why i chose an iud

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Five years ago, I decided I was tired of being on the pill, and that I didn't feel comfortable asking my husband to have a vasectomy. After doing a good bit of research, I decided I wanted to try a new IUD just out on the market--Mirena. It had only recently been approved in the US, although it was already popular in Europe. Like many women I know, most of what I'd heard about IUDs before that was negative, and I was surprised by how positive the overall reviews were for the Mirena--which is different from the older generation of copper IUDs. I liked what I read--that Mirena had a 99.9% reliability rate, for instance, and that for many women it significantly reduced the cramps and heavy flow associated with their periods. I was the first person to ever ask my doctor about it, so he did some research too--and then agreed to insert it in March 2002.

This is the part, of course, where you probably expect to talk about how wrong I was. Except...it's been great! No side effects, no problems. I basically forgot about it--except when gloating about my extremely light and non-disruptive periods (which used to be marked by heavy bleeding and lots of cramps). In fact, it came as a shock to me last week when my husband, after seeing a Mirena ad on TV, asked me if I wasn't about due to have mine replaced. Had it really been five years? (My doctor asked the same thing when I went in today, and then arched his eyebrows in surprise when he leafed through my chart and saw that in fact it had been.)

So I had a new one inserted today, which means no more worrying about birth control for five more years. Yay!

The only downside of Mirena, which I suppose I ought to warn others about, is that the insertion procedure is on the painful side of uncomfortable. It's done in the doctor's office, and only takes a few minutes--but for me, at least, it's a pretty unpleasant few minutes. Both times I've had the procedure done I've had some pretty major cramping, which took about an hour (and a handful of ibuprofen) to finally subside. Still, that's a pretty minor price to pay for reliable, unobtrusive birth control that lasts for five years.

1 Comment

I was just reading a thread on birth control over at Ask Metafilter today. As I posted wryly there, my wife and I tried several different methods, and the IUD was the favorite. The only side effect? A cute little guy named Alex!

Seriously, though, I agree that a lot of the baggage attached to IUDs is unfortunate, and I'm glad it's a good option for you.

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on March 9, 2007 4:14 PM.

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