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IUDs - painful insertion, other issues?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I'm 7 weeks pp and have fairly well settled on getting an IUD until we're sure we want baby #2. (Didn't like pills before, condoms are annoying as all get out in a marriage, don't really see any other "for sure" options)

So, my questions for those of you with IUD experience are:
What did the insertion feel like? Was it painful, sore, or just uncomfortable? Did that feeling last a long time? I'm a bit sensitive about this as I was checked too much/too roughly during my labor and am a bit wary of having something else shoved in there!

Have you had any other issues from the IUD, like heavier bleeding, cramping etc? I understand that these are fairly common side effects, but am interested in hearing some real experiences.

Any other pros/cons on the IUDs? Thanks!
post #2 of 27
I had the Mirena placed 6 weeks after my cesarean after laboring for 36 hours. I got pregnant on the first try with ds, so I didn't want to take any chances.
IN short It was awful for me. You think after going thru Pitocin contractions it would have been a breeze. MY uterus was still floppy, and they knew that ahead of time. They thought it would make for a easy insertion, uuhh not really. It took over an hour to get in. I Had major bleeding afterwards. And felt very ill for a long time after ( I wish I would have waited a month more to get it inserted, it may have made a difference). After a long drawn out period of discomfort and some spotting it became really uncomfortable. I had major hair loss issues and hemmroids, never had those before either. Eekkk. All to have it come out like 8 weeks after having the stupid thing put in. I literally felt it at the tip of my cervix. The string was hanging out, Sorry to be graphic. I would not recommend the Mirena, the hair loss was reason enough for me. It wasn't just a strand or two, it was like 15 strands while washing my hair. 20 when using a comb and I didn't have any hair loss problems prior to it.
I loved the fact that it was good for five years, the copper one is good for 10 years. I think I remember having some mood swings, but who knows if that was the cause or not. After this baby, I plan on using a diaphragm.

I hope this has helped you. Don't have the Mirena put in, please! I read about it on line before too. And I remember reading all about hair loss and mood swings. I had to reply when I saw your post because I wish someone would have told me to steer clear of it. Maybe you will have better luck with the 10 year? Good luck
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for posting! Our stories are very similar, as I had a painful Pitocin labor (luckily no c-section) and got pregnant on the first try, too.

I am thinking of getting the paragard, the 10-year one with no hormones, though I'm betting the insertion problems could be the same with both since the procedure is the same and the devices are so similar. The other side effects you mentioned might have been from the hormones in Mirena, but at any rate, that's a horrible experience for you!
post #4 of 27
I know a lot of women who are really happy with their IUD - unfortunately, I was not one of them. I had a Mirena put in about a year after ds2 was born. At the time, no one could have talked me out of it - I was set that it was what I wanted and what I was going to do. That being said, I went to the appointment confident and alone because I heard it could cause "minor cramping, like a period" - nothing to worry about. It was excrutiating (sp?). The nurse had to hold my hand, and I almost passed out. Normally I have a very high pain threshold (I thought labor "didn't hurt that much"), but this was awful. Apparently, the have to "sound" your uterus before they put it in. That was the worst part. Afterword, I did not have any bleeding, just some cramping. The periods were lighter, which was nice, but for me they lasted forever. My period cramps were almost non-existent. But personally, I would take a 4-5 day heavy period over 12 days of spotting, mostly because I'm just not comfortable having sex while spotting. I am also really sensitive to hormones, and even the small amount in the Mirena gave me side effects - the worst of which were irritability and facial hair, which I never had a problem with before. I finally had it taken out after I decided that it had paid for itself, and I cannot describe the relief I felt. I hadn't even realized how much it bothered me to have something artificial in my body until I saw it lying in the trash can in my OB's office. As a side not, the removal was quick, easy, and painless.

Ultimately, you have do what you think is best for you and your family. There are positives - nothing to worry about for 5 years, lighter periods, it's reliable. Many women love it, and you may be one of them. Would I get one again? Never. But that's me. If you do decide to go, I would take someone with your for support, and take some motrin about an hour before you go. Whatever you decide, best wishes to you!

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Mindy, can you tell me what the "sounding" was? What do they actually do? I still feel at least somewhat violated from the unnecessary and painful vaginal checking they did during my induction, and am not so sure I want that trauma again so soon, even if it means not thinking about bc for several years. An hour to insert it sounds very bad to me.

Thanks for your post!
post #6 of 27
The best way I can describe it is they have to "probe" your uterus before the actual insertion to make sure they know how deep, wide, ect. it is. This ensures they get the IUD in the correct location so that it can work properly. They put you in "pap pose" in the stirrups with the speculum in, and then the doctor uses a small metal object to do the "sounding". I didn't ask for details, so I can't say exactly what was going on down there from a medical standpoint, but it felt like she pushed the probe all the way back until she felt the top of my uterus, and then did the same with the sides. She told me it is not uncommon for women to have cramping during that portion. After the doctor is satisfied that they know where to put it, they slide a very small plastic tube inside (it reminded me of a straw). The IUD is in this tube, and when they remove the tube, the IUD remains in your uterus. Then trim the strings to an appropriate length - I think every doctor must do a different length, because when I had it removed, it was by another doctor in the practice and he asked the nurse to look through my chart to see if the first doctor made a note about how long they were cut.

