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REAL STORIES /

Hear real women and men share their very real experiences with different methods of birth control.

kat, 22, iud

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Kat has been on "almost every kind of birth control under the sun." She couldn't remember to take the pill and, in fact, got pregnant while using that method. Knowing she needed something more reliable, she decided on a Mirena IUD.

At first Kat was worried about the cost of her IUD, but she talked to her provider and found out it was covered by her insurance. In hindsight, she would pay "pretty much anything" for this method that removes the worry because it's always "just there."

I just needed something low maintenance.

I have Mirena and I love it.  I've been on birth control pills, and my weight is borderline at making the shot ineffective.  Before my daughter was born, I had already decided to get the Mirena.  I love my daughter but I'm not ready for a second one.

2011-11-16 00:20:54 UTC

Denise Roberts

After being on the pill for nearly 20 years, except when we were family planning, I decided to go on Mirena because it would reduce my periods, which were horrible, and provide birth control without the hormonal roller-coaster. I am absolutely thrilled with it. I no longer bleed, although I do ovulate and keeping my system running like normal was important. Because I'm married, it's an ideal only birth control and we don't have to think about it ever! And I could still have another child, if we wanted too. It's win-win on every level. I recommend it to everyone!

2011-11-29 13:42:28 UTC

Suzanne Dreitlein

I am on my second one and LOVE my Mirena! I know it's not true for everyone...but I do not get periods at all - and don't have to think about pregnancy at all either - what could be better than that! I am married and monogamous...if I wasn't, then I'd use condoms too...but luckily I don't even have to worry about that...I tell everyone I can that I love my Mirena :)

2012-07-10 16:56:06 UTC

JennyWren

My girlfriend has an IUD, and while it is worry-free and effective, it does sometimes scratch and poke me, which is more annoying than painful. The first week she had it the scratching really hurt, but now I hardly ever feel it, and when I do it's not a big deal and doesn't hurt a bit. BETTER THAN CONDOMS!!

2012-08-01 22:10:48 UTC

Guy

I can't help but notice that it isn't listed as an abortive method. Maybe it is somewhere else that I didn't see, but are these women told this when the conversation comes up.

2012-08-08 23:04:06 UTC

jdeyankee

Mirena is not an abortion method. IUDs can work in many ways, most of which prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg. Having an IUD causes changes inside the uterus that prevent fertilization. The hormones in Mirena can make the cervical mucus too thick for sperm to break through, which also prevents fertilization. They also thin out the lining of the uterus, which can prevent implantation if fertilization did occur. But IUDs don't cause abortion.

2012-08-22 20:16:14 UTC

Bedsider Medical Advisor

I've only ever used three methods of contraception: condoms, Depo Provera, and Mirena. I loved Depo, but worried about bone density loss if I continued using it for a long period of time. I decided to get a Mirena IUD about a month after my 18th birthday, and I was able to have it inserted for free (thank you FamilyPACT!) at my local Planned Parenthood. I can't exaggerate how wonderful it's been. After a few months of spotting and a couple years of intermittent spotting, I now have no menstruation whatsoever. It's also so great for me and my partner; we love knowing that we have no reason to worry about unplanned pregnancy, allowing us to enjoy sex without anxieties. Now, I often recommend Mirena to my female friends, and all who have had one inserted love it. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to see so many amazing young women taking charge of their reproductive health!

2012-09-22 17:08:49 UTC

Bay Area Girl

Hi, your post really helped me in trying to decide what to do about my birth control. I'm currently on Depo and i'm just tired of the hormone imbalance, the weight gain, hair loss and all of the other side effects that I have, the only plus is that I do not have a period with it. I'm curious though, when you got your IUD I mean, has it slipped at all or anything like that? Could you possibly post more about your experience with it since getting off depo? Thank you!

2012-11-18 05:38:39 UTC

Amanda

This was helpful for me too!!

2013-04-09 05:59:23 UTC

Nikki Herberger

Hi. How's the IUD for u now?

2013-07-25 04:27:02 UTC

Kadian NaturalBeauty Henry

Hi. How is your experience with IUD now?

2013-07-25 04:29:36 UTC

Kadian NaturalBeauty Henry

Hi. How's the IUD for u now?

2013-07-25 04:27:02 UTC

Kadian NaturalBeauty Henry

Hi. How is your experience with IUD now?

