Monday, 4 April 2016

Digby: Miniature Schnauzer transformed at groomers!

Just a quick post showing off the puppy now he's freshly clipped. (We've previously always had him stripped but his coat has got too soft and fluffy to do that currently.)



If you're local to us, then I can completely and utterly recommend Mandy at The Dog Spa. She's absolutely amazing, a font of all knowledge, great with the dogs, a great groomer (and surprisingly cheap, which always catches me off guard!) She also runs the puppy classes we took Digby to, which were awesome, they made a lot of difference to Digby.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

My Mirena Coil Experience

I have never been one to shy away from TMI, however if you're someone who prefers not to read about periods, contraception, intercourse and intimates of the female body then I'd shut this page right down.

I wanted to write about my Mirena Coil because I feel real life experiences are often very useful to read when researching if something is right for you. Obviously it doesn't mean what worked for me would work for you in any way - everybody reacts to things differently.

  • Why did I get an IUS (intrauterine system)?
  • For a multitude of reasons. Firstly - I had heavy periods, which were badly affecting my body. I suffer from Antiphospholipid Syndrome (with secondary Sj√∂gren's syndrome) which meant I was often in a lot of pain. During my periods this often left me unable to walk, due to the joint pain in my back, hips and knees. This was treated in two ways - firstly a low level of steroids that I take as soon as I feel my body begin to take a downhill turn (this was life changing for me) and secondly hopefully reducing my periods through the IUS. Secondly - I had a long term boyfriend, and wanted a contraceptive that I trusted. I felt safer with something that was already in my system. Plus no faffing around with condoms.

  • And why the Mirena?
  • My doctor recommended the Mirena for me because (according to her, I haven't researched this myself) - it produces the lowest amount of hormones and therefore was the safest me. I suffer from a few conditions that mean anything producing high levels of hormones (the pill, for example) were not a viable option due to safety concerns.

  • What was it like having it put in?
  • Firstly (a week before? I can't remember now) you have to have a little smear test to check for existing infections. That means they can be treated before the coil is inserted. It actual insertion was painful in all honesty. I was recommended to take painkillers before the procedure (I regularly take mid-level painkillers, codeine and tramadol, so that's what I used) and that did help. The doctor was very nice. You have to strip from the waist, and lie on a bed with your knees up and spread. I felt insecure and ridiculous, but once the doctor came in I relaxed. She used a speculum to open my vagina so they can fit the coil inside, if you've had a smear test (if not, why not? It's very important!) you'll know the score on that one. Suffice to say you feel a tad uncomfortable and stretched but it doesn't hurt.

    Image from Mirena
    I was surprised how tiny the coil was - it just looked like a few tiny wires. They clamp it into your womb, just past the cervix. The clamping was the bit that hurt most for me - everything else was very background - but that was like me sharply nipped and then a bit of throbbing.

  • What were the immediate after effects?
  • I felt like I had bad period cramps. I took a lot of painkillers. The next day I was still a bit sore, but it doesn't take long for mind and body to forget. I've been in far worse pain (a lot of my dentistry has hurt far more than having the coil put in, for example.)

  • How did it affect my body?
  • Periods - For the first year my periods were irregular. Sometimes I would have a drop for three months, then I'd have two normal but light ones, then two more drought months and then a ridiculously heavy one. The Mirena did not stop my periods immediately. I invested in a Mooncup and still consider it the best thing ever. However as time went on the periods became less and less and in the last two years (I had the Mirena for 4 years) I had no bleeding at all and just a bit of spotting occasionally.

    Personal Health - I no longer had as many extreme highs of pain as my periods reduced. The steroids did do most of the work though. I do think having the Mirena Coil helped me deal with my APS and think it is partially the reason I got back on my feet (literally, metaphorically.) The doctors did a lot to help me, and getting a medicine regime that suited my body was highly important.

    Other - My breasts did become annoying tender quite regularly. As in: I don't want to wear a freaking bra because they freaking hurt so freaking much whyyyyyyyyy. I didn't associate it with the Coil at the time but it hasn't happened since it was removed. 

  • Can you feel it? Does it affect sex?
  • Image from Marie Stopes UK
    You should be able to feel the two tiny wires dangling just into the vagina. To be honest I often couldn't, but had it checked whenever I had a smear test or other internal examination and it was always fine. However if you can't feel it you should get it checked out as it may have shifted and you may no longer be protected from pregnancy.

    When I asked my husband (the long-term boyfriend got even more serious last year!) if he'd ever felt anything he said he hadn't noticed a difference from before, during or after the coil was in my system. I remember being really paranoid that it was going to scratch his penis the first time we had sex after it was inserted!

  • Why did I get it removed?
    As alluded to in my previous comment, I got married last year. We're considering starting a family and I wanted to give my body plenty of time to recover (I was concerned about a return to poor health, plus obviously needed my fertility to bounce back although that's pretty immediate.)

  • What was the removal like?
    Not too bad! Because the insertion had been painful I was feeling quite nervous. I was also at a completely different GP to when I had it inserted (moved from England to South Wales) so didn't know the doctor. It was very quick - strip off, speculum, and whip it out. I was so surprised and really happy. (Still demanded the husband got me a lot of chocolate though - got to work these things.) I did feel (again) like I had bad cramps as my body got used to it, but it wasn't too awful.

  • How do I feel now and would I use one in the future?
    I've remembered how much I hate periods. They are the pits. Mine came back pretty quickly and I think I was a bit out of it and shocked because I wasn't very well prepared. Everything hurt! I sterilised my mooncup and we're good to go again. I couldn't believe my mood swings, or how grumpy I was at work. So currently I'm hoping to get pregnant really super duper quickly and then have a new one put in a few weeks after birth. I would definitely have one again! 

This has all been my personal take on the Mirena Coil, and as stated previously it can and will affect people very differently. Please research the medical side of things as well (NHS on IUS) and discuss things thoroughly with your doctor to find something that works for you. I hope it was useful to read my experience of it.