My IUD and I just celebrated our one year anniversary, and as happy as I am to have one, I know this just brings me one year closer to the inevitable: getting it removed. It’s something I tried not to think about as I clenched my teeth through the insertion, and it’s something that (up until now) I avoided looking up out of fear that the removal process would be even worse. Luckily, that’s often not the case.
The IUD, or intrauterine device, has become popular recently thanks to its ability to provide long-lasting birth control with very little effort on the part of the owner. The device is inserted into your uterus and stays there for however long is effective. Depending on the type of IUD you have (ParaGard, Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena are the ones that are FDA-approved in the United States), it can effectively prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years. The ParaGard IUD is copper and non-hormonal, while the other types use the hormone progestin to thicken mucus and sometimes stop ovulation. When time is up, your provider removes the IUD. But what does that entail?
Ahead, we spoke to two gynecologists about what exactly goes down during the procedure and gathered some first-person accounts on how it really feels, step by step.