Let’s talk about IUDs, baby

Well, I’m pissed. And I give zero fucks about oversharing on FB now. Ladies, this one’s for you! Let’s talk about birth control and reproductive rights!

Our next administration includes a vice president who signed a law requiring funerals for aborted fetuses, and a president who wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is terrifying. But they don’t take office until January. So what can you do before then? Get an Intrauterine Device, the birth control method that will last you through this regressive, hatful regime!

In 2014, I switched my birth control from the pill to an IUD, and I love it. I am obviously not a doctor, and you should consult your gyno, but I wanted to share my experiences with anyone who is considering an IUD. I’m also happy to answer any questions anyone has.

There are two types of IUD – Hormonal and non-hormonal. Both work in a similar way: the device is implanted in the uterus and the device changes the way sperm moves to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are effective for 3 to 7 years, depending on the type. The hormonal IUDs are progestin only, instead of progestin and estrogen combos like most pills. Planned Parenthood’s site has a great informational page about them.

I have the Mirena IUD, which is a plastic device with hormones that lasts for 5 years. My experience with it has been great. I immediately noticed an improvement in my daily mood with the lower hormone dose, and it’s liberating not taking a pill everyday. I still get a period, but it’s much lighter and my PMS is less severe than no pill. I opted for the Mirena because research has shown the copper, non-hormonal IUDs can worsen PMS symptoms. The one downside is I’ve had more acne with the lower hormone dosage, but I’ll take that over the estrogen cloud.
Cost: It of course depends on your insurance. My insurance copay for the Mirena was $60, and then I had a $25 copay for the appointment to get it inserted. This is substantially cheaper than the pill, which cost me $30/month with insurance, and up to $75/month without.
Let’s talk about IUD insertion! Insertion hurt like a mofo. There’s really no other way to say it. If you have not had a child, your uterus is going to be tight. But the procedure is quick – it takes less than ten minutes from start to finish. Your doctor should also give you a numbing shot and pain medication. I was crampy for a few days, but no other side effects. The benefits and cost-effectiveness far outweigh the temporary pain.
So ladies, talk to your doctor now while Obama is still our president and your insurance has to cover it! (Don’t even get me started about the birth control mandate exception. Health insurance is a part of employee compensation. Employers have no right to tell employees how to use their compensation).
I’d also like to end this by saying, I will always and forever stand with Planned Parenthood. Between the Planned Parenthoods in Oregon giving free birth control and the Planned Parenthood in Ithaca offering free STI testing, I had the priveledge of worrying about my coursework for four years, instead of an unplanned, poorly timed pregnancy. I will stand with any organization or provider that helps women, and men, decide when and if they want to start a family.

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