoo, but I do wanna take care of my uterus and not have a wee, random human build itself inside me iffin I did, say, meet a man who read me Keats, made me posh baked potatoes, liked the Ramones, and gave me a lap to glow on.

Why a copper IUD? It lasts 12 years at a one-time cost and is non-hormonal. It doesn’t block STDs, but what does? Oh, and – unless shit goes terribly wrong and the IUD wedges (ahem, embeds) itself in uterine wall or expels itself (eh, usually happens in the first coupla months; I think I’m clear), it is the most effective birth control out there. Condoms block 85 percent of future babies. The pill’s at 91 percent success. My copper ParaGard IUD? We’re talking 99.2 percent effective at keeping a wobble-headed flesh nugget from occurring for 12 YEARS.

I ain’t the only one thinking on cost and accessibility of birth control during the current political climate, either. In January 2017, Planned Parenthood reported a 900 percent increase in demand for consultations on and insertions of IUDs.

Last you knew, in “Adventures in IUDs, Part I: The insertion,” I finished a miserable week of agony-cramps and was wondering what life would be like with my new IUD. Lemme tell you, there’s a whole lot of WTF that your body does when adjusting to a foreign object. Here’s an earful on the wet, red carpet that my lady bits rolled out the past three months and a few more freaky, foul body-wonders that I wish I knew about before I got my IUD.

The blood, it flowsLet’s roll into the convo on a crimson tide, which is to say we’re talking Shark Week, otherwise known as Aunt Flo, being on the rag, a.k.a. menstruation.

Before I got an IUD, I was on the pill. My period usually lasted four days with maybe one added day of very light spotting. A regular tampon period. (Dudes who may not be familiar, tampons come in lite, regular, super, and super-plus to soak up the burgundy life-juice cascading out of a lady.)

IUD insertion is easier on your period, so I was on the rag when I went to the doc. The bloody teacup sloshed for 13 days. I automatically went from a four-day period to two weeks.

But wait – so much spotting. (Menfolk, spotting is like getting a bloody nose but from yer vag. It happens out of nowhere and you have no idea how light or heavy the blood will be or when it will stop.) The spotting lasted all month until my next period. ’Twas a blood flow that’d give even the most reserved vampire a raging boner.

The next period? I woke at 1 in the morning with impending gush-doom, a crotch-centric Spidey sense, if you will. I leapt from bed to the bathroom and, YEP – I ruined my underwear and dripped on the bathroom floor. It happens. Whatever. Still sucks. That period was another almost two-weeker and I had about five random days of spotting after.

My next period? We’re supposedly a few days away. Oi.

Thankfully, no extreme cramps or mega PMS side effects occurred. It’s said that my body will regulate at the – wait for it – NINE MONTH MARK. Hopefully, I won’t have to wave the red flag for weeks at a time until then.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA, The MUCUSWe laugh or else we cry, yeah? Because how else am I supposed to react when I go to piss and it appears that a bloody ghost is exuding outta my south mouth?

Let me explain.

Before you get an IUD, it’s mentioned that you may see a difference in vaginal discharge. I wasn’t a dry slide but, sure, great. Any natural lube is good lube, right?


Turns out, “may see a difference in discharge” actually can mean, “You will drip MUCUS that looks like EGG WHITES for a F*CKING MONTH.” Actually, longer – a month-and-a-half. Remember how I spotted a lot? A less ethical, money-scheming version of me would’ve flung the gory, rosy “ectoplasm” about my bathroom and charged ghost hunters gangbusters to examine it.

When you frantically google, “IUD mucus,” that’s when knowledge bombs on body-glop get dropped. The Interwebs asks, “Does this body batter smell?” I say no. The Interwebs questions, “Is it clear-ish?” I say, yeah – expect for the spotting. The Interwebs wants to know, “Are you experiencing bad cramping or other distress?” I am GUNKING OUT clear to white-to-pink MUCUS constantly, but I mean I don’t hurt so I guess there’s no other distresses. CaptainGooglePants says, “Calm down. You’re fine. It’s normal.” It’s referred to as egg white cervical mucus and no matter the type of IUD you get (copper or hormonal) you are likely to have an increase in it during your first month-ish after insertion, and then possibly during ovulation.

