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IUD FITTED: T-Safe 380 or known as the T-Safe Cu 380
Female - Age 30 - never been pregnant - Average to good health
Well, what has prompted me to write this review, is reading about other peoples negative experiences with IUD's in general, and to try and balance out some of those 'horror stories'.
After lots of research, I considered getting the IUD fitted was the best option for myself. Whilst condoms are great, (and obviously everyone should use them if you are not in a stable monogamous relationship) I do find them inconvenient. It's a common complaint from men, that condoms lessen the sensitivity - well, it lessons this woman's sensitivity also! I am in a committed monogamous relationship, so wanted a more convenient method.
I don't mean to sound preachy, but before we got rid of the condoms, both myself and my partner had a full range of STD tests done, just to be sure. There is no shame in it, and it is the most sensible thing to do, as IUDs give you NO protection against STDs. I've never knowingly had an STD, but who wants to catch something that can damage ones internal organs? Or even kill you?! No matter how good the sex is, it just ain't worth the risk, is it? So, I would thoroughly recommend that anyone choosing an alternative to condoms get themselves AND their partners tested.
Anyway, the results for all the tests both for me and my partner came back negative - neither of us had anything.
What prompted my choice for the IUD was mainly an ethical one. I do not wish to put hormones/chemicals into my body; and knowing that it can sometimes come from, and are tested animals ensured my choice. This is just my personal choice, and what felt right for me. I also like the idea of not having to remember to take something every morning. I liked the idea not having to use condoms. I liked the idea that I would not have to worry about contraception for the next 10 years.
First things first, I have read reviews by IUD users, who give medical/technical advice, which sometimes have been wrong. I am not going to give you any medical facts/advice regarding the IUD, as I am not qualified to do so. It really is something that needs to be asked of your doctor at the family planning clinic; and I really don't believe that medical advice should be taken from 'word of mouth' sources. There are many great authoritative websites that give medical information, and these have been written by the professionals, just use your favourite search engine. I am just going to explain my experience, and hope it will be a help to others in their decision to get it done or not.
Anyway, I spent several months researching the IUD. The thing I feared the most was the pain. I had read lots of experiences online from other woman saying how painful
it was, and this scared me, almost to the point of not having it done. I have read that it is more likely to be a painful experience if you haven't had children; well, I have not had children, so I wasn't looking forward to the procedure.
I had already been to a general contraception appointment, where they advise you of the procedure, and all the options, they even showed me the device - it was tiny.
I turned up for my fitting appointment with my partner. I was taken for an initial consultation, where they explained the procedure. I was asked questions about my sexual history, menstrual history, medical history etc. They took my blood pressure, and weighed me (and then proceeded to give me a friendly lecture about loosing weight and gaining exercise; to which I politely lectured them about making the assumption that I *want* or need to loose weight, particularly in light of good health, and perfect blood pressure, and that fact that I am physically active and play sports lol).
I then go back to the waiting room, and wait for the doctor to call me.
I had read about taking painkillers beforehand, but I had forgot to take some before I went. So, the doctor calls me, and there I am, laying on my back, about to have an IUD fitting, with no kind of pain relief.
Insertion didn't hurt at all, and this is my main motivation for writing this review, as all the stuff I had read about it hurting nearly stopped me having it done. I was quite surprised at how little I felt.
I should mention that there is some foam that can be put around the cervix as an anaesthetic, but was told that it doesn't really do much, and is not really needed and that it is used mainly as a placebo.
I had my coil fitted by an experienced doctor at a family planning clinic in the evening. I was asked to take my trousers/knickers off, and lay on the table. The doctor examined me internally, and the then inserted a speculum, which, if you don't know, is a device that is used for investigating body cavities. In this case, it is inserted in the vagina, and hold back the vaginal walls, so the doctor can see what he/she is doing.
I didn't find this uncomfortable at all, though some woman do. I barely felt it. Once the speculum was inserted, my lower vagina was swabbed with disinfectant.
I was told that my cervix was going to be dilated. I was told in the earlier consultation that an instrument called a sound would do that, as well as measure my uterus at the same time. So this is the point I'm dreading, I'm laying their semi naked, and I'm expecting it to be painful - but nothing. I could feel movement, and I got the vaguest of sensation of it 'moving' in my womb, but it was far from the pain I had read about. I did get a very mild crampy feeling, but it was not painful at all.
