IUDs: Anxieties and Realities
I had only been sixteen for two months when I got my first IUD. Partly because of my age, they recommended me the smallest one, the Skyla. It’s a hormonal IUD that lasts three years. It was the most pain I’d ever experienced. It hurt, and I was alone, and I was glad when it was over because that meant I didn’t have to think about it for three whole years. At the time, that seemed like a long while. But nineteen came soon enough, and I was due to have it removed. The question then became whether I’d get another one put in or not. And then how long should that one last for?
I ended up getting the Kyleena. Like the Skyla, it’s hormonal, but is bigger and lasts five years. I knew what it felt like to have an IUD put in, but I didn’t know what it felt like to get one removed, and I was scared of the unknown. Plus, they were putting the Kyleena in pretty much the second the Skyla came out, and thinking about it too much made me nervous.
For some reason, taking the Skyla out had hurt more than putting it in, and putting in the Kyleena hurt much more than either of the previous things. When I got the Skyla, I walked out ten minutes later and drove home. I had planned to do the same after getting the Kyleena in, but when I stood up after the procedure, nausea washed over me, and my vision went black.
I laid down and tried not to throw up as they started putting cool rags on me and handing me a glass of water. I was shaking, felt ill, and was as pale as a ghost. Once it passed, I drove home, eager to lay down and not move for a really long time.
Now, it’s time to have my Kyleena removed, and I am so terrified. A couple months ago, I scheduled an appointment to talk about options. After discussing everything, it really does just come down to me having to get another one. I don’t want to take a pill everyday, I don’t want a bar lodged in my arm, I need something that lasts a long time, and something I don’t have to think about.
So, the question becomes, do I go for another hormonal one, or a copper one? While Skyla and Kyleena last for three and five years, Mirena lasts for eight. This means it’s bigger than the other two. Paragard, the copper one, lasts for ten. This one is obviously the biggest. Copper also doesn’t come with some of the “perks” that the hormonal ones do.
Hormonal ones have a chance of stopping you from bleeding altogether. In both cases, I have been one of the people that this happens to. Between barely bleeding while fourteen and fifteen, to having my bleeding halted altogether from sixteen to now, I have felt very lucky. But, I also feel unnatural. I feel like not bleeding for almost a decade, especially in my teens and early adulthood, is somehow wrong or bad for me.
While before I felt happy that I didn’t have the same issues as my friends, now I feel disconnected and almost like an outsider to their feminine problems. I’m not saying I wish that I’d had to buy tampons repeatedly over the years, or wish I’d bled through my jeans in public, because obviously I don’t want that, but I do wish I could relate more when a group of friends shares their communal misery.
I feel like there’s something wrong with my body. It’s not doing what it’s “supposed” to be doing. It’s never “that time of the month” for me. What is seen as a universal problem for girls is of no concern to me, and that feels weird, and wrong.
Again, not that I want to bleed, because I really, really don’t. But shouldn’t I be?
So, if I get the copper, I probably will start bleeding. But at this point, I’ve gone most of my life without doing it, so starting seems almost scary? Like, I actively don’t want to start. That’s a big change for my body, and for my life, and I don’t want it.
So, another hormonal it is. But, I’m paranoid that these IUDs have caused problems in me. I had a lot of acne as a teen, and I thought when I was an adult that it would magically go away. It didn’t, and I still have acne. I have tried and tried to fix it, spent so much on skincare and products, and it won’t go away. So I started to wonder if it was hormonal acne. Sure enough, hormonal acne is a side effect of the hormonal IUDs.
So is weight gain, depression, mood swings, anxiety, all that good stuff. Am I saying that my problems are 100% because of my IUD? No, of course not. I eat like shit and everyone my age is depressed, IUD or not, so I’m not saying for sure that my acne and anxiety are caused by it, but I’m also afraid that the hormones aren’t necessarily doing me any favors (other than its intended favor of preventing pregnancy). Of course, I’m not a doctor or scientist, and this is all pretty much just my paranoia talking.
Then again, I only became depressed when I was sixteen and it hasn’t gone away since. Again, I think my depression is more about the state of our world on the brink of collapse than it is about the hormones in my body, but it’s easier to pinpoint blame sometimes.
Side effects aside, I’m so anxious to get this thing removed, and get another one in. I don’t want to go through it again. Twice was more than enough. I’m scared of the pain, I’m scared of something going wrong, I just really don’t want to have to go through any of this, but I do.
And that makes me angry. Why do I, and everyone else that gets an IUD, have to go through this pain? This fear? Why do they not put us out for this? Why is this a fifteen minute ordeal that you’re expected to walk away from with no problems? You want me to have something inserted into my organ and then get up and drive home afterwards? Go back to work afterwards?
They don’t knock you out because it’s considered a “non-invasive” procedure. I’ve had it done twice and let me tell you, it’s pretty damn invasive! They’ll put you out for a colonoscopy because something goes up your ass but not for something going INSIDE of your organ?
No numbing, no meds, just advice to take a Tylenol beforehand? What the fuck is up with that?
I’m also mad that this is a problem that only people with uteruses faces. I don’t see men getting an IUD shoved up their dick to kill their sperm, why is it my job to kill them? Get copper implanted in your nuts to fry those suckers, don’t make my uterus do it.
Case and point provided by this TikTok:
I am so sick of this unfairness that reproductive healthcare faces. I am sick of being told I’m “going to feel some pressure” but that pressure is actually pain, and there is no alleviation for the pain, and that I have to sit there and endure this physical and emotional trauma. I’m sick of being told “have you tried Tylenol?” I’m sick of people thinking that birth control isn’t a big deal. It is. Birth control is painful and complicated and expensive and most of all, one sided. And I hate that. I hate this.