My first insertion back in 2014 was a little stressful. I took a weak pain killer a couple of hours before but insertion hurt and after the IUD had been inserted, I found out that the OB/GYN had messed up and inserted a copper IUD instead of the Mirena I had wanted. She was not my doctor for much longer after that but I decided to give the copper IUD a shot. I had gone by myself and had cramps so strong, I had to call someone to come get me and I slept for most of the rest of the day and had some pretty bad cramps.
The first few months were really stressful. I spotted for about four months and nothing stopped it. My doctor made me try a bunch of things including homeopathic remedies and actually putting me on a birth control pill (even though I was really unhappy about that) but the spotting continued. One day, almost five months in, it stopped and I have not had any problems since.
My cramps have never been very intense and that hasn't changed on the IUD. I bleed for about five days, two of them heavy, and two years ago I started using a menstrual cup. No problems there and I'm so happy about that decision.
I've had several sexual partners with this IUD and in long-term relationships, do rely on the IUD as my sole method of contraception. This has worked out really well for me. I used to forget taking the pill every once in a while whenever I wasn't having frequent sex and I love not having to think about contraception.
I've never struggled with acne much but I do get pimples the day my period starts every once in a while though nothing insane. A day or so before I get my period, I have a pretty short temper and get very sentimental but as soon as I put together that it's related to my cycle, things get better.
My strings were trimmed pretty short (see below) and I didn't make much of an effort to check on them.
All in all, I've been incredibly happy with the copper IUD. I don't think about contraception for months on end. I like having a period to give me regular assurance that I am not pregnant since pregnancy is something I'm really scared of. THe pill I was on did not make me feel great most of the time. I did not have a sex drive and really struggled to orgasm. This lack of interest in sex was so persistent (I started taking HBC the moment I started to have sex regularly) that I thought I was asexual. It was a huge surprise when at about the same time I stopped spotting, I developed a really active sex drive that includes, for the most part, a facility to orgasm and it's remained that way since. Now I know that's more related to not being on (this particular form of) hormonal birth control and not with the IUD but to me, those two things are closely linked because the IUD is one of not that many non-hormonal contraception methods.
After five years, it was time to get my IUD changed. My experience with the first IUD was so positive, I never considered other alternatives. The IUD was inserted on the third day of my period. I was given a cervix softener to insert four hours before the procedure. This time, I asked my mom to come with me so I wouldn't be alone afterwards and she gave me a weak pain killer have an hour before my appointment. Removal and insertion took less than five minutes. The doctor was great and talked me through the entire procedure. I yelped when she yanked the IUD out and this was the most painful part by far. Not at all I had no cramps or anything after; I felt silly for having even asked my mom to come with me. I used pads for the remaining 3 days of my period and I spotted a little after.
This second insertion has been amazing. The doctor was great and there were no pain and stress involved even though I was prepared for them. So far, no endless spotting. I haven't checked the strings yet.
I was told to wait three to four days before having penetrative sex but haven't yet. I worry a little because my long-term partner at the time of my first IUD insertion felt like the strings poked his penis when we first had sex after and became really negative about the IUD, not wanting to have sex with me for months because he was so paranoid about the strings even after they had been trimmed and made me feel really shitty about the decision to go for an IUD.
I have a much healthier relationship now and even if my strings poke this partner in the dick, I think he would handle the situation better. More importantly, I'm much less insecure now and that treatment would not fly with me nowadays. But it's still kind of scary and I worry about it. I'm hoping to find out if there are any "string problems" soon and put that anxiety behind me.
EDIT: PIV worked just fine. No pesky strings :)