Oh Joy Sex Toy: The Copper IUD

Intrepid artist Erika Moen explores a different aspect of sex each week in her comic Oh Joy Sex Toy. This week, Moen illustrates her experiences with her favorite form of birth control: the copper IUD. 

A comic by Erika Moen about getting a copper IUD

Read more Oh Joy Sex Toy comics about the secret brain science of desire, a super cute vibrator, and the best dildo ever. 


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Comments

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But wait - I thought it

But wait - I thought it HELPED with difficult periods. Not made them worse...now I'm even more confused.

Paraguard is non-hormonal so

Paraguard is non-hormonal so it can't help in that regard. You're likely thinking of Mirena which is the hormonal alternative. It's a great option if you want the benefits of hormonal birth control but don't want to worry about daily/weekly/monthly doses. Unlike Paraguard, I believe it's only in for 5 years. I have the non-hormonal and I love it. Two of my best friends have Mirena and had great luck with it too.

The hormonal IUDs help with

The hormonal IUDs help with difficult periods. That's why I personally can't do Paraguard, but I just got a Mirena in. It only lasts 5 years, but it tends to lighten both periods and cramps, and some people stop bleeding entirely after the adjustment period.

You might be thinking of the

You might be thinking of the Mirena IUD

Not paragard

The copper IUD makes periods worse. The hormonal IUD (Mirena in the US) makes periods approx. 80 billion % better, for me at least. Erika can't do hormonal BC though, so she had to get the copper one.

No, that would be hormonal

No, that would be hormonal birth control.
Personally, condoms have been good to me, so I don't want to risk the horrendous possible consequences of an IUD gone wrong. I've been curious to try hormonal birth control, but I have an extremely fragile psychological stated made worse by PMDD.
It's great to see an illustrated version of a positive experience with safe sex options.

I also have psychological

I also have psychological issues compounded by PMDD and my gynecologist prescribed hormonal birth control for me pretty much immediately after I divulged my pre menstrual symptoms (I had never even had sex yet at the time). It's worked wonders for me personally, though I also know plenty of people with experiences similar to Erika's, so I'd say if you're willing to take a slight risk in trying it out it might be worth your while.

I also have terrible PMDD and

I also have terrible PMDD and going on the pill actually made it a lot better. So ymmv!

re: But wait - I thought it

The low hormone IUD (Mirena) helps with cramps and isn't copper. This comic is about the copper one that makes all your cramps worse but doesn't use hormones.

ODDLY ENOUGH I was trying to remember what comic did a pretty good job of explaining this and it was Sarah Mirk's http://mirkwork.wordpress.com/other-comics/iud-tmi/

The Mirena, which is the

The Mirena, which is the hormonal iud, helps with cramps and eases your period. The Paragard generally is said to make them worse. It evens out though, I've had the Paragard for 3 years, and it's mostly fine just more cramping now.

Yup, you're thinking Mirena.

Yup, you're thinking Mirena. It's hormonal, it lasts five years and it's faaantastic.
I'm about to enter year seven with it. (I renewed my vows to it last year.)
I respond so well to it that I haven't even HAD a real period to speak of in almost six years.

I LOVE my IUD

I was extremely lucky with my IUD. Apart from a complicated insertion (I have a retroverted uterus and somehow no one had ever noticed before that moment) I have no complaints. I occasionally have cramp-ier periods than before and in general my periods are just... different but not any worse. My strings have never poked my partner, I never had extra bleeding and the only thing I had to pay was the copay on the insertion office visit (so 10-12 yrs of coverage for, in my case, $12) I'm like an IUD fairytale. I could not be happier with my choice.

Even though I know not everyone's experience is as idyllic as mine I still whole-heartedly recommend IUDs.

