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Copper IUDs (and birth control in general)

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  • #31
    I just had a conversation with my OB/GYN yesterday about having a copper IUD inserted. She did not make it sound like fun: having to take medication to dilate your cervix, taking tons of ibuprofen (though I shot or two of whiskey might work just fine) and cramping, though I can deal with that. I know that side effects include heavy periods, cramping, etc. but I have always had light periods and no cramping, so I'm hoping it would not be that terrible and I could put up with it for a few cycles? Also my mom had 3 IUDs inserted in her lifetime (2 of them were copper) and never had a single issue. Do you think it's possible to have inherited her IUD-friendly uterus?

    The other option is a low dose progesterone ring of some sort. I refuse to take any form of estrogen/estradiol (the pill made a cyst I had removed from my breast begin to grow back!) but I'm not sure I want to put any hormones in my body at all. I already deal with enough issues.
    Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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    • #32
      I would not do anything with hormones. It just messes with me.

      I would take the risk, because you can always have it removed if it's not great for you, and it's likely that it will be fine.

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      • #33
        I had a copper IUD and they did not want to give me one as I had not had kids. It turns out the real story was related to insurance compensation. Anyhow, I had no meds to dialate my uterus, took a few ibuprofen, and that was it. It did hurt a bit, though not worse than a pelvic exam for me. Pelvic exams hurt for me especially a pap smear. But it wasn't that bad.

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        • #34
          Thanks Zoe and Magnolia. I think I'm just going to go for it. Probably can't get it in for another 1.5 months but I'll check in here when I do.
          Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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          • #35
            Give it a shot. I didn't take any medication to dilate my cervix either, just had it inserted during my period when the cervix is naturally dilated. It did hurt, but the pain only lasted a second or two.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by diene View Post
              In my younger days, the only method of birth control I used was the condom. That really worked best for me because it didn't bother me (condom vs no condom doesn't feel any different to me) and didn't require *me* to do anything. Plus, since I was rarely in stable relationships, condoms were necessary for the prevention of STDs.

              In my mid-20s I decided to give oral birth control a try because I wanted to see if I could control when I got my period. (A friend of mine was able to use it to delay her period when she needed to.) That turned out to not work for me, but I decided to stay on it anyway. I took birth control pills for five years. Then last August, I decided to switch to Paragard (copper IUD). I did it for a variety of reasons. I took a brand name birth control pill, and although a generic version is available, I didn't like the generic. The brand name was expensive--$50 per pack even with insurance. Additionally, I was getting older and wanted to avoid the horrible side effects (i.e., blood clots), which became increasingly likely as you got older. A friend of mine suffered a pulmonary embolism caused by the pill, and although it was terrible, she was lucky in many ways because (a) it didn't kill her and (b) she survived it unscathed (i.e. no long-term damage). I mean, it could have been a stroke. I didn't want to have a similar experience. (Plus, there's all that stuff about how hormonal birth control could increase the risk of breast cancer--something else I didn't want to experience.)

              So here we go with the copper IUD. Getting it inserted sucked. It wasn't the actual insertion that sucked, it was the part where they stick the "sound" in you to measure your uterus. I never experienced menstrual cramps before--not ever--and now I do. But they're not horribly bad.

              The annoying thing is that I gained weight. This could have been completely coincidental and not caused by the IUD (I can think of no scientific reason why a copper IUD would cause weight gain, and weight gain is not listed as a possible side effect). But if you look online there are a gazillion people who think that Paragard caused them to gain weight. Although that could be complete coincidence too, and if you look online you can find zillions of people who think really stupid thoughts. So I don't have any evidence that Paragard causes weight gain, but my weight gain occurred right after I had it inserted.

              The second annoying thing is lower back pain. Now, this is a listed side effect. I haven't been able to figure out the biological mechanism behind this lower back pain phenomenon. Some of the things I've read suggest that the lower back pain is really caused by menstrual cramps because the cramps can "radiate" to the lower back. (I guess that means the pain is diffuse so that you may think that your lower back hurts when it's really your uterus? I don't know.) But I get lower back pain (it's not so much "pain" as it is soreness/stiffness/tightness) even when I'm not experiencing menstrual cramps so that explanation is entirely unsatisfactory to me.

              The pain isn't terrible--usually just in the morning. I can usually get it to go away by etiher doing the founder (foundational training exercises) or by foam rolling. But it's annoying because it makes me feel like I'm 10 years older in the morning someitmes. It's not every morning, but some mornings I feel so stiff and sore that I dont' even want to get out of bed. And I never felt like that before I got the IUD.

              So...has anyone else had any experiences with copper IUDs? What do you think about it? Anyone know of a better birth control method for someone who doesn't want to use hormones and isn't ready to have her tubes tied? (Not 100% sure that I don't want kids.) My boyfriend doesn't like condoms so that's not really an option right now.
              I haven't read any of the responses, but I did have the copper IUD for about 6 months. Initially it was pretty good. But then I did start having the lower back pain, heavy period from the get go, and worse but tolerable cramps. Then something happened. The IUD dropped lower. It wasn't coming out (yet) but my husband would actually hit my cervix during sex and the IUD was right behind it. So, sex sucked, heavy periods, and get this, I was a crazy bitch. But there's no hormones, so how is that possible? There's some thought that the copper build up can cause craziness (copper also builds up during pregnancy. I have a 20 month old). One to two days a month I would be extremely depressed, cry, be irrational. I wanted to love the IUD so much, but decided it needed to come out. *sad* It's been out for 3 or 4 months now and my periods are much better, especially since going primal. I only have a hint of a cramp the 1st day and the flow is much lighter.

