Advice about IUDs

Parent Q&A

  • Hello all!

    I have looked at the archives, and see the pros and cons for two IUD's - Mirena and copper - Paraguard brand being mentioned a couple of times. I have never used one, so would love to get feedback. Things we have to consider with this decision: Both daughter and I (a few years ago) had to get iron infusions due to anemia and heavy periods - (our iron stores was at 4 and 6 respectively).

    She has been on the pill for a couple of years, however, neither of us like the idea. There is breast cancer (my mother) and a strong history of heart disease in my family. She suffers with PMS, as I did, (thankfully no more for me). Health boards online run the gamut from people who hate the Mirena to those who love it. I consider my daughter to be more sensitive than most to toxic elements, so I want to consider that in helping her choose. (I think the pill for example effects her moods), but she was given it at Berkeley High and was on it before i was aware. 

    I'd love to get  your feedback and suggestions and if you can answer any of the following, it would be greatly appreciated!

    (1) Can you name an excellent female doctor who made IUD insertion less painful than some report.

    (2), Can you recommend one IUD over another and why.

    I am particularly interested in knowing if you had heavy periods before the IUD, and if a copper IUD lessened them significantly, and if so which IUD is it?

    From all accounts I've read, copper does not reduce the effects of heavy periods, and in order to lessen or eradicate the occurrence of heavy periods I think my daughter has to choose the Mirena, but if there is another option without hormones, I'm all ears. 

    (3) If it needs to be the Mirena, have you suffered side effects and are they worse than the pill? 

    (4) Are there any better birth control options other than the IUD that have lower a hormone dose, and result in lighter periods?

    Thanks for your help with this difficult decision. 

    My daughter has used the Skyla, which I believe is made by the same company that make Mirena, but is a smaller size for women who have never had children. She's had it for over a year now, and has never had any problems with it.  I have had a Mirena for 3 years and have had no problems, pain, or any side effects.  I told my daughter the insertion would be painful for about 2 seconds.  Her doctor gave her a lidocaine shot on her cervix to cut down on the pain.  She tried both birth control pills and the depo-provera shots, which she said caused her to have periods non-stop.  I think the hormone dosage of the IUD is much less than either a daily pill or the injection.  I recall the doctor said her periods would be lighter with the IUD, but I haven't asked her if this is the case.  Sorry, my daughter was not living in the Bay Area when she had her IUD inserted, so I don't have a doctor recommendation for you.  

    Hi there! My kids don't have their periods yet, but I have already said to myself, "I would totally put them on Mirena if they had periods like I did when I was a teenager." Obviously the ultimate decision is up to them, but to me, Mirena was absolute heaven. I had no period - or maybe just very light periods - for five years, this after a lifetime of bleeding so heavily, and with such painful, debilitating cramps, that I would end up in the ER every couple years or so. 

    From what my doctor told me, the copper IUD doesn't stop your periods, only acts as a birth-control device, so fie on that, I say. The hormones in Mirena are localized so they don't go throughout your body, as they do with the pill, so that is much better in my opinion - the side effects aren't as bad. The only side effects I experienced, I am pretty sure were just me worrying / hypochondria. (I don't say that to be self-derisive; I really do just think I get in my own way with this sort of thing.) 

    I found the insertion to be a total disaster - the first time it was easy bc I had just given birth, the second time? Oy vey. I ended up not even doing it the second time and going with the Nuvaring, which might be another avenue you want to explore -- the hormones aren't as localized, but you don't have to commit. I dunno. The doctor I used is an NP, Alice Cannan at Sutter Health in Albany, and she is really cool. She gave me a bunch of different preparation drugs to prepare for my second try, but as I said, I just ended up not bothering, since I'm a billion years old and pretty sure I'm going thru menopause anyway. 

    When I first read about Mirena, I got so scared of those negative online reports that I put off getting it put in and, voila, got pregnant with my second child. Obviously that was totally fine and great for me, probably not so great for most other people. I think sometimes the internet is not our friend, friend. Every single nurse in my doctor's practice at the time was on it. And whatever weight i gained was NOT the Mirena, as I took it out two years ago and I'm still the same weight. yay? 

    Anyway just my two cents. Mirena is a godsend if you're a heavy bleeder, but if your daughter is sensitive tell the doctor that and she will do what she can to make it easier. 

    Finding the right balance for birth control while managing heavy periods and a family history of health issues is not always easy.  My family has a history of blood clots, and my doctor was able to run blood tests to rule out whether I had any of the blood clotting issues.  I wonder whether your doctor can help put your family history of breast cancer and heart disease into perspective for each of you personally with some testing?  Knowing your own risk really helps when making decisions.

    As to my own experiences with birth control and heavy periods, the only option that ever really helped was the pill.  There are different formulations, and some might help your daughter feel less moody.  After I had my kids and I was over 35, it was time to stop taking the pill.  I really, really wanted Mirena to work.  The insertion wasn't too bad.  Unfortunately, Mirena caused me to have a never ending period.  My ob/gyn thought that it would get better after 3-6 months.  I waited for 8 months, and I was still having a nonstop period.  I decided to get the Mirena removed and get the copper Paragard instead.  With Paragard, I have my normal, heavy period.  That is definitely the better IUD for me (and my husband definitely agrees).

    Every woman is different, and I wish you and your daughter the best as you explore birth control options.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Mirena IUD and loss of sex drive?

April 2012

I'm wondering if anyone out there has experienced the demise of their sex drive in conjunction with using a Mirena IUD? I am in my forties and went on Mirena after the birth of my child over 2 years ago. I had not previously used any hormone based birth control or other IUD, so don't have anything to compare it to. Also, my use of the IUD has coincided with post-childbirth and caring for baby and now toddler, which of course also get in the way of sex drive. And I'm at an age where perimenopause takes effect. I'm tending to think that the hormones have greatly diminished my sex drive, though I must say I like the side effect of the IUD that has resulted in the near removal of my period. With a toddler, I don't know how I'd manage having what used to be my normal period - quite crampy for a couple days and wiped out etc. I'm interested in hearing from others who may have experienced this and what they have done? Thank you. anon

I also had a loss of sexdrive when I was on the Pill. I definitely think it was the hormones, and this why I chose the regular IUD without hormones. Get a regular IUD and lose the Mirena. love my IUD
That's a very interesting question about the Mirena IUD. I started using a Mirena IUD 9 years ago after the birth of my child--I am now in my late 40s. It never occured to me about loss of sex drive because of the hormones it releases. Could very well be. I, too, am not as interested in sex as I was before the IUD. Hubby and I have been married for almost 20 years and enjoy sex--although it's fairly infrequent. Also never thought about the perimenopause aspect. I will ask my Dr. about all of this the next time I see her. Thank you very much for bringing this up. So, it's not just me? anon
It's the progesterone. I had this with the mini-pill and the mirena was supposed to be better than taking the oral contraceptive, but I found it to be the same. PMS irratability and low sex drive. What's the point of taking something so you have pregnancy-free sex with your partner and it makes you not want to have sex at all!! Pill free now
Had a mirena before I had a baby and got one put in after. The baby and parenting made me lose my sex drive, not the mirena. Gigi

Your experience with Mirena IUD?

May 2011

I'm looking into using the Mirena IUD and worried about its side effects? Can anyone tell me about their experience good or bad? Thank you.

I have had Mirena for about 5 yrs and I have only good things to say about it. It's easy, reliable and care free. Side effects - well, I didn't have period for almost 5 yrs. Hurray!! Apparently this happens to about 20% of the users. I did have spotting for several weeks (maybe 6 wks?) after I got Mirena though. Getting it in place isn't exactly pleasant, but hey, for all the benefits I would do it again any time. Getting my 2nd Mirena very soon
I had a Mirena IUD three times now: before my first child was born, between the births of my children, and again now. Have been entirely happy. I learned of it through my female doctor friends. Turns out many of them use it, and consider it highly safe and effective, and of course convenient. I had strong reactions to the hormones in birth control pills, but have had no problems with the IUD. In fact, my formerly heavy periods were much lighter, and also much less frequent. I was worried about how quickly I could get pregnant after having it removed... both times I got pregnant much more quickly than expected, so no problems there. The insertion is a bit uncomfortable, but nothing compared to childbirth! The first doctor left the string a bit too long according to my husband who could feel it, but it was easy to trim during a yearly exam. Very relieved not to have to think about birth control with 2 young kids around! Can't believe when my girlfriends say they don't also have one... seems a no-brainer decision to me! Happily Protected
Hi, I have had a Mirena for about three years now. It's been great, except that I don't get a period at all. Of course many people would consider that a bonus, but I wouldn't have chosen a Mirena if I'd known that was going to happen (it doesn't happen to everyone). Otherwise, great birth control. Ok with Mirena
I did a lot of research before deciding on an IUD. Despite the fact that two different OBGYNs of mine insisted that the hormones don't enter your bloodstream, I read account after account of women having side-effects from the Mirena. I am very sensative to hormones so I decided against the Mirena and did the copper Paraguard. I love it!!! I have not had any problems with it. Maybe my periods are a tiny bit heavier. But they are actually about a day shorter too. Doctors seem to really be pushing the Mirena pretty hard. I'm guessing there's a big financial incentive. Mine tried as hard as she could to convince me to do the Mirena rather than the Paraguard. Luckily I had solidly made up my mind and stuck to it. Now I love having hormone-free, hassle free birth control. Love the Paraguard
I looked at the old replies about the Mirena and felt I should chime in with my experience. I had it placed after the birth of my son. I bled for 12 weeks straight before I had had enough and had it taken out. In addition to the annoyance of the bleeding forever was the fact that my husband could feel the strings (and I even went and had them ''tucked'' under.) I gave it more than enough time and it was a big disappointment. No thank you
I have had a Mirena IUD in place for coming up on 5 years (in Sept) about time to replace. I have had no issues or challenges other than a couple of times I became convinced I was pregnant (for no good reason) and then freaked out when reading all the horror stories on the internet about getting pregnant with an IUD in place. Probably most of the stories are ridiculous anyway. In fact the best thing about the Mirena for me is that since having it put in, my migraines have almost completely disappeared! They did this when I was pregnant obviously they are related to hormones. Talk to your doctor and then make the decision that is right for you. Mirena been good to me
I have had the Mirena IUD for 8 years. It has been a lifesaver for me. My gynecologist recommended it after a uterine artery immbolization (UTI) failed to offer relief from extremely heavy periods due to fibroids. Initially, I experienced erratic spotting but my periods became more stable over time. Extremely heavy and painful menstruation is gone. I haven't experienced any side-effects other than than spotting, but as mentioned, that stopped. It has also proven to be reliable, long-term birth control. I forget that I even have it. Best of luck! Ati Ati
I had a Mirena for 3 years and it worked very well for me, I would recommend it to anyone. I had it taken out early b/c my spouse got a vascectomy. Now for the cons. insertion was very uncomfortable. more so b/c I felt a certain amount of grief for the end of my life as a baby maker.grief made the pain worse and I had not thought it would affect me so I had not brought anyone with me to hold my hand. the second thing was that I bled and then spotted for 2 MONTHS! My OB had told me several weeks. He wasn't very available by phone so I compared notes with my girlfriend and found that was normal. After that I had no period at all. this is somewhat unusual but not abnormal. removal was fine and no aftermath that I can remember. mirena fan
I wanted to give an alternative view of the Mirena... I had it for about 3 years after the birth of my son, and it took me that long to realize what was wrong! I cried at the same time every month... Gained weight that wouldn't budge... and I've never had PMS before! I am sensitive to hormones, I couldn't take the pill because it made me feel terrible. I didn't think the ''tiny'' amount of hormones in the Mirena would make a difference, but they definitely affected me adversely. I have a paraguard now and I love it! No hormones, thanks
I didn't see the original posting, but here's my experience... I've had my Mirena IUD for 7 years-- actually, I'm on my second one. First one replaced after 5 years, that's what doc recommended. I got it a couple of months after my son was born when I was 40. I absolutely love it, have never noticed any side affects--I'm 47 and it's the best. happy happy happy
To add another perspective to the responses so far, I did not have a positive experience with the Mirena IUD. I had a Mirena for about two months and during that time I had constant lower back and hip pain, a sudden increase in migraine headaches, lots of spotting, a noticeable decrease in milk supply (was breastfeeding at the time), and, most troubling, a near constant state of severe PMS (super irritable, crying, etc.). Even though the party line is that side effects will abate, it was so bad that I had it removed and went back on the pill. The various side effects (except for milk supply, which never came back) all went away within about a month. I think the Mirena was problematic for me both because it is progestin only (I had previously been on the pill for over 15 years, so have done fine with combined hormone contraceptives) and because my body did not want to constantly house a foreign object. I was lucky - my health insurance paid for the device, insertion, and removal. I know a fair number of women who have been very happy with their Mirena IUD (and/or Paraguard IUD), so if you have health insurance that will cover it, then it can be worth a try. But, if you are paying out of pocket or have a big co-pay, I would think twice if you have any inkling that your body will have trouble tolerating the progestin or foreign body aspects. Not a fan of IUDs

