The No-Pill Birth Control

mirena_iud.jpgLike many long term relationships, my relationship with the birth control pill had many ups and downs.

Up = no babies.

Downs = weight gain, extreme emotions and severe migraine headaches.

For a while, the ups far outweighed the downs, but it soon got to a point where the headaches became debilitating (thus making me unable to have sex anyway), and I had to call it quits with the little pill. I tried other forms of birth control – the Nuva Ring, which was just too weird, and abstinence, which was just not realistic – and none of it worked.

I figured I was doomed to be sans BC forever, until my doctor told me about the IUD.

What is an IUD?

Basically, it’s a small object that is inserted through the cervix and placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The doctor inserts the IUD onto your cervix where it stays for up to 10 years. If you want to get pregnant, you simply head back to the doctor and have it removed and your period and ovulation schedule return to normal. The IUD is 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy and you never have to remember to take a pill again!

It sounded too good to be true, but my doctor assured me that it was safe, covered by insurance and the best option for someone like me. So I did it.

The strange thing about the IUD is that it has to be inserted when you are on your cycle. So, not only do you feel kinda gross and bloated, but you have to hop into the stirrups and lay spread eagle in front of the doc. Not your finest hour.

I got a little squeamish when I went into the room and saw the equivalent to a wee wee pad lying on the table. “It gets a little messy,” the nurse told me. Barf. I laid on the table, gripping my sweatshirt nervously, and the doctor went to work.

The procedure took all of 5 minutes, but they were probably the longest and strangest five minutes of my life. There was a speculum, some very long Q-Tips and the IUD itself. I felt extreme cramps (the kind that usually require a heating pad, my couch and Season 1 of Friends on DVD), and extreme embarrassment as I wondered how messy things were getting down there. And before I knew it, the whole thing was over.

No more pills, no babies, and, in about a year, no more periods at all!

The idea of having a strange plastic thing inside my body is a little weird, but it is far outweighed by the fact that I can enjoy my sexual freedom without the monthly fear that I may be a mom sooner rather than later.

If the pill works for you, then stick with it. But if you are like me and can’t handle the hormones in the birth control pill, an IUD is definitely worth looking into. And don’t worry; when the whole thing was done, my wee wee pad was perfectly clean.



    1. Chels says:

      I have one of these, the Mirena, which secretes a low level of hormones, and when i got mine put in, I almost passed out at one point! It's totally worth it now, though. It's weird, because I spot almost every day, but my np told me that it's pretty normal, and goes away after a few months. Also, if you live in Iowa, you can get one of these for free from a planned parenthood. They have a grant that's paying for it until the 30th of this month.

    2. Chauncey says:

      I'm jealous, when I talked to my Gynecologist about getting the IUD, he said it wasn't an option. Because I am only 22 and haven't had any kids yet, he said it wasn't a good idea. So sadly I am stuck with the NuvaRing, which I suppose is better than the pill.

    3. Molly says:

      I had also heard and read that it's not a good idea if you haven't already had children. Something about the cervix not being open/wide enough. Who knows. I was pretty bummed though, because it's basically the most ideal form of b.c. ever since I hated the pill when I was on it (made my desire for sex drop to ZERO, my weight skyrocket and my skin go crazy).

    4. Lauren, University o says:

      My doc told me it wasnt a problem at all! As soon as I want to get preggers (which is FARRRR off), she will just remove it and I'll be fine!

    5. Jackie says:

      I heard the risk with the IUD for women who haven't had kids yet is that it can cause infertility.

    6. michael says:

      does it ever bother you women that there are SO many options for female BC, and pretty much only the condom for men?

      i think that would be a good topic to debate. If Men had a form of BC, would they take it? Because personally, I don't think I would take anything that stopped me from having an ejaculate.

      what do you guys think?

    7. Audrey says:

      I love my iud. I have the mirena. The first 6 months are the worst (spotting and cramping) but after that it's golden.:) Watch out the 1st few times you have sex though since the strings can poke and hurt the guy until they soften up.

      I think its ridiculous that there isn't more forms of birth control for men. I know that there's more avaliable for women since obviously we're the ones that are more affected if a pregnancy occurs. Still, you'd think they'd at least offer more options for men on the off chance they want to be more pro-active in preventing pregnancy. Doesn't Europe have a bc pill for men?

    8. zoe says:

      Im happy on my pill although I did have to switch around through a few that gave me bad side-effects to find the right one… but what you say conflicts with what my doctor told me about the IUD (or coil as i know it), she told me it makes cramps and periods incredibly much heavier and worse… I wasnt keen on that, especially since with this pill my periods are finally a joke!! Also, that thing Audrey said about the guy getting hurt by things that are stuck up your cervix??? WOW. No thanks. (Although I hope it works out well for you, best of luck Lauren!)

    9. Jackie says:

      Of course you wouldn't take something that stops your ejaculate, Michael-the actual act of ejaculating feels amazing for a guy. But would you take something that rendered your sperm infertile for the amount of time you took it?

    10. Chels says:

      the company that makes the mirena advises that only women who have given birth get it, because the cervix is more open and pliable, like chauncey said. my gyno said that it's just a comfort thing, that it makes the insertion go easier. which was probably why mine was a little rough.

