What Actually Happens When You Get The Copper Coil And How You Can Prep For It
Two weeks ago, I got the IUD. The small, T-shaped plastic and copper contraceptive device AKA the intrauterine device AKA the copper coil AKA ouch. It's 99% effective, works immediately after insertion (which can be at any time in your menstrual cycle), can last up to 10 years and, most importantly, has NO HORMONES. It sounds absolutely everyone's type of contraception on paper, but it's definitely one you need to be prepared for (and not by a google search).
Like a lot of girls, I've had my fair share of contraceptive pills from a young age. Possibly younger than most due to my doctor prescribing lots of different types of pill to help my teenage acne (which they didn't). Through trials and tribulations (feeling pretty crap for months on end) I realised pills ft. hormones didn't really work for me, despite my doctor insisting that the ones I took would definitely not affect me in that way. But hey ho, the hormone-ridden life of a teenage girl...
So, I got pretty excited about a non-hormonal method like the copper coil (not to be mistaken with the IUS which has a low amount of progestogen hormone). But then, as if reading my mind, I started to see advertised articles on my newsfeed about copper coil poisoning and hair falling out, depression, paranoia and ultimate death. Fml. Unfortunately, as I'm only two weeks in, I still can't talk about the long term poisoning that some bloggers insist can happen - but I can tell you a bit about what to expect when you get the IUD:
How to prep before:
1. Book a whole day off work for it. If it's your first time getting one the whole process might be a bit overwhelming, so even if your cramps aren't that bad it's a good idea to just go home and let your body relax a bit instead of attempting your solid hour commute into work.
2. Do not book any expensive sport classes/skiing holidays the following day as you will probably have to skip these and lose your money. (I went skiing and had random spurts of cramping throughout *sigh*)
3. Take Ibuprofen half an hour before your appointment. This helps to dull the pain of the actual insertion process (if only in your mind) and is a head start on helping the cramps afterwards.
What to expect during your appointment:
1. When you get to the clinic, you'll probably be asked to have your weight/blood pressure/height taken which is usually done by one of those vending machines that give you a ticket with all your details on.
2. You'll then meet the doctor or nurse who will do the procedure who should chat to you a bit and make you feel comfortable (I asked many questions about poisoning/pain/death.)
3. If you are alone (and ask many questions about pain/death) a nurse called Jane will probably be summoned to hold your hand throughout the process and repeatedly tell you it's ok.
4. You will have to get undressed from the waist down and lie on your back on a bed with your feet in stirrups (like a smear test/overly enthusiastic bikini wax).
5. A little tong-like thing will be placed inside you before the doctor actually puts the coil in.
6. The actually insertion lasts about 5 seconds and feels kind of how you'd imagine it to feel, like a particularly bad cramp that seems quite high up in your womb. The pain lasts about 5 seconds and then once the coil is positioned it should subside.
7. My pain subsided so completely that I felt a bit silly being forced by the doctor to lie down on the bed for 10 minutes before getting dressed. But then again I had said 'Ahh' very loudly while it happened, but this was more from shock than unbearable pain (I have had multiple waxing/laser hair removal experience).
8. It is only later on that the cramping starts. It pretty much feels like really, really bad period pain/you have diarrhoea/what I imagine it feels like to have a baby. Until the ibuprofen kicks in there is not much more you can do than lie on your side curled up in a ball.
9. Your next period will be pretty heavy and you shouldn't wear tampons during it (although one of my friends said her doctor didn't mention this). You will also cramp a bit more than usual so invest in hot water bottles and plenty of ibuprofen (I should really start working for an ibuprofen company).
How to recover afterwards:
Overall (and despite only being two weeks in) I think the IUD was worth it. Pretty much like childbirth (apparently) I have forgotten about the pain already and can now enjoy a hormone-free but safe-sex-filled life. Hope this didn't freak out any of you thinking about getting it, because I honestly think it's a much better option than the pill - which can change your whole body shape, mood and, if you are as forgetful as me, is only 21% effective at best.
Will keep you updated on the copper poisoning.