Ah, the intrauterine device, or the IUD for short. What can one say about such a magical (and effective) form of birth control?

I myself became enticed to the idea of the low-hassle form of contraception because, let's face it, I am a college female in a steady relationship, which means I have a healthy sex life (sorry Mom).  

We've all had those months of irrational fretting. Like "there's no way I'm pregnant or else I'm the next Virgin Mary, but I'm still freaking out" type of month.   

So, I moseyed my way down to UVA's student health gynecologist and got down to business. As many people who have had "the talk" with their healthcare professional know, birth control falls into a couple categories:

There are the ones that act like barriers:

There are the ones that you take orally or through a shot (i.e. the pill):

There are the extremely effective methods (abstinence or getting your tubes tied): 

And then, there are intrauterine devices.

Alright so what is it?

Basically, an IUD is a little plastic device that's inserted into the opening of your cervix. Some last 2 years, some 5, some even TEN. WHOLE. YEARS. That's longer than Tom Cruise and Katie Holme's marriage. 

Some work by using copper to make the uterus a "hostile environment for sperm." Some work by releasing a super small dose of hormones (about 14 nanograms) each day to shut those baby-making possibilities down. 

beans, tea, beer, coffee
Delaney Strunk

I myself went for the IUD Mirena. It uses the hormone progestin and lasts about 5 years. After my gyno told me that I could possibly not have to worry about a pregnancy for 5 whole years, I almost kissed her TBH.

Plus, I have been a long-term sufferer of killer menstrual cramps, and with Mirena there's about a 33% chance that within the first year I could stop having a period all together. Talk about a win-win-win (for me, my uterus, and my sanity). 

The Downside (maybe?)

Okay, so there is one teensy little catch. As I mentioned before, this thing goes IN your cervix, so prying that sucker open is no picnic (for some people). Basically, your healthcare practitioner will have you take a pregnancy test (just in case), lay you down, give you a heating pad, then (for about 20 seconds) open your cervix.

If you've ever had a pap smear it's a similar feeling at first, but when they actually open you up down there that's where the pain might occur. I say might because some people who have already given birth barely feel it (duh, they've pushed a whole human through there already). Or, some people might just have super awesome cervixes that open like a charm. 

I, on the other hand, am neither of those people. Yes, it was an excruciating pain for about 15 seconds. I'm talking the worst menstrual cramp I've had in my life pain, but after that, it goes away. Once my doctor loosened her death grip on my cervix, I was practically fine. I did get mild cramping for the next three days, but hey, I'm used to those. 


crunch, popcorn, cereal, candy
Julia Melton

Some words of advice that made my experience go so smoothly:

First, take a crap ton of Advil before you go, as this will delay the cramping. Second, bring a friend you trust—I brought a good friend of mine who held my hand during the hard parts (thanks for that, Asha). Third, buy some snacks for your bed-ridden self beforehand.

Fourth, and most importantly, get a good night's rest, be in good condition, and do not plan anything super important after the little procedure in your hoo-ha.

Trust me, even though I felt relatively fine, a soccer game or midterm after it is not going to help anybody, especially not your freshly excavated uterus. Totally take this excuse to chill out. #MeTime am I right, ladies? 

Two Weeks Later

Overall, I am so incredibly happy with my decision. Not only do I feel completely fine, but I don't have to worry about consistent birth control for at least 5 years. Safe sex is absolutely no joke, and getting serious about my birth control has made me feel like a #brandnew, #responsible, #woman in command of her future (and her baby-making organs). 

If you want safe, dependable, no-hassle birth control, I highly recommend looking into getting an IUD. I'm not one to bring up politics, but nobody knows where healthcare is heading. But, one thing I do know is that as an 18-year-old, in the next five years I do NOT want to bring another person into this world. Talk to me in six or seven and we'll see, but as of now my future does not include a baby—thanks to my IUD.