Considering getting a copper IUD

Sept 2010

I have read the past post but would like updated information on your experience with the Copper IUD. My doctor is recommending this one and has stated that since my periods are not heavy that I will not have the heavy periods which some women have experienced. thanks Happy with 2 Kids

I didn't have heavy periods to begin with, and after I had the copper IUD in, I was bleeding extensively, every 2-3 weeks for up to 10 days straight! After a year of what it felt like one long period and becoming ANEMIC, I swithced to Mirena. I had a painful 6 months with the Mirena (mainly breasts). My GYN said that the body needed to adjust to the new levels of hormones and it can take up to 6 months. Indeed, after 6 months i was pain free and period free. Happy with my Mirena
I also did not have heavy periods before I got the Copper IUD a couple of years ago, but my doctor warned me they'd get heavier (I'm surprised your Dr. thinks your period won't change). As expected, I had VERY heavy periods for the first 6-8 months. I actually became slightly iron deficient they were so heavy. And during that initial time, they were also long - 7-10 days. But now, my periods are back to normal. One to two heavy days, and light flow for three or so. The periods are a definite drawback, but with two kids already and NOT ready for a third, I wanted the best non-hormonal protection against pregnancy. Because of this, the first year was worth it. If you aren't sensitive to hormones (acne, migraines) I would get the Mirena which I've heard makes your period almost non-existent! On iron supplements
I've had a copper IUD for 4 years total (2 separate times- took it out to conceive my child). I liked the thought of no hormones and it lasts for much longer than an IUD with hormones. However, I did have lots of cramping and horrific periods for the first three or four months after having it inserted for the first time. I did have substantial periods before that- they lasted about 4 days naturally, with two days of heavy flow, but I had never had cramping before. The cramping went away after several months, but the heavy periods remained- about 3 days of heavy flow and 5 days total. Hope this helps! anon
I had the copper IUD put in for exactly one year after my first child was born. I chose copper vs. the mirena due to being extremely sensitive to the hormones in birth control pills. I was 'assured' that the hormones in the mirena IUD are localized vs. being in the blood stream but I was also assured that some of the several different birth control pills I tried in the past would not cause the symptoms I so clearly suffered from as a direct result of the pills. So I decided to tolerate the 'inflammatory' reaction from the copper IUD for the sake of my sanity and I feel, even though I had it removed after one year (in order to have another child) the payoff was totally worth it for me. My premenstrual symptoms have always been reasonably manageable so a slight increase in cramping and bleeding was an acceptable outcome for me. It's also my understanding that the increase in cramping and bleeding fades over time so year two may have been even easier. I plan to get another copper IUD put in after I deliver my second child in October. C
I used to have light, 3-day long periods. Then I got a copper IUD and for 6 months my periods were very very heavy and lasted about 12 days. Then my body got used to the IUD and I got pregnant. My youngest is nearly 2 and my periods are still not back to where they were (now much heavier and closer to 5 days which didn't happen after either of my first 2 pregnancies). I'm not sure if my heavier periods now are a result of the IUD, but the ones I had while I had it in were really epic. Anon
I've had the Paraguard IUD for about a year and a half, since 6 weeks postpartum after my first was born. I LOVE it, but to give you fair warning my periods are much heavier now than before. I never had very heavy periods before but now I do. But for me, it's not the whole time, just one or two days right in the middle that are very heavy. I'm still trying to adjust and I think I just need lots of super tampons and pantyliners on hand!! Other than this ''complication'', I'm a satisfied user who highly recommends it to other women. No hormones in my BC please!
I had a Copper IUD inserted about 6 months after baby #2 (about 1.5 years ago). It was a painless and quick insertion. AF was heavier than normal for the first 6 months and lasted longer (full 6 days). Now it is back to normal. Medium flow and lasts about 5 days. I'm very happy with my choice. Good luck. Done at 2
I had a cooper IUD placed about six months ago on the recommendation of my gyno, and I've been very happy with it. Insertion was painful but brief. Spotting was heavy for the first two cycles, but everything evened out after that. I experience the occasional ''through-the-ceiling'' PMS cramp (that's right, singular: one cramp each cycle, right before I start). My periods aren't heavier or lighter than before, but I've definitely not become pregnant. I love my Paragard! 24 yr old in El Cerrito
I got the copper IUD about 9 months ago. For the first few months my periods were much heavier and longer with more cramping. But these side effects lessened after about 6 months, and now my period is lighter and shorter with not much cramping (but not as light & short as it was before the IUD). One benefit is that now my period is extremely regular (like exactly 28 days) whereas before it was a little erratic. All in all, I'm happy with the copper IUD and glad I chose it over the Mirena b/c I don't have to wonder/worry whether the added hormones are really safe over the long term. also happy with two

Switch from cervical cap to copper IUD?

April 2010

I have been using a cervical cap for about 15 years, and my husband and I are not planning to have any more children. Given the higher efficacy and the general ease of the IUD, I am considering getting a copper IUD. Does anyone have experience with a copper IUD, either positive or negative? Thanks! Pamela

I have had a copper iud since 2007, after i had my son (i am 34). The first 6 months i had, as predicted, heavier, more painful periods. now it's all good. I don't feel it at all and like the fact that i am not pumping my body of hormones. If we chose to have another we can simply remove it and take it from here. If we did, i would get another copper iUD afterwards. I think it's wonderful! m.
I just had my copper IUD removed a week ago after having it for a year. I think it depends on the person, but it was mildly uncomfortable for me. If I twisted my torso a certain way, I got a shot of pain. If I got pressed on the abdomen in the wrong spot, I felt it. And my periods were really heavy and about 10 days long. I tried really hard to stick with it, but in the end, had it removed because it was so uncomfortable and I was tired of bleeding so much. My OB said that some women have no problems with it (I had the Paragard), but I found it uncomfortable. It so convenient, though. And I had a year of sex without it was hard to give it up. But as soon as I had it taken out, I felt better. So now I'm back on the pill. Sigh.

But remember that this is just my story. Talk to your doc. Also consider the Mirena which a few of my friends have and they report no pain and decreased if not totally disappeared periods. It just depends if you're comfortable with the small amount of hormones. Good Luck! IUD-free

Hi, I am happy with my copper IUD. It was painful to put on but now I'm good for 3-5 years! My period tend to be heavier, though. Since I have not used cervical cap before I cannot compare, but heavier blood flow seems to be a common complaint of women who use copper IUD. Anon
I've had two versions of the copper IUD. The first was the old ''copper-7'' back in the late 70's, which I had for seven or eight years; can't remember why I had it removed but it wasn't anything negative about the IUD. I currently (in my late 40's) have the Paragard, which is the modern version of the copper IUD. I've had zero problems with both of these devices. According to my doctor the one I have now should last me through menopause, and in fact there is no real need to ever remove it. Supposedly the Paragard might result in heavier or longer periods but I've never experienced that; everything has been the same as before I had it. I like the Paragard because it does not contain or release any hormones.