I have Paraguard and I

I have Paraguard and I absolutely LOVE it. It's been a dream come true. I've had absolutely no complications with it.
After finding out I couldn't have hormones because of my high risk for stroke (migraines + auras), this seemed to be the best option. I got it when I was 19. I was wary because I'd never had children but I didn't reject it. Yes, it was painful and yes, the little strings were a little cumbersome for a few months but she's right about them softening up. I understand that sometimes they dilate you before inserting the IUD, they did not for me. However, most of the pain could be controlled with ibuprofen and almost all of my discomfort was gone withing two days. I had heavier/irregular periods with worse cramping for the first six months or so but after eight months or so, everything was back to normal and I (we) didn't even notice it there.
I should also mention that I got my IUD through Planned Parenthood as well. They were amazing to work with and helped me apply for Medicaid to cover the costs that they couldn't.
Overall, I would highly recommend this to anybody who is looking for a semi-permanent, non-hormonal option for birth control. In the long run, it's the cheapest option (especially in my case) and the least invasive option if you don't want hormones and are tired of relying on condoms. It's also nice to know that when my spouse and I are finally ready to have children, I can have it removed and be ready to get pregnant right away. There are so many benefits!

YMMV

I also have a Paragard, and it made my periods less heavy and much less painful (and I had atrocious cramps before). I think you won't really know until you try.

Pain

Now I'm really interested to know what the more painful experience was.
Getting my IUD in definitely hurt more than my nipple piercing during it, and the aching lasted just about as long (12 hours), but I couldn't hold my uterus tightly like I could with my boobs to make it stop throbbing!

IUD is the best

I had mine after my 2nd child was born 7 years ago. I did not experience any pain during insertion, just uncomfortable. It felt like a prolonged pap. I had few spotting in the following months and that went away after few cycles. I didn't see a major difference in my cramping and period. I could not say the same for hormone based IUDs. Two of my friend who had the Marina suffered a great deal and had to get it removed shortly after getting it inserted. I love Copper T. Initial investment is a little costly, but in the long run it's the cheapest contraceptive. When I got mine I was able to make a 39 monthly payment , so I didn't have to come up with everything. But, my OBGYN (HMO picked) charged me over $200 for the insertion b/c my insurance didn't cover IUDs at all!

I've got the Mirena. I was so

I've got the Mirena. I was so sick of taking the pill for so long. It was a lot more painful than I feel if been told, and I did have terrible cramping for a couple if weeks, but since it's settled down it's been amazing. Barely any period at all. 5 years. Excellent.

Copper T is the best IMHO

I had mine after my 2nd child was born 7 years ago. I did not experience any pain during insertion, just uncomfortable. It felt like a prolonged pap. I had few spotting in the following months and that went away after few cycles. I didn't see a major difference in my cramping and period. I could not say the same for hormone based IUDs. Two of my friend who had the Marina suffered a great deal and had to get it removed shortly after getting it inserted. I love Copper T. Initial investment is a little costly, but in the long run it's the cheapest contraceptive. When I got mine I was able to make a 39 monthly payment , so I didn't have to come up with everything. But, my OBGYN (HMO picked) charged me over $200 for the insertion b/c my insurance didn't cover IUDs at all!

Paraguard

I love my copper IUD. Love love love. Insertion wasn't an issue for me, slight discomfort. It's supposed to be easier for those of us with kids already (I have 2 and I DO NOT want to worry about more). I don't like taking hormones so this was a no brainer. 4 months later, slightly more frequent menstruation but zero cramping (I never had any to begin with). Highly recommended.

Loved the IUD

I loved the IUD. I did have slightly heavier periods, but they were shorter so really I didn't mind. I did not find insertion painful nor did my partner notice the strings at all during intercourse. It kept me happily baby-free until I was ready for another baby, and then I conceived in my first cycle after taking it out. I am now done and have had tubal ligation, but I found the IUD to be much less muss and fuss than barrier methods and with far less side effects than hormonal methods.

I LOVED my IUD... for about

I LOVED my IUD... for about two years. Like you, I am unwilling to take hormonal birth control so the IUD was my best option. The insertion was easy and painless, though certainly uncomfortable and I bled a little extra for the first month or so. Otherwise my periods were no more uncomfortable than before. My sister, however, experienced the opposite. Her periods got really heavy and difficult to manage and she cringes whenever she talks about the insertion. I had absolutely no complaints and thought it to be the miracle birth control (for that time it was!) but about seven months ago I started bleeding and didn't stop. I bled a lot or a little every day for more than six weeks. I went to the doctor, he promptly yanked it out and I stopped bleeding the next day. I think there were some elements of my emotional, mental and relationship state that caused my body to suddenly reject the paragard and there's no telling when or if your body gets sick of it, but I would definitely consider getting another one. Thanks for this awesome cartoon! Good choice, if you ask me!

