So I Decided to Get an IUD

First off, let’s make this clear: I don’t want a debate over premarital sex, or natural vs other forms of birth control. This post is not about morality or religious views, nor is it about whether or not I should start having children because of my age. Second, I’m not a doctor so the rest of this post will be based heavily on personal experience.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about Intra-Uterine Devices or IUDs.

I am in my late 20’s, in a monogamous relationship with a wonderful person, but we both agreed that we have no immediate plans for marriage and children. Because priorities. With some research, a lot of questions answered by doctor friends and a bit of a medical background (I have a Nursing degree), I made the choice to get an IUD last April.

IUDs have been around for years and years, but in this very conservative country that I live in, it’s a little talked about birth control option. In my experience, it’s not something that you can ask from just any OB-GYN, especially in Pro-Life / anti-RH institutions. I could be wrong of course, but it took me a bit of research to find an OB GYN that offers IUDs without prejudice against my background of being unmarried and childless. Believe me when I say that I’ve had my fair share of judgy looks for actively and directly seeking birth control.

There is no scarcity of knowledge about this birth control option, since a lot of information is readily available on the internet, but there are just not a lot of personal experience from fellow Filipinas. I for one think real, personal experiences from peers is a huge help in deciding on major decisions such as this one. I actually got a gynecologist recommendation from a blogger too!

So here I am, writing about mine, just in case someone like me out there is considering getting one too.

What is it? How does it work?

Do your Googling, but I think you can already glean from the name that it’s a tiny device that is meant to be inserted in the uterus.

All IUDs affect the way sperm move to prevent the sperm from fertilizing an egg. IUDs also change the lining of the uterus, which is thought to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.

Source: https://www.uhs.umich.edu/contraception-iud

Read more about it here.

iud

Image from Greatist.com

I’m not going to go into detail about the process of getting one, but my inspiration Childfree Filipina has a wonderfully detailed blow-by-blow. Click here to read about her IUD insertion experience, which is almost identical to mine since we have the same gyno.


You wanna insert THAT in your uterus?? WHY?

As with a lot of things, it’s a personal choice. Why not condoms? Why not birth control pills? Why not natural birth control methods? These options are non-invasive and readily available even without help from a Gyno!

Okay first of all, I advise against taking any sort of medication without checking with your doctor first, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) included. There are so many different brands and types of OCPs out there, all of which have associated risks and side effects. I highly recommend working with your gyno in finding the right one for you.

Personally I don’t really fancy the mood swings and weight-gain/bloating side effects associated with OCPs. It’s a mababaw reason but there you go.

Condoms, on the other hand…well. Let’s just say I’m not overly fond of them now that I’m in a monogamous relationship. I think a lot of men and women would share the same sentiment.

Apart from that, here are my favorite things about the IUD:

  1. It’s incredibly low-maintenance
    It’s kind of a lazy girl’s choice, to be honest. Once it’s in there, you won’t really have to think about it for the next 5 years (for hormonal IUDs) and 10 years (for copper IUDs). You won’t have to worry about running out of rubbers in the worst possible times. You won’t have to remember to take a pill daily, or replace your patch, or think about when you should get your next injectable. You won’t have to keep checking your lady calendar or take your temperature and monitor your lady fluids on a daily basis to see if it’s ‘safe’ for you to ‘get busy’.

    On the next period after insertion, you’d need to visit your gyno just to make sure it’s still in place. It’s advisable to have it checked by the gyno at least once a year thereafter, which isn’t really that bad since you’re supposed to get a Pap smear once a year too anyway. You can DIY the checking bit yourself, here’s how.

    Once you decide that you’re ready for baby making, just schedule another visit to have it removed then you can proceed with the procreation.

  2. It’s crazy cost effective.
    Think about it. Condoms cost around Php 540 for a 2 boxes of 12 (Durex pricing on Lazada, if anyone’s wondering). Say you consume the 24 in one month, Php 6,528 a year. OCPs on the other hand cost about Php 400-500 a pack, which amounts to Php 4,800-6,000 a year. Sure there are cheaper options brands but I tend to choose the highly recommended ones by doctors and peers which unfortunately also cost more.

    I got my copper IUD fitted for around Php 2,500, and, barring complications, I’m good for 10 years. Now do the math. One could argue that natural methods are absolutely FREE of charge but…well. See reason #1.

  3. Success rate
    From the studies I read through, IUDs have a success rate at around 99%. Not perfect, but higher than the other birth control options. And also because of reason #1, there’s just less chances of human error (like you forgetting to use a rubber or pop your pill).

HOLD UP: so you’re saying IUDs have NO side effects / risks??

Of course not. The most commonly known risks are perforation (meaning it may pierce through your uterus) or expulsion (your uterus pushes it out). Yeah I know that sounds like it’s from some horrible gore movie.