I guess I do have one caveat: when I went for my annual exam recently my doctor could not see the strings of the IUD, so they may have migrated upwards. I need to have an ultrasound to find out. But she said even if they have migrated up into the uterus (they're supposed to protrude out from the cervix) it was not a problem and we could just leave it there. The main risk is if you are exposed to gonorrhea, and that is unlikely for me. Anyway I have always loved having an IUD, it is so utterly convenient. No fuss, no muss. Pleased IUD user

YES! Get the copper IUD! I've had a series of IUDs, starting back before I had children. I had one for four years before I got pregnant with my first child - I took it out two months before I wanted to get pregnant, and became pregnant on my very first attempt. I now have two kids, ages 6 and 9, and I had an IUD put in six weeks after each birth. I've had tremendous success and highly, highly recommend this method of birth control. Your only regret will be that you didn't get one years ago. It feels like not using birth control at all! I did try the hormone-based IUD, the Mirena, as well, but didn't like how it took away my menstrual periods. The Copper-T is a great choice. Enjoy! A fan of the IUD
I don't have any experience with the cervical cap, but I did have the copper IUD for 2 years. I am so scatterbrained these days that I didn't trust myself to have to think about birth control. I needed something that was always in place! I had the IUD put in after the birth of my last child (2 years ago) and chose the copper IUD (instead of the Mirena one) because I was breastfeeding. While the ease of the IUD can't be beat, I ended up with periods that lasted for 2 weeks each month! They were really heavy, to the point where I passed out one time. I kept waiting (for 2 years!) for the cycle to stabilize at a more manageable level, but when it didn't, I had the copper IUD taken out and the Mirena IUD put in. It's been great! I've gone from having 2 week periods to no periods at all! I know that many people are happy with the copper IUD and don't have the experience that I did, so I think it's just how your body responds to it. It's no big deal to get it taken out if it doesn't work for you. Big Fan of the IUD
I got a copper IUD a few months ago, and it's been great. The insertion process was easy. There was a week or two of light cramping at first, but it worked itself out. It's so nice not to have to think about birth control at all. Should have done it years ago!
I tried the copper IUD for a couple of years, never really liked it, and recently switched back to the pill. I certainly liked that the copper IUD was non-hormonal and long-term, and the insertion was easier than I expected. But my cycles were short and my periods were ridiculously heavy, as can happen with the copper IUD for some women. Instead of my normal 30 days, my periods were coming every 27 days, and they lasted for 9-10 days. Just spotting for the first and last days, but annoying nonetheless, and VERY heavy for a day or two in the middle (I invariably had a night every month where I bled through to pjs and sheets). Also--this might not apply to the original advice-asker but might be useful to other women contemplating the copper IUD--what eventually sent me back to the pill was emotion PMS and severe mid-cycle cramping that hormonal BC mitigates for me but that the copper IUD, being non-hormonal, couldn't help me with. Still looking for a good non-hormonal option
While I have never used a cervical cap I do have experience with the copper IUD. The first 2-3 years were great. I decided against the newer Merena IUD because I wanted to avoid any hormones. At the time I didn't realize the amount of hormones is too little to effect my migraines.

The copper IUD tends to cause more bleeding, more cramps and worsens over time. The Merena IUD tends to lighten bleeding where after 6 months women tend not to bleed at all. After 3 years my cramps became like labor pains until it was unbearable. Finally I decided to become sterilized with the ''essure'' procedure. It was done in the doctor's office with a $15 co-pay. No more copper IUD for me. I would suggest looking into the Merena IUD. I know many happy women who have it. I believe it's good for 5 years instead of 10. Good luck to you! Suzanne

I love my copper IUD, which I've had for about 2 years now. It's in and I don't even have to think about it, yet I know I'm getting the same protection from pregnancy as I would from tubal ligation or vasectomy. The main side effects I've experienced are an increase in quantity and duration of bleeding and cramping for the first 5 or 6 months. After that, my bleeding and cramping went back to how they were before I had the IUD. Secondly, I've experienced an increase in amount of discharge, which is variable throughout my cycle, but doesn't really bother me. Lastly, my partner noticed the string a few times and said that it felt like it was poking him. This was remedied by moving the strings around a little bit into a different position with my finger. I am a nurse practitioner and have inserted hundreds of IUDs. The side effects I've mentioned are common and typical of most copper IUD (Paragard) users. Women who already have heavy bleeding and painful periods are often dissatisfied with the copper IUD because it increases those symptoms especially in the first 6 months, and possible longer. Those women may do better with the Mirena (progesterone-releasing) IUD, which can also be used as a treatment for heavy periods. Good luck! Happy IUD User
I love my copper IUD. I've had it almost a year. My periods were heavier at first, but they've leveled off. And I am willing to make that trade off for a hormone-free birth control where I don't have to do anything or remember anything. It's fantastic!! I did a lot of research on the Mirena before deciding on the copper (Paraguard). I read so many horror stories about the effect of the hormones that I decided it wouldn't be a good choice for me. I am way to sensative to hormones. But my OBGYN tried as hard as she could to convince me to do the Mirena instead of the Paraguard. I'm so glad I stuck with my decision. I wish I'd done the Paraguard sooner. (Never used a cervical cap, by the way). Good luck to you!

Your experience with the Mirena IUD?

April 2009

I am wondering if anyone can share their thoughts, experiences, or knowledge with me about the Mirena IUD. I am thinking of having one implanted soon and would greatly appreciate people's input. A little info: I am 37, a mother of 3, and hate condoms, the pill, and most other methods! Yes, my husband is going to get snipped but we have to wait 6 mos for financial reasons (insurance etc). Thanks a lot! no more babies!

I have had the Mirena IUD for 2 1/2 years after having it placed 6 wks after my second child was born. I love it! I had some initial cramping and spotting for 6 weeks or so after it was placed, but now have no symptoms and no periods. I have friends who had some trouble with weight gain and exacerbation of fibroids, but I haven't had any problems. It is no- maintenence! anonymous
I got a Mirena put in two years ago and unfortunately, I didn't have a great experience with it. I could have dealt with the discomfort during insertion and with some breakouts on my face from the hormones, but what I couldn't handle was the weight gain. In 3 months I gained over 15 pounds. When I went back to my doctor to have it taken out, she said, ''Oh yes, I've had other patients complain about that''. I wish she had told me beforehand.

Supposedly it's not a side effect of the mirena, but go to google and type in ''mirena'' and ''weight gain''. There are thousands of women who have this reaction to it.

Now, you might not be one of them, or you might not mind a few extra pounds - but I wish I had known before I had it put in (and spent $500 not covered by insurance). Good luck!

I personally cannot take anything that either infuses or alters my hormonal levels. So, when it came time to choose an IUD I chose to use one that did not alter my hormonal levels - ie: NOT a Mirena - The device works just as well. You have alternatives in the IUD realm and Mirena is not the only one around, it just has a more powerful merchandising machine it seems and therefore it's touted/peddled more bu OBGYNs. there are other choices other than Mirena
Just a friendly response to ''There are Alternatives...,'' the poster who said Ob/Gyns push the Mirena because of marketing pressure: I've been working in women's health in the Bay Area for 10 years, for non-profits, a university, and in private practice, and I've never worked with an MD, NP, or PA who has ''pushed'' any form of birth control because of marketing from the pharmaceutical co or manufacturer. Decisions about family planning are highly personal and individual, not to mention dynamic accross a woman's (and man's) lifespan. Helping a woman find a birth control method that works FOR HER while minimizing side effects is truely an art. The mirena can be a great method for women who want a very effective long term birth control method, and want to have lighter, shorter, or no periods. Also, the delivery of progesterone to the uterine lining can help prevent endometrial hyperplasia and uterine cancer in certain women. The paragard IUD (without hormones) is also very effective and a great long term method for women who don't mind heavier, longer, crampier periods, and for women who want to avoid hormones of all kinds (for medical reasons or personal preference). You can see that the two have very different mechanisms of action and side effect profiles thus different women may prefer or do better with one or the other. I'm leaving out substantial detail on this decision tree, but hopefully you get the idea that we (in the white coats) have no agenda other that to help you make an informed choice. Other's responses have illustrated that trial and error is an integral part of this ''art'' called medicine. Not Dr Evil
I have Mirena for four years now, I use different IUDs for 15 years, no problems at all. IUDs usually bring heavier periods, but no discomfort at least for me. The Mirena is the mildiest and smaller out of all the other ones that I have used. I am very happy with it!! anon
will your insurance cover the Mirena? mine wouldn't cover any IUD (much to my surprise and dismay) anon
I've had Mirena IUD for about 3 yrs and couldn't be happier. Nothing negative about it. Unexpected positive side effect was that I stopped getting my period. No more hassle. Also, I used to be anemic but not having my period improved my condition considerably. Mirena is reliable, easy, always ready, It's works for at least 5 yrs and if you ever wanna get pregnant again it's easy to remove. In my opinion, no need for hubby to get snipped. I sound like a commercial but I just really really like it. Getting it in place was did hurt some, but less than I had expected. I would not get Mirena until after finishing breast feeding. Good luck!
I got the Mirena at about your age when my daughter was 3 months old. Insertion was really uncomfortable and unexpectedly, it was also kind of sad - the beginning of the end of my fertile life. I wished I had brought my husband with me to hold my hand. Then I bled and spotted for 2 MONTHS. later I found out this is not unusual. After that my periods stopped altogether - less usual but not unheard of. Then worry-free, no maintenance birth control - no other side effects. I had it removed after 3 years after my husband got sniped and his count was zero - removal was very easy. No after effects anon

IUD or other birth control while breastfeeding?

March 2009

Re: Birth Control while Breastfeeding

Congrats on your new baby! I used an IUD which emitted a small amount of Progesterone and it worked fine and gave me no trouble whatsoever. However, this was about 30 years ago so I know my experience is out-of-date. Good luck. Sandy

i had the copper iud after the birth of my second child. it was really great for a year and then my periods became **very** heavy, a reported side effect. it was intolerable to me as i am very active and had to have double protection against the bleeding. so i had it removed. i am going to get the mirena (progestin secreting IUD) in a few weeks since i heard it doesn't have this side effect. the bleeding aside, i liked the iud- it was easy to insert and remove, had no effect on future fertility and we never noticed it. incidentally, i nursed my kids for a couple years each and did get pregnant, while nursing with the mini pill. momto4
I had an IUD, and was pretty happy overall with the idea of it because it isn't a chemical form of birth control, and I could remove it at any time if my husband and I wanted to start working on the family again.

I had mine put in 8 months postpartum, before my period returned.

The first period I had was HUGE - so much blood I genuinely thought there was something very wrong. So huge that it dislodged the IUD and it ultimately needed to be removed.

While I wanted to share my experience with you, I need to stress: I am a very tiny statistic. Very seldom does something like this happen, and while it was a bit scary at the time, my OB was very comforting and explained everything to me, and reassured me that no damage has been done.

