"It's so painful, the worst!"
"You have to let me know how it goes. I heard it's awful!"
That's just a few of the reactions I've had from women over the past few months, after I mentioned needing to get my IUD replaced. So much fear and so many questions. Which is exactly why I'm sharing my IUD replacement experience with it and Kimberly Russell, MD, from The Christ Hospital Physicians - Obstetrics & Gynecology.
I used to take the pill for years. Then, with the combination of breaking my foot, being obese at the time, and the pill, I developed blood clots in my leg (DVT). After that, my gynecologist no longer wanted me to take hormonal birth control. So a copper Paraguard was my best option. I got that in 2010. And, yes, it was painful. Sharp pains during the procedure, and cramping afterwards.
Overall, my Paraguard worked exactly the way it should for 10 years. And here we are now 10 years later. Time to get it replaced. So many women warned me the replacement was so much worse. Double the pain? Yikes!
But I'll be honest, the best part of this whole process has been Dr. Russell. She answered all my questions, calmed my fears, all while being very honest about the process.
I came in for an annual exam and we talked about options. Did I need to stick with the Paraguard? Or was it now safe for me to switch to a hormonal option? The biggest difference being very heavy, painful periods vs lighter to no period. Sign me up for option two2, right?! Dr. Russell suggested a Mirena, and ordered a blood test just to be safe. After I got the all-clear to go with the Mirena, I made my appointment.
I also want to add that my visit was easy and seamless through COVID. I came in, got my temperature checked, a visitor badge, and I was on my way like normal.
So, here we go! This is what happened...
An hour before I went in, I took the pain medication that Dr. Russell had provided earlier, and I really feel that helped a lot (ask your doctor about your options!). Once I got into the room, Dr. Russell confirmed that we were going with the Mirena, and explained the procedure. It was all going to take about five minutes. The Paraguard would come out, and Mirena go in.
Removing the old IUD was uncomfortable, but not as painful as I had expected. Placing the new IUD was definitely more painful. But it was just one really sharp pain, some heavy cramping, and then it was over.
Dr. Russell said to expect cramping and spotting for possibly a week, or more. I personally only experienced cramping and spotting for the rest of that day. It honestly wasn't that terrible. I'm not in a hurry to do it again, but it wasn't as bad I was expecting. Of course, this is just my own personal experience. After having the procedure done, I would recommend taking it easy the rest of the day. For me, it was a good excuse to lounge on the couch, watching bad TV, and eat ice cream.
The biggest takeaway from this experience that I want to share with you is this: try to find a doctor you feel really comfortable with, and talk openly with them.
I've moved around a lot in my life (seven different states to be exact), so I've had to switch gynecologists a lot. Dr. Russell is hands down the best. Without a doctor that I connected with, this experience would have been so much worse. If you're reading this, you probably have some sort of connection to The Christ Hospital, and know exactly what I'm talking about.
Every doctor I've personally encountered here -- from gynecology to primary care to orthopedics -- has been stellar, which can change a reaction from "I'm so scared of that" to "I was in good hands. I had nothing to worry about."Thinking about birthing control and wondering if any IUD might be right for you? Schedule an appointment with one of our women's health experts today!