IUDs

I had an IUD in my body from 1972 until the early 1980s. The IUD was called an Ypsilon Y and was only inserted in women in NYC and London. There is very little information about it in the scientific literature. (I know because I found everything.) I had "pelvic inflammatory disease" twice. When I had the second case of pelvic inflammatory disease and to have the IUD removed, the medical professional had never seen one before. Had a radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer in the mid 1990s. Now I'm sterile and HIV free!

it's crazy how different

it's crazy how different things were with BC. my aunt had a serious stroke in the 70's from taking he pill. that's one reason I never took HBC. I used condoms for 16 years (through a 10 year monogamous relationship, cause I do not want babies!) and just got an paragard this summer.

the insertion was the most intense pain I've ever felt, more so because I didn't even know I could feel that part of my body. I don't have any complaints except for the spotting. it gets in the way of sexual spontaneity.

Re: Paragard cramps and dairy

ANYONE considering a Paragard needs to know: I'd only ever had mild cramps until I got the Paragard inserted. It made my cramps AWFUL - I was having 6 days of debilitating menstrual pain every month, and Tylenol etc didn't seem to make any difference. I stuck it out for 6 months, hoping it would change; then I read that avoiding refined sugar and dairy during one's period can help with cramps, so I tried it, desperate for anything that might help even a little. The difference it made was *incredible.* I don't eat dairy the week that I have my period, and my cramps are actually even less than they were before I got the Paragard. If anyone is having really bad cramps, with or without a Paragard, *especially if you have PCOS,* I recommend trying this to see if it helps you.

Yes, I really never knew what

Yes, I really never knew what cramps really were until I got my IUD. And I had no idea how to treat them other than OTC pain killers. I mean, I had cramps that extended into my BUTT they were so bad. My body gives me a few little warning cramps right before my period, and I kill them with orgasms. Since I figured out that fancy trick, any cramps I get are very mild.

Meridia IUD - LOVE IT!

Hated being on the pill and using condoms. The Meridia IUD has been the best, especially at controlling heavy and painful periods. Highly recommend trying it if you have endometriosis.

Another side...

Whilst not wanting in anyway to put down the idea of IUDs which can be a great non-hormonal solution which I am all for (as long as you are monogamous) I wanted to share my experience, because I think it's important to know a range of possibilities.

I had one inserted many years ago and it came out within a few days. Luckily I noticed it in the toilet otherwise this could have been a bit of a disaster! So keep a very close eye on your toilet pan in the first few weeks.

The second one was inserted when I was not on my period (generally advised so you are softer and it doesn't hurt as much) and I thought someone was ripping my insides out for hours and hours afterwards. I've had to put up with a lot of pain in my life but this was really, really bad. I spent a sleepless night in agony before rushing back to the clinic to have it removed the next morning. It was one of the singular most painful experiences I've had and considering I was already on loads of painkillers at the time...

So check the toilet every time you go and make sure the person putting it in knows what they are doing. And if it hurts beyond anything wine or chocolate can fix, go straight back and get advice or a removal.

And if you switch partners, go back to condoms.

do people point out monogamy

do people point out monogamy every time they talk about birth control pills? it seems like you can't talk about iud's without emphasising that they aren't protection against sti's, but pills don't prevent sti's either.

I don't have to monogamous for the iud to be the right choice for me or anyone else. if monogamy was a factor in which BC method was good for someone, a lot of women would only choose condoms.

monogamy won't prevent hpv unless you were virgins to begin with.

I can be non-monogamous and still use an iud. I just have to use condoms too.

I was SO NERVOUS my IUD would

I was SO NERVOUS my IUD would make my favorite sex uncomfortable. In case you're worried, I'm here to say fisting continues to be as fabulous with my IUD as it was without. Fist on!

IUD, Not the Birth Control for Me...

Several years ago, after doing the math and much research, I decided that the IUD would be the cheapest and most convenient birth control option. Everything sounded great... until it went in. The rest of the day, I was bedridden with cramps; they were SO bad that I could barely stand or walk to the bathroom (which was unfortunate, considering the *ahem* gastrointestinal side effects of uterine cramps). The cramps lasted over a week, and when I finally got back to my normal routine, there was the spotting. Spotting is an understatement. I experienced daily spotting for THREE MONTHS. Three months!!! That is when I decided to suck up the $745 (my insurance did not cover the device) and have the doctor take the thing out. It was an expensive experiment, and I really do regret that it didn't work out.

