My IUD Is Ruining My Relationship

When I decided to get the Mirena IUD, I thought I had made a responsible, well-informed decision on birth control. Months after having it inserted, however, I’m starting to wonder if I made a major mistake. Not only is this thing making day-to-day living a challenge, it’s also starting to take a toll on my relationship.

  1. I’m getting the most annoying side effects and they’re making me irritable. I’ve been spotting almost every day since I got it put in three months ago and I’ve also been experiencing cramps on and off. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my gums have also begun receding (a potential side effect of hormonal contraception) and now I’m really stressed out about the future of my dental health. Needless to say, all of this has me in a consistently grumpy mood. Argh!
  2. I’m tired all the time and don’t feel like doing much. I’m downright exhausted pretty much 24/7 and I often feel weak as well.  It’s making me not want to do much else other than lay around on the couch and take naps, which of course doesn’t exactly make me a super fun and adventurous girlfriend. Unfortunately, I can’t help it! I just can’t summon the motivation to do much these days.
  3. A lot of people don’t believe me, and that makes things worse. So many people—medical professionals and friends included— just brush off my complaints and concerns about my IUD as though my personal experiences are somehow invalid or as if I’m making it up. I get that IUDs can be wonderful for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect everyone or completely without side effects. Still, everyone’s doubts about my symptoms are frustrating, and sometimes it makes me paranoid that the strain on my relationship is coming from somewhere else.
  4. My sex drive now flips from one extreme to the other. One day I can’t get enough and the next I don’t want even the slightest form of affection. At other times it’s like my body and my mind just can’t get on the same page—I’ll want sex but my body just can’t get turned on, or my body will be ready to go but I’m just too exhausted mentally. Ugh! My boyfriend has been incredibly patient with me but I can tell that he’s getting frustrated. Hey, you and me both, man.
  5. My emotions are all over the place too. I cried the other week because I started thinking about a random stranger I saw weeks earlier in a cafe who looked lonely. I also snap at my boyfriend over the littlest thing that normally I would have ignored. Like most women (and people in general), I’ve experienced hormonal fluctuations that have affected my emotions, but this is just getting ridiculous. My boyfriend has been asking lately if everything is OK, and a few days ago he admitted he’s been thinking that I’ve been having doubts about him and our relationship. No, it’s just this damn IUD causing me emotional turmoil.
  6. When we do have sex, it’s pretty one-sided. Even though most of the time it’s pretty light now, the fact remains that I’ve been bleeding pretty much nonstop since I got this thing put in. This means not a whole lot of attention spent specifically on me down there during sex, and it’s pretty much all about him now. I have to admit that this is largely due to me just being generally uncomfortable rather than him being grossed out (he’s actually been the most patient, understanding person ever), but I still can’t help but feel disappointed with the entire situation.
  7. The cost of it has made me a bit resentful. If I’m being totally honest, one of the main reasons I haven’t given up yet on this IUD is because it was kind of expensive. Like many women’s health insurance policies, mine does not fully cover contraception methods (maybe I should have told them it was Viagra, ha!) so I sucked it up and paid for it myself. However, I can’t help but feel a little bit resentful toward my boyfriend as a result. Yes, I know this isn’t necessarily fair of me, but at the same time, is it fair that I should always be the one paying for the contraception that benefits us both? Of course, it also doesn’t help that I’m also the only one experiencing the negative physical side effects…
  8. I don’t think IUDs are bad for everyone Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that my experiences reflect those of everyone else. In fact, I don’t want anyone reading this to think that I’m bashing the Mirena or IUDs in general. That said, I’m just not sure that it’s the right choice for me. I think I’ll give it another month at this point, but I’m thinking I’ll get it removed if I don’t see some serious improvements in these next few weeks. After all, there’s got to be another form of birth control out there that isn’t going to drive me crazy.
Brianna Gunter is an NYC-born Jersey girl now living in the Rocky Mountains. A graduate of The College of New Jersey's journalism program, her work has appeared in a multitude of publications both online and in print. When not writing about life as a millennial, she can be found hiking, hunting for pizza or making new dog friends.