This post contains stuff concerning the female anatomy. Mine, to be precise. If this offends you, please read something else. That said, these are my own personal experiences and may differ from your own.
Recently, I agreed to my doctor’s recommendation of the Jaydess IUD to help counter my heavy periods. On the face of it, the IUD sounds like a little T-shaped miracle. Localised hormones, few reported side effects, lighter periods – why wouldn’t I go for it?
And, equally, why would I believe that hormones would stay localised in the body? Hormones on the skin enter the bloodstream; hormones in the cervix will definitely get in the bloodstream. But I digress.
It has to be said, getting an IUD has been sold as something of a feminist action for American women. As an American woman (though one in the UK), I was not immune to these messages. Perhaps these messages are just intended to be for reproductive uses, but I still took them on.
So, I made an appointment. The official leaflet details very few side effects, but tells the user to tell her doctor if ‘these or any other side effects arise,’ just to be suitably vague. Insertion was painful, and I had cramps for about four weeks. After four and a half weeks, the bleeding stopped. My first period with the device was a sharply medicated affair, as my cramps were worse than a usual period’s.
The real fun was emotional, from crying at everything to spending much of my time feeling hatred for those around me. Also, my hair was falling out. And the bloating (plus three pounds of weight gain) meant that only my stretchiest clothes fit. Accepting this, I spent some time selling some stuff on eBay so that size 8 dresses didn’t make me sad by hanging in the closet. But emotionally, I felt anxious and hopeless. I lashed out at my husband, then spent time wondering if I always felt that way, or if it was the IUD. Regardless, its days were numbered.
My experience with the device was not the usual one, and the long and short of it is that I’ve had it removed. I mean, Goddess bless the NHS – I had a removal appointment within 48 hours of requesting it, and my doctor was very sympathetic. The removal was quick, barely noticed by my surprised cervix and very little blood followed. I took ibuprofen in advance, though, because the insertion had been memorably unpleasant.
On the way to yoga after my appointment, my dearest friend asked, ‘So you wouldn’t recommend it, then.’ At first I dithered, saying that some women find it effective and useful and don’t have crazy side effects. But then I realised, having it put in hurts. Like, a lot. And it hurts for weeks. I bled for a month, and this was considered normal. How can a birth control method which hurts women be considered feminist?