To IUD or not to IUD: That is the question

I initially wasn’t going to bring this up here on the blog – it’s about birth control. However, in light me experiencing some symptoms I’m now beginning to connect directly to my healthiness journey, I figure it’s time to talk about it.

I’d previous been on the pill for 10+ years. Relationship or not, I’ve just always taken it. Right around the time Carlos and I got engaged, we had a pretty extensive conversation about our future together and without going into details, we decided to find a long-term approach to birth control. Enter the IUD.

What Is an IUD?

In my own words, an IUD is an implantable contraceptive – done during a quick office visit, it is immediately effective and does not require a daily interaction. After conversing with my doctor, I decided to have the Mirena IUD for a few reasons.

First, it is a 5-year IUD. After 5 years, I make the decision to take it out and do something else or continue with another implant. The Mirena releases hormones which, in my own words, I assumed would be an easy transition since I was already used to taking hormones from the pill {ergo used to reduced “period” like symptoms such as bleeding & cramping.} One of the benefits of having the Mirena is that most experience no periods after having it inserted.

How do they put in an IUD?

At the end of January, my IUD was put in. I’m not going to lie, the insertion was horrible. I almost fainted when I sat up – the doctor saw my face go white and ordered me to lay back down. After about 10 minutes of laying, I was fine, the pain went away.

It was more of a internal pinch…a little pinch inside where I’ve never felt a pinch before so I think my body was just caught off guard. I went home and spent most the evening on the couch in the fetal position with cramps like I’d never experienced before.

Over the next three days, the cramps went away. I never really felt the IUD but more just sensed something was there. Within a few weeks, that feeling too went away and I had no more “feeling” of it. However something happened.

IUD Acne?

I broke out. Blemishes. Acne. All over… on my face and on my upper thighs. I’ve never been one to have much of a problem with acne so I was beyond frustrated and embarrassed.

Six months went by. And something else changed.

IUD Weight Gain?

At first, I didn’t connect the dots. But the past month, I have fought like bloody hell to eat right and be conscious of the foods I’m giving my body. I had 2-3 small mishaps but nothing that would cause anything like this. My workouts have been from 3-5 days a week the past month. Despite the past month of really focusing, there has been no change for the better.

Depending on the day, I’ve gained anywhere from 6-8 pounds and cannot for the life of me get rid of them. Stress you say? What if I tell you the recent tornado stress is only a continuation of the stress I’ve been under for the past two years {no joke, no lie – it seems to be one thing after another, I just don’t share everything.}

The real problem:

6-8 pounds doesn’t seem like that much. In fact, I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself you wish you only had 6-8lbs to worry about. But consider this… I now have some pants that I can no longer fit into because of the weight. Dress pants and jeans I cannot wear anymore because they suffocate me and leave red indent marks around my stomach. I’m not complaining about the “vanity” of the 6-8 pounds. This is about weight gain caused by medication, weight gain caused by by hormones, weight gain caused by an IUD.

The drawbacks & side-effects of the IUD:

  • the weight gain (not related to a poor diet or lack of exercise)
  • the acne/blemishes (while it has calmed down considerably, it is still there)
  • the moodiness (I didn’t realize this but Carlos says he notices I’m more sensitive)

The positives of the IUD:

  • no daily pill taking
  • no worrying if I don’t take it at the same time every day
  • no period or cramping, no monthly cycle effect
  • long term approacheasy to use, like the commercial “Set it and forget it”

So what’s next?

My decision is a little more serious then asking for a different pill. I would have to go in and have the IUD removed, then find a new birth control method (go back on the pill? Try something else?) Although this is a very personal decision for me (Carlos is supportive no matter what I decide), I thought I’d get your thoughts on it because I know some of you may have experienced something similar:

Has a medication/medical choice ever resulted in a weight gain for you?
Have you ever changed a medication (birth control or other) because of a weight gain?

Have you ever had to consider the pros & cons in regards to a medication and make a choice based on that list?

I’ve had a few conversations with my doctors nurse and have a call into my doctor because ideally, this would be a conversation to have with him — but you know me, I often seem to share TMI with ya’ll!

Thoughts? Opinions? Comments?

Comment disclaimer: I’m looking for respectful comments only – I have a right to delete anything that is judgmental, rude or out of line. I’m aware that this post will drum up a lot of questions related to my decision to get an IUD, why I chose what I did and so many other questions. I opted not to have this post be a 2,000 word post so will do my best to answer questions in the comments. I ‘m an expert with my body but not yours. My body, my decision. Your body, your decision.

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