I apologize for being the turd in the punch bowl, but I want to emphasize Erica's point that everybody (and every body :) ) is different. The birth control that ended up being right for me is low-estrogen pills. Low hormones and no babies, hooray!

Ouch, ouch, ouch

I'm so glad that the last part of this said "Maybe" with regards to whether it's right for each individual. I had a Mirena, and there was a lot that was genuinely great about it, but the cons outweighed the pros for me after 4 years, and I had it removed. I had a Mirena though, not a Paraguard, so I do realize that they are different.

What isn't mentioned here is that removal is also painful, regardless of which IUD you choose. What hurts more than insertion and removal though is that the removal procedure may not be covered by insurance (as I found out when I got a nasty bill, which, frankly, I found really mean-spirited, haha).

I also only seem to have fellow IUD friends who have faced the horror stories. One friend's Mirena got lost in her uterus and punctured her abdomen. Another friend asked to have hers removed after having really awful periods, and the doctor botched the removal and, well, it wasn't pretty. And of course, there's the acquaintance who got pregnant on the IUD. Yikes. For myself, my periods were completely off any clock that I could keep time with, and sometimes they would last for 10 or more days at a time. Years into it, I still got occasionally weird pains "down there." I had mine taken out because it was just too damned unpleasant.

I like the ring now. It's been the happy medium for me between the pill and the iUD. I must admit that I will cry at cheesy commercials more often though on the ring (that Southwest commercial about 2 free bag checks with the dramatic music was a tearfest the first time I saw it). I cried when my coworker helped lead a blind couple out of a Bart station the other day. It's ok for me. I think people like this sappy version.

Everyone is different, so if I were the one creating the comic above, my play-by-play would probably lead to a different set of conclusions. I'm glad that IUDs exist for the women who are happy with them. I'm a little disappointed that it just wasn't right for me.

Best investment ever in my

Best investment ever in my experience.

Any problem with menstrual cups?

I use only a DivaCup for my period. Is there any interference with either the hormonal or non-hormonal IUDs or is all cool?

Also, y'all say that the non-hormonal IUD makes for worse periods, but in what way? Heavier? Crampier? When I'm not on the pill, my period is still pretty by-the-clock predictable, with very little cramping. I'd like it to stay that way. Obviously, each person is unique, but I'd love to hear others' experiences.

Per the DivaCup package, it

Per the DivaCup package, it says not to use it when you have an IUD unfortunately :/.

different cups are actually

different cups are actually different shapes and sizes. there's a chart somewhere that compares them. like, I had a keeper for many years and loved it until I dropped it in a toilet. I replaced it with a diva so I could sterilize it, and it was the worst. it was so difficult to get out. then I found that chart, and found out the diva is bigger and had a shorter, nubbed stem. for me he nubs made it impossible to grip. so I got a mooncup from the UK, cause it had the same specs as the keeper, and it's perfect. it leaks less than the keeper did, I think cause I got the older lady size.

aside from that, it seems improbable that the cup would have an effect on the iud. piv sex involves a -lot- of suction. it's one argument for the naturalness of nonmonogamy, cause semen is sucked out during intercourse, helping a second lover's sperm make it through the cervix.

but also, all that said, I understand if you wouldn't wanna risk it. but my irrational hatred and bias against tampons makes me feel like tampons, which sit higher in the vagina and involve cotton fibers that could snag the iud strings makes me worry about them more.

I'm looking at getting a

I'm looking at getting a mooncup or something similar, so your comment has been useful to me :)

As for contraception, I used to take a combined pill and then was on the mini pill for a while (I had an op and they have reduced risks of blood clots, apparently), I was on one or another for about 7 years. After going from the combined to the mini I (eventually, about 10 months later) noticed a correlation between the change, and a drastic change in my moods. I would have wild fits about 3 or 4 times a week, every week! I was crying/shouting uncontrollably, felt empty and like a ghost passing through life, and didn't know why. The doctors thought I might have depression before I figured out what could be the cause. So, I changed back to the combined pill and my moods improved but were still worse than I'd had before, so my Husband and I discussed it, and I decided to go without any hormonal birth control, and just use condoms instead. After about a month, my moods had almost completely gone! I've had the added benefit of better weight loss since coming off the pill, too.

