I’ve just come from my IUS fitting so I can’t comment on the long term side effects yet, but I wanted to review my fitting experience right away as I read so many negative reviews that I think it’s really important to share my positive experience:
To set the scene, I have PTSD, and though I knew I wanted the IUS for long lasting contraception with minimal hormones I was incredibly anxious about the procedure. I read a lot online about the actual process and the way the fitting takes place, and also read a lot of reviews from all different women.
The night before my fitting I was so anxious and distressed I cancelled the appointment. The next day, the nurse called me to confirm if I was still coming in or if I definitely wanted to cancel. I said that honestly I was in two mind about it, and I was worried about the fitting pain / trauma and the effect it would have on my mental health. The nurse was incredibly supportive, and we spoke through the whole thing. We left it on this understanding: I would still come to my appointment, but there was no obligation to go through with the coil fitting. We could just chat about it for 40 minutes if I wanted, or we could take baby steps to see how far I was comfortable going, or fit the coil if I felt 100% comfortable with it.
When I arrived I was anxious, but I had taken 2 paracetamol and some ibuprofen extra rapid action about 45 minutes before my appointment in case I did go through with it. This 100% helped with cramping. When I arrived, the nurse talked me through everything, answered all my questions and assured me that I had total control over my body and what was happening, and at any moment, whatever I chose to do is exactly what would happen. She gave me power, supported my experience, never once made me feel stupid and made me feel safe.
After chatting to her for 10-15 minutes, I felt able to go through the coil fitting and this was the process I had from start to finish (get ready for tmi):
– A pregnancy test was carried out to make sure I was 100% not pregnant
– I undressed from the waist down and sat on the table/mattress thing (idk what it’s called?) before putting my legs into stirrups with my bum against the edge so the nurse could get the best angle.
– She inserted one very lubricated gloved finger into my vagina to feel for my cervix and pushed down on my tummy to check the position of my womb, no pain at all here, just an odd sensation.
-She then inserted the speculum and widened it so that she could see my cervix clearly. This was again, not painful, but it was mildly uncomfortable, it just felt like a bit of pressure and gave me the sensation of needing to pee even though I’d only been to the loo 10 minutes before.
-The nurse then cleaned my cervix with a sterile solution, this did feel slightly uncomfortable, but it was more a different sensation I’d not felt before, as opposed to painful.
-Then she applied a local anaesthetic, she advised it might be slightly uncomfortable, but again it was more a different sensation, on a pain scale of 0-10 I would rate this a 1/10, I was able to maintain conversation with the chaperone throughout and breathe normally.
-We waited about a minute or so before the nurse then measured my womb, I did experience a very slightly cramp when this happened but no sharp or searing pain in the cervical opening; I was talking to the chaperone and the nurse throughout this time, I would rate this a 1/10 on the pain scale.
-What happened next I thought was actually the measuring still taking place, but actually was the insertion of the IUD, I felt some slightly more intense cramping during this (3/10) but would honestly say they were no more painful than my usual period cramps (which are mild and I do not often take painkillers for) and this subsided quickly (within 30 seconds or so)
– The nurse told me that that was it and the coil was inserted and I didn’t believe her, I thought that it would much more painful and had prepared myself for the worst, she assured me it was done, cut my strings and then gently closed and removed the speculum.
– I took my legs out of the stirrups/holder things, and sat up slowly, before being passed a cup of water and taking a few minutes to process everything and steady my nerves.
– I got dressed, declined the offer of a biscuit, chatted through the aftercare again fully now I was less nervous, thanked my nurse and the chaperone profusely for being so kind and supportive, and making the experience actually quite pleasant and walked the 20 minutes home.
Currently, I’m sat in my bed, writing this review and eating fruit pastilles. I’ll add another review once I see how I get on in a few months, but I just thought it was so important to stress how positive my experience was. I know I was incredibly lucky to have had such a kind supportive nurse, and I would say that this made all of the difference, but the whole time I felt in control, safe and supported.
Overall pain rating I’d say a 2/10, with more discomfort than pain, but when you’re anxious and panicky it can be hard to separate the two. I’d recommend painkillers before to help with the cramps afterwards, plenty of deep breathing, good chatty conversation, local anesthetic and a kind, supportive, safe environment. Every body is different, so every experience is different, but I wanted to re-assure anyone that like me, struggles with PTSD, that it is possible to have the procedure done, and to make sure that the place you’re going to is nothing less than kind, empathetic and supportive of you.