IUD Risks and Complications: My Doctors Never Prepared Me


Three years ago, I reclined on an examination chair in my obstetrician’s office while she made a second attempt to remove my IUD.  This time, just like the last, I writhed in pain and my IUD would not budge. The doctor asked me what my plans for the following day were, and I told her, “Work, but that’s pretty much it,” trying to feel optimistic about this experience ending positively. Instead, she told me she’d like to book me for surgery right away. Clearly, I was not prepared for any IUD risks and complications.

IUD removal was not supposed to be a complicated procedure and my doctor didn’t express any fear of IUD risks and complications, but her frankness about my need for immediate surgery sent me into an instant panic.

As a person who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, this was the perfect opportunity for my mind to spiral. The words “surgical removal” got stuck in my brain, causing an intense urge to immediately delve into thorough research on every aspect of this procedure. Instead, I cried, breathed deeply, and apologized for both. Then I started psyching myself up for what the next day would bring. My doctor asked me if I would like another IUD implanted while I was under anesthesia and I quickly answered yes, without thinking. 

That night, I called my mom and cried like a child as I went into full “Mommy tell me what to do” mode. I worried about complications from surgery. I worried that even though I didn’t necessarily want more children, I might have the option taken away from me. I was scared. My mom reminded me that I didn’t need to decide my whole life in one night and that everything would more than likely be just fine.

My partner and I talked about whether I should get a new IUD. We still weren’t sure why this current one was “stuck” and long-term birth control seemed appealing. We talked about other forms of birth control too and considered the option of a vasectomy. But by the end of the (very long) night, we opted to wait and see how things went after surgery.

The author, waking up alone after the surgical removal of her IUD.

I woke up alone and IUD-free after an hour of surgery.

During my healing process, I was very aware of every physical sensation. The discomfort and pain served as constant reminders of how this supposedly “simple” birth control method had turned out to be anything but simple. The IUD had been embedded in my uterus and it was so enmeshed that the doctor broke the strings clean off during her first attempt to remove it in surgery.

Over the next few days, I started to notice not-so-subtle changes. Emotions that I hadn’t remembered feeling in years came roaring back. I laughed at my husband’s really stupid dad jokes that usually made me cringe. I cried happy tears and sad tears and tears for everything in between. 

My partner, Ben, noticed this big emotional change straight away and asked what was making me so cheerful lately. I told him I didn’t necessarily feel cheerful, I just felt things. That might not make sense, but I can’t describe it any other way. I still felt like myself. I was anxious, and I still had all my same triggers, but I felt alive in a whole new way. We decided that this change must be caused by the lack of the IUD and my shifting hormones.

The most notable change after my IUD removal was that I was no longer horrified by the idea of having another child. I had been super vocal about my “one and done” outlook on childbirth and rearing, but suddenly I was second-guessing my decision. I had a newfound and very deep desire to add another member to our family.

My first positive pregnancy test after trying to conceive our second child.

Later, I would learn that the IUD risks and complications I experienced were not even remotely unique.

An increasing number of friends and relatives started sharing stories about experiencing the exact same thing or knowing someone who had. I had also been hearing horrifying stories about other types of birth control, like the implant, NuvaRing, and even the so-called “gold standard” pill! Whether it be hormone imbalances causing mental health struggles, acne, and weight gain, or experiences that required antibiotics or other forms of medical intervention, I was certainly not alone in this. Like in my case, my friends’ doctors had not fully explained the risks and complications associated with different forms of birth control.

Instead of getting another IUD, I decided to join a program that delivers doctor-approved birth control, condoms, Plan B, and even fun items like chocolate and stickers.

I thought it would be a fun way to handle my new need for birth control. And, even though my first shipment was on its way, my partner and I decided that I wouldn’t use it. I was done with birth control. I wanted to see what my life would be like without the added hormones. This would require some lifestyle changes for both of us, but we were prepared.

My experience with my embedded IUD showed me just how little effort goes into taking care of women’s reproductive health.

There is still very little research about male forms of birth control, which means it remains a woman’s responsibility. I took control of my fertility journey and, about a year later, I got pregnant and had my second child. I had a planned C-Section and during that procedure, I asked to have my tubes removed. As an added reassurance, my partner is also scheduled to have a vasectomy in the new year.

Although both options may seem extreme, we no longer feel secure when depending on conventional methods of birth control. 

My pregnancy announcement featured a video game theme with multiple controllers and gaming devices.

What has your experience with IUDs and other forms of birth control been like? Do you feel like your doctors prepared you for IUD risks and complications?

Pin this post and be sure to follow Vermont Moms on Pinterest!

Vermont Moms Insiders get exclusive content that you do not want to miss, so sign up today!

Previous article35. The Princess Bride (the Book vs. the Movie)
Next articleThe Definitive Ranking of the Hottest Bridgerton Books
Chelsea Myers
Chelsea (she/they) lives in Franklin County with their partner, two daughters, one cranky cat, and one rambunctious pup. As an LGBTQIA+ person, their pride lies in being an ally and raising compassionate kids who embrace acceptance and empathy. They have spent most of their life working with children and families in Special Education and volunteering at a Pediatric Oncology Camp. They are a fierce mental health advocate with a primary focus on postpartum mental health disorders. They are currently doing the stay-at-home-mom thing while also hosting a podcast called Quiet Connection: Postpartum Mental Health. In their spare time, they love to read, listen to music, sing, go on road trips, and bake just about anything! They enjoy being at home and find happiness in canceled plans, late morning breakfasts, and cozy moments with their family on the couch.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here