• Wed, Oct 10 2012

My IUD Is Killing Me With Cramps; Here’s How I’m Coping

IUD copper cramps

Hey, friends. Remember that IUD I got in a few weeks ago? It’s still all up in my uterus–and, because it’s that special time in a lady’s month when everything goes to hormonal Hell in a handbag, it’s making itself known. Don’t worry, IUD. I didn’t forget about you. You wouldn’t let me. Because seriously, these cramps are above and beyond. But with the help of my friends (in real life and on Twitter and in our comments’ sections), I’m getting through.

I’d been warned that the copper (read: non-hormonal) IUD made periods a real pain for the first few months. And at first I was all “Oh, it’ll be fine! No big deal!” And then my uterus was like “Hey, girl. This is happening,” and suddenly I was doubled over in pain at the grocery store. It was a level of cramping I’d never experienced.

But luckily, I’d already received a few suggestions

Heating pad

Pretty much everyone on Twitter recommended I get a heating pad, so my wonderful boyfriend went out and picked one up for me. It’s definitely a big comfort and does seem to ease the pulsing pain–that is, when my dogs don’t decide they need it more and come lay on it and, as a result, me. Plus, it feels better than taking another dose of…

Naproxen

The ingredient in Midol and Aleve, I’ve found that, for me, naproxen sodium is way more effective than ibuprofen with this level of constant, achey pain. This may not be true for all people, but naproxen has definitely been the most effective for me. Unfortunately, excessive use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, have been linked to increased risk of heart attack, so it’s rare that the pain is wiped out entirely. Trying to take as little as possible is tough, but it’s the right thing to do, health-wise. Which is why I’ve also been turning to…

Exercise

All the endorphins I get from a serious run or 30 minutes of rowing on a machine are enough to blast my belly pain into oblivion. And the good vibes keep flowing for a few hours after I’ve showered and returned to the rest of my day, which means I can get away with taking fewer painkillers. Plus, it’s a better use of time than lying curled up on my couch, wailing like a banshee.

Yoga

Which is different than exercise, because it’s much slower and doesn’t increase my heart rate very much. This old-ish article from FitSugar about yoga poses for cramps has been bookmarked in my browser for a while, but I never really needed it until now. But since the IUD and I have been, well, involved, I’ve been spending a lot of time in Wide Child’s Pose. Often, with a heating pad.

Anyway, that’s how I’m surviving these early days with my new best copper friend. The cramps are as bad as everyone says, but they only seem to be bend-in-half-and-cry-a-little bad for about a week each month. Which is still totally worth it to have my birth control squared away for the next 10 years or so.

Image: Mine

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  • cs

    Do you have a 1month appointment scheduled to check on your IUD? If you are still having serious cramps at that point maybe it wasn’t placed properly.

  • kc

    The copper also made my white blood cell count elevate. ( my body didn’t like copper) after a year of toughing it out I had it taken out. Hated the Iud. Cramps and pain are not worth it.

  • Jules

    Don’t worry. I have been exactly where you are. I have had the Paragard for a year and a half now and they do get way better, it just takes the uterus a little time to adjust. But those first 6 months or so they were so bad I felt nauseous.

  • http://www.rachelwilkerson.com/ Rachel Wilkerson

    I went through the same thing with my IUD! Prescription strength ibuprofen helped — maybe ask your doctor about an Rx?

  • Kat

    Thank you <3 Hoping to get through this as well!

  • chaz

    your article was so funny… thanks for the advice

  • Lena

    Loved your article, thanks! You have a fantastic writing style – I’m very jealous :)

  • Sophie

    Heat is the worst thing for cramps- use ICE! But most of all, what literally saves my life is the Wishgarden cramp relief supplement! A liquid homeopathic remedy, and it’s no joke!!!! Nothing helps like this stuff- I even went to the hospital last year bc my IUD induced period cramps

  • Kandis

    I feel your pain! Every time my lady cycle begins I swear to myself that I will get the copper killer removed but it’s been about a year and a half and I still have it. ^_^ It’s good to hear of effective ways to cope with the pain. They say your body will get used to it and the intense cramps will settle down. Well that’s not true with me! My cramps turned into contractions since the moment they put it in and they are just as painful now as they were then. (I’ve also never given birth btw) Hang in there and thanks for the tips!

  • Joanna

    The heating pad has been a GODSEND since I got this sucker inserted… I haven’t had my first period with it yet, but I’m definitely not looking forward to it. My OB recommended naproxen, too, as well as avoiding caffeine, sugar, and excess carbs, plus adequately hydrating and taking an iron supplement. Good luck!!