Too Young For An IUD

I didn’t realize until that day sitting in the doctors office that systems of oppression, like patriarchy, mark the options I have for contraceptives.

At age nineteen, I was in a hot and heavy long-term relationship with an older man. I knew I loved him, and I knew he loved me but, at the rate we were going at it, we were destined to have our own clan of Duggers- our own clan of Hawkins to be exact. I was a busy student, worker, and volunteer, and oftentimes forgot to take my birth control pill, and my partner had recently graduated college and was unemployed. Despite our financial shortcomings, we could afford a few dates to local restaurants. But a child and all of their accessories was nowhere in our strained budgets.

I decided to take action and seek a more effective birth control method- a method that I would not have to worry about forgetting to take daily.

I conducted extensive research before I decided on an alternative form of birth control that was right for me– an IUD. I eagerly made my appointment for my yearly well-woman-exam and anxiously awaited the day where I was no longer a slave to the birth control pill.IUDImages-1

On the day of my appointment, I filled out the required paperwork, disrobed, and endured the forever-uncomfortable pap smear, breast examination, and pelvic examination. Upon completion of the procedures, my male OBGYN asked me which birth control method did I prefer?

“Well, I’ve conducted a lot of research and based on my lifestyle, I’ve decided to get the Mirena,” I stated proudly.

Oh no, you cannot get the Mirena”, my OBGYN replied nonchalantly.

My eager little heart sank- I became mortified.

“Why not?” I asked, shaking.

“Because you haven’t had children and it would be too difficult to place. Also, you are too young. You can either do the pill, the Nuva Ring, or the Patch, but the IUD isn’t an option.”

When I researched the Mirena, I discovered that age and never having children had little to no impact on the effectiveness of the method- So why is he telling me otherwise?IUDImages-2

I went back and forth with my OBGYN for five minutes. I realized that he would not budge on his stance, so I began to consider other options.

I was not comfortable with using the Nuva Ring, and the surplus of commercials discussing fatal side effects automatically took the Patch out of the running.

Flustered and confused, I reluctantly agreed to stay on the pill: Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo to be exact.

I left the physician’s office with a new perspective on life. Previously, I always felt empowered and in control of my life. This moment changed that- I realized that as a woman in a patriarchal society, I’m not in control. Not even when it pertains to my reproductive health.

Monologues are independent stories. The experiences and opinions shared are the author’s own. Do you relate this this experience? What comes into play when you navigate your personal choices and contraceptive options?

We recommend Bedsider and Scarleteen as smart resources to learn more about IUDs and other contraceptions.

5 thoughts on “Too Young For An IUD

  1. Sherry Payne

    There was a lot going on in your interaction with your physician- racism, sexism, a paternalistic attitude- and oh yeah, your physician was not staying current on recommendations. He was just plain old uninformed. He is quoting word for word, outdated recommendations on the IUD before they were updated to exclude those qualifications. IUDs no longer have those restrictions, but for some reason, your doctor didn’t bother to update his knowledge or if he did, he was just slow to change his own practice. Do yourself a favor- get a midwife. They do well woman care as well as care across the life spectrum for women. They also insert IUDs.

  2. Abby

    Time to find a new doctor! I had the Mirena placed when I was 19 and had never even had a pap smear, let alone a child. It was uncomfortable at worst, but not very painful. My doctor did say that it was more recommended for someone who had had a child but that we could try and I could just let her know if I became too uncomfortable/in pain and we would stop. When it was over, I was surprised because I was expecting it to be a lot worse. Find a doctor that will support your decisions.

  3. Sarah

    I can understand your frustrations regarding this. As a young mother after being on the pill twice and despite riotous in my taking of said pill, both of my children were conceived. After my second child I decided to go to the IUD. When speaking with my doctor he obviously knew I had children but we still discussed the concept of placement without prior children. I’m not sure how your doctor explained it to you, but my understanding is that women who’ve not yet had children have a very tightly closed cervix that can make for problems/complications (and not to mention pain) when placing the IUD. He said while it isn’t impossible, it isn’t recommended. That said its still a shame that your doctor seemed to take such an obstinate stance. Though I know you’ve done your research, have you considered the shot (every three months) our the implinon (spelling?) Which is the form of BC that is implanted into your arm? I believe the implinon is good for a year or 2 at a time though not certain.

  4. Rebecca

    I’m really sorry that you encountered that reaction. Perhaps it is time to find a new, more respectful doctor. That said, it was the doctor’s responsibility to listen to your concerns and respect your choices and you should not be in a position where you even have to consider finding a new doctor.

  5. Brooke

    It is so discouraging to have a direct, personal realization of how this patriarchal society works. I recently was declined access to the Paragard. Unlike you, my doctor was totally on board. Unfortunately, my insurance won’t cover any of it since my plan states that “contraceptives have no medical benefit”

    It’s depressing to see women’s control of their sexual health and sexuality continually chipped away.


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