'The worst pain imaginable.' Why women are recording their IUD insertions.

"I have endometriosis/adenomyosis and trying to get it removed was hell. The last removal, my gyno couldn't get it out and I was crying. I had to go under to get it out."

"It's the worst pain I've ever felt. And I've literally had three surgeries that involved moving/cutting my nerves." 

"I passed out and threw up."

When we asked Mamamia staff to describe the day they got an intrauterine device (IUD) or had one removed, these were just a few of their experiences.

For the uninitiated, the intrauterine device is a form of contraception that sits in the uterus. It's one of the most effective forms of pregnancy prevention. It's even more effective than the contraceptive pill. It's also the most painful.

Watch: Mia Freedman gets an IUD. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

So painful, in fact, women on social media have started sharing their reactions to having the device inserted in a bid to warn others. And it's excruciating to watch.

Twenty-two-year-old Nicole Marpaung recently posted a video on TikTok that quickly went viral, recording her experience of undergoing an IUD procedure. In the video, the doctor tells her to expect "lots and lots of pressure".

Pictured in visible pain and in tears, the caption reads: "IUD insertion is the worst pain imaginable."

The video, which has 26,000 shares and nearly 25,000 comments, has garnered a wave of attention — and it's now prompting other young women to share their own experiences on social media.


On the original video, one comment reads: "It's ridiculous that women don't get some sort of pain relief for these procedures."

Another said: "It hurts more than labour. It's quicker, but the pain is worse." 

In another video, the caption reads: "*Me thinking I could never go through labour if it feels like this*". In a follow-up clip, the creator shared she's experienced painful cramping since the IUD insertion appointment.

These TikTok videos are so widespread, researchers have actually studied the top #IUD clips, and recently found that the bulk of these experiences reported pain and negative side effects related to the procedure.

As per The Washington Post, leading researcher Jenny Wu, an obstetrics and gynecology resident, said the findings highlighted an alarming gap in IUD pain management. "It’s just really heartbreaking to me when patients feel like they went through some traumatic experience getting a really great form of birth control," Wu said.

This then begs the question: In 2024, why are women still dealing with so much pain when it comes to IUDs?

While local anesthetic and other options are often available, it's thought that many medical clinics do not readily offer them for pain management. Of course, women's experiences vary, and the procedure isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. However, individualised care and shared decision-making when it comes to pain control is crucial.


If the wave of social media content proves anything, it's that there's an increased need for doctors to listen to their patients, assess their condition, and provide expert advice on pain management.

In one TikTok video, a user by the name of Merrily Ruetsche shared that while she was told to expect cramping post-IUD insertion, she was told not to take painkillers prior to the procedure due to the increased risk of bleeding risk. 

However, no other alternative pain-control options were discussed or offered — and the pain, Ruetsche shared, was unbearable. "I had an urge to kick the doctor. I didn't. It's just an instinct I had because it was so painful," she shared in her video.

So, where does this leave us? 

Put simply, for something that's become an increasingly popular (and reliable) contraceptive option for women, the research and the options for effective pain management are still not there yet.

When asked if the benefits outweigh the pain, one person from the Mamamia team said, "I've had it three times — one done every five years. The pain is horrendous, but it's brief and I feel like it's what people say about childbirth, you forget after.

"The benefits are massive for me — contraception, no period or endo pain — so it's worth the few minutes of discomfort at the gynecologist."

Have you had an IUD before? What's your experience? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: TikTok/liquoridontevenknowherhellomerrmerrbridgetgoes.