IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

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IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Zorpisuttle » Tue Jul 23, 16:58 2013

(Hi everyone! Long time no see.)

I'm trying to decide between getting a Paragard copper IUD (http://www.paragard.com/) and the relatively new Skyla IUD (http://www.skyla-us.com/index.php), which is basically a mini-Mirena. There have been a few posts about IUDs (this one a few months ago: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=42303&start=25&hilit=iuds and this one two years ago: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=37432&p=570893&hilit=iuds#p570893), but because Skyla came out in the US in the last 6 months, I thought I'd let people know about it and see if I can dredge up any firsthand experiences to help me decide what to get.

So anyway, here's the scoop on Skyla: It works like Mirena, but at a slightly lower dose of hormone and only for 3 years, because it's smaller than Mirena. It's specifically designed for and tested on young women/women who haven't yet become pregnant. The smaller size is to fit smaller/less pliable uteruses and reduce the risk of rejection. If you really wanted Mirena but your gynecologist told you it wouldn't physically work out, you now have an option.

I haven't used any form of birth control before, but I'm gunning for an IUD for a bunch of reasons- I want something reversible that will last me a while and that I can preferably pay for entirely (or get for free) while I'm still on my parent's health insurance, since my job prospects/financial situation will be up in the air after my paid summer internship ends. I also want very effective birth control that I don't have to think about a lot; I'm not very confident in my ability to do the same thing at the same time every day. I would also like to avoid hormonal birth control, because my family has both a history of breast cancer and anxiety/depression/bipolar disorder (I don't have a personal history of any of those things, but even if I don't have to worry about mood changes, I'd still be worrying about what it could do to my sex drive or weight.)

My question- and probably I'm the only one who can answer this, but I'll take any IUD experiences people want to share under consideration- is should I go with the Paragard, which is still my first choice, or take advantage of this new technology and use Skyla? Paragard is slightly bigger (although slightly smaller than Mirena) but it lasts for 12 years and is non-hormonal. It will probably make my period heavier and cramping worse for the first 3-6 months; right now my cramps are barely perceptible with one ibuprofen. My gynecologist said my uterus was normal-sized and he had no trouble examining me or giving me a pap smear. Medically speaking, I'm not a virgin (I had surgery to remove a microperforated hymen), which will probably also help.

Any thoughts?
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Tue Jul 23, 17:43 2013

(Ohmigod hi!)

Well, I have never had an IUD but I do have an implanon, which is a hormonal implant that goes in your arm and lasts for three years. I chose it for a lot of the same reasons you are considering an IUD; because I didn't think I could rely on myself to take a pill at the same time every day, and because I had no money or insurance and wanted something I didn't have to worry about paying for every month. So here are my thoughts and experiences that might help you with your decision.

Three years sounds like a long time but it's really not. When I got my implanon I was thinking, oh, I won't have to think about this for forever! and then it didn't feel like that long until I had to get a new one. I got my second one implanted a year ago and it kind of feels like I did it last month, you know? So if you *really* want something you don't have to think about for a long time, I think I would be leaning toward the paragard.

My period was light and my cramps not very noticable before I went on birth control and the birth control I'm on has made it heavier and I get kind of nasty cramps every month now, and that seriously kind of sucks. Like, I'm seriously thinking about talking to my doctor about switching birth control methods again because I am getting so fed up with it. So... even though your period is pretty easy to deal with now, that increase in flow and cramps can still be a real pain in the ass. But, everyone's body reacts to these things in a different way, right? And mine is a hormonal method which is pretty much a different ball game.The type of birth control you choose may not make as big of an impact on your reproductive system. I'd say this is something to just kind of decide with your doctor but the answer about this I always got about everything was "hmmm well everyone's different..." and it was just never that helpful. I'm just bringing it up because when they told me that this could be a side effect of the birth control I chose I was like "well nbd" but it turns out it kind of is.