I will say that in my case, I have a tipped uterus, and the doctor seemed surprised about how deep it was. I love my doctor, and have been a patient for over 7 years, so I trust her and trust that she knows my body. It seemed like she took extra time to make sure everything was where it should be. I don't know if any of these things were a factor in the amount of pain I experienced. I also don't know if maybe where you are in your cycle might be a factor - open, soft cervix vs. closed, firm cervix. It's worth asking about. I can't remember where I was in mine.

Honestly, I wasn't traumatized by the actual insertion. I would say an hour is a fair estimate of how long it took from beginning to end, maybe a little shorter. When I got home, I told my husband that at least it was over, and I wouldn't have to think about birth control again for at least another 5 years. When my doctor inserted the Mirena, she told me that the FDA is actually considering extending the time it can be used to 7 years, which would be great. What really surprised me was how much it bothered me to have this thing in me. I never expected that. Never. I was so sure this was what I wanted.

There are so many birth control options out there at every end of the spectrum, from natural family planning to sterilization and a million in between. An IUD is a pretty big commitment, especially if you are paying out of pocket (I paid somewhere around $500 for the IUD, and about $200 for the insertion and recheck appointments). If you want something you don't have to think about everyday, there's the patch or nuvaring. If you want something non-hormonal there's temping or barriers (diaphragms/condoms/sponge.) You have a lot of options. I'd make some pro/con lists and share them with your doctor. I don't want to scare you, because many women have had great experiences with an IUD. You're going to find people who hated it. But the same can be said about all birth control methods. Do some more research and don't make a decision until you're ready.
post #7 of 27
I got the mirena IUD inserted a little over 2 weeks ago (my son is 3 months old). My midwife had to measure my cervix first to make sure it would fit and stay in place. That was the really painful part. I had to breathe through it because it hurt a lot more than I was expecting. But after that the actual insertion was pretty much painless. She said to expect irregular bleeding the first few days, but I had bad cramping the first 2 days followed by spotting for about 2 weeks (it just stopped a couple days ago). We have DTD a couple times in the past week and it wasn't noticeable to me or my husband. I am hoping from now on it will be smooth sailing. I can't really recommend it yet, but if the worst part is over and I can keep it in for 5 years then it might still be a great option. Time will tell. Hope this helps.
post #8 of 27
I'm the unusual one I guess but the insertion was not at all bad for me. It took maybe 2 minutes total. It was not painful -- maybe a bit of discomfort, but not pain. It was quick and easy, and I had myself so worked up over it for no reason at all. I got the Mirena when I was 8 wks postpartum and it's supposed to be a lot easier to insert them when you're not too far postpartum. I also had a unwanted cesarean after a long painful labor.

I had spotting off and on for 6 weeks, then one period in a year. I did have a vaginal infection (BV) about 6 months after I had the IUD but I dont' know if it was related to that or not. I did notice hair loss while I had it, but it wasn't horrible.

I just got it out about a week ago because I want to start using FAM for about 6 months and then possible TTC our third and last baby. I was overall happy with it, though.
post #9 of 27
I got the Paragard, and while the moment of insertion was painful enough for me to grip the sheets and hold my breath, it was very quick. The whole thing, from feet on the stirrups to done, was no longer than five minutes. For the rest of the day, I had minor cramps, and I had little twinges for about a month, and that's it.

I love my IUD. It's served me very well.
post #10 of 27
Over the years I've had both kinds. Insertion wasn't bad really. A "pinch" is the best way to describe it. I had some cramping the rest of the day and felt a bit light headed, but nothing too bad.

When I had Paraguard I had heavier periods and some cramping but not bad.