              My husband (and myself) don't really like condoms, but if we wanna do it, then guess what? We use condoms. It sure beats IUD hell.

              I'm still looking into other forms of natural birth control. But aside from charting, there isn't a whole lot out there.

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              • #37
                My insurance did pay 100% for the IUD. I just had to pay the co-pay. I think it was $25 or something. Without insurance it was in the $700-$800 range.

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                • #38
                  So I think I need to update this thread. I did have mine removed about two months ago because I thought it had caused me to gain weight. Now, 7 or so weeks later, I'm pretty sure that it did NOT cause me to gain weight because I didn't lose any weight after removing it.

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                  • #39
                    thats good to know, diene.

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                    • #40
                      As promised, I have an update.... My uterus is now officially an inhospitable environment.

                      I took the cervical dilation drug and 400mg of ibuprofen (with slippery elm tea to protect my stomach) about an hour beforehand, as well as a shot of gin about 15 min. before (I was nervous leave me alone)

                      The pain was not quite what I was led to believe. I thought it was going to be a sharp pain and then gone, but there was cramping involved with both the sound and IUD insertion. So just as the cramping was subsiding from the sound, I got hit with cramping from the IUD. I would wager that I experienced at least a full 60 seconds of the cramping. It was decidedly painful - I almost started laughing a few times which is what I do in response to significant pain (I have issues, whatever) - but I talked to the doctor through most of it to distract myself and focused on my breath until it was done. Afterwards while I dressed I heard the doctor say to the nurse, "yeah, she did reeeaaally well," as though she was genuinely surprised by my (lack of) response. So either I have a high pain threshold or I'm just better at keeping it to myself. I think both.

                      I did have dull, mild cramping for some time afterwards which was remedied by further alcohol consumption and now it is seven hours post-procedure and I am still feeling some. It is not truly uncomfortable, merely present. I have not experienced one single menstrual cramp in probably 6 or more years (I am very lucky, I know) so I'm hoping that my future periods are not a problem or only minimally so. Surely, there will be more updates.
                      Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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                      • #41
                        Hulky laughs when in pain and it's started rubbing off on me. It's a very useful mechanism to keep from crying, since the breaths are similar. I'm interested to hear about your adjustment to the IUD. I really think I should get one.
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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by namelesswonder View Post
                          Hulky laughs when in pain and it's started rubbing off on me. It's a very useful mechanism to keep from crying, since the breaths are similar. I'm interested to hear about your adjustment to the IUD. I really think I should get one.
                          I can't take credit for an involuntary response that I have zero control over, but I think it's kind of brilliant - laughing releases endorphins which can increase your pain threshold. So even doing it voluntarily should be effective. I just like to warn people about it because I understand it can be a little jarring to see someone look like they are enjoying physical pain so immensely.

                          Anyway, I can't recall what your periods are like, but it seems like a good option for those who do not have much cramping or heavy bleeding to begin with.

                          So I felt discomfort trying to fall asleep last night but this morning it was significantly better - just sore, which is completely understandable - and now I am feeling nothing down there at all!
                          Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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                          • #43
                            Hey, at least it sounds like she only stuck the sound in you once. When I had my procedure, she sounded my uterus twice then tried to insert the IUD. She was unable to get the IUD in and started to tell me that I may have to come back another time. (I was thinking, OMG, NOOOOO, WTF, you've got to be fucking kidding me!!!) She was confused because the sound went in so easily, but the IUD wouldn't go in. (They didn't give me a cervix-dilating drug cuz it was Planned Parenthood and they suck.) So she stuck the sound in a THIRD time. OMFG! And then she was able to insert the IUD. Weird cuz I didn't feel the IUD at all, not even when she was trying to get it in but couldn't. Only the sound caused contractions, and she stuck it in three times.

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                            • #44
                              Just throwing it out there for anybody's info - have a Mirena, so far it's great. I'm 47 (so probably won't need BC for much longer anyway), had been on the pill and loved it for like 20 years. I did use it to control my period, I just skipped them for years. I know some people probably think that's nuts. I had to go off of it when I had a strange migraine thing that they thought might have been a TIA. A bunch of my younger friends were using Mirena and liked it. I was a little scared after reading some of the stuff online but I've had no problems at all. It was sort of painful getting it inserted (for about 20 seconds each with the measuring and then the insertion) and I had some random spotting for a couple months after which is what I was told to expect. Now no periods. All in all it's working fine for me. My insurance did cover it, I think it would have been about $900 otherwise.
                              Breathe. Move forward.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by diene View Post
                                Hey, at least it sounds like she only stuck the sound in you once. When I had my procedure, she sounded my uterus twice then tried to insert the IUD. She was unable to get the IUD in and started to tell me that I may have to come back another time. (I was thinking, OMG, NOOOOO, WTF, you've got to be fucking kidding me!!!) She was confused because the sound went in so easily, but the IUD wouldn't go in. (They didn't give me a cervix-dilating drug cuz it was Planned Parenthood and they suck.) So she stuck the sound in a THIRD time. OMFG! And then she was able to insert the IUD. Weird cuz I didn't feel the IUD at all, not even when she was trying to get it in but couldn't. Only the sound caused contractions, and she stuck it in three times.
                                Mother of god I would have sat up and smacked her across the face. Perhaps you were reeling so much from the third sound insertion that you couldn't feel the IUD! It seems like most people don't use the cervical dilation drug, but were you menstruating at the time? Maybe she was just inexperienced? I'm sorry you dealt with that.
                                Is it weird in here, or is it just me?

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