*This post is most likely NSFW and TMI for those who are uncomfortable with sexual topics. This is my personal account with IUD; some readers may find it too graphical. I’m choosing to share my experience because, during my research, I couldn’t find many personal details/experiences of copper IUDs besides medical summaries of copper IUDs.
*This is an old post that I recycled from my previous blog. As of May 2022, I am not on any contraceptives but I am more than happy to answer any questions about the IUD.
It’s been approximately two months since I got my copper IUD inserted in me aaaaaaaand…. I don’t regret it all!
A bit about my background:
- 21 years old and have never given birth.
- Been on birth control pills and depo shots since being sexually active.
- This is my first non-hormonal contraceptive.
- My body responds well to additional hormones from other contraceptive methods.
- My periods have always been light and last about 5 days. I rarely ever use heavy/thick pads or super tampons.
- I do not get cramps or mood swings when I’m on my period.
- No known side effects (eg. acne, tenderness, dizziness, etc.) when I’m on contraceptives (pills and depo shots).
Prior to this IUD, I’ve been on Alesse pills and depo shots. They’re both great and gave me no side effects. Depo shots average about $45 per shot (that lasts about three months) and my Alesse pills were about $15-25 per box that will last a month.
The copper IUD cost me $75 CAD at Willow’s Women Clinic and that would last me 5 years.
The depo shot would have cost me… $45 x 4 times a year = $180 x 5 years = $900 for 5 years!
So, you can see why I chose to get a copper IUD at only $75. There were hormonal IUDs available for $310 or $380 but at that time I didn’t want to spend that much money whilst saving and I am still working on a few paperwork to see if I can qualify to get it cheaper. Also, being a college student didn’t help too much with my finances.
One hour before my appointment, I took one Advil painkiller. A lot of people recommend taking 2-3 pain killers before your appointment but I only took one.
They make you pee in a cup before they start the procedure. This is to ensure that you’re not pregnant. A copper IUD can also act as an emergency contraceptive provided that you have it inserted within 7 days of unprotected sex.
If you had a pap test, the first part of the insertion is really similar. If not, the doctor uses a few devices to open you up while she does the work. At first, the doctor would take an ultrasound to ensure everything is healthy inside. After using the clamps to open you up, she’ll examine your cervix.
My doctor told me I have a smaller cervix than the average person. It could be because I have never given birth before OR because I’m just a small person and literally everything about me is small.
So, my doctor ended up poking (not literally) around my cervix until she realized it was smaller than usual. From here, she used a different method to accommodate my small cervix. At this point, I felt A LOT of pressure. It is not a painful pressure; more so of an uncomfortable, ‘I-feel-like-farting’ pressure.
After inserting it into my cervix, my doctor trimmed the excess strings and pulled all the instruments out of me. The only thing that was nerve-wracking about the procedure was hearing the clamps as my doctor adjusted her tools.
This procedure will obviously cause you to bleed for the day (not heavily) so bring a pad. I felt cramping for the first few hours but it was very manageable (I finished my 8-hour shift after getting it inserted). On a pain scale, the entire procedure was a 4 out of 10. The cramping afterwards was about a 5-6 out of 10. Now, keep in mind, that I’ve never had period cramps before so this “pain”/discomfort was new to me! And, my pain tolerance isn’t that high.
Since the insertion, I continued to have light bleeding for about 4 days. I wasn’t spotting but it was enough for me to use a regular sized tampon or a regular pad.
This is where it got bad.
On the 5th day post insertion, I was bleeding HEAVILY. I have never bled this much before so I was panicking. I had to use heavy thick long/overnight pads AND my bleeding would completely soak the pad and onto my underwear/pants within the hour or so… so you can imagine how many times I took a shower and change my pads throughout the day. I was also passing clots… major big clots. I felt a small pressure between my legs and the next thing I know, a massive blood clot comes out of me.
There was so much blood, if soaking through multiple thick overnight pads isn’t enough, a stream of blood would always trickle down my leg. When I was changing my pads, if I wasn’t fast enough, blood would come down. If I raised a leg to put it through my underwear, it would come down. In the shower, it felt fine but the moment you step out and rinse, it’s running down your legs or soaking through your towel.
This heavily bleeding lasted for about 2.5/3 days. I went back to the clinic and my doctor said this is one of the side effects and could take up to 6 months for my body to get back to a normal flow.
On my last day, exactly a week after insertion, the massive bleeding stopped. Just like that, no more drops were coming out of me.
It took my body a full week to get used to the amount of copper in my system. I guess for some women, it may take longer. I was considered one of the “lucky” ones.
The first few days before the start of my first “IUD period”, I was nervous. I was extremely nervous about the amount of bleeding I might encounter. I was scared that it would be as heavy as the first week. We’re talking Kill Bill scene right here!
However, my period, with the IUD, was similar to my regular period. I didn’t notice it being any heavier as most doctors have warned me. I didn’t notice it being any longer either. Perhaps one day longer than usual but I can live with that. With an IUD, my period is about the same. I still use regular sized tampons and regular sized pads, even on the first few days when periods tend to be heavier.
I haven’t encountered any spotting either. The only spotting I got was two days before my period started as a warning sign. One of the side effects listed was spotting until your body gets used to the copper.
Overall, while I don’t enjoy getting my period, this was the cheapest and longest birth control option for me. I am looking into getting Jaydess because I absolutely HATE periods but I want to save the $300 and put it into my New Zealand funds.
Like any other thing, your experience with the IUD will depend on your body. Aside from the week of heavy bleeding, all the listed side effects that came with the copper IUD did not apply to me. I am not complaining, I truly feel lucky.
If your period tends to be light and your body is quick to adapt, your experience with the IUD may be similar to mine and not be a complete nightmare like what is described on the internet. If you’re already having heavy periods, a copper IUD would only make it worst.
For any fellow Vancouverites reading this, I recommend heading to the Willow Women’s Clinic to get an IUD. The doctors there are extremely helpful with any questions and concerns and friendly enough to put you at ease while you lie on the table. The nurses are friendly as well. They’re much more flexible in terms of booking and would get you in and out of there in no time!