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Pain during IUD fitting

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First, I want to preface that I have a high pain tolerance. I’ve broken bones, I have tattoos, I have piercings, several of which I have done myself (in my younger years, unwise, I know). I don’t have anxiety when going to the doctor or dentist, have always gotten regular pap smears without pain, issue, or anxiety. I was not afraid going into this. 

I had the Skyla coil fitted first. The doctor that fitted it was very experienced, and did not use a cervical clamp. It was a very painful experience, but he did have me take ibuprofen ahead of the appointment, used topical numbing, I can’t recall if he used a numbing injection or not, but the procedure was quick. I recall involuntarily shouting before fainting immediately after, and vomiting when I woke up. The cramps that followed for the next 48 hours were the most excruciating I have ever experienced. 

Three years later, I dutifully returned to the hospital to get it replaced. I’d moved, so I had a different doctor replace the coil. This doctor did not use any numbing nor did they recommend any medication prior to the appointment, although I took ibuprofen regardless. I chose the same coil to get fitted again, but she said she would be using a cervical clamp during the procedure. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything more painful in my life than when she attached the clamp and began the procedure to insert the new coil. And the derision and impatience of her and her assistant after the procedure as I tried to collect myself, sobbing and half naked on the table was humiliating and traumatic. 
Now, several months later I’m getting follow up calls to come back in to check the placement, as well as get a routine pap smear, and the thought of being back in that position, even knowing I won’t be experiencing that pain during the appointment, triggers a panic attack. I’m left searching for private clinics that I can pay a premium fee for that specialize in working with patients with anxiety and trauma, or finding a way to somehow work past this mental barrier I now have. 

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I recently had the mirena coil fitted. Ives never had one fitted before and I’ve had 4 children and was told it’s easier and simpler with women who have given birth naturally as the cervix is more open than a cervix that has never given birth. Is it painful coming from a women who has previously had 4 children? There is slight discomfort and you can definitely feel it going in. I’d describe it as an ache more than anything but definitely nothing compared to the pain of giving birth. All womens experience are different and have different pain thresholds but I hope this helps anyone who has a similar background to me regarding previously having children. It’s not a severe pain and I carried on with my day perfectly fine straight after. I’m sorry to read all these women that have had really painful, awful experiences but I didn’t. 

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As someone who has experienced my fair share of excruciating periods and been referred several times for severe abdominal pain - I believed (rather naively) that having the could inserted would be fine.


I take the recommended paracetamol an hour before the procedure and have prepared a heat pad for when I returned home. After being told I have a tilted cervix, and several rounds of poking, the coil was finally inserted. HOWEVER this was just the start of severe pain - I could barely talk or move the pain was that bad. The GP surgery was so unprepared for the procedure going wrong - no pain relief, no spare rooms, no heat pads or oxygen. I can only say that the nurses were amazing in looking after me with the limited resources they had! 
I ended up having the coil removed after not experiencing any reduction in pain after half an hour. Upon its removal I vomited everywhere and passed out. 

I’ve been looking into the coil a lot more since unsuccessfully having it inserted and it’s really disappointing to see so many similar stories but no open conversation about the severity of the pain on the NHS website or in consultations about coil insertion. 

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Really moving reading everyone's experiences, solidarity to all of you.

Similar to a lot of people here, I found my IUD fitting the single most painful experience of my life. I was not informed by the NHS website or the person doing the insertion that the procedure would be anything beyond 'uncomfortable'. I was allowed to leave the treatment room despite being barely able to walk, and 5 minutes later I fainted in the sexual health clinic's toilets. I have never felt so alone with my pain, or so violated by an institution which I trusted. The NHS website's phrasing that the procedure might be 'uncomfortable' is an insult. I know they probably don't want to scare people off getting what is, let's face it, a really effective form of contraception - but allowing people to go uninformed into painful medical procedures, because the procedure is for 'their own good' in the long term, is a horrendously paternalistic way of doing healthcare. 

