Last week I was at the hair salon when my hairstylist mentioned how much thicker my roots are than the ends of my hair. It brought back a surge of sadness that I felt two years ago when I started losing my hair and what had caused it. I told him about my painful experience with a birth control gone wrong and he encouraged me to speak up about it and share my story. I had thought about writing this IUD review a few times before, but never quite got there. Finally, I decided that if this post can help just one other woman out there than it is all worth it. So here it goes…. my nightmare with the IUD , an IUD review.
For those of you who are not familiar with the IUD, it stands for the IUD stands for “Intra-Uterine Device.” It’s a t-like contraption that’s placed into your uterus as a form of birth control. Some IUDs are just plastic, some wrapped in copper, some contain hormones and some do not. Many women experience slight to no period at all, others experience heavy periods. It really just depends on your body and what it can handle. A friend of mine was nearly period free with hers. The thought of never having to worry about taking a pill, shot, insert a ring?! It sounded delightful! Plus, it stays for 2, 5 or even 10 years (depending on the type you got) so you could forget about it!
I decided to give it a try. So there I sat in the exam room, a mixture of nervous and excited at this new technological advancement for women. I could potentially be period free! yay!! The doctor told me I would feel a “slight pressure” once the IUD was inserted. I anxiously waited and WHAM. It felt like a crossbow had been shoved up my lady parts and expanded abruptly. Not comfortable at ALL. I would like to remind you that I have a small pain tolerance and hate being uncomfortable.
The cramps from the procedure were immediately excruciating. I laid curled up in a ball for almost an hour unable to move. When I did finally try and stand up, nausea consumed me. I tried to make my way to the lobby to check out wanting only to be in my bed but barely made it to the desk before almost passing out right there in the hallway. I made it back to the exam room with the help of a nurse and laid there until they could bring me some kind of food to calm nausea. An espresso was all that was available at 6pm when the office was nearly closed for the night. I eventually made it home and nausea subsided as time went on.
Weeks later I was getting used to this whole IUD thing. However, I could feel this foreign object in my body. A very slight poking sensation on one side. My doctor told me to ignore it, so I did. About 4 months went by and I started to notice a few things, slight depression, loss of a sex drive and my hair was thinning. I did not want to attribute it to the IUD just yet. But as time went on, I noticed more and more hair coming out every time I brushed it. It got so bad to the point where my ponytail was half the thickness that it used to be. Even my hairdresser pulled a handful out of the sink with a concerned look on his face and asked what I had changed to cause this to happen. My diet had stayed the same and my stress levels were normal. For my life anyway. I began researching online and found multiple blog posts and comment threads regarding women speaking out about hair loss due to, you guessed it… an IUD. That was it… I wanted it OUT.
I sat in my doctor’s office crying as I ran my fingers through my hair and pulled out a handful of my precious brunette locks. She told me it was a “rare side effect that few women experience.” Well, I was one of those few women and my hair was more important than not having a period or being on birth control. She also told me that the slight discomfort I was experiencing on one side of my ovaries could be ovarian cysts and were “completely normal.” At what point in our society did cysts become acceptable?! I told her I wanted it out. Once at my gynecologist’s office for the removal, he said the same thing that the hair loss was a rare side effect and lectured me on getting pregnant if I decided to get off birth control. It was only once I mentioned the depression I was experiencing did both my doctor and gynecologist agree with me that I should have it taken out. I was appalled that it took that much convincing them.
The procedure to have it taken out was much less painful and over quickly. I vowed never again to have a foreign object kept in my body (if avoidable) and to find new doctors. I spent the next 6 months taking hair growth supplements, being extremely careful with my remaining hair, and detoxing my body of birth control. I finally started to see my little baby hairs come back around the 6-month mark and was rejoiced to see them, annoying as I used to find them. It’s been a long process, but I am happy to report that my hair is slowly starting to come back. It’s not the same thickness that it was before (see here for the before photo + also all my hair and no extensions), unfortunately, but I feel so fortunate to have caught the problem and was able to reverse it when I did. I don’t have a photo of what it looked like when I was losing my hair as I often wore extensions to hide the fact that I was losing it.
Ladies if you’ve been thinking about the IUD I don’t mean to scare you, I just encourage you to do your research and listen to your body. Everyone reacts differently to different prescriptions. I just want you to be aware of the side effects something like the IUD can cause and to diligently do your research. I’m still extremely careful with my hair and take 10,000 mg of biotin a day. A hairstylist recommended I try another hair growth supplement called Nutrafol to help speed up the process. I’m curious to try it and wanted to know if any of you have tried this? We shall see. I hope this story educates you and helps one person if they are struggling with these or other symptoms and issues. As always, I am more than happy to answer any questions you have about my experience. I’m always here for you gals (and guys.)