Of course, this is just my experience and, as mentioned, everyone is different! But don't be afraid to change it up and look for the kind that is right for you :)

I've had a Paraguard

I've had a Paraguard (nonhormonal) IUD for 5 years and a Moon Cup for 3 years, and I've never had any trouble using them together. I don't even notice the IUD strings unless I'm purposefully feeling around for them, and they don't interfere with the cup (nor does the cup interfere with them). Can't say for the DivaCup, but I would imagine it would be similar.

My periods with the Paraguard have been both heavier and crampier, but controllable with ibuprofen and DEFINITELY worth just never having to think about my birth control. Permanent peace of mind!

I asked my doctor the very

I asked my doctor the very same question about DivaCups after I got my IUD placed. I was a strictly DivaCup-wearin' gal for awhile before getting my IUD. My doctor told me to go ahead and use my cup- she reassured me that she has patients that use menstrual cups with their IUDs with no issues.

THAT SAID, I have not once used my DivaCup in the two years I've had my Paragard IUD. I had painful cramping the first year and the thought of sticking a foreign object just below another foreign object was enough to leave the poor cup in my cabinet.

Now that my cramping has subsided greatly, the thought of the cup pulling on the free-hanging strings- possibly sending the IUD to come creeping out of my uterus- is enough to continue to leave the cup out of my vagina. I now solely use pads for my periods- which I swore I never would when I first discovered tampons (and later the DivaCup). My flow is heavier with the IUD as well, but I now prefer just letting the flow do its thang.

insertion/removal

I'm surprised to hear of so many people having pain with insertion and removal. I'm on my second IUD. The first was a Mirena that I had for five years before having it out to get preggo. It hurt quite a bit getting it put in, but only for a few hours. Getting it out was much easier than I expected. I barely felt a thing. After I had my son I got the ParaGard. I was really afraid it would hurt like hell in my 7 weeks postpartum uterus. But I felt literally nothing. The nurse practitioner was not at all surprised. Apparently if you've given birth before, insertion is no big deal.

PAAAAAIIIIIN

I tried to get a hormonal IUD fitted earlier this year. I wouldn't call myself a wuss, I've had tonnes of stuff 'done' to this area, but the pain of just trying to 'open' the cervix, with the gynae provoking spasms, was such that I had a panic attack. I've never experienced such pain (I haven't had babies) and I couldn't cope. The doctor had to stop the procedure and I had to lie down in a recovery room for an hour and a half before I could walk again. I'm happy that IUDs work for some people, but if you haven't had kids, let me tell you that penetrating the cervix can be as bad as contractions in childbirth. I'm happy to continue to use condoms and let me tell you, I don't think anyone should have to go through that much pain when they DON'T want kids.

side effect 1 in 100,0000

When i got my mirena put in, it was all pain all the time for weeks. The docs told me to give it a chance, i did. Turns out it had migrated. It tore through my uterus and when into my hip. Months later after xrays, cat scans and the like, and a hysteroscopy, i got a laparoscopic surgery to remove it. The surgeon searched through ny entire abdominal cavity and found this horrid thing in my chest, tangled in my intestines. I am now in the midst of a lawsuit with mirena. Almost three years later and i still have unexplainable cramps. This is my iud horror story.

I got a Mirena back when I

I got a Mirena back when I DID date men. I was probably younger than most who would be cleared for one, but don't mind as I never (and still don't) wanted kids. (I was 20.)
It was covered by my insurance, so I actually only had my co-pay.
And from the time of insertion to when it came out, I had a wee little bit of spotting but no periods for nearly 5 years.

My BF did feel it, and that never seemed to get better…

And, while I'd only had cramps of the lower back variety before, as soon as I got the IUD I had nearly 5 years of daily abdominal discomfort requiring NSAIDS to dull the pain. I still remember that part clearly almost 6 years later.

Is not getting a period worth the daily cramps over the course of years? Not for me, though I'd probably consider the newer options out there. Lucky for me it's no longer an issue.

I had light-moderate

I had light-moderate cramping/bleeding before I got the IUD inserted but now my periods are quite painful with pain shooting to my knees for 2-3 days. With that said, I love it. I don't have to remember the pill and the hormonal contraceptive fucks with my psyche beyond belief so none of that. I'd definitely recommend women at least consider it with an open mind as an alternative.