My OB-GYN said that perforation commonly happens during the insertion part. With an experienced gyno, the risk is very low. Mine was inserted with the aid of an ultrasound, which helped le doctor better visualize what he was doing inside my lady parts. It’s extremely important to make sure that your gyno has enough experience fitting IUDs if you decide to get one from him/her.

As for expulsion, this is the reason why it is recommended for you to visit your gyno for another ultrasound after the first period you have post-IUD insertion.

Common side effects (for copper IUDs at least) are heavier periods, more painful period cramping and possible inter-cycle spotting. Sounds awful, yeah? To me, however, all of these don’t sound any less awful than the risks associated with other methods. It’s just a lot less fiddly.

Should you experience any adverse side effects, better check with your doctor.

So what are the downsides?

I’m currently on my fifth month with it and the only major downside I can think of is that my period cramps are legit worse after the IUD. It’s not the debilitating kind of pain though, since I can still manage the 1.5 hour commute to and from work as well as the work day itself without being totally useless, but then again my pain tolerance is pretty high.

Oh and also, there is always one day per cycle where my bleeding is extremely heavy.

Other than these, the IUD hasn’t given me any reason to regret it.

So there you have it! My personal experience in getting and living with an IUD. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or check out these nifty links:

The Non-Diet

College life was not all fun and parties for me. Long hours were dedicated to classes, hospital duties and even more studying at home. I think I dealt with all the stress by eating and sleeping a lot.

Unfortunately, as exhausting studying can be, it doesn’t burn as much calories as I hoped it would.  I never had the time nor the energy to work out either so I just packed on the pounds and never lost any.

During my brief stay in Canada about a year after college, my then-boyfriend cheated on me, which eventually led to our breakup. No, this post will not be about that. The point of the story is, I thought that the best way to get back at him (and rebuild my shattered self-esteem) was to become as hot as I possibly can.

That "before" dress is deceptive. I look about ten pounds lighter in that dress.

Let it be said however, that I can’t ever stick to very strict dieting. I’ve already tried sticking to specific diets, and it works for a time, but after a while, I get bored and I go back to my old eating habits. I’m also terrible at math, so diets that involve calorie-counting aren’t very appealing to me either.

With a bit of research and my background in the medical profession, I came up with my own personalized eating discipline that just might be helpful to some of you who are allergic to the word “diet”.

CHENYL’S NON-DIET involves:
1. Fiber
– Complex carbs take longer to digest, which helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time and stave off cravings. I also have this theory that because complex carbs are harder to digest, the body uses more energy. Ergo, you’re actually burning calories while you’re digesting.

Breakfast! 😀

2. Green tea
– Green tea has two helpful weight-loss substances: caffeine and L-carnitine. Caffeine boosts the metabolism and has a mild diuretic effect which is actually pretty good for your kidneys. L-carnitine, on the other hand, helps transport long chain fatty acids into cells and convert them into readily usable energy.

3. Substitution
– This is basically going for the healthier choice without compromising taste. Here are a few examples:

Mustard instead of mayonnaise. Spicy food (including mustard) kicks up metabolism. Plus, mustard pretty much has zero calories.
Water instead of soda. Sugar-free, fat-free and keeps you hydrated!
Brown instead of white. This means choosing whole grain option in breads, pastas, rice and even chips instead of the regular variety.
Baked/grilled/boiled instead of fried
Tomato or olive oil based pasta sauce instead of cream based

4. Water
– It’s no question that water is important for a lot of reasons. I want to stress on this though: When your body is deprived of water, it tends to go on self-preservation mode and retains as much water as it can. It’s like the body is saving up water because you’re not getting enough.

Drink enough water, and you’ll actually end up flushing out toxins, excess salt and all that bloating.

5. Junk food
– I kid you not. I do not believe in depriving myself of the good things in life, like chips and instant noodles and sweets. I refused to give them up altogether, so what I did was control my intake as much as I can.

Quick chocolate fix: Dark chocolate, or chocolates in bite-sized packaging

My personal faves: Meiji Black, After Eight Chocolate Mints, M&Ms Dark, Hershey's Special Dark

Junk food of choice:  multi-grain chips
Dip of choice: Salsa. Tomatoes are always good for you, salsa is spicy (which also boosts metabolism) and…well. Salsa’s just plain yummy.

Tostitos Multigrain chips and salsa in mild

Okay, honestly, this post is more of a review and a reminder for myself. I have so much going on in my life right now, and health and fitness has taken a back-seat when it used to be priority. I’m aware that I’m not exactly fat, but I’m not very physically fit either. I should be careful, lest I go back to my old college weight, and I really don’t want that to happen.

I’ve already signed up for a four-week promo with Fitness First. Together with the exercise that I’m bound to get at the gym, I plan on following this regimen that I came up with.

The new fitness regime begins tomorrow. Wish me luck!