I am now pregnant with my second, and am planning on getting a new IUD afterwards, although based on my experience with my gigantic first period, I will wait until I've had it at least once before putting the IUD in. IUD experienced

I use the mirena IUD (the plastic one with progesterone, and have been very happy with it. It hurts alot when they put it in and then I had pretty bad cramps for the next 2 days, and finally no cramps at all after a week and a half. Before having my baby (now one year old) I suffered from horrible cramps and pretty heavy bleeding when I got my periods and this IUD tends to make those things better. I've had it in for 8 months now and no probs. One thing to know is that it can cause menstrual irregularities, anywhere from random spotting to no periods at all. Now, here's the catch. I recommended it to my sister and she had it put in, too. After 2 months of cramps and bleeding she got it removed. She's fine now but what a drag. Good luck in your decision making! No more babies for now
I chose the copper IUD, no hormones, since I'm still breastfeeding my 14 month old and seem to be very sensitive to hormones. I got it when he was 11 months old. Don't believe the drama you'll read about insertion on the web - i took 800 mg of advil before I went in and barely felt it. I love the fact that it is hormone-free birth control, but the the first couple periods were rough. Cramping and HEAVY bleeding, longer periods. Still, it's worth it, b/c the rest of the month everything is great. And now, 4 months or so into it, my periods are more normal. I think you will get those rough couple of first months even with Mirena, which eventually takes your period away. You just have to weigh the pros and cons of the hormone, a little of which will get into the milk. Fan of Paragard
I got the IUS at 6 months after birth. I noticed a slight dip in milk supply, but nothing a little fenugreek wouldn't help. Other than that (at least in terms of breastfeeding), no issues. It did come with lots of other side effects, but they are so different from person to person that it would hardly be worth relating.

I will say that you might check with your health insurance before going with the IUS. I've known a number of women to get them; some insurances cover, some don't, and doctors don't seem to be too concerned about it before recommending, inserting, and charging for them!

I highly recommend the non-hormonal (copper, or paraguard) IUD. It lasts for 10 years and provides the same effective birth control as a tubal ligation. I had one placed after each of my pregnancies (after the third, my husband had a vasectomy). I was able to remove the IUD and easily conceive because my hormones weren't altered. Because there are no hormones, it doesn't alter your milk supply at all. The potential downside to the non-hormonal IUD is that some women have increased bleeding and cramping with their periods--these symptoms usually ease up after a few months. If they don't you can just have it easily removed. I found that because I had my IUDs put in post-partum, my uterus was already accustomed to a ''foreign object'' and because I was breastfeeding I didn't have a period for almost a year--allowing my uterus plenty of time to adjust to having the IUD in place before I started having periods again (I had normal, light periods).

The hormonal (Mirena) IUD is also a good option, but it does release hormones into your system. You will stop having periods (a plus for many women). It only lasts for 5 years. It is safe to use while breastfeeding, but there is theoretical risk that the hormones can reduce your breastmilk--less likely if you are solo-breastfeeding for the first few months.

Finally, I am offering this advise up as a fellow mother, but I'm also a doctor and I feel comfortable recommending IUDs to my patients. In the past, there was some concern that sexually transmitted diseases could travel up the IUD strings and into the uterus, but this is not the case. The data is showing they are safe and IUDs are gaining a resurgence in popularity among doctors and women. There is a very minimal risk that the uterus could be perforated when the IUD is inserted, but it is a simple procedure and that risk is very small when done by an experienced practitioner. Without the hormones, there's no increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots, etc. It's all a balancing act. Good luck with your decision! anon

After I had my son, I requested an IUD, but was pushed to go on the shot. I did three rounds of the shot and experienced blinding headaches before going and finding a new doctor. I now have the Mirena, which I guess is considered an IUS. I've had it for four years, it comes out next year, and I will be requesting a new one. I feel great with it, it contains a small fraction of the hormones in other birth control methods, and you dont even notice it's there. The appointment to get it is mildly painful, you'll experience a cramping sensation in the pelvic region while they are inserting, but that aside, it's the greatest birth control method I have ever had. anon
I used the ParaGard IUD (copper) for a few months. Like it says, and as people told me, it gave me heavier periods. They lasted for 10 or 11 days, and for the first couple of days, I could go through 1 super plus tampon every hour. My PMS, usually not too bad in the past, was completely out of control. I felt, ok, I can handle this for a few months, because it is such a reliable type of birth control, and hopefully these side effects will subside. What I didn't consider is why these long periods happen. Is it because the copper IUD causes a huge surge in one's own hormones? What else can this sort of surge to this degree cause to happen? I did lose some hair, right at the widows peak (I found out on some message boards that I wasn't the only one). But, more disturbingly, I feel that the copper IUD caused my onset to Crohn's disease, which I was diagnosed with less than a year later. I didn't know that I was predisposed to Crohn's (I had a cousin who had it), but now here it is. I can't prove the connection; it just makes sense to me. I recently read that if you have an autoimmune disease, you should not use ParaGard. Wish I had explored that further at the time. I've been using a diaphragm. Kind of old-fashioned, but it works. anon
I had a Mirena IUD put in after my first two children were born (10 weeks after the births) and will have another one put in soon (I just gave birth to my third a few weeks ago). The Mirena worked really well for me and had no effect on breastfeeding whatsoever. I've heard that some people have a lot of spotting between periods with the Mirena, but that was not the case with me. I did have pretty light periods, which was an added benefit in my opinion. Kara

Thinking about using Mirena birth control

May 2008

I am the mother of a 6-month-old and considering using a Mirena IUC for birth control and wanted to hear about other women's experiences with it before going forward. Any adverse reactions or side effects? I used to take the pill before I got pregnant, but don't want to go back on it because I'm nursing and it might affect my milk supply. Also, I want to have another child in the next 2-3 years and would prefer not to go on and off of the pill. Another option I have been considering is a sponge. Thanks for any advice. Seeking new birth control

I tried the Paraguard IUD (IUD sans progesterone) after the birth of my daughter. I had very light periods prior to pregnancy, so I was not expecting the horrific, heavy, long, frequent periods and almost constant PMS I had while on Paraguard. What good is birth control if you never want to have sex?!

After suffering for almost a year (I kept hoping my body would adjust and my periods would become lighter), I switched to the Mirena IUD. I noticed a difference in my mood almost immediately and started to feel like my old self again. I had light periods for the first three months and then no more! In fact, I haven't had a period since 12/06. If I decide to have another baby, I can have it taken out. Otherwise, it's good for 5 years. No pills, no fuss, no periods (for me anyway) - what a deal! Estatic about Mirena

I have had the Mirena IUD for two years, and have had no troubles at all. The only negative I experienced was that the insertion was quite painful, and had cramps the next day. After that, it's been fine (or great, since we don't have to think about birth control at all and one of the side effects I have is no menstruation). Anonymous
I have a Mirena and love it ! The first few months were a bit tough because I had breakthrough bleeding. But, after waiting that out, it has been great. My periods are light and I don't have to worry about birth control. I'm done having more kids but my GYN used the Mirena between her two kids so it would probably be a good option for you. You mentioned breast feeding and not using the pill. The Mirena releases progesterone so you might want to talk to your GYN about progesterone and safety during breast feeding. -anon
Hi - I got a mirena about 4 months ago and am having it out in a couple of weeks. On many levels it's perfect (once your body adapts to having it - I had light bleeding for a month after insertion), but my main gripe with it has been the weight gain that I've experienced. Now, supposedly, weight gain is NOT one of the side effects, but that has not been my experience. Within the first six weeks of having it in I gained over 10 pounds and nothing else in my life changed. I went online and typed ''mirena weight gain'' into google and found hundreds of posts from other women who had this same reaction.

The only other minor issue (which I could have lived with) has been some hormonal acne on my face and chest.

If it had been covered by my insurance I wouldn't feel so bad about the experience, but since I had to drop close to $500 to get it, I'm pretty bummed to not have known about this side effect beforehand.

Now, I'm sure there are MANY women who do not experience weight gain - and perhaps a few extra pounds doesn't bug you...But, just wanted to make sure that folks were aware that this could be an issue. Good Luck!

If you're nursing, I'd get the paraguard (copper) iud over the mirena, which uses progesterone. While progesterone-only birth control is better, no extra hormones while nursing is best as far as potential to effect milk supply goes. condoms work, too.
I've used Mirena since 2006. I really like it now, but initially had a lot of erratic breakthrough bleeding and always had to have tampons or pads in my purse or desk at work. Now, however, I haven't had a period for several months, which I am enjoying. No other problems. Mirena user
My doctor highly recommended the Mirena IUD, I was very skeptical about it, because I had heard so many horror stories about the coppier IUD (older version). At my 8 week check up, at the exact moment my doctor asked what I decided upon, I choose the Mirena (still feeling uneasy about it). She inserted it, and it was so painful, cramping was horrible (I had my 8 week old daughter with me, and I literally was cramped over for about 30 minutes, praying that she would not cry). When I left, the pain did subside slightly. About 3 days later, my husband and I had sex and it was so painful for me, I felt so much cramping. I figured it was normal and gave the Mirena 6 more weeks to adjust, plus my doctor said to wait a bit. After the 6 weeks I went back to the doctor for the Mirena check up, I told her everything, and she said to wait some more, please keep in mind EVERY time I had sex, it hurt, I swear I could feel it, too. She also told me that just the tip of the string was hanging out, but not too worry because it was normal, and I could get it out when I was ready to have another child. At 6 months after insertion, I could not bear it any longer, I went to get the IUD removed. At my appointment, my doctor poking and prodding, she could not grasp it with with clamp so I had a ultrasound at the office, she thought she could see it but could not grasp it. So she decided to send me to the main ultrasound clinic at Alta Bates, I went and they told me that it was not there, I was in shock...WHERE DID IT GO??? I never seen it in the toilet (please keep in mind I had hemorrhoids from giving birth, so I frequently looked at my stool to see if blood was there)-I hope Iam not making you sick-.My doctor called later that night to confirm that no IUD was found. To this day, I swear I can feel it while having sex in certain positions. I have scheduled a follow-up ultrasound to make sure. But I really regret getting the Mirena IUD, I am now scared to death that it is scaring up my uterus, making me barren (my doctor did point out that that was the reason for sending me to the main ultrasound clinic was to check that very same concern). I have heard rave reviews of the Mirena, but I had to share with you mine. There is a progesterone only pill, kinda of a pain to take daily, but nothing is inserted, and you are in complete control. Next time (fingers crossed), that will be my choice. Good luck and Congrats on your new bundle of joy!! Julie

Keep Mirena IUD or have it removed?

