One-month IUD update!


Photo credit: http://www.mirena-us.com/about-mirena/see-mirena-up-close.php

So, yeah, time flies, eh? I feel like just yesterday I was sharing the experience of my IUD insertion (click here if you missed that post), and now I'm back, detailing how the first four weeks of having a foreign object lodged in my uterus have been. :)

I'll get to the punchline quickly for those that don't care to read the gory details: I still don't regret getting it, and no, this experience has not been nearly as terrible as I expected.

Now for those who want the details, here's the rundown:

The morning of my insertion was a piece of cake, although in retrospect, I attribute some of the lack of cramping to the fact that I had taken 600mg of Advil prior to my appointment, and that glorious, inflammation-reducing drug likely shielded me from some of the pain I would have felt otherwise. I say this because as the days and weeks progressed, I most certainly did have some cramping. It was definitely off and on, and it wasn't crazy severe, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't go through my fair share of ibuprofen.

The worst of the cramping came during what I assume was my ovulation period (I don't track my cycle, so I'm not sure, but it was about 7-10 days before my "period" -- more on that in a second). There were some isolated moments where I felt like I'd have stronger than normal cramps -- for me I had a bit of nausea, which is unusual, as I've never really had that as a PMS symptom. I also found myself microwaving a hot pack one night to rest on my abdomen.

Now that I'm a month in, the cramping has backed off significantly, although every once in a while, it'll come back for a few minutes, almost like this little reminder that the device is still there. (Interestingly, the cramps almost always showed up in the afternoon...I have no idea why, but since we're being really transparent here, I figured I should probably share!)

Let's talk about the bleeding. It's a real thing. I want to say I've worn a pantiliner pretty much every single day (with a few exceptions) since insertion, and for almost all of those days there has been some level of spotting. Sometimes it's literally the smallest little dribble and other times, I'll wipe after going to the bathroom and see bright red on the tissue. Very rarely was it enough blood to warrant a tampon, and the few times I put on a pad to sleep in they were totally clean in the a.m. But it's definitely worth noting that this is NOT the time to wear your favorite fancy underwear, and more the time to invest in some Always.

What about other side effects? I haven't noticed many of them. I was convinced that I was gaining weight for a few weeks, but I actually think that had more to do with the fact that I just felt like I was in a perpetual state of PMS (again, since my "period" that's kind of backed off). I felt kind of bloated, moody, gassy, and I most definitely had more cravings than normal. I haven't noticed anything else at this point -- my acne is the same as it's been, no better or worse, and I haven't started growing hair in weird places or anything.

Now let's talk about this "period" I've been referencing, because this was perhaps the most confusing part. I think I had a period in the last week. But it was the strangest flow I've had since the first time I bled as a teenager. For a few hours, I'd have enough liquid to fill a tampon -- sometimes so much that I'd actually leak through it in an hour. But then just a few hours later, I'd go to replace the tampon and ache because it was just sitting in there totally dry. I've normally worn pads at night (because I always find that tampons leak overnight) and not once did I wake up to a pad soaked in blood. But then I'd think my flow was over and a few hours later, I'd get a sudden, intense cramp and find blood in my underwear again. It was almost like a faucet that was really confused as to whether it was on or off, and this odd pattern continued for about 3-4 days -- my normal period duration. My OBGYN warned that things might be a little off for a few months, but I was still expecting to get a regular period just weeks after insertion. I guess not!

A few more things to mention:

  • Yes, I have had sex since insertion, and no, it did not hurt, feel strange or affect my libido anymore than normal. Although I didn't directly ask, my partner didn't mention being able to feel the strings during intercourse or foreplay, which I'd read was sometimes an issue for some women.
  • I can hardly feel the strings myself! My doctor had talked about how most women like to check for the strings every month to make sure everything's still in place. I've tried reaching up my vag, but I can't find anything...yet I'm 99% sure I would have realized if the thing just decided to dislodge or fall out of my vaginal canal. This is something I plan to check on with my doctor when I go for my annual in October, although she mentioned that feeling for the strings wasn't an absolute necessity.
  • I'm cancelling my one-month check-up (something my doctor told me I could do if I felt fine). Sure, I may be having issues feeling the strings, but I don't feel like that's anything urgent, and I'm not in significant pain or discomfort. Since I'm heading in for my regular exam in the next month anyway, it's not worth the extra co-pay in my point of view.

As promised, I'm going to continue providing updates every so often for those who are interested, but if you have specific questions in the meanwhile, feel free to pop them into the comments section below. Til next time!

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