So, it’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole five years since I got my IUD, but the time has flown by. That’s the last time I went into any depth about my birth control decisions, and I’m still continuing on this journey. That post has consistently been one of my most popular, and that has shown me that there is still a real lack of information about birth control and birth control experiences (that aren’t the pill) out there for people. So, I hope it will be beneficial for someone to hear my final experience with this birth control method. To put things in context, no my husband and I aren’t planning to have kids just yet, so this five year IUD expiration mark meant I had to decide whether to go for another IUD or to try something else….

The IUD has been a great method of birth control for me. After the small trauma of insertion, you have literally nothing to worry about. One gynecologist I’ve met with likened its efficacy to getting my tubes tied. You don’t have to remember to take something every day, you don’t have to interrupt a good time by using a barrier method, and you don’t have any hormones pumped into your body if you go for a copper device. The only cons I noticed with the copper IUD were these: it does slightly increase cramp pain during your period, it does seem to make some sexual positions feel slightly uncomfortable, and I didn’t love the idea of having something in my body. The whole reason I went off of hormonal birth control in the first place was to get rid of something interfering in my body, and there were times when I felt like the IUD was still something affecting my body. It works because it causes your uterus to be inflamed and inhospitable to sperm. An inflamed uterus is just not something I want to have 24/7 — like give that thing a break. Also, I would sometimes worry that the IUD would perforate through my uterus, but the likelihood is very low, and I know I was just being paranoid for no reason. Like I already said, it’s been a great birth control method for me, and I think it would be a great method for anyone in a monogamous relationship/someone who isn’t worried about contracting any STDs. You’re going to need a barrier method to protect against those.

But, after our five years together, I’ve had it removed (because it expired), and I chose not to get another one put back in. Yes, that decision was slightly colored by the pain of the first insertion, but it was more than that. Though the IUD is hormone-free, it’s still something foreign in my body, something that inflamed my uterus. I wanted to find a method to manage my birth control without hormones, an invasive insertion process, or added inflamation. After a lot of research and reading, I decided to give the Fertility Awareness Method a go. There will updates on that to come!

So, how did the removal go? Well, I was told I would need an initial visit with my new gynecologist before I could get it removed, so I went into that initial appointment believing it would be a PAP and a PAP only. I got there and told the nurse why I was there, and she said, “Oh well, the doctor will just take that out during the PAP.” Cue nerves on my part. Removal? I hadn’t mentally prepared for removal today! So, the fabulous gynecologist comes, and next thing I know I’m all stirrup-ed up mid-PAP when the doctor grabs these plier looking things, and I ask, “What are you doing now? Is it happening? Can you see the strings?” FULL PANIC. And next thing I know, she’s holding up the dangling IUD. It was out! Hallelujah! And, I hadn’t really felt anything at all. Sweet, sweet relief!

Takeaway? Removal pain was nonexistent. Phew!

Hope my IUD experience from insertion to removal has been helpful :). I’ve been using FAM (fertility awareness method) for a couple of weeks now, and I’m excited to write a post all about how it’s going after more time and experience. Let’s hope I can do it correctly and not get pregnant!