My IUD Chronicles…

I’ve been living with a piece of plastic in my uterus for just over 6 months now. Of course, it’s there intentionally; preventing my man from putting a baby in me and ruining my #hotgirlsummer (and also the rest of my life until I’m maybe ready). I blogged about my experience having my IUD placed back in January – it was low key traumatic and the whole day ended in me crying on my way home and throwing up a plate of jerk tofu & rice and peas at midnight (I’m so sorry plantain). Despite the pain, I don’t regret having it put in at all. After being on the contraceptive pill for years, it did take some getting used to, but I feel like I’ve given it enough time to settle and thought it’d be good to post an update as I’ve had quite a lot of questions about how I feel about it now 7 months have gone by. The biggest changes I’ve had since changing my contraceptive are related to my mental health, periods and my skin.

Mental Health:

One of the main reasons I wanted to come off the pill was that it was interfering with my mental health in a negative way. My anxiety was becoming more of a constant state of being as opposed to periods of it. I won’t pretend that the IUD has cured me of my anxiety, I do get it still – in fact, I’m suffering from an episode now. However, the episodes are now less frequent – mainly only triggered by significant stress as opposed to almost everything. I generally feel more optimistic and I have more energy. I often felt like the contraceptive pill left me feeling cloudy and sometimes living in someone else’s head. Now, I feel more myself and in control of my emotions and body. There are some difficult and tricky situations I’ve had to deal with recently that maybe in the past might’ve had me wanting to scream in the shower, but I’ve felt calm and collected enough to talk it through and attempt to fix them without people feeling the wrath of hormonal Demi. I feel more in control and focused – in fact, I’ve finally sorted myself out and applied to study law – I’m sure that’ll be a true test to how well my anxiety is being controlled.

 

Hormones:

When I first started taking the pill, I didn’t notice a massive difference in my hormones. I wasn’t more or less snappy, and my PMS was roughly the same as it was before when I wasn’t on any birth control medication. Three years in, I was becoming more aware of the changes. Wait, scratch that – people around me became more aware. Both my mother and boyfriend complained that I was short, argumentative and sometimes generally mean – I personally didn’t see any difference, I’d always assumed I’d been that way but hey, maybe I’m not as much of a cunt as I thought. This change in behaviour, and just not wanting to take medication daily were the main reasons I wanted to change my birth control. Within a couple of weeks, I could feel the difference in myself with the IUD; I had this weird calmness and more patience (most of the time) than I did before. I am aware that this could be a placebo effect as I was keen to be off the pill and put all my hopes into this little plastic device. However, the feedback I’ve gotten from those closest to me certainly supports this. Unfortunately, I feel that my PMS is definitely worse than before – just before I’m due to bleed (I barely want to call it a period, but more on that in a minute) – I feel myself snapping and becoming more irritated by things. I’m sure I’ve now had 4 PMS related arguments between Konrad and I, almost all about the most tedious things – it’s embarrassing really but he deals with it like a G. The silver lining though, is that I recognise it, although not to the extent that I will stop arguing – my mama birthed a self-righteous douche bag and you’re gonna live with it. It doesn’t seem to last longer than a couple of days and hasn’t interfered with my outside life such as work or hobbies.

Periods:

I bled for a few days after having the IUD placed; it wasn’t a period but just a small amount of trauma from having a foreign object placed inside my uterus – what else do you expect? My first period after having it placed didn’t come for a while, and I think it’s due to switching birth control so quickly and my body was like “bitch, hold up?!?!”. When it did come though, it was…unpleasant. I recall it being really painful, and only codeine would take the edge off. It didn’t last very long but then again, they never did on the pill either. It would average 3-5 days and often so light at the end that I didn’t even need to use my menstrual cup. Fast forward to now, and it’s pretty much the same. It comes every 3.5-4 weeks. It announces itself with disgusting level cramps for a few hours a day or two before and then disappears almost as quickly as it arrives. I personally think it’s getting lighter and lighter each time, and that soon it’ll stop altogether – which is a common side effect of the Mirena. You can use a menstrual cup with it, but just be careful you don’t tug on the strings when removing it because it could pull it out. A follower messaged me to tell me theirs fell out in the toilet not long after having it fitted, if this happened to me I would have to just lay down and cry because that’s not just bad luck, it’s pure evil. I’m hoping to even move from a cup to some menstrual pants because it’s becoming a bit of a faff for such little blood.

Skin:

My skin journey off the pill and onto the IUD has been very interesting. Prior to having my IUD inserted, I’d been on prescription medication Epiduo after my skin broke out majorly and painfully. It was starting to recover by the time I had the IUD put in, and I stopped applying the cream around two months after. Generally, my skin has always been dry, but I’ve discovered that this is now not completely the case (thanks to my facialist) and that it’s actually relatively combo. I can’t say that this change in skin type is really down to the IUD, but the congested areas I have – which weren’t there before – coincide with me having the IUD placed. I’ve been getting monthly facials and adjusting my skincare routine to fix my blemishes but I would say that compared to how my skin was on the pill – the tone is much more even, the spots are minimal and my skin generally brighter. I get more hormonal breakouts than I did on the pill, they tend to be around my jawline which is really really annoying but a small price to pay for having my sanity back.

 

Sex:

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX, BABY. The IUD hasn’t really affected my sex life. At first, Konrad could feel the strings, and so I had them trimmed on my first re-check, but he can still feel them sometimes. He doesn’t seem to care so neither do I. I think over time the pill made me care about sex less, but the IUD seems to have rectified that. The pill over time started toying with my sex drive, it would be sporadic with long periods of not giving it a second thought. My energy levels were low generally, and I’d rather nap and stay in, than get my back blown out. Sex was not on the cards when I got the IUD placed because I felt like my vagina was too precious now it was pregnant with a plastic baby but after using my menstrual cup successfully, it was only natural that the next step would be a penis. Initially I was terrified to have sex because I thought somehow it would cause the device to fall out – obviously in hindsight I realise that fear was silly…one of the main reasons an IUD exists is to prevent pregnancy; if they were falling out every now and then, they’d be pretty lousy contraception devices, right? My sex drive is more like when I wasn’t on any contraception, and Konrad is very relieved to discover that my previous lack of desire was down to hormones and not because I was pining after Idris Elba.

General:

One of my favourite things of having the IUD is that it is completely out of sight and out of mind. I don’t have to remember to take a pill every day – previously, I’d almost forget and panic wake up after falling into a delicious sleep in order to take it. I don’t need to worry about staying out at night (lol as if this happens) or worry if my period is late or whether I can have sex that day or not. These may sound like shallow reasons, but not having any sex-related anxieties does wonders for your relationship and general peace of mind. I’m obviously very grateful for the effect it’s had on my mental health and hormones too – feeling more in control of myself means that I can finally act like the me I always thought I was being.

 

So there you go, my experience with the hormonal IUD has been overwhelmingly positive, and despite the horrific pain of having it placed, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Please remember that everyone’s experiences are different but I wanted to share mine so someone had a personal anecdote from a real bitch. The best thing to do is speak to your GP if you’re considering changing your contraception as it’s a big decision.

Until next time,

Demi – Colleen x