Jan 2008

I've checked the archives but couldn't quite find what I was looking for. I had a Mirena IUD inserted six weeks after the birth of our second child, so I've had it about six and a half months. I've had a lot of issues with it ... bleeding, cramping, bloating, tummy issues, etc. I think the IUD wants me to have a period but my nursing self doesn't want me to have one (I never had periods while I was nursing our first baby) and my body is just out of sync. I know that it takes some women some time to adjust to it, but I've also heard of some women whose bodies just don't seem to ''work'' with an IUD. My OB/GYN wants me to wait a while longer, but I don't really want to unless it seems like there's a possibility all of issues can resolve themselves. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions? Anon

I have had Mirena IUD from about the same time as you after my son was born. The first year was really bizarre - bleeding in no time, long periods of bleeding or one day of bleeding only to be followed by a week without it. I breastfed for 13 months so I attributed it to my body adjusting to the IUD and the breastfeeding, because after I stopped breastfeeding, all came back to normal. I also wanted to get it removed after 6 months but my RN said to give it a year and now I am glad I listened. Now I have what can be called pleasant periods - shorter, not painful at all and not as intense as before pregnancy and IUD. I like this option because it contains a much smaller amount of hormones and I never did well with the pill when I tried. But I can say that the adjustment to the IUD took about 14-15 months. b
I had my first IUD (Copper T) for 4 years before I had kids, and another one for two years between kids. I never had any trouble at all. After my last child, I got a Mirena. My body HATED it! I had all kinds of unpleasant symptoms, such as chronic horrible discharge as well as the feeling that my body ''wanted'' to have a period. I had the Mirena taken out after a year, then had a year with nothing, and then got another Copper T. Not a single problem with the Copper T since the day it was inserted!. So, my advice is take out the Mirena and give the Copper T a try. I'm a big fan of IUD's, but finding the one that works for you is very important. Good luck! Happy Contraceptor
Hi there I've had both a Mirena and copper IUD. Simply put, some women can not tolerate an IUD for whatever reason. For example,I have had little problem with either but my sister finds IUDs painful, uncomfortable and will probably have her IUD removed. My suggestion would be to go with your instincts and have it removed and perhaps consider the copper IUD? It does not have any hormones (a plus) but I have heard that it may cause (again, particular to each person)heavier bleeding. Personally, I have preferred the copper IUD and will use it again after my 2nd is born. best to you! OBM
I am a huge fan of IUDs. I had one put in shortly after my first daughter was born, then took it out to get preganant 2.5 years later, and then put in another one after I gave birth to my second daughter. My experiance both times was that the first 6 months were extremly uncomfertable (and at times unbearable -- and I have a high threshhold for pain) right around when I was ovulating, and then when I would get my period I would bleed much more then usual. After 6 months, both times, this subsided and I have no more discomfort and the bleeding as normaled out. I'm not a big pill popper but I found that if I took 3 ibuprofan every 4 or so hours during that time of ovulation the pain was gone...I would suggest seeing if you can make it through the first 6 months before you decide to take it out. I should also say, that I have two friends who got the other IUD (the one that has hormones in it) and they both said they had no pain and their flow during periods was reduced, even from the begining. So maybe trying a different one would be helpful for you...Feel free to contact me if you want to talk. Mara
I have experienced something similar to your complaint. I had my Mirena placed about 8 weeks after a c-section for a breech baby. I bled a little for a day or so, stopped, had sex, and then started bleeding A LOT with a lot of cramping. After about 2 weeks of this (don't ask why I waited) I went to the OB, she called Mirena who told her to remove it and replace it in 3 weeks. I got it replaced and since then I have had daily spotting which typically increases after either sex or heavy exercise. I went back to the OB last week and she begged me to give it 6 months before deciding whether to pull it or not. The spotting is quite annoying and I definitely have way more moodswings than I ever had before (but I am still partially sleep deprived with my 5 month old so who knows). I did have more cramping in the beginning after each was placed but that has pretty much subsided. Everything I have read on the internet says to give it 4-6 months and that things do get better after you get a period-although with nursing it's unclear when that will happen. You're not alone though-I thought Mirena would be better than this but i am willing to hang in there and switch to all black underwear in the meantime. Beth
I also had the Mirena and a very similar experience to you: cramping/ discomfort during sex and some bleeding. My husband complained of the strings bothering him as well during intercourse, which was the final straw for me. While I wanted to try to wait it out, it was not the best method for me (Like you I am also breast-feeding exclusivly), do what is right for you but if your uncomfortable,TAKE IT OUT-try the mini-pill or talk to your practicioner about returning to other contraceptive methods. Best, Proud Momma
i just had mine removed after 5 months and my body is thankful. i wasn't nursing like you are but had the same problems with my body being out of sync. discharge was strange, odor was foreign and though i kept going back to my gyn to be checked, she always came back with no infection but looks iffy. she suggested i give it a little longer as well but i'm glad i didn't wait. i had lighter periods with it but they were strange and felt strange. now i'm bleeding and feel like myself again. the conclusion i came to was that IUDs and me were incompatible. anonymous
I'm sorry if you already were given this same information. If you have a Mirena, it may be the hormones that are causing your problems. I became extremely sensitive to hormonal BC after I was pregnant. I got a copper IUD and haven't had any problems with it. Maybe that is something for you to look into. cr

Conceiving after Paraguard IUD

Jan 2008

I got a Paraguard (the copper non-hormonal IUD) 4 months after the birth of our child. So far, I have been very happy with it (no cramps or heavy periods). My question/concern is that I have heard that an IUD does something to the lining of the uterus that can increase the chance of miscarriage for the first few months after removal and that there is heavy bleeding and cramping also after removal for a few months. Has anyone experienced this? Our plan was to have it removed in about a year and then have another child. anon you I had a paragaurd IUD put in a few months after giving birth to my first daughter and was very heppy with it (in fact I recommended it to every friend i have!!). After 2.5 years I had it taken out in hopes of getting preganant again. I was preganant in less then two months with no complications!! The preganancy was uncomplicated and after giving birth in 2006 I had another paragaurd inserted. I have had no problems since!! Good luck! Mara
I had the paragard after my first child. Kept it in for about 3 years and then had it removed to conceive my second. We conceived ONE MONTH after the IUD was pulled! After the second was born, I had the paragard inserted again. This time its not coming out!!! LOL. fertile myrtile
Paraguard is non-hormonal so it shouldn't alter your uterine lining significantly. The Mirena is a progestin based IUD and it significantly alters the uterine lining. That's how it works essentially. But you are on the right track. For someone wanting a rapid and completely normal return to fertility the Paraguard is a good choice. Nurse practitioner

IUD instead of tubal ligation or vasectomy

Sept 2007

Re: Get tubes tied during C-section, or vasectomy?

I can't speak to the tube tying thing. But have you thought about getting an IUD? Very effective, reversible, lasts 10 years. My doctor believes they are safe. I've had one for the last 4 years (and had another one for many years when I was younger) and really like it. I have the non-hormone-releasing version. No more kids for me

I got an IUD- Mirena- and it lasts 5 years, then it is removed and you can decide what you want to do from there. What sold me is the fact that I have had no side effects as stated by my OB, or none I am aware of. And just in case we do want to have another child, which I know is not your dilemma, we have not made a huge mistake on the body. I dont know your age but if you have the IUD it might just naturally take your through to menopause and not need anything permanent done Good luck jill
Maybe neither of you has to have a surgical procedure: I used an IUD --best thing I ever did. Despite a bad rap, they're actually quite safe, extremely effective, and hormone-free. They work for 10-years and are then easily replaced. Besides the fact that IUDs are totally and immediately reversible; I\x92d be willing to bet that their drawbacks/side-effects are also better than those of either tying tubes or having a vasectomy. --IUD advocate
As several people recommended, try an IUD before either of you gets snipped. I had a copper-T (no hormones) for several years and it was very low-hassle birth control. The only downside was that it made my periods much heavier and longer, so I eventually decided not to stay with it. I understand the the Mirena IUD will actually make periods lighter, but I'm leery of anything hormonal 'cause I'm at high risk for stroke. (Someone will leap in here and point out that the progesterone in the Mirena does not contribute to stroke risk.... The rational part of my brain will readily acknowledge that's true, but the non-rational part of my brain still isn't comfortable with the idea.)

Getting pregnant after Mirena IUD

June 2007

I have the Mirena IUD and would like to get pregnant again. My question is, how quickly after the IUD gets removed can I get pregant? Does it take some time for the body to adjust? Can we start trying to conceive immediately? anon

Ha ha...well, I got my Mirena IUD out on May 24, had sort of a period for a couple of days, saw some fertile cervical mucous (sorry, TMI) on June 1, had sex, and now I'm pregnant! So at least in my experience, there is NO delay in returning to fertility! And that's what my doc said when she took it out too, that it's an immediate return to fertility. The only challenge is that it makes the dating a bit odd, since it wasn't really a period, or at least I ovulated early (on day 9), so that the usual 'wheel' they use to date you wouldn't be right in my circumstances, since that assumes you ovulate on day 14... first time's a charm!
Hi, I'm a pharmacist and you can get pregnant anytime after the hormone-releasing Mirena IUD is removed. The product labeling states that 8/10 women get pregnant within a year after removal. Good luck to you! Anon
I got pregnant about 1 month after having the Mirena IUD removed. I read somewhere that you can even get pregnant if you had sex a few days before you remove the IUD. Good luck!
I had the Mirena IUD after my first and second children were born. I got pregnant 2 weeks after having my IUD removed the first time and 6 weeks after the second. I was in my mid-to- late thirties with both pregnancies. Happy Mirena Momma

Mirena IUD & ovulation pain

May 2006

I have been having extreme sacro-iliac pain during ovulation for the last four months. My sacrum feels out of place and I have difficulty bending and rounding my spine. Lifting my children has also been challenging. I am wondering if this could be a side affect of my Mirena IUD or and independent problem, like ovarian cysts. The pain seems to switch sides though, which to me makes a cyst seem unlikely. Has anyone out there had a similar problem and did removing the IUD decrease the pain? anon

Hi, go to the doctor. You don't want to mess around with this.

The new IUD

Nov 2005

I keep hearing reference to a ''new'' IUD, but my provider offers only the Mirena (hormone) IUD or a copper one. Is there a third option available elsewhere? How does it work? Thanks for any info. -cg

Mirena is the ''new'' IUD, but it's not so new--just compared to Paragard which has been in use for 20+ years. Mirena has been available in this country for about 5 but in other countries for over 10.
Women's Health NP
The mirena and the paraguard (also known as the copper IUD) are the only two IUDs on the market in the US. The mirena has been available in the US for less than 5 years, whereas the paraguard has been available for more than 20. I think the ''new'' IUD you've heard about is the mirena.

