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Author Topic: Finally!
Love-Life
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This is just a quick note before I have to go to class!

In August I went to the doctor to ask about getting a Mirena IUD, and was put on a 10 month wait list for a gynecologist. 10 months... I know, ridiculous, right? Anyways, so I've been taking the pill since then (really quite perfectly which is a change for me) and I was waiting very impatiently for my appointment. My dad had recently lost his job so I didn't have any extended medical which means that I would have to pay for it out-of-pocket which I couldn't, and still can't, afford. Anyways, his new medical just kicked in last month and I got a call from the Gyno's office and they had a cancellation for tomorrow at 1:30!

I'm so happy! :-) A little nervous, but happy!

--------------------
There is an upside to everything, sometimes you just have to turn it upside down to find it.

:-) Vikki (-:

Posts: 153 | From: British Columbia | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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That's fantastic!

Anything we can do to help with your nervousness?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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Wow, that's *so* great to hear, Vikki! I got mine about three weeks ago and have been quite satisfied with it so far. I've done a bit of personal research plus have heard many people's personal accounts. Like Heather said, if there's anything we can do to help with your nervousness or what not, please let us know. [Smile]

I'm not someone who gets nervous about most stuff but I was *extremely* nervous about the IUD insertion for a few reasons. However, the actual insertion itself was just fine, even a lot better than I had expected. I know some people will call it "the worst pain they've ever felt but only for a few seconds and so worth it" but it wasn't very painful to me. I was given two pills to take vaginally the night before and morning of time to help dilate my cervix (not sure if it really made a difference?) get extremely painful cramps so it was nothing in comparison! (Not sure if that's so helpful with worries but there you go!)

I also recommend against reading *too* many personal accounts of IUD insertion online. There are some helpful people out there but please keep in mind that a lot of times the bad experiences are more often shared than the neutral or positives ones.

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Love-Life
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Thanks Heather and Lena!

I'm not exactly sure what I'm nervous about, I think it's a combination of a lot of things. not knowing what to expect is a big one, I've never seen a gynecologist before but I have had PAP tests, and I've read the "Your First Gynecologist Visit" article which is helpful. I'm a little nervous around doctors to begin with so that doesn't help.

I'm going to wait to start reading other peoples' stories until after talking with my doctor. My family doctor seemed reluctant to refer me to the gynecologist because he has problems with young people getting the mirena IUD. So I'm really hoping that this gynecologist can make things more clear for me about the risks involved and stuff. I think it's always better to start with an informed opinion before looking at other people's thoughts on things.

I'm glad to hear your story though, Lena, it's reassuring to hear that it went so well for you. :-)
I'll chack back after my appointment to let you all know how it went. Wish me luck!

--------------------
There is an upside to everything, sometimes you just have to turn it upside down to find it.

:-) Vikki (-:

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Ecofem
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How are you doing, Vikki? How was your appointment. [Smile]

I also had a GP who was not just reluctant but opposed to "women without children" getting IUDs; however, it seems like his sentiments were based on outdated or incorrect knowledge. We can talk about the risks more if you'd like because I can share what I was told. I also know IUDs are extremely popular with many women outside North America, which is something to keep in mind.

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Love-Life
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Hey, sorry I didn't get on here sooner!

My appointment went really well, she is super nice. She made sure I knew of my other options and how I could have them work best for me. When I let her know that I wanted the IUD she explained about the differences between the copper IUD and Mirena IUD and explained why Mirena would work the best for me.
She then did a quick physical and took some swabs to make sure there was no previous infections (saying my cervix looked "easy" during this process which made me laugh).
She does the procedure at the hospital here, so I have to wait for them to book me in, she usually schedules a bunch of women on the same day so it looks like I won't have much say in that. As long as it's not an exam day I'm happy. :-) But I have a prescription for the implant and for those pills you had mentioned, Lena, and yeah. I'll probably get a call this week.

She spoke a bit about the risks, but my GP really kind of freaked me out when he was talking about the risk for infection and how having lots of sexual partners can basically kill me... From what I understand it's basically just because if I end up with an infection it can travel up into my uterus. But would practicing safe sex with, say, more than one partner in the next five years, be really bad? I know it sounds kind of ridiculous but that's honestly how my doctor made it sound and I'm only 19 so the chances of me having more sexual partners are quite high.

My Gynecologist sort of made it more clear, talking about STI's and stuff but she didn't really talk a whole lot about it, just explaining why it's a very bad thing if an infection gets up there.

Anyways, I hope that makes sense. All in all it was a very good experience! :-)

--------------------
There is an upside to everything, sometimes you just have to turn it upside down to find it.

:-) Vikki (-:

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Heather
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Just so it's clear, when an IUD is inserted, that high risk of STIs or other genital infections traveling to the uterus isn't a constant: that's the case for a couple of weeks after it's inserted, then levels off after that.

