Monday, 11 May 2015

Getting my IUD put in and after; my reviews.

So as anyone who is close to me knows, I'm all about sexual health and being safe.
Last year I decided to change up my contraception options and try something new.
In today's post I'm going to share a little about what I chose and why, and some things I suggest for when you talk to your doctor.

First stop was that I went and I talked to my doctor. I had already decided I wanted to stop taking the Pill, but that I wanted to keep protected from having babies and that I was sure I still don't want kids. 

My doctor suggested I go to Family Planning NZ because they're all about sexual health and keeping yourself safe, happy and consensual when having sex. Also because she isn't trained in inserting IUD's and can only really offer a few options in house. Family Planning has experienced doctors and nurses on site who can offer a wider range of contraception options.

I'm not going to lie - I was nervous about going to see a new doctor and having to tell them intimate details of my life, but realising that they do this job all day, every day... seeing people like me who are nervous is totally normal for them. They asked me details about my sex life [I'll spare the details, haha]... and asked things about my general health, any medications I'm on and so forth. They did a quick blood pressure check and a sexual health check - I had swabs taken which tested for any infections in your lady parts - they also offer to test for STI's (you can opt in to get it at the same time, I opted not to at this appointment, but I had had one routinely done about 6 months prior).

The swabs came back all okay, so a week later I rang and made an "Insertion appointment" for the middle of when my period was due for the chosen method: an IUD. I went for the Copper type as I have an allergy to the hormone used in the hormonal option.
The doctor suggested I do the insertion at this time, as the pain threshold is higher, and it is easier for them to insert it. I'm not 100% sure, but that's what they told me. [An edit from Family Planning:
The national medical advisor from Family Planning says the reason for inserting the IUD towards the end of a period is mainly because the cervix is a little more open at that time so it’s usually easier to insert the IUD.]

 It was also suggested for me to take a couple of pain relievers one hour before my appointment, so I took one paracetamol and one ibuprofen about an hour before it was appointment time. These are the usual pain relievers I use for pain - period pain, headaches etcetera so I knew they would work for me. Ask your doctor for instructions though, they may be more specific.

As for the appointment itself, Insertion Appointment is quite straight forward, you arrive, they let you into the room with the nurse, you answer questions and fill in any forms etcetera. I had to sign a waiver saying I knew the risks involved etcetera.
You are then lead into the Procedure room itself, I was asked to take off lower clothing items and lie on a bed with a sheet across me. I had my boyfriend hold my hand at my head end, as well as a nurse. Pain for me wasn't too bad, but being nulliparous meant my cervix needed a bit of coaxing to dilate to the size needed for insertion. This was the only painful part. Excruciating for me. Only lasted a few seconds though. I stayed lying down while the nurse and doctor left and they had directed me to stay lying down then get up slowly. Definitely do this! I felt a bit weak and lost some more blood, but wasn't too serious. The following hours were like bad period cramps of pain.

Now I was a little crazy on the first day after insertion - when the doctor says you should probably take it easy, do not take that as meaning "go walking and go shopping" yeah... I was sore for three days! The second day (day after insertion) I was sore, but it was more like period pains. I pretty much went a lot easier, staying on the couch, watching TV and having a PJ day.

About 6 weeks after insertion, you're asked to go back and let your doctor know how you're going and if there's any issues. (Eg. Sometimes your partner can feel the strings during sexy times, so they need to be trimmed, although the strings soften up over time, so it's no big deal).

Fast forward to today... and I'm happy to say I haven't had any issues with my Copper IUD. There's been no issues with migration, or it being dislodged. I've had some heavy periods (in the first few months, which is normal... mine were pretty heavy up until a few months ago).
The cramps don't dislodge it, which surprised me.
I also cough, being asthmatic, and that doesn't move it either.
The doctor can still do an STI or smear test swab without problems.

I'm quite happy with it. One year down (and a few days) ... a little under four years left with this one to go. In New Zealand the recommendation is to remove and replace them every 5 years.


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