I’ll start off by saying this is a topic that interests mainly women, so guys you can read on if you want to know what kind of hell we go through.
In my life I’ve learned that what makes me happy has to do a lot with how I feel physically, I developed -through training and eating healthy for years- a deep connection with my body, what it’s beneficial and not to it. Mind and body are like two close brothers, sometimes they fight but eventually they find common ground and get along. “Getting along” has always been what I aimed to, a balance, even with the challenging and high demanding lifestyles I followed (bodybuilding, fitness competitions, contortion training etc), at the end of the day I was always looking for a state that could satiate my hungry mind without overstressing my body – a mistake I did in the past. So to make my body able to keep up with my mind I strive more now than ever before to eat a variety of healthy foods, avoid alcohol, sugars, wheat, processed foods, dairy, red meat, added chemicals/artificial sweeteners, drink a lot of water, stay off medicines/drugs, sleep enough and so on. I care about my body because it’s my life vessel and all I really own.
So being strongly against hormone supplementation (again I don’t like to interfere with my own homeostasis and natural balance), I was looking for a contraceptive method that 1- didn’t have hormones, 2- was safe, 3- didn’t require lot of maintenance.
Someone mentioned to me the copper IUD.
IUDs (intrauterine devices) are these tiny “anchor” shaped devices made of plastic (there are a few different types, some release a low dose of hormones and then there is Paragard, the one I was interested in, that has no hormones and it’s covered with a thin copper wire: copper create a very harsh environment for sperms and for the egg to attach to the uterus wall). They all prevent pregnancy and they’re highly effective, even more than the pill. That’s how they look and how big they are:
A mistake I often do is, reading informations and really trusting MAINLY the ones that support my interest or decision. I read how wonderful was Paragard, that would only hurt a little to insert (it has to go PAST your cervix into the top of your uterus), that was working even for women who never had kids, that the ONLY side effects were more painful and heavier periods and some cramping the first months while adjusting in the body. Well let me tell you how it went for me…
The day of the insertion I was pretty nervous because of course I read lot of people’s stories and some were saying it hurt a bit, others not at all, others it was painful almost as childbirth. So I didn’t know what to expect. Mind me, I’m used to pain as in fatigue, discomfort while training, not debilitating sharp acute unbearable pain, because I’ve been lucky enough that my body was never in such situation, and even the cramps I experienced during my periods were nothing unbearable, they got little more intense with age, but I’d take Advil if I really needed to and be okay.
So when I walked into the gynecologist’s office for my Paragard insertion I was nervous, but nothing more. I heard it was gonna be quick too,and I took already Advil beforehand like they told me to. The moment I laid down, the nurse assisting the doctor took my hand, squeezed it and started asking me about my Holidays plans. And from that moment I KNEW IT. I knew it was going to hurt, she was trying to distract me ah… And it did hurt. Like a MOTHERFUCKER. Remember, I never had kids and they had to open up my cervix because it was totally closed up. It felt like someone stabbed my lower abdomen and grabbed my insides and twisted them as hard as they could. I was so close to pass out but thankfully it lasted maybe 1 minute or 2. Then I took my sore self home and couldn’t move for the whole day. I was cramping and my body was MAD. Something foreign started lodging in my uterus from that day.
I had cramps every day, pretty bad for at least a week. I had to take so many painkillers, I hated it. But I told myself, it’ll be better, it’s worth it, I’ll be fine. About a month later I came back to the office and they said everything was in place and so I was “good to go”for the next 10 years. At least I told myself no more of that terrible pain for a long time.
My first period came almost A WEEK earlier and boy, IT FUCKING HURT. That wasn’t my period anymore. That was like being stuck in bed with a heating pad taking painkillers that wouldn’t even work. The bleeding was so heavy, I’m sorry I’ll be very graphic- that I could just sit on the toilet and see a strand of blood just painting the bowl red. I felt like a wounded seal of the Antarctic, when you see those pics of their blood just dripping all over the ice.
I kept telling myself that I knew it was going to hurt, they it’ll be better eventually, that I just had to hang in there. I kinda got mad at the world, thinking why us women have to go through all this and not men. I felt such a “woman”, in the most primitive of ways. My body was pissed and for 7 days straight I had cramps and heavy bleeding, dirtying clothes daily, and just feeling hopeless, missing work and training. I had to start taking an iron supplement because my energy was so low, probably a consequence of the blood loss. But again it would have gotten better! Right?!
I left for Italy to spend the Holidays with my family and at that point I had the iud for about 5 weeks. When I got there is when I started to worry. I was losing so much hair. My hair were getting significantly thinner. And for a woman there in not much worse than losing hair…beside, my hair was thin to begin with! I panicked and started upping my hair supplements (that I was talking already before the iud) but nothing seemed to make my hair stop falling. That created so much depression in me. My mom kept saying I was just stressing out and so that’s why my hair were falling, but that never happened to me, and I’ve been stressed before. I started reading about copper toxicity and I found a whole new side of Paragard that I didn’t know. Nobody tells you that sticking a plastic device covered in copper can be toxic for the body? I mean I could have imagined, but I’m not a doctor and nobody mentioned that to me. High levels of copper In the body have several side effects and you know what’s the funny fact? High copper CHANGES your hormonal production, it raises estrogen! So when they say it’s hormones free, in a way is a lie, because it affects your own production. I read a ton of articles and this one summed up perfectly some of my symptoms:
I had a panic attack in Italy (never had one before) where I was nauseous, my heart pounding and I started crying uncontrollably at dinner. I started having anxiety and my sleep was so off. When I came back from Italy, my hair was just getting thinner and a couple days ago I was at my lowest ever. I felt so unhappy, irritable, helpless, and before I knew it I started cramping again: my period was again a week early! That mean I would have had to deal with another 7 days of hell and being unable to have a normal life. When people say they have a high pain tolerance I don’t think I understand, does that mean that they’re used to be in pain? I don’t like to live in pain and spend days wondering what’s wrong with me.
People still telling me it’ll get better and maybe I’m a pussy, but I think I had enough of this already. Will it get better? Maybe, but who’s gonna give me my hair back? Am I going to let the copper intoxicate me for the sake of sex? I rather not. Welcome back good old condoms. My iud has to go.
This is just my experience and I know a lot of people are happy with it. I guess it’s just not for me. I hate to lose days in pain, talking a ton of painkillers, be depressed, lose hair, don’t sleep and have anxiety. I have to listen to my body and it’s telling me take this thing out! So I’m planning on taking it out as soon as possible, after only 7 weeks. Hopefully it won’t hurt as bad… ugh!
Happy New Year 🙂