I, personally, would be nervous about trying a method of birth control that has only been available to the American public for six months, but I am paranoid about shit like that. It's like, you don't install the new version of windows 'til it's been out a year or two, you know? Because there are always bugs to work out. This may be completely irrational.

If you personally don't have a history of emotional disorders I don't think I would worry too much about that, especially if skyla is a low dose hormonal birth control. But I totally see the appeal of not wanting a hormonal method of birth control. It is my personal opinion that being on hormonal birth control SUCKS and I really wish there was a better option for me. I gained weight and my acne is still a losing battle at 22 and I have to take painkillers just about every month to deal with cramps, and they last for days and days. But as I said above, everyone's body reacts differently to that stuff, you might be completely fine.

It seems to me that with your priorities and what you want out of your birth control, the paragard sounds like a better fit- but like you said, that is really a question you can only answer for yourself.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Eravial » Tue Jul 23, 18:02 2013

I don't have any experience with IUD's, but I do take hormonal BC in pill form. I wonder if the lower hormone dose IUD will cause more spotting for a longer time. I say this because I was on a lowish dose pill at first, but I always spotted so much before the end of the active pills that my period would actually be over by the time I was on the placebos, when I was supposed to be having the periods. I had to get a pill with a higher dose to prevent spotting. Other than that, I would imagine the lower dose would mean overall less severe side effects compared to Mirena.

I am super interested in this low-dose hormonal IUD though. My higher dose pills make me so sick every month for the first 1-3 days of active pills (think morning sickness-type sick) and it sucks so much. Has anyone who uses a hormonal implant or IUD ever experienced this? If it doesn't happen with IUDs as much, I might have to make the switch ASAP.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by kelsa » Tue Jul 23, 19:38 2013

This is creepy, I literally just thought of you like, two days ago and was like "I wonder what Zorpisuttle's life is like now! I wonder if she is still fencing. Hm." So, weird.

The only experience I know with Skyla is from my work with teens- teens who weren't candidates for IUDs were given them as an option with the new one.

I'm personally anti anything on the market for six months and especially if you haven't been on hormonal birth control previously, I'd either spend a few months managing a low dose pill to see how it makes you feel before getting a low dose IUD just to make sure you're not going to have side effects you can't handle, or just go with the copper one.

But this is all just my opinion and gut feeling and totally not medical-y advice!
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by rowan » Tue Jul 23, 20:43 2013

low dose pill is totally why I got pregnant once, unintentionally, and I was very careful and took it on time all the time. fwiw. Of course that's irrelevant to the IUD because obviously there are additional things at work there. In terms of breast cancer/other things, idk if there is correlation between different types of hormones or not? I know the Mirena is progesterone based instead of estrogen.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by octarineoboe » Tue Jul 23, 20:55 2013

The idea is floating around in my head that hormonal IUDs tend to have fewer side effects than hormonal pills, because the hormones are more confined, but I'm not sure where I read/heard this. Does anyone know if that's true? Because if it is, then, kelsa, your suggestion about trying low dose pills first may not be useful.
I'm also curious for myself, because my pharmacy switched my birth control pill to a different brand with the exact same hormonal dose and my body reacted to it completely differently than the old pill. I have an appointment in like a month and am contemplating whether I want to seek a different pill or a different method altogether.

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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Eravial » Tue Jul 23, 22:08 2013

^Oh goodness yes. Different brands can absolutely have different effects, and if one brand isn't working for you, you should definitely try to get it switched up.

