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If you experience anxiety during medical procedures like me, you may want to consider adding Pro-Nox to your next appointment at HerMD!

I had my first IUD placed in January 2018 at a small OB/GYN office in Manhattan. I was uncertain and anxious about the process. The one thing I knew for sure before going in for the procedure was that there would be pain. Within my circle, nearly every person who had decided to go the route of an IUD instead of a birth control pill had a horror story about the insertion process. At the time, broader conversations around pain management and medical gaslighting were just beginning and hadn’t quite hit the mainstream in the way they have done since COVID-19. My healthcare provider then told me the process would be quick and easy; most patients were OK to resume their day as planned after the insertion. 

There was no discussion of pain management leading up to the appointment. I remember feeling an increasing amount of anxiety as I  settled into the chair, shivering in one of those classically uncomfortable crunchy paper gowns. The doctor came in and briefly walked me through the procedure and then commenced the insertion process. Minutes later, the IUD was removed. The insertion was unsuccessful. The doctor tried to place it again, and again, but each time it was removed. By this point, I was bleeding heavily. We waited until the bleeding slowed to complete the insertion successfully. What was supposed to be a quick and easy procedure turned into an hours-long nightmare with little explanation of what went wrong. 

While this seems like a freak incident, this instance has had significant implications for all of my medical experiences thereafter. I did not know how to advocate for myself as a patient at the time. While I feel more comfortable advocating for myself and my needs as a patient now, my body has kept score of my prior experiences. The intense anxiety I experience leading up to each appointment is something I haven’t been able to kick, despite my best efforts.

This past year, I planned to have my IUD removed in favor of other birth control methods. I chose to have the removal procedure done at HerMD, and was able to discuss anxiety management before my appointment, as well as confirm the Pro-Nox analgesic as an add-on to maximize my comfort throughout the procedure. The result? I am a huge fan. While I still experienced the same pre-appointment jitters, Pro-Nox gave me much-needed distraction and a sense of calm throughout the procedure. As fast as the Pro-Nox kicked in, it dissipated, allowing me to proceed with my day as usual following the removal. Did I still experience slight discomfort? Yes, as a certain degree of discomfort is typically expected whenever the cervix is manipulated. However, the discomfort was brief, and followed by a sense of relief once the IUD was entirely removed.  

Have an upcoming medical procedure that is anxiety-producing to you? Here are my top tips to effectively manage pain and reduce anxiety ahead of your procedure: 

1) Ask your provider about their plan for pain management.

If you are planning to have an IUD inserted, for example, ask your provider or healthcare team what you should do in the days leading up to the insertion. Your provider may be able to prescribe you a medication, or suggest alternative pain management methods, to reduce discomfort.

 2)  Ask your provider if they have any service add-ons to reduce anxiety.

At select HerMD locations, Pro-Nox is available as an add-on to several medical procedures and aesthetic services. If you’re interested in this add-on, I highly recommend discussing your options with your provider or healthcare team during your next appointment. Presently, we are working to ensure this option will soon be available across all HerMD locations.

Caro Carmichael

Caro is the Director of Content and Partnerships for HerMD and has spent the majority of her career in the digital marketing space collaborating with small, agile teams in fast-paced working environments.

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