A++ Would IUD Again

Mine has been in for a little over a year, and I've very happy with it overall. If you're considering it, I'd suggest making sure you get a doctor who has put in many before. Mine was very experienced, and said that most problems with it migrating and or coming out was when the doctor was unexperienced.

It hurt putting it in, but nothing unbearable. The thing that measuerd my uterus beforehand hurt the most. I got a little lightheaded when it pushed into my uterus, and I was told that some wemon faint when pressure is put on their cervix. After insertion I had spotting and bloatting and cramps which suddenly cleared up 3 days later. I thought I was magic, and IUDs were magic, and everything was magical.

Then my first period came.

My periods have always been cramp free and really light, so I was totally unprepared for what happened. Horrible pain, tons and tons of bleeding. The whole thing lasted about 10 days. I went back to my doctor, she checked to make sure the IUD was still in place, and told me that usually the first three periods are the worst and then people go back to their usual period cycle. Mine started slowly getting better after 6 months, now they're still worse than they were before getting an IUD, but seem to get better every cycle. Since it's a 10 year investment, I'm hoping that after year 2 or 3 my periods will be like they were before. Right now, they're at least manageable (maybe I've just learned to live with the pain better as well.).

Another thing is, I started bleeding a little bit (just a few drops) during ovulation. I called my clinic and they said this was also normal for people who had an IUD.

Overall, I'm really pleased to have pretty bullet proof birth control, and to not have to worry about hormones or need to remember to take a pill every day. A++

Every midwife (including me)

Every midwife (including me) that I know has an IUD. And I'm a lesbian! I love my Mirena so much I would big gay marry it if I could.

made my periods less difficult!

It TOTALLY helped my difficult periods. I've been on it for a little over two years. They were worse for the first couple of months but now I rarely bleed and my endo pain has cleared up by 90%. Yay!!!

Mirena IUD

I got the Mirena IUD 5 years ago and I LOVE it!! Insertion was more uncomfortable rather than painful. The first year I had regular menstrual cycles ("regular" for me had always been every other month), but after that I started having them every 3 months or so. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not, but I don't have any complaints! Also, I haven't gotten pregnant and have another 5 years ya'll!!! ;)

Doesn't this make queer people look bad?

The whole stereotype about how gay people eventually "turn straight or bisexual" is incredibly disturbing and especially frustrating for actual gay people who want to be taken seriously.

that part of the comic

that part of the comic references the personal experiences of the author, not a character.

longterm effects?

But what about long-term effects? I would love to stay away from hormones and am considering the copper iud. I've been searching the interwebs and have become nervous about articles linking extra copper in the body to things like Alzheimer's later down the road. I understand that there might not be too many (or any) longitudinal studies for iuds since they've only been around for 50 years or so...but has anyone else looked into this?

fertility monitor

I had the IUD for 6 months and was in so much pain I was using tramadol, which means the pain was close to childbirth. Tried 4 different pills over the years, including the mini pill and had a lot of issues with pain and mood swings. Fertility computer is the best thing ever- super high tech, +99% effective and you only need to use barrier method 6 days of the month. Only downside is it is approx $500, but it lasts over 10 years and can be used to help conceive later down the track. I'm from New Zealand and had to order it from Australia but it's been the best thing ever. Ladycomp!!

I am pleased with my IUD. But it took a while...

I love this cartoon- and it even had some info that my doctor didn't even tell me about IUDs.

I got a Paragard two years ago. My then-housemate had the Mirena and she sung its praises to me. She was thrilled that her periods had become so light, they ended. That seemed really odd to me. I was on the pill at the time, and although I had experienced slightly more intense emotions from time to time, I desired to be off of hormone-based contraceptives. I have no plans to become a mother, so a more (hormone-free) long-term solution was what I was looking for.

I discussed the two IUDs with my doctor and decided on the Paragard. When I had it placed, it was rather painful- a pain I have trouble describing as I had never felt anything like it. I usually tell folks that it was more of a VERY uncomfortable feeling (someone scraping the walls of your uterus) rather than a throbbing PAIN. A wave of queasiness came over me and made my palms sweaty. Just as I was thinking "Ah, what have I gotten myself into..." She withdrew the device that placed it and told me it was over. She told me I could sit up when I felt ready. I sat up slowly and was greeted with a swift rush of adrenaline that lasted a few hours. I experienced no cramping and was able to drive myself home.