2013-07-25 04:29:36 UTC

Kadian NaturalBeauty Henry

Here's my IUD Story: Some background information; I'm 19 years old, have been in a monogamous relationship with the same person for 3 years, and have been on birth control for a little over 3 years. I've tried three different brands of the birth control pills, and DepoProvera. I had the newest IUD, Skyla, inserted on Monday (today is Wednesday). I was extremely nervous, as I've never even had a pap smear, let alone given birth, and I was worried about the pain. My doc gave me misoprostol to insert the night before to induce cervical dilation. I was worried that would give me bad cramps, but I didn't feel a thing. I took 600mg Ibruprofen about an hour and a half prior to my appointment. When i got into the exam room, everything was laid out and ready. They asked me if I had any questions, if I took the misoprostol or ibruprofen, when my last period was, and if I had had sex since I started my last period (they tell you not to, so you can't get pregnant days before IUD insertion). I laid back on the table and started taking deep breaths, I had really worked myself up. The doctor inserted the speculum and cleaned off my cervix with iodine. I was whimpering a little as the doctor measured the depth of my uterus. She warned me that the actual insertion was going to be a lot more painful than what I was experiencing right then, and asked if I still wanted to continue. I took another deep breath, said yes, and tried to relax. I definitely WOULDN'T describe the insertion process as painful, but I would say it was uncomfortable. However, the cramps that followed the insertion were EXCRUCIATING. Immeditaley after insertion, they told me I could stay in the exam room and just relax if I wanted to, I sat for about 5 minutes then got dressed. When I was walking to the desk to check out, I felt like I was going to pass out so I told a nurse and was escorted via wheelchair back into an exam room where they gave me a warm rag and some juice. The cramps were unbearable. After 10 minutes of recuperating, I felt a little better and was ready to leave. I spent the next 8 hours doubled over in my bed with a heating pad. I took more ibruprofen, a hot bath, and went to sleep. When I woke up, I felt perfectly fine. I would suggest having a close friend of family member drive you to and from the appointment, my grandmother (whom I'm very close with) took me to my appointment, and I was glad because I was in too much pain from my cramps to safely drive home after. I've been spotting the past two days that followed my insertion, and I get minimal cramps every so often (stressing the word minimal, I barely notice them). All in all, this was absolutely worth it. The pain and discomfort of insertion was nothing what I thought it would be, it was uncomfortable, but definitely not painful (at least for me). The cramps were the worst part, and thankfully they only lasted a day. It has only been two days but so far I am very pleased with my decision. I have not had sex or checked my strings yet, but I feel loads better already knowing that I am no longer on the pill and protected against pregnancy for the next 3 years. I would recommend this birth control option! (Although I agree that its not for everyone, so talk to your doc).

2013-08-28 19:22:06 UTC

Marissa

Here's my IUD Story: Some background information; I'm 19 years old, have been in a monogamous relationship with the same person for 3 years, and have been on birth control for a little over 3 years. I've tried three different brands of the birth control pills, and DepoProvera. I had the newest IUD, Skyla, inserted on Monday (today is Wednesday). I was extremely nervous, as I've never even had a pap smear, let alone given birth, and I was worried about the pain. My doc gave me misoprostol to insert the night before to induce cervical dilation. I was worried that would give me bad cramps, but I didn't feel a thing. I took 600mg Ibruprofen about an hour and a half prior to my appointment. When i got into the exam room, everything was laid out and ready. They asked me if I had any questions, if I took the misoprostol or ibruprofen, when my last period was, and if I had had sex since I started my last period (they tell you not to, so you can't get pregnant days before IUD insertion). I laid back on the table and started taking deep breaths, I had really worked myself up. The doctor inserted the speculum and cleaned off my cervix with iodine. I was whimpering a little as the doctor measured the depth of my uterus. She warned me that the actual insertion was going to be a lot more painful than what I was experiencing right then, and asked if I still wanted to continue. I took another deep breath, said yes, and tried to relax. I definitely WOULDN'T describe the insertion process as painful, but I would say it was uncomfortable. However, the cramps that followed the insertion were EXCRUCIATING. Immeditaley after insertion, they told me I could stay in the exam room and just relax if I wanted to, I sat for about 5 minutes then got dressed. When I was walking to the desk to check out, I felt like I was going to pass out so I told a nurse and was escorted via wheelchair back into an exam room where they gave me a warm rag and some juice. The cramps were unbearable. After 10 minutes of recuperating, I felt a little better and was ready to leave. I spent the next 8 hours doubled over in my bed with a heating pad. I took more ibruprofen, a hot bath, and went to sleep. When I woke up, I felt perfectly fine. I would suggest having a close friend of family member drive you to and from the appointment, my grandmother (whom I'm very close with) took me to my appointment, and I was glad because I was in too much pain from my cramps to safely drive home after. I've been spotting the past two days that followed my insertion, and I get minimal cramps every so often (stressing the word minimal, I barely notice them). All in all, this was absolutely worth it. The pain and discomfort of insertion was nothing what I thought it would be, it was uncomfortable, but definitely not painful (at least for me). The cramps were the worst part, and thankfully they only lasted a day. It has only been two days but so far I am very pleased with my decision. I have not had sex or checked my strings yet, but I feel loads better already knowing that I am no longer on the pill and protected against pregnancy for the next 3 years. I would recommend this birth control option! (Although I agree that its not for everyone, so talk to your doc).