IUD while nursing

Nov 2005

I read the IUD discussion recently and it helped a lot. I am considering the 5-year IUD (this one has hormones, I guess), but I am nursing. The doctor said it should be fine, but I want to hear from anyone else who has used one while nursing whether it decreased milk supply or any other side effects. Also, anyone get pregnant on an IUD? Supposedly it has the same efficacy as the pill except you can get tubal pregnancies. I am terrified of getting pregnant again, especially in the next year!

I got the copper IUD when my daughter was about 2 months old. No problems with milk supply since it has no hormones. My periods were heavier and I swore I could feel it when I was ovulating (but my doc doesn't believe me). Now, 2 years later, I don't ''feel'' it anymore. Haven't gotten pregnant! Seems to be working fine! Anon
After I had twins, the last thing I wanted was another pregnancy! I used the Mirena IUD, and exclusively breastfed my twins after about two months, even though I returned to work FT and pumped.

I don't think the IUD affected my milk supply, and I didn't get pregnant (knock wood). But ask a lactation consultant if you're still concerned. Still nursing my 2.5-year old twins

I had a Mirena IUD inserted about 10 weeks after giving birth. I recently weaned my daughter at about 16 mos and the IUD had absolutely no effect on my milk supply. She was exclusively breastfed and we did not supplement with formula. I understand that because the hormones in the IUD are localized rather than systemic (as is the case with the pill), their effects are quite different. My midwife (in whom I have a great deal of trust) thought the Mirena IUD was a good form of post partum birth control. I've been very happy with it. anon
I've had an IUD for the past 4 months (the 5 year ''Mirena'' one) and haven't noticed any decreased milk production. However, I should say that my daughter is 14 months old and hasn't been much interested in nursing during the day in about 2 months. We now nurse only first thing in the morning on a typical day, but there's still milk and she would let me know if there wasn't. As far as getting pregnant goes, as far as I understand, the IUD is MORE effective than BCpills - 99.9% effective. And tubal pregnancies are associated with the old ones from the 70s, I believe, but we should both read or ask a little more just to be sure.

I'm totally sold so far. The only drawback has been spotting between periods (if you can even call what I've had ''periods'') for the first 3 months. This past month I haven't had much spotting. And I'm not really getting much of a period, which is a welcome relief after the ones I had following my my second child. I think it's great that you're asking questions. Keep asking, but know that breastfeeding has been fine for us. You can email me if you have any other specific questions. paula

Because there are some hormones in the Mirena IUD, there is a very small chance that it could interfere with your milk supply. If you have a history of milk supply problems, or if your milk supply is not yet well established (say, your baby is less than 3 months old), I'd avoid the Mirena or wait. That said, I had a Mirena IUD inserted when my daughter was just over a year old. I had horrible milk supply problems, and they didn't get any worse with the IUD. I loved it -- it was so very convenient. The Mirena IUD is tremendously more effective than birth control pills, as there is almost no room for user errors. It is simply the most effective method of reversible contraception that exists today. loved my Mirena
At the risk of becoming ''that annoying IUD woman'' here, I will give my 2 cents, both as a former Mirena user and a Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner. The Mirena only has progestin in it, no estrogen, which means there is no possibility of it decreasing your milk supply. I used it for the whole 15 months that I was nursing. Also, it is MORE effective than the pill (99.87% vs. 98%), so it's a great method for you if you're worried about pregnancy. Debbie

What was your experience with an IUD?

Sept 2005

I am considering having an IUD put in and have read the pamphlet the doc gave me. I was wondering if anyone who has experience with it has any comments. Specifically (but not limited to):
- Is it uncomfortable, can you feel it?
- Does it need to be repositioned often?
- Did it affect your period?
- Did you have any kind of bad reaction/experience with it?
- Did you get pregnant while using an IUD? Thank you, Anon

I had the Mirena IUD in for about a year and only had it removed to get pregnant again. You should not be able to feel it. If your partner can feel the strings they can be shortened. It never has to be repositioned. Once it's put in, it stays where it was placed (except in the less than 1% of women where it spontaneously expels). The Mirena affects your period. During the first 3 months you may have irregular, prolonged spotting, and after that you may not have periods at all because the progestin makes the lining of the uterus so thin. I did not have periods. With the Paragard you may have heavier periods but they will be regular. I did not have any bad reaction to it (neither IUD has any systemic effects). I did not get pregnant with it in. Mirena is 99.87% effective--the most effective reversible method available. It's a great method.
Women's Health NP and former IUD user
I loved the idea of an IUD but the copper one didn't work for me. It made my periods extremely heavy and they lasted for more than a week (they were normally very light and lasted three days). I gave it 6-7 months, then finally had it removed. This is not unusual with the copper IUD. I was not a candidate for the other type of IUD (with hormones).

Both the insertion and the removal were relatively pain-free. I could not feel it at all when it was in. I wish it worked better for me. Been there before

I love my IUD and can't understand why more women aren't using it as a birth control alternative. I'm on my 2nd 10 yr. IUD. The first one was removed so that we could have our 3rd child. Insertion and Removal are only MILDLY painful - felt like bad cramping. They recommend that you have both the insertion and removal of an IUD done while you have your period so it goes in effortlessly. Periods have been heavier, however they have been shorter. There have been periods of time, however, where I experienced mid-cycle spotting and sometimes bleeding which meant having to wear panty liners. The only strange incident I had with the IUD was with the first one where my husband was insistent that he could feel it during intercourse. The nurse practicioner cut the strings(?) shorter and he never complained about it again. Once again, the IUD for me was a no-brainer - the only birth control option for me. In Europe, this is the most popular form of birth control. I highly recommned it. Anon
1. They are not uncomfortable once they are inserted. The only thing you may notice (if you feel up there) is a short, wiry string.
2. Mine never had to be ''repositioned''
3. My periods got very, very, very heavy with very bad cramping.
4. See #3.
5. No, I did not get pregnant.

Here's the rub, though: I had my IUD before I had my first (and only) child. I understand they are much more tolerable after having a child, and are not really recommended for those who haven't had children.

Also, I recall that the insertion process hurt quite a bit, and made me very nauseous (they have to muck about with your cervix, which sometimes has that effect). Anon

You don't mention whether you're thinking about a Paraguard (copper, no hormones, lasts up to 10 years) or Mirena (plastic, has progesterone, lasts up to 5 years) IUD. You'll give different answers for each type of IUD. I'll answer based on personal experience with a Mirena IUD.

-Is it uncomfortable, can you feel it? Once it was in place it was completely comfortable. I could feel the metal strings with my fingers if I tried, but otherwise I didn't know it was there.

-Does it need to be repositioned often? No, never.

-Did it affect your period? Yes, I spotted for a few weeks. After I was done spotting I had maybe one light period in the next year. My periods nearly went away.

-Did you have any kind of bad reaction/experience with it? Insertion was very uncomfortable. It hurt a lot more than I expected. After that first day, I loved it!

-Did you get pregnant while using an IUD? No. Mirena is simply the most effective form of reversible birth control that currently exists. It is very rare to get pregnant with it. (I did, however, get pregnant within 2 months of removal, which was wonderful!)

good luck with your decision. Loved my IUD!

I've had the Mirena IUD (with hormones) for about a year. It's fabulous. It took several weeks to feel ''settled'' in my body. I was afraid it wouldn't work out at first, but I'm glad I held out because now I never feel it. It has never caused any trouble, never out of position, no infections, no pregnancies. It has changed my period. I used to have a three-day, heavy period. Now I drip for a week. It's annoying, but worth it in my opinion. It actually went away for a few months, then came back irregularly, now is every 4 weeks like clockwork. I am so glad I opted for the IUD -- I don't do well with heavy hormone doses, but neither of us was ready for the snip. I think the IUD is a really great alternative. anonymous
I've had one for more than 10 years and am totally happy with it. In fact, it takes a post like yours, or my annual check-up to even remember I have one. No medecine, no pain, no worries,, nothing at all.

Good luck happy with IUD

I think that the already archived advice about IUDs gives you a good range of possiblities, but will add my 2 cents. I'm in the second month of my copper IUD experience, and my body is still adjusting. The two periods I've had post-insertion of the IUD have been heavier than I've been used to, and I may need to start getting higher absorbency tampons and pads if this keeps up. But my periods were light-to-medium-flow to begin with, so the heaviness is not out-of-control. There is a bit more cramping than pre-IUD, but nothing some ibuprofen can't handle. And again, I did not have incapacitating cramps pre-IUD.

My husband cannot feel the string during sex, and I love being condom-free. So far, it's been worth it. Good Luck with your decision. anon

I have the non-hormonal ParaGuard Copper IUD. my experience has been pretty mixed (but I guess NO methos is perfect). I have MUCH heavier periods (I go through a super tampon per hour for a day or 2) that are longer (10 days) & cause more cramping. I get vaginal infections easily, so I really have to keep track of my flora & fauna... BUT- it is great to not have to worry about birth control for 10 years, be totally spontaneous & also my insurance covered it. I have never had to reposition it- I went in for 1 & 3 month checks to make sure it was still in the right place. it is a great choice if you don't want kids anytime soon, although it can easily be taken out at any time & does not effect fertility/ovulation like the pill at all.

