By now, I’m sure you are all very familiar with the buzzword in birth control: the IUD. The little plastic or metal, butterfly-shaped device that has the full name of “intrauterine device”. But, for the sake of glamour, and pop culture, I’ll reference it as an IUD. When I decided a year ago to have one put in I was all, Yay, no more painful periods, or crazy hormonal outbreaks! Needless to say, I was 100% team IUD, and the idea of having a small surgical appointment with my OBGYN pal seemed like NBD. Gosh, was I wrong. My cheerleading about the IUD soon turned into an seemingly-endless toxic relationship that led to an awful breakup. Here’s how:
1. Acne…Bacne…Altogether a 20-something’s nightmare.
I have never had issues with acne, even back in high school when pimple outbreaks were all the rage. I considered myself lucky, and was pretty confident with the skin my mama gave me, until the IUD wreaked havoc on my system. The result of having a cutesy item inside me ended up messing with my hormone levels. In not having my period for a year—weird, I know, but awesome—my body acted out. I had the worst break outs on my shoulders and upper back, to the point where I was questioning my diet, and clothing fabric. I used scrubs, but nothing helped. When I finally had the IUD removed, voila, bacne and occasional acne disappeared. Strange coincidence? I think not.
2. Cramps, but no period.
Is it just me or is this ridiculously cruel? One of the reasons I had the IUD placed was that my periods were getting more and more painful as I got older. It got to the point where I would curl up and not move like one of those cat statues. Decidedly, I heard that the IUD would get rid of periods altogether or lighten the effects. While the periods did leave my life for a year, which was great for saving money on feminine hygiene products, the cramps did not. If I went to the gym and worked out my abs, I’d get gut-wrenching pain in my lower abdomen. Not fun stuff.
3. UTIs…like, all the time.
I went on the IUD for a specific reason: protection. I ended up getting a tag-along acronym friend: UTI. Oh yes, every girl’s BFF, right? Let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Once a month, sometimes twice, like clock-work, I’d get a urinary tract infection. It got to the point where my doctor had me on auto-refills for medicine. However, once I had the IUD removed, these episodes vanished. My bladder is thankful.
While this was my personal experience with the IUD, and it didn’t turn out as planned, that doesn’t mean I am completely against the birth control. It did live up to its promise of not giving me a period while I was on it, I never had a pregnancy scare, and I didn’t have weird emotional outbursts like I did on the pill. If it wasn’t for the three side effects above, I’d highly recommend the IUD. In fact, some women experience zero side effects while on it. If you’re interested in going on it, that’s great! Just make sure to talk with your doctor about possible side effects beforehand, and make sure it’s a match for your lifestyle.