2013-08-28 19:22:06 UTC

Marissa

I just had my IUD removed because it shifted down to my cervix and caused me to be hospitalized twice due to birth like contractions (which was due to my body trying to push it out). Also because it had been pushed down I was pretty much having sex without birth control! The IUD is for some, but it's not the end all be all. The risks are played down... I also got ovarian cysts which were extremely painful. I definitely would not recommend it to everyone. I thought it was perfect, but now I'm switching to the patch and we will see how that goes.

2013-10-30 22:21:25 UTC

Grace

These new videos are useful in helping mature young adults to make decisions about what methods of birth control to utilize. However, there is nothing here for the couples (girls) who are teenagers. There is a world of difference between how 25 and 16 year olds deal with this. Couples in their teens (14-18) are often not even aware or accept that fact that they may become pregnant, and don't understand the consequences of that. They usually bury their heads in the sand to avoid thinking about birth control. They do not plan in advance. It would be more helpful for them to have straightforward, less technical information about the fact that they will get pregnant having unprotected sex, 2 or 3 solid options for what they can do fast and how to use it each method. Teen pregnancy prevention is the mission of the National Campaign. People in their twenties have lots of support for getting what they need. Young teens do not.

2013-12-04 17:36:52 UTC

Jane Fairchild

These new videos are useful in helping mature young adults to make decisions about what methods of birth control to utilize. However, there is nothing here for the couples (girls) who are teenagers. There is a world of difference between how 25 and 16 year olds deal with this. Couples in their teens (14-18) are often not even aware or accept that fact that they may become pregnant, and don't understand the consequences of that. They usually bury their heads in the sand to avoid thinking about birth control. They do not plan in advance. It would be more helpful for them to have straightforward, less technical information about the fact that they will get pregnant having unprotected sex, 2 or 3 solid options for what they can do fast and how to use it each method. Teen pregnancy prevention is the mission of the National Campaign. People in their twenties have lots of support for getting what they need. Young teens do not.

2013-12-04 17:36:52 UTC

Jane Fairchild

Hi, Grace: Thank you for sharing your story. You're right that one method isn't perfect for everyone. In women using the IUD, both failures (aka unplanned pregnancy) and complications like yours are pretty uncommon, but can happen and should always be discussed before an IUD is placed. These are usually discussed in comparison to complications and failures of methods like the pill or the patch, which happen more commonly - 1/10 'average' women will become pregnant on the patch! To be super safe you can always double up with a second method, like a condom.

2013-12-08 14:52:22 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

Hi, Grace: Thank you for sharing your story. You're right that one method isn't perfect for everyone. In women using the IUD, both failures (aka unplanned pregnancy) and complications like yours are pretty uncommon, but can happen and should always be discussed before an IUD is placed. These are usually discussed in comparison to complications and failures of methods like the pill or the patch, which happen more commonly - 1/10 'average' women will become pregnant on the patch! To be super safe you can always double up with a second method, like a condom.

2013-12-08 14:52:22 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

I suspect that you will hide this message because my family experience of Mirena is negative. Of course anyone can Google "mirena side effects" and get an informed view. My wife had the Mirena fitted and after just a few months it turned her into a raving psycho until a few months after it was removed. Online forums are full of similar experiences, mothers finding themselves shouting at their children, wives becoming short tempered and even violent. I think the problem is that the Mirena stops periods and it is just not natural, the body needs to get rid of toxins and Mirena prevents that. I am sure you will dismiss this, say in tiny print that some people experience mood changes or some such nonsense. All I can say is that your product completely changed the personality of my wife, my kids were asking for their mother back.