I could’ve filled your grandma’s dry, backyard koi pond with the amount of vag muck I thick-dripped. It’s been a feeling-sexy several months.

The freak-outWhen I got my IUD, I did it at Planned Parenthood. I felt generally happy with the information they provided, but if I had it to do over again, I would’ve gone to a primary care physician to talk about IUDs before I got the procedure done. I’m not a doctor. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t get an IUD. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do it at Planned Parenthood. (I very much appreciate and support Planned Parenthood.) I’m saying that I received more forthcoming opinions and trendspotting talk on birth control from my primary care doctor, after the fact, than I did at Planned Parenthood, who gave me more general information.

About two and a half months after my IUD insertion, I went to a primary care doctor to get blood work done. I’m a vegan and I wanted to make sure I was balanced. (No worries, buds, my levels are good except I need a smidge more Vitamin D. [Insert D {joke} here.] What bummed me out about that visit was that after my new doc went through the physical she asked, “Is there anything else we need to discuss? Birth control or anything?” I mentioned I had gotten an IUD recently. That’s when I learned some junk that I was like OH COME ON because it would’ve impacted my IUD choice if I had heard it earlier.

I learned that copper IUDs are slightly bigger than the hormonal, plastic IUDs. This is not a big deal because, obvs, the copper IUD fit in me and it ain’t peeking through my cervix like a body horror movie, but I’m slight of frame and like the idea of a smaller object inside me. It’s also harder for a woman who hasn’t had kids – like me – to have the larger object inserted. Booyah. Don’t I know it? ::shudders over cramp flashbacks.

Additionally, my doc said she never, in 10 years of practicing, has inserted a copper IUD without telling the patient that their period is going to get longer or more brutal or both for a long time or permanently. I knew that this could happen, but it was framed by GoodMadamInternet and Planned Parenthood as a possibility rather than probability. Meanwhile, on a hormonal IUD, a period shortens or disappears completely.

The main reason I didn’t go with a hormonal IUD like Mirena was mostly that I was scared of the reviews that stated it caused depression swings. I already deal with a level of brain humbug and I didn’t want to increase my mood-swing likelihood. My doctor said hormonal IUDs put less hormones in your body than taking most forms of standard birth control pills. She said it wasn’t for sure, but that Mirena probably would’ve mirrored the depression symptoms I had on the pill.

Knowing all that, I would’ve chosen Mirena as my IUD choice, even though it lasts for five years rather than 12. If my monthly red badge of courage doesn’t straighten itself out by the nine-month mark, I think I will switch from ParaGard to Mirena.

The incidentalsWhen I got my IUD and no longer had the pimple-combating power of birth control pills, I had an uptick in facial breakouts. They were fairly small, swiftly disappearing spots.

It may sound obvious, but we’re friendly chums here so I’ll add that, no, having an IUD doesn’t mess with you using tampons, having sex, or using possibly bright purple sex toys.

In other news, it’s recommended you check your IUD strings at least once a week for the first several months after insertion and then once a month after that. Why? Because if you can’t feel the strings, something might be awry or outta place. Remember that (red) ooze? Yeah, you’re gonna glamorously squat down, finagle one to two fingers into your pink bungalow, and hope to feel strings. No worries, pals, I did. I do. All is good.

Side note: Don’t pull on your IUD strings or try to take your IUD out yourself. No matter how easy that million-viewed YouTube vid says it is, you are likely to perforate your innards or bust your IUD, thus needing surgery to fix it.

Lastly Get yourself a period tracker app. I quite like “Flo,” but there’s a ton of free and cheap ones out there. It’ll help you predict when the red wedding will start and how long the ruby reception will last. It’ll also help you easily note spotting, cramps, and other uterine concerns.

I’ll check back in at the nine month mark to tell y’all about the IUD party inside me. Till then, geezus wept, at least the box snot mostly stopped.


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