Sidenote: My insurance changed how I get my BC from in the mail to having to stop at a drug store. When I first brought the prescription to the drug store, they told me they could not give me the brand I had been taking, even if I was willing to wait a few days for it, and had to give me a different one. I've experienced different brands working differently before when it comes to other medication, which I told the lab tech when I asked whether the pills tended to have similar side effects. She just gave me the snidest look and said "they're the same chemicals and the same dose, they're exactly the same." Well, those pills ended up giving me 3-5 days of sickness every month for three months, after which I told them to order the brand my doctor had recommended. Lo and behold, this month, just one day of mild nausea.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Zorpisuttle » Tue Jul 23, 22:13 2013

(Hey all! Quick snapshot of my life: I've got a paid internship with an education public policy nonprofit for the summer, and I'm still living in my college town, where I work from home. I don't fence anymore because I got bored with it/I am out of school, but I'm pretty into social dancing now. And I've been dating a guy I really like for about a month and a half.)

RD, what was getting the implanon like? I've been curious about it and I hear it's marginally more effective than even hormonal IUDs, although the idea of implanting something in my arm also weirds me out a lot.

Rowan, I think progesterone is the one they tell you to watch out for if you've had breast cancer, although I could be wrong.

octarineoboe, I've also heard that the hormones in IUDs don't flood the system the same way hormones from pills do, although I think you can definitely find people who will argue otherwise.

Yeah, typing out the question just made me more sure I wanted to do the copper one, but if Skyla's right for someone else I'll be really glad I posted here!
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by great girl wonder » Wed Jul 24, 0:35 2013

Eravial wrote:^Oh goodness yes. Different brands can absolutely have different effects, and if one brand isn't working for you, you should definitely try to get it switched up.

Well, those pills ended up giving me 3-5 days of sickness every month for three months, after which I told them to order the brand my doctor had recommended. Lo and behold, this month, just one day of mild nausea.

I'm not the only one! Whenever I'm on any hormonal birth control I get several days of super intensive nausea and when I have told doctors about this in the past they shrug and give me the same crap that the pamphlets from drug companies say, side effects are mild and go away after a few months. It's bullshit, drug companies lie and underscore side effects.

People I know with IUDs are way happier than when they were on pills but as for the new IUD I have no idea.

I assume the Skyla was in use in Europe before the FDA approved it in the US? I admit the FDA process is a joke so I trust medicines used by many countries rather than just in the US.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by helium » Wed Jul 24, 1:19 2013

I'm on a progestin-only birth control (the minipill I guess) that my RN prescribed a few months ago because I get migraines. It's been really good to me for the last four months I haven't had any migraines, very easy periods, no crazy mood swings/nausea/bad outbreaks other kinds of hormonal birth control have given me. I've been thinking about the arm implant, though, because even though I'm pretty good at taking the pill at the same time every morning it'd be nice not to worry about it and I have heard it can be less effective-- not so much an issue since I almost always use other protection, but still. They do say not to take the progestin-only if you've had breast cancer, and there's more of a risk of having a tubal pregnancy if you conceive on it. I'm not super sure about switching though because I've heard a lot about periods getting heavier on implants/IUDs and my period being fairly light and coming at the same time every month is a big deal to me.

RD, I'm really curious about the implant too! Oh Joy Sex Toy had a comic about it recently that got me wondering if I should try it.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by lillerina » Wed Jul 24, 2:18 2013

octarineoboe wrote:The idea is floating around in my head that hormonal IUDs tend to have fewer side effects than hormonal pills, because the hormones are more confined, but I'm not sure where I read/heard this. Does anyone know if that's true?
When I got my IUD fitted, my Gyn said that symptoms are lessened because the area of effect is confined to the uterus/immediate surrounding area, rather than being across the whole body.

I chose to get the copper IUD, because historically I've done very poorly on hormonal birth control. My periods tend to be medium heaviness but quite painful, but I decided I was more willing to risk heavier, more painful periods for a few months than some of the worst side effects I've had before. I specifically wanted non-hormonal birth control, which I controlled myself rather than relying on my partner, which I didn't have to think or worry about, and with a high rate of effectiveness. The only thing that ticked all those boxes for me was the copper IUD. If I'd wanted the same things except hormonally, I probably would have got the implant rather than the Mirena, because insertion would have been less physically traumatic.

