When Your IUD is a Pain in the Uterus

My body simply didn’t like it, and my doctor wouldn’t help

After giving birth to my second child, my OB-GYN convinced me that an IUD was the best form of birth control for me. After consulting with my closest girlfriends, I took the plunge. 

The insertion was the easy part. But even that wasn’t easy. I had no medication to open my cervix beforehand, and definitely no pain medication to prep for the procedure. I simply had to endure it. Surprisingly, the medical community hasn’t come up with a great protocol to manage the discomfort of insertion, and many doctors, like mine at the time, don’t offer anything. The cramping afterward was absolutely terrible. But eventually, my body seemed to adapt to this invader. Or so I thought.

Within a year of having it, I started to develop some weird symptoms. First, the strings were long. Very awkward, for many reasons. I also felt bloated all the time. I gained weight. A lot of it. And I had pain, mostly localized to my right ovary, which ranged from a dull ache to the feeling of a butcher knife stabbing me, which was super fun regardless, but especially when trying to work at a physically demanding job and care for young children. 

I never correlated any of the random, vague symptoms with my IUD, mostly because my doctor denied any connection. Instead, I went to a variety of specialists and underwent a barrage of tests to try to reach a diagnosis for my ailments. They were all inconclusive, and they cost me a few thousand dollars out of pocket. 

This went on for months until I finally met someone who had experienced all of the same weird symptoms. Hers was caused by, you guessed it, an IUD. The same one I had. The light bulb finally turned on. 

I called my doctor to make an appointment to have it removed. She refused to do so, insisting that I still had 2 good years left with the device. I was absolutely insulted that my female doctor could be so obtuse. I would have expected this treatment from a male physician, but not a fellow woman. It’s my body, after all. If I want it out, take it out!

Needless to say, we broke up. I found myself a new doctor in another practice. She agreed that my symptoms were likely related to my IUD. 

The moment it was removed, I felt a huge relief in my symptoms. I audibly gasped with the change. It was wild how immediate it was. It took about 3 months for a complete resolution of my pain and bloating to occur.

By the time I had it removed, the pain had become the center of my universe. My life was ruled by pain. I went to bed consumed by it, I woke up in the middle of the night because of it, and it interrupted my everyday activities.

Persistent pain should never be ignored, and it’s no way to live. Especially if there is an identifiable and treatable source. 

I regret getting an IUD, but the experience taught me to listen to my own patients when they have complaints of pain. I try my best to be an objective, empathetic listener and to help them in a holistic way. I might just be the practitioner they need to help them find relief.

The point of telling my story isn’t to convince you to not get an IUD. I have many friends who have them and have had positive experiences. I just have one of those bodies that didn’t like it. 

But if you have an IUD and have also noticed problems since getting one, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

___________

Have you had the frustrating experience of your doctor not listening to you? Did you have a similar experience with an IUD? I’d love to hear about it.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

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