You might have read Firdaus’ post a few weeks ago, talking about her great experience with Mirena. Today, I’m going to talk about my great experience with the other intrauterine contraceptive: Paragard.
I’d been on hormonal birth control for 12 years, and was looking for a new kind of birth control. While the pill had decreased my horrific menstrual cramps, they were thankfully fading away as I got older and I wasn’t liking the mood swings that hormonal birth control sometimes gave me around my period. I had also met a delightful gentleman who was (and still is) my long-term partner and we were ready to have condom-free sex (after both of us being tested for STDs, of course!) and I was searching for an incredibly effective method of birth control that I wouldn’t have to remember to take on the hour – because, quite frankly, I wasn’t the best at it.
Enter Paragard: a non-hormonal, copper intrauterine device that is good for ten to twelve years with a 99.3% effectiveness rate.
In January 2011, I went into Planned Parenthood for my Paragard insertion appointment. Being the kind of person I am, I’d done my research: the insertion of the intrauterine device was supposedly going to be painful. I’d taken ibuprofen before the appointment and the health assistant was kind enough to hold my hand during the insertion which, yes, was indeed painful. However, once the insertion was over, the pain was done. I had light cramping for about two hours after the insertion and that was it. I waited a few days before I had sex with my partner and he felt the strings once or twice; they were too long for me so I had them cut about a month after insertion and haven’t had a problem since.
The only thing that I was concerned about with Paragard was the possibility for the increase of menstrual cramps after insertion and that did happen for the first year; there was one heavy day of cramps during my period, but honestly? It wasn’t nearly as bad as the menstrual cramps I’d had before. My period is a few days longer than it used to be, but for the peace of mind Paragard gives me? I can live with that.
So, a birth control method that I don’t have to replace until 2021, that I don’t have to worry about taking every day, that is one of the most effective methods of birth control, and that cost me under $500? I love Paragard and recommend it to everyone.
Is Paragard right for you? Or is Mirena right for you? Only you can figure that out – try out Planned Parenthood’s My Method tool to figure out the best birth control for you.