I also have a write-up of my experience getting an IUD fitted, which I can PM to you if you like, Zorp.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by sabertooth » Wed Jul 24, 8:02 2013

I have the Paraguard. I've reacted really poorly to hormone birth control methods in the past, so I wanted to stay clear of Mirena.

The copper IUD has made my periods a bit more random. This may have to do with stress, but I'm not sure. For the first year I had the IUD in, my periods were really short, light, and pain free. The second year they were 10 days long, painful, and heavy.

Also, my first doctor didn't put my first IUD in right. He was reading an instruction manual as he did it, which should have been my first warning. I was pregnant within 10 months, with the IUD still in me (half hanging out my cervix...very painful). The IUD removal didn't go so well...

I went to another doctor (a gynecologist who puts IUDs in every day) and She put another IUD in there good for the next 5 years. So, I recommend not getting it put in by your family doctor, but by a gynecologist or by a doctor that works in a woman's clinic.

Even though I had a bad first experience with IUDs, I still think they're the best thing out there if you're in a monogamous relationship. I'll keep using them until I try for children.

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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Wed Jul 24, 17:04 2013

Having the implanon inserted was really not that bad. I chose this over considering a hormonal IUD because honestly the idea of having something inserted through my cervix freaks the shit out of me! They give you a local anasthetic first, so you just feel the little needle from the anasthetic and it burns a little when they inject it. Then they use a larger needle to insert the implant, you feel pressure but it's not painful. I think the whole thing took about ten minutes. I have a weird reaction to needles so I was really dizzy and had to lay on the table for awhile afterwards but that's just me being weird, I almost pass out every time I get stuck. They put a big bandaid on it and wrap it up with that stretchy stuff and you have to keep the bandage on for like three days? And then you have to keep the bandaid on and not get it wet for like a week. They didn't wrap mine up right with the first one and I had a HUGE bruise for a week but it wasn't a big deal. It's sore for probably about a week, they told me I could take ibuprofen for discomfort but I don't think I needed to. It just felt like having a bruise, I think it was probably less painful than a tetanus shot.

When they replaced it, it was pretty much the same procedure; they used a local anasthetic and when they removed the old one, I could feel a weird pulling sensation but it wasn't painful, and I don't think I even noticed when they put the new one in (I didn't watch, like I said, I've got a thing about needles). They actually wrapped it up right so I didn't have much of a bruise. I just have a little scar on my upper arm that looks like a pock mark scar, it's not noticable.

As for the effects of the hormones, like I said I was NOT one of the lucky 20% that stopped menstrating. It was really crazy the first few months, and then it kind of settled out that I was getting a period every other month but it lasted for about 2 weeks every time. I would still get PMS symptoms and cramps every month, though. The past six months or so I think I have been getting a period every month but they are still lasting for like two weeks so I spend like half my life on my period which sucks. I haven't experienced any emotional side-effects, they told me that when I first got one implanted the hormone surge might give me mood swings for the first six weeks, so they told me to take vitamin B supplements (I don't remember if it was B6 or B12) to counteract the effects and I was fine. I don't have emotional side-effects during PMS either, I just get really hungry and I get really bad acne and some cramps. The hungry and the acne I had before getting on hormonal birth control, though, so I don't think I can blame the implanon for that!

I think I covered the basics but if you guys have any more specific questions I would be happy to try to answer.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by rowan » Wed Jul 24, 17:07 2013

That was really helpful RD. Only 20% stop menstruating? :(
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Wed Jul 24, 17:10 2013

^Yeah it's not that common. The most common reason women discontinued using it was because of unpredictable periods.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by helium » Wed Jul 24, 18:00 2013

Thanks RD! I've been wondering, what does it feel like on your arm? Do you have a little bump right there? This is more out of curiosity than any medical thing, haha.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Wed Jul 24, 23:54 2013

