A gynecology physician assistant told patients IUD insertion was ‘a little crampy’ — then she got one
In 2020, Sharhonda Blue, a Black gynecology physician assistant based in San Antonio, Texas, posted a video on TikTok explaining the process for having an intrauterine contraception device inserted, telling viewers the notorious pain associated with the birth control method’s insertion procedure was just “a little crampy.”
Those were words Blue came to regret after getting the procedure herself. She recently posted an updated video apologizing for underselling pain she has since likened to being in labor.
“I had my own IUD inserted a couple of months after that TikTok was made, and let me tell you: I was flipping off of the table. It was a very painful procedure,” she said in the new video, which begins with a reference to her original claims.
Blue did admit that she has a “very” low pain tolerance and considers herself “a wimp” when it comes to pain. She said she “cannot take pain” and added that overall, IUD insertion depends on your pain tolerance.
Nevertheless, she said, “I do want to apologize for misleading people into thinking that it was just a little bit of pain.”
Speaking to People magazine, the medical professional explained that she had performed the procedure countless times before she had her own IUD inserted. She was shocked by the level of pain she experienced.
“It’s a pain you can’t even describe unless you’ve had kids,” said Blue, the mother of a two-year-old, adding, “I remember afterwards getting up and just trying to get myself together, and then I felt like I was going to pass out. I had that type of pain. So I was like, ‘Oh, man, this is not a little crampy.’ ”
To many who have had the procedure, Blue’s experience may sound familiar. A quick search of the term “IUD painful” on social media and online will yield thousands of personal accounts describing similarly excruciating experiences. Many in the comments of Blue’s video have been commiserating over their painful procedures.
“It was the worst experience of my life, and I have a high pain tolerance,” one commenter wrote.
There’s no guarantee a person will or won’t experience extreme pain while having an IUD inserted. Others within the comments indicated feeling pressure rather than pain — or no pain at all, chalking it up to high pain tolerances.
The experience has led Blue to develop a new approach when counseling patients about the procedure. She told the publication she now strongly emphasizes the details of the procedure and pain management. She added that considering how shockingly “uncomfortable” her experience was, she now pushes for increased education around IUDs.
“One thing that I try to do is counsel and over-explain what it is and the entire procedure, especially pain. So that’s something that I really try to harp on because people aren’t thinking about the pain when they just want birth control,” she explained.
Blue intends to keep advocating for transparency around procedures like IUD insertion and stresses that pain management options should be made available for IUD procedures. She even advised that if pain management isn’t offered, individuals may want to find a different provider. She stressed that patients shouldn’t actually be in excruciating pain during procedures.
“And if you are, you have the right to stop the procedure,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to speak up.”
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