This post is quite different from my other ones because the purpose of it is to give information, not opinions or insights. I recently decided to get a copper intrauterine device (IUD) as a form of birth control but when I was googling about the IUD in Korea, I could hardly find any information in English; so, I am writing about my experience of getting an IUD in South Korea to help other women.
First of all, a PSA to women: if you don’t want a baby right now and you also don’t want to take hormones to prevent a baby, check out the copper IUD. While I had heard of the hormonal IUD, I had never heard of a copper version until a few months ago. Apparently, the copper IUD got a bad rap back in the 1970s when there was a defective brand that caused pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The current risk of PID is very low, however, and the IUD should be discussed more often (in my opinion) as a potential form of birth control. What makes the copper IUD amazing is that I don’t have to take hormones to prevent pregnancy, I don’t have to remember to do anything ever and it lasts for 10 years! Incase you didn’t know about this, ladies, now you do. If you want further information about the copper IUD, click here.
After reading all about the copper IUD online, I decided it was the best option for me. Knowing that I would most likely not be able ask the gynecologist all of my questions regarding the IUD, I read extensively about it. After reading as much as I could, I described what I wanted to my female co-teacher and after consulting with another co-worker, they decided what I was describing is called the “loop” procedure in Korea. My co-teacher told me where there was a gynecologist and I went the next day after work.
Confident that the gynecologist and I would be able to figure out what I wanted without sharing a language, I went alone. Luckily, my doctor was even able to speak enough English to give me some counseling about the procedure. After discussing the “loop” procedure for a few minutes, she instructed me to go into the next room to be examined. The exam chair had a curtain around it but it stopped about a meter from the floor, leaving my lower half exposed as I changed. It was odd to me, but I just went with it. I then put on the cloth skirt that replaces the paper gown we wear in the US (how unwasteful!!). While the doctor examined me, the curtain remained between us so we could not see each other. This was strange to me and I imagine it could be uncomfortable for some women who are used to being able to see and talk to the doctor throughout the examination. I wasn’t really bothered by it.
I was told that everything looked good and we could go ahead and insert the IUD. I explained to her that I would come back in a week. Incase it was overwhelmingly painful for me, I wanted to have it inserted before a weekend during which I had nothing planned; so, I made an appointment for a week later and had the procedure. The whole procedure literally took 60 seconds and while it was painful, it wasn’t unbearably so. I paid 120,000 KRW (roughly $110) and was on my way. I spent the next day or two feeling very crampy and bloated and am happy as a clam 2 weeks later. I now have an extremely effective form of non-hormonal birth control that requires no maintenance for the next 10 years. I am happy!