October 16th, 2013

  • cork118

Cervical block vs. no cervical block

Hello everyone!

A question just occurred to me as I was writing a response to someone who posted in this community.

I'm wondering, is there anyone here who has had more than one IUD inserted and who got a cervical block for at least one insertion but no block for another? If so can you compare and contrast your insertion experiences for us? Pain levels, etc?

I ask because I see people posting here a lot that say that getting a cervical block really helped them, but it seems that a lot of those posts are from people getting their first IUD inserted. I suppose my point is that unless a person has experienced insertion under both conditions it's hard to say whether or not a cervical block really helped. I think other possible explanations are that insertion is sometimes less painful than anticipated and some attribute this difference to a block instead. Another possible explanation might be that people who get the cervical block might expect the pain to be less, and so are able to tolerate better what pain they do experience-- in other words, I think our expectations potentially have a huge effect on our experiences.

Anyway, I'm rambling I guess. Has anyone experienced both kinds of insertions, and can you provide some insight?

My personal theory (which is pretty much based on nothing, lol) is that getting stuck with a needle in my cervix sounds super painful, and the majority of discomfort I experienced during insertion took place in my uterus anyway (cramping, etc) and I'm not sure a cervical block would help with that. I've had two Mirenas inserted, neither with cervical blocks, so I could be way off on this.

First time Paragard experience: it's been a mixed bag, but I think I will love it long term.

Hey there Divas:

This was such a great site for me when I was deciding if I wanted to get an IUD, I decided to join and share my experience. I am 26, nulliparous, and in a long-term relationship. I have tried several types of hormonal birth control in the past, but it all made me incredibly bloated, killed my sex drive, and worst of all, turned me into a 24/7 She-Hulk. My boyfriend and were using condoms as our main form of birth control. But since we are both working on PhDs, babies aren't something we want right now. So, I decided on the Paragard because it is hormone-free, long-term, and something I don't have to remember (though it hasn't let me forget it yet, either). I thought on it for a while, as I normally have nasty cramps for the first few 2-3 days of period, and have a naturally heavy flow. However, I decided the pros outweighed the cons, and I made an appointment with my local Planned Parenthood.

The Insertion

I scheduled my procedure for when I knew I would be on my period. I was instructed to take ibuprofen an hour before (this doesn't help much with cramps during the procedure, but it did pretty much take care of any later). The cost was only $140 with my insurance, so it wasn't too much of an up-front cost. I went in expecting the worst, as I went with a friend to her Mirena insertion about a year ago-she got incredibly nauseous, passed out on the table, and had some crazy cramps (she also has endometriosis, so this probably had something to do with it).

A nurse checked me in, did a pregnancy/STD screening, and thoroughly explained the basics of the procedure to me. Then, I was showed to another room where a delightful Nurse Practitioner was waiting to do the actual procedure. The setup is similar to a usual pelvic exam, but with the addition of a heating pad to take the edge off the cramps. She told me that my history of crampy periods might work to my advantage during the procedure (probably true). The NP also very clearly explained what I might feel (3 cramps that I will explain here), then did a quick pelvic exam to check the position/state of my cervix/uterus.

First, a speculum goes in just like during a pap smear. The first bit of pain came form the tenaculum (sharp forceps that hold the cervix in position). This felt like a large, painful pinch, and definitely made my cervix angry. But it wasn't too bad and it subsided quickly. The second painful part was the sound (used to measure the size of your uterus before IUD placement). I won't lie, it hurt like hell. She had to hold the sound on my cervix for a while, and I could feel a cramp from the cervix ramping up. Then BAM! My cervix finally relaxed and let the sound into my uterus, and I just about jumped off the table with the pain. A couple of deep breaths while the NP was preparing the IUD, and the pain had mostly gone. She was wonderful about making sure I was ready to move to the next step. The actual IUD placement was similar to the sound, but less painful, and my cervix relaxed slightly faster. There was a third, big, nasty cramp when the arms of the IUD opened. All in all, the procedure probably took 5 minutes. She let me feel the strings before she snipped then, and described how they would eventually soften and curl around my cervix. I was given a card with the lot number of my Paragard (keep this in case of recall).

I was shaking a little from the pain, but had very minor cramps and could quickly get up and check out. PP provided me with a pad, but ladies, just bring one yourself in case our provider doesn't (you will likely bleed, even if you aren't on your period). I had my previously mentioned friend pick me up as I had done for her, though I could have easily driven myself home. The rest of the first day, I took it easy, though my cramps were negligable. I continued using pads for the rest of my period/bleeding. I bled for another ~4 days, which was slightly longer than my usual period might have been. Other than it being similar to the tail-end of a period, I was back to normal about an hour after the procedure.

Off and on after the insertion, I had nasty little cramps and spotting. They were growing so irritating I sometimes wanted to have the thing yanked back out (but patience is not my virtue). In the first week and a half or so, I also had a major increase in cervical mucus. That fell back down to normal levels, but up until my first period, I had brown/red/pink goo almost constantly. I had sex about 5 days after the procedure, and several times since then, and had no problem with pain during sex. My boyfriend hasn't felt the strings at all. I can barely touch my strings: small hands and a deep pelvis make it tricky. They softened and curled around my cervix quickly. I panicked when I first went searching and had a hard time finding them, but now I pretty much figure that I won't worry about it too much until my check-up appointment. They are in there-just hard for me to reach.

I was dreading my first Paragard period. It came about a week earlier than usual. For about two days before it started, I had some really nasty cramps-they would stop me in my tracks. My own mother observed that I looked like I was going into labor. However, ibuprofen took the edge off of them. Once the period started, I had the usual dull ache with occasional minor cramps. Now I am on day three, and I have almost none. I have been taking a low dose of Vitamin E (200IU twice a day), so maybe that is helping. The few times the cramps have been bad, I took ibuprofen for the pain. HOWEVER, I am really surfing the crimson tide (soaking an overnight pad ~2 hours). It doesn't bother me much-I had an extremely heavy flow all through my teen years, and it's equivalent to that. But every time I look in the toilet, I marvel at how such a small organ can produce so much junk. Hopefully it doesn't last long. I am personally hoping that the in-between cramping and spotting chills out.

I will do an update in a while to tell you how things are going. Until then...I am optimistic, and I think I will end up loving my Paragard.