Two days ago I had an Intrauterine device (IUD) inserted. For the second time. No, nothing went horribly wrong with the first – I’d simply had it for the allotted period of time and it was time to get it replaced.
If you’d asked me before my appointment with my gynaecologist this week, I would have told you that I was not looking to forward to repeating what I’ve often described to others as “one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life”.
The procedure is quick, but it is the farthest thing from painless. In fact, when I begin to tell anyone what happens during the insertion, I soon find myself talking to a face that looks something like this:
Mention the words ‘dilate’, ‘cervix’ and ‘probe’ to anyone in the same sentence and they immediately reply with, “Why would you EVER do that to yourself?”
“Surely no contraception method is worth having to go through…that?” they ask.
The thing is, it totally is: the IUD I have, known as the hormonal IUD or Mirena, can stay in place for up to five years.
In my experience, it’s been a pretty ‘set and forget’ method of birth control – one (not-so-fun) trip to the doctor and you’re done for the next few years – and for the first year, my periods stopped altogether (around 50 per cent of women stop bleeding altogether when the IUD is in place).
But the insertion itself is no walk in the park. For many, it's the fear of the unknown that scares them the most about using an IUD as their form of contraception.
Not that I'm a certified IUD veteran (note: that's 100 per cent totally not a thing) I'm going to talk you through exactly what goes down, down there when you're getting an IUD.