Sunday, 3 March 2013

Getting an IUD in South Korea


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!

16 comments:

  1. Been looking to do a piece on Korea for awhile but the current tensions seem to make matters more difficult.

    Check out my budget travel blog soon :)

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  2. wow, I've never heard of this sort of thing... I really hate what taking hormones does to my body... perhaps I should look into this myself. I assume that you can take it out if you should decide you want to have children later, right?

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    1. Yeah, you can get pregnant like the day they take the IUD out. Read up on it. TOTALLY worth it!! And i think it's like $500 in the states so Korea is your best bet!

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  3. I talked to my friend in the states who got one after reading this. She actually got it for free at planned parenthood 5 years ago. She said she was extremely happy with it. I'm seriously gona look into this, if I can get it done for free in the states I'll do it when I'm home, otherwise, I'll get it done here. I want to get off the pill!

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  4. I mean I talked to her after reading this... I'm tired.

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  5. Elaine, I got the copper IUD in the States 2yrs ago for the same reasons you did. I have not a single complaint about the thing and expect it to be effective for at least the next 8yrs. Cheers to this!

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  6. Where did your get your IUD? I'm trying to find a good place in gangnam. and this might be a stupid question but will it fall out? lol Thanks!

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    1. I live in Jecheon, Chungbuk-do and got my IUD at a local gynecologist. I would recommend you finding out from one of your female co-workers where you can find a gynecologist where you live. There is a chance of it falling out, but it's a small one and I highly recommend you read as much as you can about copper IUDs before getting one. god luck :)

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    2. Hey! From what I've experienced the IUD available in Korea is the multiload and only good for 5years not 10.

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    3. Thanks for the comment...I need to double check with my gyno now.

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  7. Hi, thank you for your post! I've been looking to get an IUD for sometime now and your post has been very insightful. In researching the two types of IUDs what kept me from considering the copper IUD is the possibility of increased menstral flow and cramping (as it is cramps are horrible without it!). Have you experienced any of that so far? Thanks again!

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    1. Everyone has different experiences and I don't have that side effect, which makes me very happy!

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  8. yay! thank you so much. have been wanting to get one for awhile, and wasn't sure how to do that here. very helpful!

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  9. I need to see a gyno. I live in Yeongwol and I am willing to visit the gyno you went to in Jecheon. Is it possible to give me the information of where you went to? Is it difficult to get to?

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    1. Hi Deninse, why don't you send me an email at eginger122@gmail.com and I will help get you sorted!

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