Aug 1, 2014

To IUD or not to IUD...

....that is the question

After Persephone was born, I opted for the Paragard IUD for birth control.  Paragard is one of two IUD's (intrauterine device) that is placed inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy.  Mirena has hormones, Paragard does not.  You can read all about the fun insertion appointment I had Nov 2012 HERE.  Prior to getting pregnant, I had been medicine free for over a year.  I got fed up with how I was feeling, I didn't want anymore medication in my system, birth control included.

I can't say I immediately noticed a difference when I quit everything cold turkey, but I like to think if you don't NEED synthetic hormones, why subject your body to them?  Haven't doctors been saying for years that HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is actually at times worse for women.  Increased risk of breast cancer and other cancers.  We don't even know what levels of hormones we produce on our own without testing for them, so how could one birth control be right?  Anyways, I have been pleased with the Paragard, haven't had any complications to date.  I've always had lengthy and heavy cycles, so the threat of that didn't turn me off from getting the Paragard.

Over the last year and especially the last 6mo, I have these horrible shooting/stabbing pains only on my left side right before and during my cycles.  On occasion the pain is so bad, it radiates down the front of my leg into my thigh.  I chose to look past it at first, just assuming this was part of life.  But when it kept happening month after month, it had me worried.  My OBGYN asked me to allow 3mos, which I did.  On the third month, he did transvaginal ultrasound to look for any reason that would cause me pain, according to him no cysts were visible.  He said the only other option would be to do a diagnostic laparoscopy to check for endometriosis.

ENDOMETRIOSIS - I've heard this term several times in my life, but never really knew what it was or meant.  Let me just enlighten you....

Endometriosis: is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and infertility.

The way my OBGYN described it - all of these endometrial cells that develop outside of your uterus have a period everytime you do.  But because the lining has nowhere to go, this causes pain and sometimes scar tissue if your organs end up fused together.  There isn't one specific cause of endometriosis, some researchers say it's hereditary, others say it's caused by periods backing up through the fallopian tubes.  The only "cure" so to speak is a hysterectomy, although some women find relief with hormonal birth control (to prevent ovulation) and pregnancy.

He said you can't diagnose endometriosis from the outside of the body or with an ultrasound.  You can only diagnose it through a laparoscopy.  This is where they make a small incision in your belly button for a camera, and two small incisions along your pubic line for utencils.  They pump your stomach full of gas so they can see every thing.  Then they look for any dark spots on the outside of your reproductive and surrounding organs that are endometrial cells.  Most of the time they can remove them, but depending on where the cells are located, sometimes they have to leave it be as to not cause more damage.  Assuming it wouldn't cost me a lot out of pocket, I figured it couldn't hurt to go ahead and have it done.

When the hospital called to discuss pre-registration and "estimated costs" I was blown away.  They said their estimated bill to insurance would be around $39,000 THIRTY NINE THOUSAND and my responsibility would be about $4500 since I haven't met my deductible or out of pocket max.  Uhhh no thank you!  I do agree I want some answers, but not with an exploratory surgery....

So my last resort was to remove the Paragard.  If the pain stops, then I guess it's safe to assume the IUD was the cause.  If I continue to experience pain, then I'll feel more comfortable about forking over money so we can find what's causing it.  It's scheduled to be removed on Tuesday.  I'm a little nervous, because I don't know what to expect.  I mean surely it can't be as bad as when they put it in, right??!?  I know I've had a baby and I have three tattoos so this should be nothing, but I still get nervous during a pin prick when they test your iron level!!!

Wish me luck and if you or anyone you know has experience with endometriosis I would be more than interested to hear your stories.

Viewer discretion is advised for this last comic

1 comment:

  1. I had a friend in highschool who was diagnosed with it....But she never had any exploratory surgeries! That's weird. She did start taking the birth control seasonal which only gave her a period like every 3 months. Pretty much saved her sanity and life. :) I personally have issues with birth control and have only been on it one month of my whole life. It screwed my whole system up!!! I will never take it again. After our next baby, if we think we're done, chris is getting SNIPPED!!