I’m in my mid-forties and have definitely finished having children. I decided to visit a female GP that I hadn’t seen before to talk about my contraception options. We talked and she told me if I wanted an IUD then I needed to have variety of tests to ensure there were no infections present. She gave me the script for the non-hormonal IUD, which was expensive, and she took swabs and blood tests that day.
The following week she called me back and told me that I had ‘Bacterial Vaginionsis’ which is not sexually transmitted and apparently quite common. She prescribed me antibiotics to clear this up before she would insert the IUD. So, after taking these for another week, I went back and further tests. After the test results came back I saw her again and this time the Bacterial Vaginosis had cleared up but now I had Thrush as a result of the antibiotics! I was feeling extremely frustrated and my partner and I were thinking it would be easier just to go back to using condoms. Things were getting super expensive as each visit I paid $70 out of pocket and the IUD (which still wasn’t inserted!) cost $250.
The GP told me to get over the counter treatment for the thrush and come back in another weeks time (by now I have been waiting 4 weeks to get the IUD inserted). Then I went back and had the same tests done again….a week later she calls me with the result and it turns out that the Bacterial Vaginoisis had returned – I could have screamed!
So, another course of antibiotics goes by and then I go for tests again. Each time I had the antibiotics I developed thrush. By now I decided to get a second opinion as it was 6 weeks of frustration and going round in circles getting nowhere.
I went to another GP (this one bulked billed) who informed me that the normal process would be to insert the IUD and follow up with any other treatment afterwards and the all of what I had been through was unnecessary as its treatable post insertion. I could not believe this…I had spend over $600 seeing the first GP who could have inserted the IUD and treated me. I was so angry.
So, finally I made an appointment with my new GP for the IUD insertion. I turned up and things were going great until she realised that my cervical opening was too small and not going allow the IUD to be inserted. This was even considering that I have had a baby, apparently this is the case for some women. I had a melt down and felt really disappointed and angry that no one that thought to check this prior to the whole drama.
After so much frustration and disappointment I have resigned myself to the fact that the best contraception option for me right now is the pill, even though I don’t want to take it at this stage of my life. I’ve been a smoker, I have high blood pressure and in my mid-forties I wanted a different option. I just wish that the GP’s would have a system for ensuring other women don’t have to go through this drama and at least check if an IUD is an option beforehand.
This story was a contribution to the Storylines: Her Voice Matters project, a collaboration between Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee and Murray PHN.