YEP Crew Blog Post – Amelia Murray: FYI about IUDs

Intra-uterine device. Wow, sounds scary right? I can assure you though, it’s not as big deal as everyone thinks it is. In fact, I have one! So here’s a bit about my experience with getting an IUD.

IUDs are awesome for so many reasons. I wanted to get an IUD because they are super effective at preventing pregnancy (>99%) and last for ages so I wouldn’t have to think about it again for a long time. Hormonal IUDs (which is the type I have) last up to 5 years, and copper ones can last up to 10 years. It just seemed so much easier than going on the pill and having to remember every day. Knowing me, I’d probably be able to keep up with that routine for about a week before I started forgetting… The other main reason I chose an IUD is because it’s really cheap. It was $40 for the actual device on top of the cost for the doctor’s appointment, which when spread over 5 years is pretty good.

Getting the IUD inserted is definitely the most daunting part about IUDs, especially for people who’ve never had a pap smear or pelvic examination before. From what I’ve heard, people’s experiences vary heaps. For me, it was actually pretty ok! The whole process usually only takes about 5 minutes. To put an IUD in they need to dilate your cervix slightly, and for some people this can be a bit painful – luckily I didn’t even feel it! Then they measure your uterus, which is pretty uncomfortable because they’re poking around, but it only lasts for a minute or so and it’s just like bad period cramps. When they actually put the IUD in, you can’t really feel it. Some cramping kicked in a bit later and was a bit on and off for a few weeks, but nothing to complain about.

Generally people get some cramping or spotting for a few months after getting an IUD, but this usually goes away within 3-5 months. Hormonal IUDs end up making periods lighter and lots of people don’t even get their period at all, which is why IUDs are often used to treat heavy periods, bad cramping and endometriosis. On the flip side, copper IUDs usually make periods heavier and cramps worse, but are still a good option for people who can’t use hormonal contraceptives.

If you’re considering getting an IUD (or any other type of contraception), definitely go see a doctor about it. If you’re not too sure where to go, I can highly recommend going to SHQ in Northbridge. The doctors there are brilliant and the best part is they do $10 appointments (with a Medicare card). Overall, I’d definitely give the IUD a thumbs up!

Top tips:

  1. Be proactive with contraception and have IUDs inserted when you’re not seeing someone. It makes annoying bleeding and spotting less annoying.
  2. Following on from 1, buy a bunch of black undies!
  3. Do NOT pull the string!!

 

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Jesse Altham

Hey! My name is Jesse and I’m a 23 year old from Fremantle, WA. I’m finishing up my Diploma of Youth Work with North Metro TAFE, completing my last practical placement here with the YEP crew. I am extremely passionate about politics, advocacy and education and I’m so fortunate to be working with YEP in the space of peer education.

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