This is a story of how the tiny but mighty copper IUD birth control device will change your life.
It was supposed to be a chill getaway, when suddenly, “Oh sh*t!” Cue a moment of silence for the broken, leaking condom in your travel partner’s hands.
What ensued was a frantic search for morning-after pills in a sleepy island town. There was cry-laughing because the universe thought it would be funny to make those pills unavailable in said town. I spent hours on Google trying to figure the probability percentage of getting pregnant when you’re day 18 into your cycle. Finally there was the popping of emergency contraceptive after a mad rush to the pharmacy in the arrival hall.
But, why stop worrying when you’re getting pregnant with a French f*ckboy as your baby daddy’s sperm, especially in an Asian society!?
Thankfully, the franticness stopped not too long after. Ultimately my period came (duh), but it was also because I decided to use an Intrauterine device (IUD). I had found out that it is a very reliable emergency contraception option after unprotected sex.
Save the unnecessary pregnancy scare and panic – here are some birth control truths I wish I knew earlier:
Birth Control, As An Extreme Emergency Contraceptive Option
An IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method, where a tiny T-shaped IUD is inserted into your uterus. What you probably didn’t know is that getting on this birth control option AFTER the deed is done can also prevent conceiving.
As detailed above, getting an IUD after sexual mishaps can lower your chances of getting pregnant by more than 99.9 percent. This is, however, only applicable for copper IUDs, and if it is inserted within five days of sex.
To explain, the copper in the IUD causes sperm to stop moving, which keeps them from reaching your egg. The IUD may also keep your egg from implanting in your uterus. Plus, you can leave the copper IUD in after the pregnancy scare, and it can be your regular contraceptive method.
The Existence Of Non-Hormonal Birth Control
I don’t do well with hormonal contraceptives, which is one of the reasons I have stayed away from most female-targeted birth control.
Hormonal contraceptives, like the pill and hormonal implants, change a woman’s hormone levels to keep her body from getting pregnant. While they can be convenient and reliable, they might not be ideal choices for some. This is particularly if one has difficulty in regulating emotions, extremely fears weight gain, or has skin conditions.
Thankfully, the copper IUD does not contain contraceptive drugs or suppress hormones, thereby allowing your magnificent womanly body to carry on with its regular business. The addition of having a copper sperm killer nestled inside your uterus may seem daunting, but it can be removed at any time. It gives you a speedy return to your normal fertility.
However, this also means you won’t reap the benefits of hormonal birth control options, like cycle regulation or reduced bleeding.
Continuous Red Floods And Intense Cramping
Speaking about bleeding, copper IUDs will, sadly, make you bleed more.
Before I had the device inserted in me, periods were easy-breezy – five days and goodbye, see you next cycle! Post copper IUD periods, on the other hand, were a chore. Think eight days of the red flood (I swear, my flows were twice as heavy compared to what I usually have), along with stronger cramps on the first two days. The experience on the IUD improves once your body gets used to the foreign object in it. But the flood remains kind of constant.
Because of that, I personally wouldn’t recommend copper IUDs as a birth control option for those who already suffer intense bleeding and period cramps.
Your Copper IUD Can Pop Out
Yes, you read that right – it really can pop out. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains that expulsion occurs to at least three percent of all IUD users – and after three years of having my copper IUD, I became part of that percentage.
The good news: there was no pain when it happened. Nor were there any warning signs that it was moving out of place. Perhaps it was because I was very stressed out, or because I had just started depression medication and my body went haywire (my psychiatrist firmly ruled this out, though), but I felt the wires of the device one day. An experienced gynae had to remove it.
It’s Better To Be Safe Than Pregnant
Despite all that, I still want to try the copper IUD again. The ease of use and it being non-hormonal are definite pros to having it, especially since I am now happily in a monogamous relationship and (still) have no intentions of having a child. Also, pregnancy scares are really too stressful – better to just be safe.
Hopefully, now that my body and mind have experienced using a copper IUD, here’s to hoping that the second time will be more effortless.