    11. Lauren, University o says:

      Mine was uncomfortable, but that is why the doc says you need to be on your cycle when you get it. That way your cervix is dialated a bit and it makes the procedure easier.

    12. Dina says:

      Its not a good option for everyone, unless you've had children before, its usually difficult to get your cervix to dilate, ergo the weird cramping. When my friend had it done, it was like 30 minutes of labor, and her's was much messier. Get a good doctor!

    13. Jo-Marie says:

      I seem to remember sombody telling me you cant use tampons with this is it true?

      And to whoever mentioned the male contraceptive. We have created something, its an injection i believe, but its currently in tested and wont be approved for at least another 4 years.

      Do you really want to leave contraception to men anyway? There are guys who will say theyre taking it when the're not and your the one who ends up pregnant.

      We have contraceptive implants here in the uk which go in your arm and can protect you for 3 years. Do you have those int he US?

    14. ela says:

      no in europe we don't have a bc for men…nor do i think they would take it… there's still lingering primitiveness in males here as far as that goes. i take seasonale (euro version is just taking jasmin 3 months i a row) bc my P is literally debilitating but after having a solid year i started f-ing up and skipping pills. now i'm stuck with having a P again until i can get back on track. my doc told me that the IUD is too serious since i haven't had any children and could give me complications. as soon as my fiancee heard this he told me to stop taking everything all together and be natural…but i'm going to stick to my pills.

    15. Meghan says:

      Soo.. I'm getting an IUD tomorrow… my female doctor said that American doctors are afraid of lawsuits and that's why they don't use them… there is a little risk of infection which could lead to sterilization, which is why you can't have sex for 2 weeks after insertion. Plus, she gave me a pill that will cause my cervix to dilate before the procedure, not sure why some doctors don't do this. I don't even have to be on my period… It's supposed to hurt pretty badly. I had more than one doctor tell me I couldn't do it until I had kids, but that's just bullshit. They are covering their asses because of one lawsuit against the Morena IUD in the 1970s…. do your research. It is the most common b.c. used world wide…

    16. Sarah says:

      After having 2 kids while I was on birth control pills I decided to go with an IUD. Yes, I was on bc pills, but I would forget to take a pill here and there and so ended up pregnant twice. Now I have had the IUD for about two years. When I went to get it put in, I only felt uncomfortable for 5 secs and then it was over. Nothing else happened. No cramping or any other effects. Now after 2 years I still have a period every month, but it is very light. I would recommend getting an IUD to anyone. Sorry to those who had to go through so much pain, I guess its not as painful if you had kids.

    17. […] right? This stuff comes in all sorts of forms: patches, IUDs, condoms, looking at teen mothers trying to care for their kids and realizing how much less fun […]

    18. Jenna says:

      What Meghan said is true. My doctor told me that I couldn't get an IUD because I don't already have kids. Luckily, my mom works at a medical school, so I have pretty good access to doctors with opinions. Many practicing doctors advise against the IUD for young women because they don't want to be sued for malpractice in the case that they find they're infertile and blame the IUD (the IUD is generally not responsible…this was more a problem in the '70s and is virtually not an issue now).

      My advice to ladies who are denied IUDs by their docs? Find a good gyno (not just your primary care physician and probably not the gyno at your campus wellness center). Don't be afraid to shop around. It's important to find a gynecologist who suits you, is open and honest, and understands your needs.

    19. migraine headaches says:

      Hormones seem to play the most important role in this women-men differential,” Sheftell says. Because of the impact of hormones, women who are pregnant, using birth control pills, or going through menopause often experience an increase or decrease in the frequency of headaches

    20. […] like Nuvaring, which is a vaginal ring you only have to think about once a month.  Or the Mirena IUD, which lasts for 5 years and is more effective than tying your […]

    21. […] The No Pill Birth Control College Candy Posted by root 9 minutes ago ( Sep 16 2008 no cramping or any other effects now after 2 years i still have because of the impact of hormones women who are pregnant using birth control pills or going through menopause often i read ur comment and this is the first thing that came to my m Discuss  |  Bury |  News | The No Pill Birth Control College Candy […]

    22. […] IUD’s come in two types – the hormonal IUD (Mirena) and the non-hormonal Copper-T. I’ve been […]

    23. angie says:

      i am thinking about getting an iud. i have 2 kids already and dont want any more at least now right now maybe once i get married. i dont really want to get on the pill again one of my kids was a bc baby and i always forget to take them. i was debating between the shot and the iud… any opinions or suggestions on which is better.

    24. […] year. There’s also speculation that including birth control would encourage women to try long-term contraceptives like IUDs, which are cheaper and more effective in the long run, but have high up-front […]

    25. […] check out responsible alternatives such as condoms (which you should be using with BC anyways), or IUDs. (Editor’s Note: Seriously, ask your doc about an IUD. It’s the best thing I ever […]

    26. "No more pills, no babies, and, in about a year, no more periods at all!"

      I got an IUD a couple months ago and I am really happy I got it even though I had a really bad experience getting it placed. I know that the extreme cramping is suppose to decrease but I had never heard about no more periods after a year. Can you explain more?

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