My first twelve periods with it in were worse than any other periods I ever had. I thought I had some mild cramping BEFORE I had the IUD- whoa. For a few days before bleeding, a wave of cramps would hit me so hard, I wanted to melt into the fetal position. And unfortunately for this coffee lover- caffeine made them worse. Luckily, they only lasted a minute or two, and they would happen 4-6 times per day. My bleeding was heavier, too- but that was nothing compared to the cramps from hell.

Other than the cramping just before my period. I never felt the IUD's presence. However, I was considering switching over to the Mirena because they cramps were starting to worry me. Exactly a year with it in, the cramps STOPPED! I have now had one full year without the awful cramps from hell.

Despite the year o' cramps, I love my IUD. I do recommend them, but I fully believe they are not for every body. I've had a few lady friends who've had them taken out because they were not for them.

One last comment about the 'poke'- the guy I was with when I got the IUD didn't really comment on getting poked when we were having sex. He said he could feel the strings with his fingers but never once said his penis was getting poked. The guy I am with now says he can feel a poke once in awhile but a slight adjustment is enough to stop it.

I love my copper IUD, but I

I love my copper IUD, but I had to go through a lot of red tape to get it, even though it was fully covered by insurance. The problem is the insurance only covers it when the doctors order it. The doctors I went to would not order it; they would only be willing to give me a prescription so I would order it, which would mean I pay and the insurance would not.

One doctor's office said they would order it only if I gave them $750 cash, no credit card, which would be reimbursed once the insurance company paid them. I thought this seemed fishy. I spoke with the insurance co. who thought so too. I called every dr. in my area. One claimed that my experience was crazy; of course they would order it for me. I went. They said the same. Two weeks later: no they can't because the company wanted them to pay directly and set up an account. (They had different experiences with Mirena and said they could do that but I didn't want the hormonal one).

After four months of this run-around, I went back to the place that wanted $750. I was able to come up with the cash (that's a whole different story) and made them put the whole deal in writing. It was ordered, inserted, the insurance paid, then it took them four months to reimburse me what the insurance company paid them (you were expecting a different outcome?).

Cramps and insertion were not that bad. Finding a dr. willing to order the damn thing was the biggest hassle. And this is for good insurance, with no co-pay, and fully covered the device and procedure.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Mistake

I had the Paragard for a little bit but had it taken out. My periods were horrific and kept getting longer and longer. The last period I had before taking it out was 12 days long and was very heavy. It's supposed to be non-hormonal but I had an increase in PMS symptoms as well. I was very moody, fatigued, and had even stronger cravings for sweets. I am now on a pill form of birth control just to give my body a break. I would eventually like to try Mirena but NO WAY will I ever go back to the Paragard. One thing they don't tell you is that it can also change how you smell. Whenever I got wet, my discharge would smell like metal. This was noticed by my boyfriend also. It was so strong that I was very self-conscious about having sex and especially him going down on me. This smell even lingered for a week after I got the IUD taken out. It's nice not to have to worry about taking a pill but something that does all of that to me cannot be healthy to have inside of me. Taking it out was like relieving myself of a huge weight.

FTM with male partner

Since I am an FTM who identifies as gay, I also wanted to get a non-hormonal form of birth control, but the copper IUD was the most painful thing I've ever experienced. It didn't just last a second either, I could barely walk, I almost threw up, I couldn't leave the clinic either and the doctors advised me not to because if I kept experiencing this pain then I'd have to wait to get back in and have it removed. And having it removed right away was absolutely awful too. I won't lie, I cried, as in tears streaming down my face. I'm sure it depends on different bodies, ages, etc. but as much as I want it, the pain was just too much to handle.

Since I am an FTM who

Since I am an FTM who identifies as gay, I also wanted to get a non-hormonal form of birth control, but the copper IUD was the most painful thing I've ever experienced. It didn't just last a second either, I could barely walk, I almost threw up, I couldn't leave the clinic either and the doctors advised me not to because if I kept experiencing this pain then I'd have to wait to get back in and have it removed. And having it removed right away was absolutely awful too. I won't lie, I cried, as in tears streaming down my face. I'm sure it depends on different bodies, ages, etc. but as much as I want it, the pain was just too much to handle.