Once my uterus had been measured, the doctor then inserted a second device, which my research leads me to believe it to be the small straw-like device that the IUD is inserted through. Again, I could feel it, and feel movement, but it wasn't painful. I kind of lost track of what happened from there, as I couldn't really feel much. I did feel a definite sensation of movement again, which I think was the IUD being inserted through the 'straw'.
And that was that. I did start to feel a mild crampy feeling once the IUD was in, but it was far from painful. I couldn't really tell when the doctor pulled the instruments out. I was laying there throughout the whole procedure bracing myself for this immense pain that I had read about, I barely felt anything.
The doctor told me she was about to cut the threads, but as doing so, she accidentally cut my vaginal wall as she cut the threads - and this was the only pain I felt during the procedure itself. That hurt! But it was an accident, and is most likely a rare thing to happen in experienced doctors, and I think it was just a small cut.
The procedure itself, from the insertion of the speculum, to the cutting of the threads took about two minutes, could have even been less than that. It was very quick.
I got my clothes back on, the doctor kindly gave me some small pads for the small amount of bleeding the accidental cut had caused, and I was on my way. All in all, I found having my blood pressure taken before the insertion significantly more painful that the insertion itself.
The doctor advised me not to have sex, or use tampons for a week, to allow things to settle down. But through my research I have found that advice regarding this varies wildly, I have seen articles by doctors that recommend only 24 hours, and other articles have recommended a whole month. The doctor explained the body needed time to settle down, and thus help avoid infection, which IUD users can have a slightly elevated risk of getting, particularly in the first month or so.
And that was that, I was up and off, and went down the pub, lol.
After the procedure…
In the next 15 to 30 minutes that followed, I started to develop a mild swollen/bloated feeling in my uterus, like one gets when on their period, which is only to be expected after having a foreign body inserted into it. As time went on, there was a definite, and unusual sensation that something was 'in there', though it wasn't painful, just odd. A lot of it most likely has to do with my own paranoia, and thus hypersensitivity to it.
When I sat down about 30 minutes after having it inserted, I felt a short, sharp 'grating' sensation, and it felt like a slight nip, which I think was the IUD moving about, or trying to settle itself - the nip felt like it was around the cervix area. This is the only thing that could be described as pain in relation to the procedure itself, but it really wasn't that painful, and was more of a shock.
I did start to feel a little sensitive as the night wore on. Part of this was my own psychological reaction to it, part of it was very real. I kept getting the continued sensation of feeling something in there, as well as mild swelling and cramping.
That night I did really start to 'feel it'. I wouldn't say the pain was unbearable, but it did wake me up once during the night and was painful, for me. My uterus was cramping, and I could feel something, presumably, the IUD 'grating' as I moved about in bed. I got the sensation like my womb was trying to expel it. I could definitely feel it in there, and it almost felt it was pushing or rubbing. This, so far, is the only time I could really say that the IUD caused me pain.
The next morning/day/week….
I had a slight swollen feeling, and the feeling like it was 'in there'. I had some slight spotting towards the end of the next day, and later on that week, it did induce a period. The swollen feeling gradually reduced over several days. There were, and still is some 'odd' sensations, but again, nothing painful.
It's now two weeks later, and as I just mentioned, I do get some odd sensations, and do sometimes feel like I can feel it is in there. But, I suspect it is going to take my body several weeks/months to adjust and settle down, as the consultant advised me it would. I find these 'odd' feelings decreasing with time.
As I mentioned, reading about the painful experience of others nearly caused me not to have it done. But what one needs to remember is people rarely talk about their positive or neutral experiences, but they often to talk loudly about negative experiences, which can lead to a perspective bias, and give an unfairly negative impression. I hope my review helps balance out some of those horror stories. Uou need to remember that for every painful review you read about the coil, there will be many women who barely experienced any pain at all.
It is now just over 5 weeks later, and virtually all of the odd sensations have gone, as time had worn on, I have noticed it less and less. I don't feel like there is anything in there now, and the only time I get a vague sensation of it being in there is when I have a period. I do have very occasional very very light spotting. My periods were/are irregular, but since I have had the IUD, I have had about 2 and a half periods, lol. All of which were light, and only lasted 1 to 3 days.
I'm fairly certain that things will regulate themselves as time wears on. For 10 years of no hassle contraception I am more than happy to accept a few weeks of barely noticeable spotting and a few odd feelings.