Tuesday, August 17, 2021



Almost 3 months ago now, my sister who has sickle cell anemia had to get an IUD on the recommendation of her doctor primarily because she was getting a period 2 times a month and being anemic, it became necessary to stop her from loosing so much blood every single month. She was also concerned about wanting to prevent any unplanned pregnancies because of her health needs, needing her body to regulate all of the treatment and medication she was taking before planning to have children.

At first, she was put on birth control pills but shortly afterwards, she suffered a stroke from taking them. Then she was placed on depo shots which she would take once every 3 months but that made her experience blood clots which are especially dangerous for her condition. The pills and shots were both hormonal which accounted for all the adverse reactions she suffered so finally, getting a non hormonal IUD (Intrauterine Device) seemed to be the last and best resort.

Women who do not suffer from sickle cell disease may have varying side effects such as period like cramps, light headedness shortly after an IUD is inserted, ovarian cysts within 1-10 months of getting an IUD and raised odds for developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease aka PID.

In my sister's case, she has been experiencing some side effects that may or may not be exacerbated by her sickle cell condition and these mostly all happen during her menstrual cycle. For instance, she has complained of pain before her period starts then becoming more severe after and also spotting before her period which continues for an extra few days after it ends. Since getting the IUD, her cycle now lasts 8days as opposed to her usual 5. 

In the first few weeks after the IUD was inserted, her period was irregular and the pain she experienced was a lot more severe in the walls of her uterus; although now her discomfort seems to only be relegated to her cycle each month. The few over the counter pain meds she is able to take do little to alleviate the pain and so she has had to power through the days leading up to her period and the following 8 days during her period every month. All we can do as her care takers is to try as much as we can to make her comfortable and stress free during this time.

Is there anyone in your life who lives with sickle cell and has had to get an IUD? What have been their experience/s with hormonal and/or non hormonal IUDs? Are they similar to what my sister has experienced or different? Comment below.

Excess Love,


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