The Birth Control Option You Never Knew You Missed

I went to the doctor 2 weeks ago, and it changed the next 10 years of my life for the better. I first heard about copper IUDs in college, but it wasn’t until I was fed up taking a pill everyday at the same time that I gave them the attention I feel they deserve. Now, I want to sing this little miracle’s praises from the mountains in hopes someone out there might also fall in love. Initially this article was going to be a collection of my friends and colleagues personal IUD experiences. The problem with that concept was I couldn’t find one person to share a story. Either they prefer their privacy (no judgement, I get that), or no one has one. So, if you don’t know someone with one either, hopefully my story is insightful enough.
Before I start, you should know what the copper IUD (Paragard) is and does. Paragard is a t-shaped device which is placed in opening of the cervix and prevents pregnancy. More significantly, it prevents pregnancy more than 99% of the time. That’s in the same effectivity range with tubal ligation while still maintaining effective reversibility. And it does this without hormones. Copper creates a toxic environment in the uterus preventing sperm from reach the eggs, so failure only occurs is if the IUD is misplaced and comes out. The icing on the cake is that they continue to ward off unintended pregnancy for a decade. That’s all so, so awesome. The downside does exist though. IUDs don’t protect you from STIs, so there is still that to consider. Some effects after insertion (which I can personally confirm) are cramping, light spotting, and a backache. I was also informed that my future periods (you do continue to have them with a copper IUD) may be heavier, temporarily irregular, and more… cramped. Apparently they are also costly, however I had mine placed at a free clinic so there is that option, too. Considering those facts, I went for it.
I had gone to the clinic with the intention of renewing my birth control pills, but during the two hour wait I noticed a pamphlet for Paragard. Once I asked the doctor about it, I was sold. I agreed, signed paperwork, and stripped from the waist down. The insertion was, in all honesty, very uncomfortable. That discomfort comes from the opening of your closed cervix. The next two days transitioned from very to mildly uncomfortable, accompanied by light spotting. My body then returned to normal with an average period and feeling just fine. Knowing I won’t have an unplanned pregnancy for the next 10 years and no unnatural hormones are in me, though, feels incredibly liberating.
The confusing part to me remains why this gem is so under-utilized. Apparently, only 3.5% of women who use birth control have one. What? That number has increased over the last 10 years, but for the freedom and reassurance they offer, IUDs deserve much more use.

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One thought on “The Birth Control Option You Never Knew You Missed

  1. I had Paragard for a few months last year and was happy with it, then somehow it slipped down and punctured my cervix, causing me to bleed for 35 days straight before I could get in to see my gyno. Around the same time I was going through my Paragard ordeal, a friend of mine had Mirena, and it fell out without her knowing somehow, so she was shocked to find out she had gotten pregnant. She decided to get the Mirena again after her abortion, while I opted to go back on pills because I’d rather maintain some semblance of control and confidence about my contraception. I wish UIDs were for everyone but they aren’t. Apparently women who haven’t given birth have a more difficult time with IUDs, so it’s important to recognize they aren’t a solution for everyone. If only!

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