So, you just want to make sure that a) for the first three weeks (that's what I usually advise) any partners use a condom and then b) you use regular safer sex protocol after that, the same as anyone would use, not just folks with an IUD. That means, ideally, with any new partners six months of latex barrier use for any oral, anal or vaginal sex, six months of being exclusive, then a full STI screen for you both at the end. If you're both negative, then if you want to ditch condoms, so long as you both remain exclusive, your risks of most STIs (HPV would be the lone exception, since men can't get tested for it) are exceptionally low.

If your GP gave you the impression that safer sex made no difference in STI transmission (that it was all about how many partners you had, and no, more than one partner in a five year period is not only not a lot in my book, statistically it's average at the very least, if not below average for someone your age), they were either being dishonest or are VERY behind in their education on STIs.

Just so you know, the average number of sexual partners for a lifetime for folks is usually around 4-8 in studies. And if it makes you feel any better to have a personal anecdote, I am someone who is in a very small percentile per the number of partners I have had (in other words, I am on the high end, especially for women), and I'm just fine. Mind, I have been pretty fantastic with safer sex for the last 25 years, but so can anyone be. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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Hey Vikki,

Heather already addressed the IUD/STI risk/safer sex thing in detail, but I can share what my GYN told me and how I feel about it all. As Heather said, the first three weeks after insertion are the highest risk time when you want to be extra careful no matter what. (This is one reason why I got mine put in while my long-distance partner and I wouldn't see each other for two+ months.) Then, as my GYN explained, it's either doing the mutually monogamous thing or being extra careful with latex barriers. She said that doctors would not recommend it as an option for a (young) person who is sexually active with multiple partners AND isn't always using safer sex tools. As Heather said, using safer sex stuff makes *all* the difference, in terms of making most STI risks very small.

My partner and I had done the two STIs testings six months apart (and I got tested again right before I got it), had been careful with latex barriers, then switched to other methods that we (or at least I) wasn't as happy with as I would have liked. The IUD really seemed the best fit by far for me/us: condoms are the best in many ways, but I wanted to go barrier-free. I didn't want to go on BCP or use another form of hormonal birth control due to those potential side effects. Using a diaphragm was OK at first but not really the best option long-term for me: the spermicide was quite aggravating, the timing got tricky and it made me feel not quite as free as I'd like to be during sex, plus I later was worried about the 6% failure rate with perfect usage, especially after I had to take EC when the diaphragm may have slipped and I was entering a more fertile period. The copper IUD wasn't really a good match because I already have bad cramps and there's no way I wanted to possibly make that worse. The Mirena does have a low-dose of hormones, which ideally I'd avoid but seemed worth trying. (All those other methods can and do work for others; I'm in no way trying to discourage you from using those or encourage you to get an IUD, I'm just telling you where I'm coming form. [Smile] )

Because my insurance didn't cover anything IUD-related, it was a huge initial investment for me. It was also a bit scary because it felt like a big commitment to my relationship, even though we've been together and monogamous for a year. Were we to open up the relationship (always a possibility even if it's not something we want right now) or to end the relationship, I'd have to be *extra* careful with safer sex. Still, the tradeoffs seemed worth it to me: the vast majority of women with IUDs are satisfied with them. To me, not being pregnant is my main goal and I want a form of birth control that I don't have to take every day or deal with right before and after sex; I don't want big amounts of hormones, especially if they might mean decreased sex drive (eek!) I've always been careful with safer sex before with other partners, and I'd be careful with it in the future, too! So I went for the IUD after all; it's been good for now, we'll see what the future brings.

[I actually switched doctors over this (and other issues, too) because my previous GP was not very supportive/informed on the IUD issue. My current GYN is very up-to-date (she actually has the Mirena IUD herself, as apparently many medical professionals do these day), honest, professional, etc. I know someone who got an IUD at 20 and she's loved it/been just fine in terms of not contracting STIs.]

So, that's where I'm coming from. Of course, you know what's best for you ultimately but I'm sorry that the doctors haven't been more informative/less biased. I'd be glad to talk about this more if you'd like. [Smile]

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Love-Life
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Thanks for clearing that up, it makes me feel much better. I do practice safe sex, my boyfriend and I have had one STI screening which came back negative for both, we will be getting another one in a few months. After that we will decide what to do about whether we use condoms or not. I don't have a problem with them and neither does he so the IUD is really just because I want something long-term and easy. It seems like the best option both because of the effectiveness and because it has been said to help with period frequency and heaviness and such. My mom actually has one and she didn't have a period for four years on it, just a tiny bit of light spotting. I know it may not be the case for me but it's definitely a positive.

