Hi, I'm Krista, and my Paragard IUD recently expired after a 12-year run 😭. Since I still want my body to remain a ~baby free~ zone, I got it taken out and a new one put in. I decided to document and share the entire experience for anyone who is curious or thinking about getting one.
When I got my first (and only) IUD put in, I had just had a baby, and I don't remember that procedure or what it felt like at all. So this time around, I was TERRIFIED — hence why I put off getting it removed until it was absolutely necessary. I hate getting Pap smears, and I knew this was going to be way worse than a Pap. However, I also knew that if could handle childbirth, I could handle this.
Before we get into the details of the procedure, let's talk about what the Paragard is and how it works. It is a small, T-shaped plastic device with copper wire coiled around it. Inside the uterus, the copper creates an inflammatory reaction that is toxic to sperm and eggs — making it highly effective at preventing pregnancy.
I am fortunate to have insurance through Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles (where I got my procedure done), so — through my plan — the IUD only cost me a copay of $25, and the removal of the old one was free.
Before we get into the details of the procedure, please remember that this is my personal experience, and getting an IUD can be different for everyone. Here is a detailed video of the entire insertion and removal process:
The first thing they had me do was sign a waiver agreeing to the procedure and the type of IUD I wanted. After that, it was like a typical doctor's visit, where the nurse takes your temperature, weight, and blood pressure.
Next, they gave me a pregnancy test to make sure I wasn't pregnant. So don't pee beforehand, because they'll probably make you take a urine test! Once it came back negative 😅, I was taken back to one of the rooms.
My doctor first opened my vagina with the same speculum that is used during Pap smears. He then got ready to numb my cervix. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT look at the shot if you get one. The needle is HUGE...
...WHEN I SAY "HUGE," I AM NOT EXAGGERATING:
There's no delicate way to put this: The pain of the three shots I was given was excruciating. It feels exactly the way you would imagine a ginormous needle being inserted into a very delicate internal organ would feel. I also felt really lightheaded and woozy after getting them. Fortunately, though, the shots were quick and the nauseous feeling subsided after a few minutes.
After the old IUD was out, my doctor quickly got the new one ready to put in. (At this point, we were probably 10 minutes into the procedure.) First, he measured my uterus to make sure the IUD would fit properly. I did not feel this either! Once he confirmed that the new IUD would fit, he got ready to insert it.
I did feel some sharp pinches and intense pressure while it was being placed inside my uterus, but the good news is, it only lasted about five seconds. Once it was in, the strings were trimmed to the proper length — I did not feel that part.
The last step was to use a transvaginal ultrasound to make sure the IUD was exactly where it should be. I hate this type of ultrasound because it is inserted into the vagina and is just really uncomfortable!!! But, alas, I knew it was for the greater good, so I put on my big-girl panties and went with it. Luckily, the IUD was in the right spot and I was good to go.
My doctor had me wait a few minutes before I stood up to make sure that I didn't feel dizzy or sick. After about a couple of minutes, though, I felt OK and was able to stand up fine. From start to finish, the process took about 20 minutes. Oh, and I had no problem driving myself home.
There is virtually no aftercare once you get an IUD — and you can pretty much have sex immediately. I experienced some light bleeding that day, but other than that, I felt completely normal! I am not going to lie and say getting an IUD is ~mildly~ painful, because IMO, it is very painful. That being said, the pain — for me — was super quick and in spurts. In other words, getting a Paragard IUD is about brief pain for a long-term gain (12 years, to be exact 😉).
If I had any advice for people who are thinking of getting one, I would suggest talking to your doctor before your procedure and asking questions — like, do they administer anesthesia or offer medicine to help with the pain, as well as anything else you are nervous about, so that you know what to expect. Lastly, I would like to remind everyone again that I have had a baby and my body has also been used to having an IUD for many years. So take that into consideration after reading about my experience. If you've have an IUD inserted, tell us what your experience was like in the comments!