IUDs & Pain

My first IUD insertion went a little something like this:

Fucking painful.

I’ve always said it was the worst pain in my life, a 10 out of 10 on my pain scale. When the NP dilated my cervix, my legs were shaking crazy bad, I had trouble breathing, my whole lower abdomen cramped up as if to say I don’t fucking think so! It took her three times before she made the insertion.

So you might understand why I have been just a tad apprehensive about getting my new one reinserted.

Two weeks ago J went with me to my primary care office to have the removal and reinsertion done. I was completely amped up, and not in a good way, although having J there to rub my shoulders and help me breathe felt like an amazing gift. Ultimately, my GP was unable to finish because she said my strings had been cut too short. She recommended I go to a provider who could remove it with the help of an ultrasound. I cried afterwards because of how anti-climactic the whole thing was and how stressed I had let myself become.

Fast forward to this past week. I made an appointment at the Women’s Health Center at OHSU, and was relieved to see that my doctor has done research on pain during IUD insertions. I tried not to think about my appointment until the night before. I tried on a new mantra of It’s worth it, it’s worth it, it’s worth it (supposedly, that helps). I got up, and took the 4 recommended ibuprofen. I got there, and got to talk to the nurse, the doctor, and the resident a lot about how nervous I was.

Because of my first experience and my nervousness they said I was a good candidate for a cervix numbing blocker. Which was an injection, and felt like a dull ache that referred straight up my abdomen for about 3 seconds. Pulling the old IUD out was uncomfortable. Using the uterine sound to measure my uterus was a dull ache that referred straight up my spine and lasted for about 5 seconds. Inserting the new IUD hurt for about 3 seconds. I was even able to close my eyes, envision Little Beach, and breathe through the whole thing- I think that probably helped too. (PS- no ultrasound needed. They used a special tool that allowed them to yank on the extra short strings)

I almost cried afterwards from pure relief and happiness. I felt like a rock star all day. I’m so proud of my cervix!

Despite my low pain tolerance and hard first experience, I’ve always pushed IUDs on anyone who has asked my opinion about birth control options. They are one of the most effective forms after tubal ligation, and are the most cost effective. Get one, yo!

The less-than-great part of my appointment: the resident was reviewing my medical history with me, and when we got to the part where we discuss my sexual partners, the doctor pretty instantly was concerned that I have more than one male partner. “Well, we definitely need to test you for chlamydia and gonorrhea.” I have had one other male partner besides J since I was last tested for STIs, and I am pretty sure I would know if I had had one since then. Even after saying I was completely comfortable without a test, she pressed the issue. It could have been more for liability, but I don’t know. This obnoxious part of my appointment was well worth the fabulous experience I had otherwise.

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