The best way I can describe it is, you know how you can kind of feel the tendons in your wrist under your skin? It kind of feels like that only it's flimsier and thinner, and you can move it around more. Pretty gross actually! But you have to feel around for it, it's not like a bump, if someone was just running their hand down your arm they wouldn't be able to tell it's there, I don't think.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by lovernotafighter » Fri Jul 26, 20:10 2013

I also have had implanon. It is progesterone only and is inserted in your arm. I would know it was there from time to time, but it never bothered me, since having something I didn't need to worry about, and never getting my period were important to me. I guess you have to weigh your options carefully. For me, implanon was great because the procedure was fairly quick and I had no pain (my genecologist both inserted and removed it, and I also stopped my period completely. This latter thing was very crucial for me because I have to deal with mental health, and getting a period every month would cause my moods to shift pretty dramatically. I wasn't seeing someone after about a year and a half, and I had it removed, though, because it caused me to breakout on my jawline and neck and back heavily (because it was progesterone only). It was horrible. So I switched to oral birth control, without stopping for my period weeks. But now I am having the same problem, and I believe it is because I don't take breaks for my period-I'm breaking out again. And it is a pain, and looks horrible! Now, I'm thinking of going back on the implanon.
Anyhoo, this is my experience. Good luck, birth control can be a great thing, a lifesaving thing. Hope this helped.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Zorpisuttle » Mon Jul 29, 20:14 2013

lovernotafighter- Thanks for sharing your experiences! My little sister has dramatic mood cycling and she's starting to notice that it's tied to her period, as well as changes in environment, etc (the latter might be more related to anxiety issues.) Did having a hormone-regulated period help at all, or is it only not having periods altogether that stops your symptoms? I admit to not being super clear on how hormonal birth control would help in situations like yours and my sister's.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Mathmo » Tue Jul 30, 16:13 2013

Hi Zorpisuttle, just in case this is helpful to your sister: I'm on a progesterone-only pill (Cerazette, a version where you should take it at the same time each day but if you're up to 12 hours late taking it you're still OK) and it has stopped my periods and my mood swings. I've been on it several years now (3-4 years? About 4, I think) and it's been really good throughout that time. However, I only had very slight mood swings (well within 'normal PMS' with just being a bit more emotional etc) to start with, so it may be that this doesn't help with dramatic mood cycling. I just mention it in case it is useful (and because it's more feasible to try a pill for a couple of months than to try an implant for a couple of months, if she wants to check out different options!).

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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Zorpisuttle » Thu Aug 1, 11:52 2013

Thanks Mathmo! Yeah, the progesterone-only pill does sound like it might be a good option for her.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by lovernotafighter » Wed Aug 7, 12:35 2013

Zorpisuttle, I have a mental illness and if I get a period, inevitably my moods will go wacky (bipolar wacky), which is not good for me, and taxing if it has to happen, even for 3-4 days, each month. Not sure what your sister's situation is. And so, I prefer not to get a period at all. :) Hope this helped.
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Zorpisuttle » Wed Aug 21, 14:52 2013

So I'm getting my Paragard tomorrow! Wish me luck and I'll let you all know how it goes. :D
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Re: IUDs- Paragard vs Skyla

Post by Zorpisuttle » Sun Aug 25, 19:00 2013

So I got it inserted yesterday, but I've had an insanely busy last few days and this is the first time I've really had to write about it. The insertion hurt less than I was afraid it would (maybe a 4/10 for pain? but I was on a cervix dilating medication and 800 mg of ibuprofen) and the whole thing took maybe 20 minutes (about 5 for actual insertion.) I've had worse cramps than I usually have, and maybe more bleeding, but nothing that 400 mg of ibuprofen can't let me ignore. As far as I can tell, it's still where it's supposed to be.

I'm hoping the sharper cramp pain goes away (as the dull, bruise-feeling ache in my abs did) but even if it doesn't, I think I can live with it. Overall, I am pleased!
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