Even though most women who have an IUD say they are happy with it, they usually don't extend those warm feelings towards the insertion procedure. In fact, between 10-20% of women report "severe pain" during their procedure, while many more describe it as uncomfortable, to say the least.
Furthermore, doctors routinely underestimate how much the insertion hurts, according to a recent study in Contraception. So if you're thinking your doctor can give you an accurate picture, think twice.
Yet, it's not all doom-and-gloom for everyone. Naturally, different women will have different pain thresholds, depending on their anatomies and previous sexual activity.
Case in point: a 2014 study in - yep, you guessed it - Contraception. This study found that women tended to overestimate how painful the insertion procedure would be. On a scale of 1 - 10, participants thought the pain would hover around a six. But after the procedure, they scored it at a four - two points lower than they had anticipated.
More important for us, however, was the finding that nulliparous women (those who had never given birth before) experienced higher pain than prima/multiparous women (those who had). This corroborates with what most doctors say about the IUD - that it's a lot easier to get if you've had a child before - but it does NOT mean that nulliparous women are ineligible to get an IUD. They are absolutely 100% eligible!
Another factor in how painful the insertion procedure can be is how painful your periods are. Researchers working with Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that women who reported severe pain during their periods were eight times more likely to report severe pain during an IUD insertion. So if this sounds like you, ask your doctor for ways to help mitigate the pain, or bring something to bite down on.
Speaking of, what are some ways to reduce the pain? There are a few, but several studies find that most efforts are ineffective. Nevertheless, run these by your doctor and see what he/she thinks.
We're all social creatures, so naturally you'd like to hear what others have said about the IUD and the insertion procedure. Well our friends at Bedsider.org have compiled a bunch of interviews on just that, and you can check them all out here! Thanks Bedsider :)
If you have had a positive or negative insertion procedure, tell other readers about it in the comments below. Or share your story with us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ pages! Thanks for reading IUD.com!