I'm really really lucky that it's covered under my dad's extended medical, I really couldn't afford it otherwise right now. And, in 5 years I'll still be young enough that if I so choose, and my dad is still working where he is, that I can get another one covered as well. So, that's definitely a bonus for me.

I don't have an appointment yet, is there anything you recommend for the pain? I've heard from some that it can be really bad and others say it's not bad at all and I guess I'll just have to wait and see. I'm not super worried, just a bit. Anyways, I'm super excited, still no appointment yet but I'm sure I'll be getting a phone call this week. [Smile]

I'd love to hear any and all advice/info that you feel like sharing, Lena. Thanks so much! [Smile]

--------------------
There is an upside to everything, sometimes you just have to turn it upside down to find it.

:-) Vikki (-:

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Ecofem
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Hi there, Vikki! From what you've said before and here, too, it sounds like an IUD would be a good option for you: if a doctor isn't willing to prescribe one for you simply based on your age, then I'd keep looking for one who's more open to considering all aspects.

The potential side effect on periods is definitely a possibility, although it all depends on the person and there's that six month adjustment window people will talk about. I actually had hoped to keep getting my period: my GYN said, yes, it can go away or more likely decrease to a few days over time. Ironically, my first period on the Mirena has been mostly free of cramps and lighter but to have come sooner and actually lasted TWICE as long as usual but we'll see what time tells.

As for the pain, I'd talk to the doctor about that when you make your appointment: I was given something to dilate my cervix but I'm not sure it actually made a difference and someone actually just told me about a very negative possible side effect. Different doctors do things different ways, so yours can give you the best advice. I think it does really depend on the person but whatever happens, I think you'll be fine. I've never read someone saying that the pain was so great that they didn't get the IUD after all but I'm sure there are people out there.

I think it's a great thing to be able to get it when you're covered by insurance because it saves you a lot of money AND makes it less pressure, should you change your mind. (I was like, "Once that bugger is out of the box, there's no turning around because I'm not going to pay for nothing!") While that's not reason enough to get one, of course, like you said, it's certainly a perk!

You're welcome, and keep us posted! And a bit off-topic but thanks for helping around the boards so much, too. [Smile]

[Just as an aside, we tend to use the term "safeR sex" because using certain precautions like latex barriers can greatly reduce but still not totally eliminate risk. [Wink] ]

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Love-Life
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I'm back, after forever!

I finally got the IUD today, and feel awful. The pill they gave me made me so sick, and of course I have school today... That was fun.

But, I'm so happy to have it in! Now it's all done, and in total it cost me $10.27 which I was so excited about!

I'll post more later, I'm just heading home! Just wanted to let you know!

--------------------
There is an upside to everything, sometimes you just have to turn it upside down to find it.

:-) Vikki (-:

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Ecofem
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Hi Vikki, so glad to hear that you got your IUD, although I'm so sorry that you're feeling so awful! I felt kinda cruddy on and off for two weeks, although it all depends on the person, for sure; I know of people who were fine a day later so I'm hoping you'll be one of them. [Wink] (Nearly three months later and I'm doing pretty well with it, however, just to throw that out there.) And what a great price! Mine cost nearly 100x that, unfortunately, but that's rare even here because a lot of people can get it cheaper, have insurance that covers part/all of it or qualify for a program that covers it. I look forward to hearing more about your experience!
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Love-Life
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So, after the initial drama of trying to find a parking spot (which so didn't happen!) I showed up, and it took a half hour in total. Everyone was really nice, my doctor answered all of my questions and talked me through the whole thing. It was an interesting pain, definitely not something I would want again anytime soon but I'm definitely glad that it's done.

The medication really was awful, I was so sick and I had dinner plans last night that I felt I needed to go to, which I ended up canceling because I was so nauseous. I'm pretty sure that I would have been better with no medication and just deal with the extra pain, but I don't know.

I was pretty crampy yesterday until about 6, and have felt fine since. A little bit of cramps today, but more like period cramps, not like curling up in a ball cramps. And some spotting which I'm not concerned about. It's hardly anything, just enough to need a pad.

All in all, today I'm pretty happy its done. But I just broke up with my boyfriend 2 weeks ago so it seems like the timing is a little off, but I figure this way it will be easier for me to avoid infection for the next few weeks :-)

--------------------
There is an upside to everything, sometimes you just have to turn it upside down to find it.

:-) Vikki (-:

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Ecofem
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Hi Vikki,

Thanks again for sharing more details about your experience and I'm glad to hear you're overall happy with it. I'm sorry that you and your boyfriend broke up, but it sounds like you have a really positive take on things. As you know, the Mirena can be left in for up to five years, so you have an easy, long-term BC method. Also, while I'm not one for menstrual suppression for the sake of not wanting to deal with periods, I know I'm glad to have started experiencing the lighter periods and fewer cramps that many women have once they have their Mirena.

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