I have heard that the hormonal IUDs (like Mirena) have side effects like birth control pills- weight gain (big boobs!), lighter periods (sometimes even NO periods), etc. but I wanted a non-hormonal method.

since we are not having anymore kids, I am waiting for my hubby to get a vasectomy. until then, the IUD does the trick! Virginia

I did not have a good experience with the IUD (non-hormonal) but in some ways I think it was not usual. Heavy bleeding and crampy (probably is usual) when previously I never even experienced PMS. Some discomfort during sex. Got it removed when decided to have 2nd child and found it had been ''expelled'' by uterus was floating out of place, and that was the source of the discomfort (which nurseline said was normal and didn't need to be checked.) So I didn't get pregnant with it but could have, and could have done damage floating around since I didn't know it wasn't in. However I still haven't found anything better and might even consider it again.... anon.
I've had a Mirena IUD for a little over a year now and I've been very happy with it. It was inserted about 10 weeks after my daughter was born. It is not uncomfortable, nor can I feel it (you can feel the threads connected to the IUD with your fingers if you stick them in your vagina). My husbad can sometimes feel it during intercourse, but he says it doesn't bother him. It has not needed to be repositioned. My periods have been pretty much nonexistent; I have a little bit of spotting once a month (I'm quite happy about this aspect of the IUD). I haven't had any kind of bad reaction or experience. But, I've never had any bad reactions to the other birth control methods I've tried (pill, cervical cap, condoms). To date, I have not gotten pregnant. I do like the fact that I don't have to think about it at all, and that there's nothing I have to do on a daily basis or before or after lovemaking.
- liking my IUD

Deciding between the Pill and IUD

July 2005

I am considering IUD as a form of birth control. I had been on the pill when I became pregnant with baby #2 and I am now close to my due date so I'd like to make a decision between IUD and the pill. I heard some mixed opinions about IUD but I am still not ready to consider Tubal Ligation as an alternative since I'm in my late 20's. Thanks Pregnant w/#2

Hi, I had an IUD for almost 2 years and recently had it removed. It wasn't a horrible form of birth control, but it didn't work out that well. It came out of place, so I started bleeding heavily. It was removed 4 days after I started bleeding, and I continued to bleed for another 5 days. Luckily I didn't become pregnant while it was out of place, but I could have. Also, sex wasn't painful, but it wasn't as comfortable as before (and since). Not everyone has these experiences, but my doctor said hers came out of place, too. I neither recommend the IUD, nor do I say it's terrible. It's just not for everyone. anon

IUD for birth control after 2 kids

May 2005

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone can give me info about IUD's. I've had 2 kids and think I want to stop here but am not ready to take the plunge into something more permanent yet. I've heard about ones with hormones and without but not sure what the differences are in terms of side effects, complications, effectiveness, etc. I've never had any ''plumbing problems,'' don't have heavy or painful periods normally, am nursing out second and will be for hopefully at least a year. thanks

I recently had a Mirena IUD inserted and am now VERY happy with it. My body took a few months of adjusting though- I am talking 2 months of bleeding, sometimes light, and strange cramps. But now it is perfect. I have never been a heavy bleeder/ cramper and it works for me. I hear w/o hormones your periods get harder, something I didn't want eventhough I have it easy. At first I felt strange about the hormone thing but now don't notice a thing. It is a very small dose. As far as the insertion, it was no big deal. He did a pelvic exam, gave my cervix a shot of novicane so that he could hold it open, plugged it in, and voila! I had some cramping for a few hours and then the bleeding started. I had to return after my next period to have it checked and have the strings trimmed. It is such a great form of birth control. highly reccommended no worry sex!
Hi, I had a copper IUD inserted 6wks postpartum. I've only had it for 6.5 months but I haven't had any issues with it. I don't feel it at all and neither does my partner. It's a great non hormonal form of birth control. The procedure was simple but a little uncomfortable like a pap smear. It's important that whoever is inserting it has lots of experience. My period has not returned (I'm still breastfeeding) so can't tell you what, if any, effects the IUD will have on it. I highly reccomend it. effortlessly protected
I had an IUD put in when my second child was 5 months old. I was still breast feeding so I didn't want to mess around with hormones. I had the 10-year-no-hormone one put in. It was expensive at $300 and my insurance did not cover it. I had cramping (nothing like anything we feel in child birth!) the day after it was put in. I had heavy bleeding with periods, some breakthrough bleeding, and more intense cramps (again nothing like child birth) for about 9 months after it was put in. Now, my flow is medium and my cramps are usually light. It is a no-brainer, quite effective, yet not too drastic birth control that I think it great. -happy mom of 2 only

Considering an IUD

Nov 2003

I'm looking for info about the newer IUDs for birth control. We just had our 3rd baby and may want one more in another 3 or 4 years, but really need a safe and reliable method in the meantime, as another pregnancy before than would be a serious hardship on our family. I struggle with the birth control issue and don't feel good about using hormones or spermicides, etc, (condoms simpy don't work for us) and am wondering if the IUD is really a safe, viable option. I know there are two types - - one uses copper and the other hormones. I'm looking for other people's recent experiences with the different IUDs, both positive and negative and any info that could help me make this dfficult but important decision. I am breastfeeding and in my early 30's . . . Thank you!
Need to make a decision fast . . .

I, like you, am in my 30s and breastfeeding (my baby was born in January). I had the Mirena IUD inserted about 8 weeks after my daughter was born. It was a bit uncomfortable for the first couple weeks, just some minor bleeding and cramping. I'm happy to report that since then I've had no complaints -- it's the easiest birth control I've ever used. I don't have to think about it. The Mirena emits a very, very low dose of hormone but I haven't noticed any effect from it, and I tend to be super sensitive to any kind of medication, which is why I did not want to take the pill (tried it -- didn't like the side effects). However, I have heard of other people who have a sensitivity to hormones say they tried the Mirena and can't use it because even the low dose affects them. Good luck with your decision.
I had an Mirena IUD inserted 10 weeks after my second child was born (probably my last child but not sure). There was some cramping and bleeding for about a month after it was put in but I have felt nothing since then. I have been exclusively breast feeding my daughter (she is now almost 6 months ) and have had no problem with milk production,she is lovely and chubby. I have not noticed any hormonal side effects except perhaps a lower sex drive (hard to pinpoint where that comes from). I love the convenience and the double-for-sure-not-going-to-get-pregnant aspect of it. You can remove it any time and get pregant the next day it you decide to. I have not had a period yet but have heard that they are not as heavy with this type of IUD as they are with others and that in some cases they disappear all together. Good luck!
Mirena IUD
I have had a copper T IUD since the birth of my first child 3.5 years ago. I have serious problems with hormones, so birth control pills and hormone IUDs were not an option. This has been the best birth control for me, though it still isn't perfect. Insertion was easy - they say it is the easiest for women who have already given birth, especially if you do it fairly soon after the birth (about 8 weeks for me?) I never have to think about it now, and won't for almost 7 more years! We want to space our children FAR apart, so this was logical. The downside is a heavy period. I have always had heavy periods, but the IUD just changed the nature of the periods. I no longer have 7 days of heavy period, but 1-2 days of REALLY heavy period and about another week of spotting. I actually prefer it this way - the 7 heavy days I use! d to have were awful, now I get it over with in a clump! lol
happy w/o hormones
I use the Mirena IUD, the hormone one. I've not been thrilled about it as I thought I would be, only because it took my body at least six months to adjust to it (not that the adjustment was terrible, it just wasn't what I expected). But I can't use hormone-based birth control, and I really DON''T want another baby, so it seemed the best choice given the alternative. At this point I like it, and my husband has promised to get snipped at the end of its life cycle (its good for five years). So I'd give it a thumbs up.
I got an IUD about 2 months ago and so far have been happy with my choice. I decided on the Paragard copper IUD as I wanted to avoid the hormones in the Mirena IUD. I had spotting and cramping on and off for the first month (a common side effect) but that has improved. It's nice to use something so effective and easy as birth control. My OB said that postive word of mouth is spreading regarding IUDs as she is getting a lot of moms asking about them! The insertion was a bit uncomfortable, but it only took about 10 minutes. The main differences between the two IUDs is that the Paragard lasts for ten years (vs five for the Mirena) and can cause heavy bleeding and cramping especially if you are prone to having problems with your period (compared with the Mirena which substantially reduces bleeding in many women). A final factor to consider is that not all insurance companies cover the cost of an IUD. I was told by my doctor that insurance probably would not cover it (cost $355 for Paragard) but when I called Blue Cross, they said they do cover IUDs. Good luck with your choice.
30-something mom and happy with IUD
I have a 14-month-old and have had the Mirena (levonorgestrel- containing) IUD since my 6 week postpartum check up. I love it. I weaned a few weeks ago and have had only a few periods of 2 days of scant spotting each. The Mirena is 99.87% effective--the most effective reversible method available! I have had no side effects whatsoever. I also happen to be a women's health care provider and have inserted many IUDs of both types, and women really like the Mirena. The amount of progestin you get from it is miniscule...just enough to make the lining of the uterus very thin so that periods are very light to none at all. And if you decide you don't like it, you can just have it removed any time. Best of luck!
I've had a Mirena IUD (the kind that releases small amounts of hormones and is vald for 5 years) since March and I've had no problems with it. No pain, my periods are regular and very light, no discomfort whatsoever. I was glad to get off the pill after 5 years and give my body a break after all those ingested hormones. The amounts of hormones the IUD releases are minimal and less likely to get in your blood stream. Plus you don't have to worry about taking extra precautions when you're taking antibiotics.
Happy with Mirena

Experience with the Copper IUD?

Jan 2003

Has anyone had any experience, either good or bad, with the copper IUD (the one that doesn't release hormones)? Did you experience any side effects or failures (i.e. unplanned pregnancies)? I'm looking to prevent future pregnancies, but don't want to go either the surgical route or take the Pill. The IUD seems non-invasive with an extremely low failure rate, however, I'm concerned about problems such as infection, scarring, etc. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Laura

Please do a lot of research about the current infection rates with the latest IUDs. My mother was made infertile by a copper IUD (gave her an infection, which was symptomless, until she tried to get pregnant and the doctor realized her tubes were blocked from the infection).

I also know of at least one other woman who, after having her first child last year, got an IUD, and within months a very bad infection. She is okay and can likely have more kids, but won't ever use an IUD again. She still experiences pain, even though the IUD is gone. If you don't ever want to have kids again, it might be a risk worth taking. Regardless, I would definitely consider other options. Good luck with your decision! anon

I used the copper IUD for a couple of years recently and loved it. Best method I've found and I've tried just about all! The most freedom and spontaneity - I never had to think about it. I had no side effects other than slightly heavier periods, and the only other drawback was that insertion was uncomfortable, but then it's good for 10 years... I already have 2 kids and was sure I didn't want more. I only had it removed because I no longer needed birth control. anon
I had the copper IUD placed after the birth of my second child and like you, I did not want hormones or surgical intervention. I would say 90% of the time I love the IUD because I don't feel it and it's not a hassel at all. The downside that I experience is cramping after insertion (just for the day) and then for about 5 days after my period ends I have it is kind of a pain to deal with in that sense. But it works for me because hormones make me very strange and I'm not ready for a permanent surgical intervention. I do recommend it to my friends who have the same feelings. Hope this helps. Email if you have other questions. roxanne
I got one recently and have not been thrilled, mainly because I used to have very light periods and now they are very heavy. It's gotten better as my body has adjusted, and I've figured out the schedule--3 light days, one incredibly heavy day (tampon changes necessary as often as every hour), one medium day, then 3-4 light days. Ugh.

Otherwise it's a breeze. For us it's the option between what we think is the last child, and making it certain with a vasectomy. Thinking of buying stock in Tampax

Please look at other IUDs before deciding which one is best for you. I have a Mirena, it's good for 5 years and it releases an insignificant amount of hormones that don't get absorbed in your blood as well as the pill hormones. I haven't had any cramping with it, the periods are lighter.

