I had been thinking about switching up my contraception to the mirena for a few months now, I went on the contraceptive pill when I was 16 (when I first started having sex) because I had such bad anxiety about getting pregnant and it made me feel safer and happier when having sex to know I was protected. I have been on the pill ever since (I’m now nearly 23) so it had been a fair few years.
I won’t go into too much detail about my experience on the pill but I was lucky to not have many side effects whilst on it. I’m not sure if it had an effect on my mental health or my weight, I was suffering with really bad depression before I went on the pill anyway so I really don’t know if it had any impact. I also have naturally gained weight since being 16 so I also couldn’t say if the pill had any input in that either.
Around January time I started thinking about changing contraception, I had become a lot more conscious about creating needless waste and with the pill, comes packaging. I also had become very aware about the length of time I’ve been on the pill. Around 2007/8 my mum was diagnosed with cancer (she’s okay now) but I remember her mentioning she thought the fact she had been on the pill all her life might have had in influence in that.
I’m a naturally anxious and paranoid person anyway and it got to the point where I was thinking about getting cancer every time I took the pill, I was becoming obsessed with the idea that I would somehow get cancer because of it. I started looking into alternatives, now I know that the IUS is still hormonal but the difference is the hormones aren’t travelling around your whole body, they are isolated in the womb. One of my friends who has a lot of cancer in the family was given the all clear by the doctor to have the IUS which made me feel a lot better about it in terms of the whole cancer thing. (I also should state I didn’t want the IUD which is the non-hormonal copper one because it’s known for making your periods heavier and honestly that would probably mess with my MH).
I took the plunge and booked an appointment to speak to a doctor about it, I wanted a professional opinion on the situation and I also wanted someone to actually talk me through the process and put me at ease a bit. It’s all well and good googling it and reading the info on the NHS website but It’s so much nicer to have a GP there to actually talk to you and answer your questions.
I had around 3 appointments before getting it put it, the first one was a quick consultation to talk about options, then I had a meeting with the woman who actually does the procedure to talk me through it and then finally I had my pre-IUS swabs which just check you haven’t got anything nasty before they go ahead with it.
The procedure itself obviously wasn’t pleasant but it was do-able, most of it was uncomfortable but not painful. The only painful bits for me was when she had to put some sort of clamp in (not everyone needs this) and then insert the actual mirena, it was like a really big, short cramp. It was certainly wince worthy, luckily I had a lovely nurse’s hand to squeeze. I would say it was similar to having a piercing, short and sharp but over quickly and a bit sore of a couple of days.
The cramps afterwards were by far the worst bit, I recommend sitting down with a hot water bottle and some pain killers (you can get stronger ones prescribed to you for the procedure and the cramps). They did ease off throughout the day though and I actually went to work the same evening which kind of took my mind off it.
For the next week I bled like it was a heavy period, then it turned into spotting like at the end of a period and this went on for a month. Over this month my mental health was appalling and I think this was down to my body getting used to the hormonal change that was going on, I’m always incredibly depressed when I get my period so I know it’s linked to my hormones.
Around a month after having it fitted, I stopped bleeding (hurray!) and it was like the happy switch had been turned back on, I felt much more like myself. Once the bleeding at finished I decided to try to feel for the threads, I did feel them once around 2 weeks into it having it and they were stiff and quite pointy. This time though they were much softer, I couldn’t feel the sharp end anymore and I could move them around with my finger (at this point I had sex again and there was no pain or stabbing of threads). 2 weeks after that, I got another period so I assume that it’s going to take a few months for my period to return to a normal pattern, it lasted a week (which is longer than it was on the pill) but thankfully it stopped and I’m back to normal again.
Eventually, my period *should* fizzle out to basically nothing but I can’t predict how long that will take.
Overall I don’t regret having the IUS, I feel much better not having to remember to take a pill and have all these hormones running around my body. It’s also nice to not be throwing away packets every month.
If you’re considering getting the IUS I would advise you go and see the GP about it, get them to explain it and show you the mirena etc. I’m happy I got it now but I do feel like it’s been a bit of a journey, I might not get another one because this one is supposed to last 5 years and after that I would like to think it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I became pregnant. But i’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
I hope this was useful to some of you, feel free to ask me any questions incase I missed out any information!
Stay safe x