With Mirena I didn't have a period for the 3+ years I had it.
post #11 of 27
I got a para gaurd placed a year ago and I'm very pleased with it,my first 2-3 periods were heavier as expected but they ahve gone back to normal, I remember insertion being mildl unpeasent my doc had me take 800 of ibuprophen before hand, which I'm sure helped, and I went to work afterwards and drove myself i think i remember feelign a bit crampy for a while afterwards. I didn't like it but I hink this weeks annual exam was worse when my cervix was pointed down and the NP coundlt get the spec lined up.
post #12 of 27
I have a Paragard IUD, I had it inserted 13 mos. ago and love it. The insertion was not hard. My practitioner (a NP at Planned Parenthood) advised me to take a couple Ibuprofen beforehand, which I did. The sound caused what felt like menstrual cramping for a couple minutes, and the insertion didn't hurt at all. Total I'd guess it took less than 10 minutes.
I had heavy periods for the first 6 mos. with the IUD but it's back to normal now. Those first 6 mos., I bled for 8-9 days each month, heavily for 5-6 days (my Diva cup overflowed every half hour at times). I'm glad I stuck it out because it's so nice to have no issues now, and reliable contraception for as long as we want it (up to 10 yrs).
I do have some cramping in between periods now but it's pretty mild and I'm not sure it has anything to do with the IUD. My dr. thinks it's probably small fibroids, but it's hard to diagnose without removing the IUD so they can d a special ultrasound, and I don't want to remove the IUD just to find out yep, I have fibroids.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies for all your input! I'm still considering getting it, but might see a different provider to discuss it more fully. Mine is kind of crappy, they just want you out the door and look at you strangely when you ask questions. They didn't even look at my chart or history to recommend the best option of bc. I asked specifically about an IUD, and all they said about Paragard is that "you might have more cramping and heavier periods." Rar.
post #14 of 27
I insert/remove IUDs all the time. I don't want to take up too much space here, but if you have specific questions feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to answer.

The only comment I have is that hair loss PP is extremely common and probably not related to the IUD. Most women lose hair (sometimes what seems like large amounts) for months after they give birth.
post #15 of 27
I agree with Kate, the hair loss is more likely related to being post partum.

I had my Paragard for 5+ years. Insertion was quick and easy. I took some motrin before the appt. I cramped here and there for a day. My periods were only heavier for the first few months and I had more discharge around ovulation. I considered this the breaking in period. After that, they went back to 3 days at a time, minimal cramping.
I loved never second-guessing if my period was a day late. I loved never having to worry about refills, or planning ahead for trips. I'm forgetful and can't rely on myself to remember a pill every day. Not to mention, the hormones gave me migraines!
When I had it removed in January so we could TTC, I got pregnant 2 days later!!!
I am biased because I've only had the paragard, but I have only heard no so good things when it comes to the Mirena. I'm not crazy about synthetic hormones to begin with.
post #16 of 27
My hair loss continued until I got the IUD removed.... my baby was 15 months old! It was a lot of hair loss, too. I though PP hair loss was just around 4-6 months PP.
post #17 of 27
I am currently desparate to get the Mirena removed that I had inserted about three months ago. The insertion was terrible and I had very heavy bleeding afterwards for a couple days (they had to use forceps to open my cervix). I've had a lot of spotting with the Mirena, the strings were cut too short so DH feels them and we are having to use condoms anyway so the strings don't cut up his head or go into his urethra (really painful for him), one my moon I have two days when I fill up a pad in about 1.5 hours or a super tampon every hour, I'm having major anxiety problems, hair loss (like way more that usual after birth--handfulls), headaches for the last two months, and find myself having no patience and yelling at my kids all the time. I also am worried that I might now have a bloodclot in my leg. I called the doc to get an appt and was told there are none available in the system until after Oct 15th, and then I will need to call back since appointments can't be made that far in advance. I wish I had either gone with the Paraguard or just stuck with condoms, but I was worried about the additional cramping and bleeding with the paraguard. I think I will have DH try to pull the Mirena out if I can't get in with the doc. . .I just don't think I can take it anymore!!!!
post #18 of 27

IUD pain

I had the Mirena IUD put in. If it is properly inserted there should only be cramping. But beware of any sharp pains. I had almost a stabbing pain when it was inserted. Turns out the doctor that inserted in actually went through my uterus. So make sure that the person putting it in has had lots of practice! Good luck!
post #19 of 27
I just came back from having the Mirena placed today. I was nervous about the procedure (I'd read the comments here!) but it was very easy-- took no more than 10 min and I was chatting with my mw the whole time other than for about 20 sec near the end when I felt strong menstural-like cramping and a "pinch". Right now I feel a few twinges of cramps very occasionally but nothing too bad, haven't needed to take any pain meds or anything yet, though I can feel the strings and they are a bit uncomfortable (I'm going back in a month to have it checked and my mw may trim the strings then). I have no idea how my body will react to the hormones (I haven't liked hormones in the past, but hopefully the fact that these are more localized will make a difference) but I definitely like the idea of short or no periods compared to heavy periods and cramping. I figure if I react badly to the hormones I'll get it removed and we'll figure out something else...

Just wanted to let you know that insertion is not always painful. Maybe it depends on the experience of the care provider? Or the angle of your uterus? (my mw did say mine was "easy"). HTH.
post #20 of 27
I don't think my hair loss was related to simply being pp. It started after having the IUD placed, and stopped immediately once it was taken out. But by that time my body had rejected it anyway, so the hormones had a little time to go away.

It seems unusual to me that so many people post about IUD problems. I mean you don't see nearly as many threads about any other birth control. Of course there are going to be good and bad experiences. But it seems like there are 4 threads right now about Mirena and bad experiences. That is enough to question your decision. So I am glad the OP asked. I know I would have liked to have this kind of info beforehand.
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