The vital thing I want to add to this conversation is the long-term consequences on my physical and mental health. I'm now in my mid-20s and like all cervix-havers my age, I've started getting letters from the NHS cervical screening service to go get checked for cervical cancer. I know this is a life-saving screening service, but my experience with the IUD fitting has made me extremely reluctant to let anyone wielding a speculum anywhere near my body ever again!  Before I had the coil fitted, I had undergone gynaecological exams before and found them unpleasant but very manageable. I could get on with my day afterwards. Now, after the trauma of my IUD fitting, I find any kind of gynaecological exam very, very difficult, even something as relatively innocuous as a smear test. I had to get a cervical biopsy recently, and although on a rational level I knew it wouldn't be anywhere near as painful as the IUD insertion, as we all know, trauma doesn't live in the rational parts of our brains. I lost sleep the night before the exam, and was sweating and crying uncontrollably during it, and worst of all, this trauma-induced anxiety made the procedure more painful than it needed to be, because I was completely unable to relax.

This is the worst thing about all of this for me. It's not just 5 minutes of pain for 5 years of easy contraception. The complete shock of how painful my IUD fitting was has permanently changed my relationship to my own gynaecological health, to my own body. If that isn't medical malpractice, then I don't know what is. 

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I went for an IUD placement in 2019 (Canada) and had a similar experience. I expected it to be uncomfortable and a little painful knowing (I thought) what the procedure involved. I was not prepared for the level of pain at all tho - it was definitely the most painful thing I have ever experienced. After it was in, I was so dizzy and close to passing out that I couldn't even stand up or leave the office for almost an hour, and the Dr acted like this was unusual and said it had never happened to her before with a patient. After reading many other women's experiences with this, I realize this is actually pretty standard. As I was not expecting this, I didnt take any pain medication before going, nor was any offered or suggested. And I did not take anyone with me to the appt, so I had to walk several blocks back to my car and then drive myself home over an hour away, all while still in pain and feeling very light headed and sick. 

I like my IUD and am happy to have one. But it is insane that so many women report such high levels of pain, yet there seems to be no discussion in the medical field about providing pain relief. If it is normal to get freezing at the dentist, then it should be normal to get freezing for this! Even just being prepared for what I was actually going to experience would have been some help. As some others have said, I also felt strange and almost traumatized when I got home, like something really bad had been done to me, because of how painful it was. That has passed since of course, but I dread having it removed or getting another one put in. I will not be letting that happen without some kind of pain medication and a friend along, that is for sure! 

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Is it normal to still experience pain 7 months later. Sharp pains left hand side uterus and bottom of my back. Thought it was just when I was due to have a period but seems to be just random days now. 

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Hi Jenn, I would recommend you go and see your doctor to get your symptoms checked out if you are still experiencing pain. I do hope you can find some relief and answers soon.

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Hi. When I was about 23 years old, I asked for a framed copper coil and cried with pain at the insertion and began to sweat profusely and feel faint and sick. I was given a bed to lie down on and the kindly family planning doctor (a nice lady, who was upset by my reaction), dropped me the 15 minute walk home by car as I was unfit to walk. When my next period came, the cramps were so awful and prevented me from working my job so I had it removed. At 25, and desperate for contraception, I had a Gynefix coil fitted which was painful to insert - excruciating for 1-2 minutes, but which caused no cramps and stayed 5 years. After my 2 children (V/B) I got another gynefix, again excruciating to fit for 2 minutes, but with no after shaking or sweating or cramping. I had this removed painlessly and then had another child (C/S).  Now in my 40's with periods so heavy that I am flooding everywhere, I have an appointment soon for a mirena coil. I am already dreading it and fearing I will have shock after because it has a frame like my first one. I wonder if the shape affects the response, if you shock because of the womb cramping on the  coil? The gynefix coil is just tiny beads on a string, no frame. I never went into shock with either of these. I will update here when I've done the mirena coil. If I shock again I feel sorry for them ( doing the procedure ) and me, going through it. The pain being a woman is just unreal in relation to contraception and childbirth. Why this isn't done pain-free, I don't know. 