2014-02-05 17:25:05 UTC

Jon

Hi Jon, and thanks for sharing your experience. Just to clarify, none of the birth control methods we discuss on this site are 'our product' - we're not funded by drug companies! We just want to help people find a method that works for them. Mirena happens to be a method that has one of the highest efficacy, satisfaction and continuation rates of any method of birth control, so we talk about it a lot - but no method is perfect for everyone. Concerns about skipping periods while on certain birth control methods are common - we even have an article about it! http://bedsider.org/features/75 We have information on a range of contraceptive options, including methods that are hormone free, and I hope you and your wife can find one that works for you!

2014-02-07 21:46:09 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

I just wanted to share my experience with my IUD's. I had a mirena inserted in 2011, when i was 19 years old and had it for about a year and a half. I was under general anesthetic when I had it put in because I was having investigative surgery to check if I had endometriosis, so I cannot comment on the insertion, but otherwise I found the mirena great! It was no fuss, I lost my period completely, and had no spotting, so that was great!! One of the side effects I experienced was ovarian cysts, which I had to get monitored, because they were causing me pain in my stomach. I actually got my mirena removed though after about 1.5 years because of the problems I was having with the cysts, and I switched to the pill, which was horrible! I tried 4 different pills after that, giving them all at least the 3 months they required- i tried tricyclen, seasonal, linessa, and alesse. None of them worked for my body, I would get spotting every single day, sometimes so heavy that it would be like having a period evey day of the month. I also gained 20+ pounds from the pills, and switching so much had a really bad effect on my body. I was moody, irritable, and weighed more then I ever had, so I went off the pills for 3 months, and was using just the withdrawal method with my boyfriend (of 2 years). We decided that that was an unsafe method for us to be using, and very irresponsible, but because the pills didn't work for me I decided to look into other methods, and eventually decided to get another IUD put in. I just got back from the doctors this morning, as I had it inserted today and I wanted to write about my experience. I chose to have the Jaydess IUD, which is a smaller IUD then the mirena, and it contains less hormones. It's made for girls who have never given birth, like me, and have a tighter, smaller cervix. I was so anxious about the procedure, but I was given 2 pills of misoprostol to soften and help dilate my cervix that I inserted the night before the procedure. I also drank some valerian tea, and a herbal anti-stress and anxiety tincture to help calm my nerves the day off. I also had some lavender extract that I was sniffing to calm myself down on the way to the procedure. I took some naproxen (which is like strong advil, I have it for my cramps) 1 hour before the procedure. My boyfriend came with me into the room for moral support, and I recommend anyone to do this, because it is great to have someone hold your hand, and talk you through it if you are nervous, like I was. The procedure itself really wasn't as bad as I had been anticipating. They inserted a speculum, like they normally would during a pap test, and swabbed and cleaned my cervix off (as I am on my period, which is recommended for the insertion as it makes it easier when your cervix is more dilated). If you ever had a pap test, then you know the feeling of the speculum, honestly it was probably the worst part. Then she clamped my cervic in place with the tenaculum so she could get a good hold of it. Then I thnk she was measuring my uterus, because there was a lot of pressure, and like a feeling of a big poke, and she said 'we are in!' then went and got the jaydess and then said 'ok we are going to insert it now' i felt like a little sting, but it wasn't too bad, and I thought she was just fiddling around with things down there but then we said that it was done! And I couldn't believe it!! The IUD was inserted, which was great! I would NOT describe it as painful, It's just very uncomfortable, mainly because of how anxious I was probably. But then she cut the strings which was probably the worst part, because she jabbed me a little when she was doing it and it hurt. Afterwards I just felt slightly shaky and weak, but I took my time getting up and had little sips of coffee and it was fine. I had some slight cramping afterwards, but honestly it wasn't too bad. After I got in the car the cramps were a little worse, but I would definitely not describe them as 'excruciating' like another poster here did, and I know everyone's experience and tolerance for pain is different, but I think the anxiety I had was way worse then the actual procedure! I had cult it up in my head to be so much worse, and by reading horror stories online, but truthfully it just helps if you ca really relax, and I think bringing a support person with you was super helpful, because having my boyfriend there really calmed me down. If anyone is considering it I would say DON'T be scared off by horror story things online. It really wasn't bad at all, it just felt like a pap test with a little bit more poking and prodding. And the fact that I now am safe until 2017 and don't have to worry about birth control is the best thing ever!!!!

2014-10-22 17:08:05 UTC

Holly

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