Condoms have sadly seen a dramatic drop in popularity among 16-24 yr olds recently which is increasing the rates of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia again. This age group accounts for 55% of those STI's with 47% of them saying they have had sex with a new partner without a condom. When I was at school (not very long ago lets face it) condoms were promoted as practically a necessity when it comes to sex (1).
A friend of mine asked the other day if I had a blog about what to do premenstrually for self-care and, to my own surprise, I did not! Which is so flippin' ironic because it's what my course is all about. So here I am, rectifying the situation.
For most women, the only down-side to getting an IUD is the pain of having it fitted in the first place. Exactly how much pain you experience and for how long is very individual and hard to predict. But I know that my period pain is lessened just knowing I have options available to help. So here are some options!
Pain relief tips following an IUD fitting
- Hot water bottle
- Heat pads
- Ibuprofen (yeah I said it! I know it's not natural, but I wanted to list it so you know I'm open to it)
- Cramp bark Viburnum opulus tincture; 5ml every hour for up to 6 doses (check with your health provider that this is suitable first)
I've heard of some women using Raspberry leaf tea to ease the pain. I feel instinctively weary about this though. Although you might think it logical as it helps with birthing pains so why not IUD pain?
Well, it helps strengthen the muscles of the womb and also makes them work in better co-ordination (at least that's the theory) (Trickey, R. 2003). I wonder if part of the pain you feel when you have an IUD fitted is the womb actually cramping to try and push it out again. I haven't found any research as to what causes the pain. When the body realises it isn't going anywhere it chills out.
So I wouldn't want to give something which might actually increase the effectiveness of those cramps. I'd rather work with herbs which are anti-spasmodic and relaxing (like Cramp bark and Chamomile).
Belly Massage Oil
Marjoram essential oil 3 drops
Roman chamomile essential oil 3 drops
Neroli essential oil 10 drops
Sunflower oil 30ml
Just combine the oils and mix well before rubbing into the abdomen as required. Sometimes people are allergic to essential oils so do test them beforehand. This is to be gently stroked on the belly. Deep massage where you push into the tummy isn't recommended with an IUD.
100g epsom salts
Marjoram essential oil 10 drops
Roman chamomile essential oil 10 drops
Neroli essential oil 5 drops
Combine the ingredients and mix up well! I like to put the salts in a jar, add the oils, then shake it around till it's all combined. Use a handful of the blend in as hot a bath as you can deal with. The hotter the bath, the longer the pain relief lasts. Just don't burn yourself! Again, allergies do happen so please be careful.
Ruth, T. (2003) Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle: Herbal and Medical Solutions from Adolescence to Menopause. Allen & Unwin; 2nd edition
In the USA, Planned Parenthood (the leading contraceptives provider there) saw a 900% spike in IUD fittings in the first few weeks of Trump’s presidency as women were terrified their right to contraceptives would be taken away from them.
Amparo is a Spanish born Scotland based herbalist. She learnt Herbal Medicine in the UK and is currently training to become a doctor. She brings a fresh look at Marshmallow using her wonderfully in-depth and colourful knowledge of phytochemistry.