1 Year With LILETTA
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
Today's we're getting a little more personal. This Saturday Aug. 1 will be the official 1 year that I've have the IUD LILETTA. While my experience is not going to be the same as someone else. I believe it's important to hear different perspectives on having an IUD.
To make this journey a bit easier, I'll break it down into 4 sections. Why I got it, Planned Parenthood Experience & Insertion, The first 3-6 months, and The past 6 months. So without further ado, let's jump in!
Note: I will be switching between Planned Parenthood & PP throughout, know that they are the same thing.
Why I got an IUD?
Ever since I got my first period in October '08 they've always been painful with a side of a blood waterfall. Especially as I entered adulthood, I would often find myself literally stopping in the street to let a cramp pass. My cramps felt like I knife actually pierced my uterus. I would also bleed so much that I needed to change my super plus tampon 2-3 hours after insertion (even though they're supposed to last 8 hours). So once I heard that an IUD could help with my cramping and bleeding, I knew I needed to do some research. I searched the web for IUDs and found a few on the market. Some with estrogen/progesterone, some with just progesterone, and the copper IUD. I knew I didn't want copper because it has a track record of making cramps worse and that was the last thing I wanted. I also knew I didn't want anything with estrogen because I've had several friends tell me estrogen birth control has had a negative impact on their bodies. Also I ruled out the arm implant from day one because (while not common) it can move from the arm into other parts of the body and that freaked me out. Yes an IUD can get lodged in the uterus (also rare) but that wasn't as alarming for me. After taking all of that into consideration I knew I wanted a progesterone based IUD. LILETTA was the one I chose which lasts for up to 7 years and does not contain estrogen.
After I determined what I wanted, I needed to choose where to get the procedure done. At the time I was on my parent's Aetna Insurance so I had a good number of options open to me. Even with all of those options I knew I wanted to have the procedure done in a non-judgmental space. The first place that came to mind was Planned Parenthood. I've known about PP for about 10 years at the time. It was also one of the first organizations I ever donated to. Knowing how much I appreciated PP I went on their website and found a whole section dedicated to IUDs which listed the options I had already found during my research session. Once I browsed their site I made an appointment for the day before my 26th birthday.
Planned Parenthood Experience & Insertion
This was my first time going to a PP since high school, when a friend of mine wanted to get tested for STIs (Yes, it was a friend of mine. If it were me I'd say so.). A bit different from last time (also a different location from the last time), upon entering the office I was greeted by colorful walls, a security guard, and a metal detector. Since there are some strong opinions out there about PP I expected a security check. After the security check I was pointed to where the lobby was and made my way. As I approached the counter I saw several members of the staff with IUD pins and a small basket with stickers with different pronouns options. The environment was so welcoming and so was the staff. We confirmed who I was and they gave me a pamphlet with birth control options anyway as I waited to get called to the back. Once I was in one of the patient rooms, I was asked a series of questions about my health. I was also offered a complementary HIV test and covered pap smear. After that initial questioning I was brought to the room for the procedure. First I got a pap smear which was kind of felt like prep for the IUD* haha Then it was time for the show. I had heard it was normal for the insertion to feel like your worst cramps so I took a couple Advil before heading to the office.
It did hurt like my worst cramp which was PAINFUL! Personally, I was so thankful that I practice yoga and breath-work because it came in HANDY. It's like, you have the speculum in you and you cannot clench but you feel the point when the insertion device goes past your cervix. Like I felt myself ease any clenching downstairs by focusing on my breathing and clenching the arm rests with my hands instead. After the insertion, I was told I would most likely bleed but that's where I made a miscalculation. I BLEED so I should've worn a pad (they had free pads all around) but I wore a liner instead. I bled through my underwear was the day went on. So next time, I'm wearing a pad 😅
*Notes: Depending on your answers to the health questions you might need to get the results back from the pap smear prior to getting an IUD inserted. Also I felt more comfortable getting the procedure done in the moment because when I asked for more lubrication for the speculum, my request was immediately granted without question or push-back.
The First 3-6 Months
The people at PP said I could experience more bleeding and cramping during the first 3-6 months and they were not lying. I was bleeding daily for about 2 weeks at a time, I had some wild mood swings, and did experience some cramping but not a ton. There was even a point where I thought something was wrong, so I scheduled a follow up appointment and everything turned out fine. They offered to remove it if I wanted to do that but I said I'd wait the full 6 months before thinking about removal.
After the first month and a half of bloodshed it was as if someone turned off the tap. The constant flow of blood stopped for about another month. The next time I bled I wore a light tampon for about 4 hours and didn't bleed through it. That's when I sort of trusted the process and was like "it's working". I was almost emotional. After all these years of blood and pain I was finally getting some relief.
The Past 6 Months
Ever since the settling period my IUD is cozy comfy in there. Every time my "period" comes there are about 1 - 3 small cramps and I only need a liner or one of my period panties while I spot. Like there is barely any blood in comparison to a year ago and I'm not stopped by pain. From a financial standpoint my IUD was covered by my insurance and since my insertion the only thing I've purchased is one box of 100% cotton tampons. During the bloody first month and a half I was using up the products I already had in my arsenal so I've saved so much money not needing to buy pads, tampons, pain pills etc. These past 6 months have solidified for me that I'm not removing this IUD until it needs to be replaced in 2026.
In summary, to me it feels like I have this new sense of freedom. I'm no longer worried about making sure I'm carrying enough tampons, my mood swings have settled, cramps rarely come, and as a bonus I have a form of birth control implanted. All from a device that was free to put in. Know that if you're not insured Planned Parenthood might be able to cover the cost (or partially cover the cost) of your IUD. That info can be found on their website here.
That's my experience with my IUD! If you have any questions about any part of my IUD process/experience, you can comment your questions below 💜