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Hi, I promised to update after my Mirena coil. This experience was so much better because a numbing spray was used prior to insertion. It was uncomfortable and mildly painful for 3  minutes but the staff were amazing and helped me through everything and I left well. I took ibuprofen before going. Maybe ask for the numbing spray because it has made a dfference for me.

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I was 14 when I had my IUD put in. I guess I wanted to get it done so that in high school I could have sex without the fear of pregnancy? I went with my mom and before the appointment I had a total of 2 online appointments, where they essentially told me nothing about the procedure. The obgyn said it would be short and “maybe a little uncomfortable”. Prior to this, I had never had a Pap smear or anything of the sort. My mom gave me 1/2 of a dosage of some anxiety relieving (not pain relief) drug she had lying around. It did absolutely nothing. I remember I was nervous, the lady asked if I wanted to play “calming music during it”, I said no, and then I took off my pants. My mom sat beside me, and I don’t remember anything until the point where the doctor said “this part will be a bit crampy”. Instant unbelievable pain consumed my body, my eyes and mouth shot open, I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream. I remember asking over and over, “Is it over? Is it over?” with short shallow breaths. My mom had gotten an IUD fitting before, after she had me, and said it wasn’t very painful for her. She tried to get me through it by talking about dogs or something, but looking back on it I’m still angry about how she handled the situation. When it was over (after like, 15 minutes, because she couldn’t fit it in the first few times) I immediately felt nauseous and threw up over the side of the chair. A nurse came in to give me a throw up bag and an ibuprofen, which I promptly vomited out a second time. I remember I was in so much pain afterwards, I tried desperately to look for the best sitting position on the ground to relieve myself. I think I spent over an hour just sitting on the ground, waiting to be able to walk again. My mom came over to me and said “Oh my god you look like a ghost”; I’m extremely pale already, but she still recounts how scary it was for her to see me like that. I also had to poop pretty bad right after, which I think was just my body trying to get the foreign object out of my body (the vomit, too). My mom helped me limp to the bathroom, with my underwear practically sliding off, past the reception area of the nurses. I remember how they didn’t seem to care. The only thing that brought me relief before I could hobble to the car with my pants half on, gripping them with my hand, was this air conditioner thing on the floor which provided white nose. I just sat pressed against it for what felt like forever until the pain became bearable. At this point in time, that is still the only appointment I’ve had regarding my IUD. I saw another doctor at a Stanford clinic who offered to put me completely under when I get it removed, but she only works with children (I think), and I’m afraid that by the time I will get it removed that I won’t be able to see her anymore. We haven’t gone to any follow up appointments with that terrible woman, but thankfully there aren’t any extreme side effects happening which would result in a check up. I am writing this at 2 am on a school night because I am constantly kept up by thoughts about this event and when I will get the IUD removed. I am utterly terrified and helpless.

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Hi @Illumi123

So sorry to hear of your horrific experience when you went to get an IUD fitted. No-one should have to experience this type of pain. Although many women have only mild discomfort when they have an IUD, as you can read from this thread, many like yourself have a much worse experience.

If possible, please do speak to a trusted friend or adult about you concerns and experience. We would also encourage you to go and see a healthcare professional, potentially with a friend or trusted adult for support, to discuss your concerns and the pain relief options that are available to you. Having more information may help you feel in a stronger position when the time comes to have your IUD removed. Also, if possible through school or the community, it may be helpful to speak to a counsellor about how you may be able to manage your fears in relation to this if this is something you would feel comfortable doing.

Please continue following this thread as there may be a healthcare professional or patient who has gone through something similar who could advise you further on the options available to you in the US.

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