On Wednesday, my uterus did a brave thing. I went, moderately premedicated, to my doctor’s office and had an IUD (intra-uterine device) placed. Thus,
for my first review, I will actually not be covering a toy, but instead, the copper IUD, Para-Gaurd.
I’ve been apprehensive of this method since I first heard about it. It’s much lower risk for women who’ve had children, and as a foreign, pointy, metal object, how could it possibly sit safely inside of an organ which is known to spasm and bleed at regular intervals? Indeed, history shows it’s ok to be skeptical- until very recently, IUD’s were responsible for many cervical and uterine infections, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine perforations, and even crazy shit like ectopic pregnancy.
I have tried five methods of hormonal birth control including the nuvaring, the patch, a low dose pill, and two other pills and each one of them has caused me varying degrees of profound depression. It helps that the IUD is the lowest of maintenance, good for up to 12 years (TWELVE YEARS) and actually more effective than hormonal birth control including the Mirena (progestin) IUD.
But enough facts.
Insertion went like this: I go in, on 440 mg aleve and 400mg of tylenol. Doc comes at me with a speculum, slathers my cervix in iodine, and shoves this thing through. Start to finish, the procedure was about 3 mins. When you go for a pap and your box doc is all “relax your vagina,” I know you want to throttle her, but in this case, it makes all of the difference. That and pain meds. And although every review I’d read before said it was the most painful thing ever, and that people pass out from pain, etc etc etc… it basically just felt like one really bad cramp for about 20 seconds. If that. It was not so bad.
I was a little dizzy afterward, and had some dull cramping which I think is shock or something. Stuff doesn’t usually go /in/ to the cervix, especially unannounced. The entire day-of insertion and most of the next day, I felt fine. No major cramping until that evening, at which point, nausea, dizziness and crampiness set in for like 24 hours. It is now Sunday morning as I write this, and aside from general PMS, I feel just fine. At no point did I feel debilitated, and it certainly wasn’t the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I didn’t have any bleeding, and with enough aleve and/or ibuprofin, the swelling has gone down substantially. The complicating factor, too, is that insertion is supposedly easiest right before your period because the cervix is lower and the os (opening of the cervix) is more relaxed.
As for maintenance and care, this thing has two strings at the bottom. I have no idea how long they are, nor where one of them is, and I’m a lil’ reluctant to look for it. It remains to be seen what periods are like on this thing. I will update because eeeeverybody wants to hear about that.
So, to sum up, the IUD safe(r) than before and if your doctor is as awesome as mine, it isn’t that painful to put in. If you have healthcare, it’s inexpensive, and it is without a doubt, the lowest maintenance thing of all time. The Para-Gaurd is hormone-free. It does not prevent against STIs. If you’re looking for birth control and want to eschew hormones, it’s basically your only option, but I, for one, am pretty optimistic about it.