Also, in Europe there are more IUD selections than here that you might want to check out. If you have friends in Europe they might dig up some info for you or try google. In France for example about 5 kinds of IUDs are sold over the counter in pharmacies. Happy with Mirena

I had an ectopic pregnancy using an IUD several years ago. I was told at the time that there was no correlation btw the IUD and an ectopic, but I understand they are now recognizing this. Also, if you do get an ectopic, there is an injection that they will try to treat it with, but it didn't work for me. They gave me the injection twice (sorry, can't remember the name of the drug) but the tube ruptured anyway and I ended up having very harrowing emergency surgery. I lost the use of one tube (luckily I had no trouble getting pregnant later). anon
I didn't see the original post regarding IUDs but wanted to add to the comments I saw. One of the side effects of IUDs can be an increased incidence of yeast infections - I probably have 5 a year. Why then do I stay with this method? Because it is a better alternative for us than surgery, it allows us to reconsider if we wanted another child, and it is, other than the yeast infections, completely hassle and hormone -free. Anonymous

Mirena IUD

December 2002

I've just talked to my OBGYN about Mirena IUDs (5 year/hormone release IUD) and he told me all the good things about it including: ''it does not increase the ectopic pregnancy chance''. Also, if ectopic pregnancy was to happen, there is no need for surgery anymore since there is a pill that ''disolves'' the pregnancy and leaves the tube and ovary healthy.

I would like to hear your Mirena IUD experience and if anybody went through ectopic pregnancy and if that was solved through the drug solution. Please anything good or bad...
Nervous about IUD

I don't have much info about the ectopic pregnancy issue, and have never heard that you can just take a pill for one, but I did recently get the Mirena IUD inserted and have been very happy. I had a baby recently, am breastfeeding, and simply could not remember to take the mini-pill at the same time every day. There was a bit of cramping on insertion and for a few hours afterward that was alleviated by some Motrin, and since then I have had no problems. It's very nice to have birth control that I don't have to think about (except to check the threads every month) and I'm hoping it will lighten my periods, as I've heard can happen. I decided on the Mirena after hearing several friends rave about it, and I wanted something that would be easily reversed when we decided to have another child. lunasea
I both have a Mirena and took care of women in the clinical trial to help get it approved. As a patient, it's great! I have no side effects after the first couple weeks of very light spotting. As a clinician, it's also great! Ectopic pregnancies are almost unheard of with it, as it's almost impossible to get pregnant with it. It's 99.87% effective. And it's true that ectopics these days are often treated with a drug called misoprostol if detected early enough. So I wouldn't worry too much about that. If you're a good candidate for an IUD (have had a baby, only have one partner, haven't had PID), it's a great method. Good luck! Feel free to email if you want more info than this. Debbie

Non-hormonal IUD

Dec 2002

I will be getting the non-hormonal IUD next month (it lasts for up to 10 years). This form of birth control seems like the best plan for me and my husband. But before I make the final decision I wanted to ask other moms about it. Have you used the this particular kind of IUD before? Did you have any problems with it, or has it been a wonderful thing? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you

I have the Copper T IUD and while it has worked for us (i.e. no pregnancies) I have mixed feelings about it. What I do not like: I get VERY heavy periods. They last longer (they used to be 4 days, now they are 7-8). I have ambivalence about this form of birth ocntrol -- I just feel weird having a piece of metal in my uterus. I am pro-choice, but I still feel a little bit sad of the thought of getting pregnant and then having the IUD stop implantation. My midwife told me that recent studies have shown that actual fertilization is hindered by the IUD, because it increases the amount of mucous so that sperm cannot go into the fallopian tubes... But still, it bothers me. So. My husband is getting snipped and I'm taking it out. Good luck making your decision. Anon
I got a non-hormonal IUD about a year and a half ago, and I've been pretty happy with it. The advantages: nothing to remember, ever, and no waiting period if you want another child. The drawbacks: spotting for a whole week -- sometimes more -- after my period, which is a drag. I'm not wild about the idea of a piece of metal in my body, but I really don't like the side effects I get from hormonal methods, so until my hsband is ready to get snipped, this seems the best way for us to go. anon
I had a copper IUD about 3 years ago. I hated it! I had the worst periods ever,sometimes I couldn't even get out of bed because my cramps were so bad. Not to metion the flow was was very heavy (sometimes lasting 7-8 days). I was told that this would be a side effect, but I was not prepared for how bad it really was. The only relief was taking those huge 600 mg ibuprofen. When I had it removed about 10 months later, it was very painful. It had imbedded itself into my lining. Maybe it wasn't placed right in the first place, was the conclusion my NP came to (she was not the one who put it in). I did get pregnant within 2 weeks of the removal (we planned on trying, but didn't expect it to happen so fast). I liked the idea of having a birth control method that I didn't have to think about, or have some kind of hormonal imbalance. But I'm sorry to say, the cramps I had wasn't worth it. I recently had a Mirena IUD placed in. It is so much better. I can deal with the estrogen release. My periods are almost non-exsistent (1-2 days) and I never felt a thing but mild cramping the first day I had it in. It took a while for me to decide to have it in, because my experience with an IUD was horrible, but I am very happy I did it. It is great to be worry free! They were a few posts regarding the Mirena a few weeks ago-check it out. Kerri
I have had my IUD for 3 years now, and have had no problems with it. My periods were always pretty light before the IUD, about 3 days, and they continue to be short, tho sometimes, they will be a little heavier than before. I have no cramping with my periods. I find it to be a worry-free form of birth control and if your provider finds you to be a good candidate for this (it's not for everyone), I would recommend it. jen
I've had the non-hormonal IUD for over a year now, and it's heaven. I've never before used a birth control method that I literally, NEVER, have to think about -- what a miracle. Yes, my periods are a little heavier, but I think it's a small downside compared to the upside of no: pills, shots, creams, hormones to regulate, fear of pregnancy, or ''wait just a second honey while I get ready...''. anon
I had the non-hormonal IUD inserted after my second child was born. While it has been solid on birth control, it does make my period last longer than it did without an IUD. Also, it intensifies the lower back pain I have pretty much always had with my period. Anon

Experience with IUDs

October 2001

My OB/GYN has told me I'm a good candidate for the IUD. It sounds very appealing. I'm interested in hearing about the experiences of women who have used the IUD in the last 10 years. Thank you.

I've been using this device for 10 years, between and after having my 3 children and have never experienced discomfort or side effect. I just forget I'm using any type of contraception ; for me, it is perfect. Inserting it feels weird, and opening it inside is a little painful (like a big cramp during your period), but then you are set for the next 8 years.
I used the IUD after having my son almost five years ago for a total of 2 years. While there were no major problems, there was always an underlying concern based on the notorious history associated with IUDs. In truth, it was a particular brand that gave so many women problems. My bad experience was limited to heavy periods and occasionally my husband would report feeling something akin to a fishing wire poking his penis during deep penetration. All in all, it was a good low maintenance alternative at the time, but I eventually got tired of contraptions and drugs of all kinds and started practicing natural family planning methods with great success. A definitive book I recommend on this topic is: *Taking Charge of Your Fertility* by Toni Weschler
I have used various IUDs for 25 years, including the Dalkon Shield, Lippes Loop, safety coil, copper seven, and progestasert. Right now I believe I have the copper T. Anyway, they are great. When I was young(er) they caused some heavy periods, but to me it was worth it, because I have problems with hormones and am allergic to spermacides. I prefer the safety coil or lippes loop because they are just plastic, but I have been unable to find them in recent years. The copper T has not caused any problems, no heavy bleeding. After 13 years of IUD use, including 2 dalkon shields, I easily got pregnant and have 2 lovely kids (not to downplay anyone's problems with that device). I am the kind of person who does not like to take pills because I am busy and absent minded. I just plain don't want to be bothered! The IUD has been terrific for me.
I had an IUD inserted sometime in 1996. Because I was married, had one child and didn't have plans to have another, this was a great, easy method of birth control. That is until I found out I was pregnant (the IUD had been in place for 3 years at that time) and it was ectopic. Unfortunately, this is a serious and all-too-common side effect of IUDs. I loved having an IUD. It's a wonderful choice for many women. My only advice: make sure YOU educate yourself about it; I find many doctors and nurses are not. My ectopic pregnancy went on for 4 months and I nearly died. I was in and out of the doctor's office several times before they took a pregnancy test (at my insistence). IUDs are not 100% and a good doctor will tell you that you should use another means of birth control while you are ovulating. I hope this helps in making your decision.
I am 44 y.old and tried the IUD for the first time last March. I was an excellent candidate and got very excited about getting it. The procedure was simple - not a big deal at all. I was told by the nurse practitioner that I would have some irregularities in the beginning but things would get settled within 3 months or so. I waited and waited patiently but unfortunately it didn't work for me. I had always been regular (all my menstrual life) until I got the IUD. I bled for five months straight with about one week break with some spotting each month. In August I had so much bleeding that when I went to see the doctor they rushed me to the ER - The IUD had to be removed. As soon as I had it removed my period got back to normal. I don't want to be negative about IUD but I feel it is important to alert people about the bleeding and spotting that persist for too long. I requested an ultr! as! ound one month before the bleeding got heavier and the nurse told me it was not necessary, because everything was fine with me (I should have insisted). Go ahead and do it if you feel like it but pay attention and listen to your body. I have many friends who have IUD and rave about it.
I was also told I would be a good candidate for an IUD; I've had it in for 2 years and I am very pleased with my decision. My understanding is that it is important to have it inserted by someone who has lots of practice with the insertion, so you may want to check on that. The insertion was a bit intense for me and in retrospect I wish I had someone to drive me home afterward. My periods have always been pretty light, and now they are slightly heavier, but there is not a huge difference. I have no monthly cramping. Initially I did have a little spotting between my periods, but now that has stopped.
I've had an IUD twice in my life (but only once in the past 10 years) and both times had it removed as soon as possible -- within three months. I experienced very painful periods when normally I have virtually no cramping; also unexpected between-period bleeding and cramping. I was also seen as a good candidate. I would recommend against it.
Although I have not had an IUD long enough to speak to their effectiveness (fine so far), I do have a word of advice in case you do decide to have one inserted. My gyn's office recommended that I take 600 mg of ibuprofen (3 Advil) half an hour prior to the appointment. Even so, I experienced some cramping; other people have told me their cramping was much more severe. Not all doctors will recommend this, but I was very glad mine did. Hsui-Li Cheng (highly praised as a CNM on the website) has a lot of experience inserting IUDs, and she has a terrific bedside manner, which can be important if you're nervous about the procedure.