An intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small T-shaped device that is placed inside the uterus by a doctor or nurse for the purpose of preventing pregnancy. When IUDs are placed correctly, they are more than 99% effective and offer long-term protection. There are many reasons that women choose to get an IUD insertion. Many IUDs begin working right away and can prevent pregnancy for several years. There are options available without hormones, which allows you to avoid the hormonal side effects seen with hormonal types of birth control, such as breast tenderness, headaches, and acne. In addition, it is possible to become pregnant as soon as the IUD has been removed.
Things To Know Before Having An IUD Insertion
However, there are a few drawbacks as well. Chief among them is the fact that an IUD does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases, so you may also need to use condoms. In some cases, an IUD may make your periods heavier, more painful, or longer, although this often improves after a few months. It is also important to be vigilant for infections within the first 20 days.
If you are considering getting an IUD, here are five things you should know.
Insertion May Be Slightly Painful
An IUD is inserted through the opening of your cervix into your uterus in a process that takes less than five minutes. The IUD can be inserted at any time in your menstrual cycle, although many women find that it is less painful when done right at the end of their period or just after it has ended.
You May Experience Cramping After The Procedure
While some people report feeling fine after getting an IUD insertion, others report cramping and pain that is similar to that experienced during their period. It is best to plan to relax after your appointment. You may need over-the-counter pain medications and heating pads to help alleviate cramping.
For women who choose hormonal IUDs, they may find that their periods become lighter and less painful over time. Those who get nonhormonal copper IUDs, in contrast, may find that their periods become heavier and their cramps get worse at first, although this may subside with time.
IUDs Have Strings That Hang Down Into The Vagina
Once an IUD is placed, a string measuring one to two inches will extend from the cervix into the top of the vagina. This allows it to be removed more easily if you later decide you want to start a family. Although you may be able to feel the string by reaching up toward your cervix with your fingers, you should never tug on it because it may cause the IUD to dislodge.
There Is A Small Chance An IUD Can Slip Out Of Place
Although IUDs are considered highly effective, there is still a small chance that it could slip out of place. This may happen at any time, but it is more likely to occur within the first three months after IUD insertion, particularly during your period. Therefore, it is important to check your menstrual cup, tampon, or pad to see if it has fallen out. You can also feel around for the strings to ensure they are still there. Should your IUD fall out, it is important to keep in mind that you are not protected against pregnancy and need to use a backup form of birth control until you can get to your doctor.
You Can Get Pregnant Immediately After Your IUD Is Removed
One reason that many women choose an IUD is because it allows them to become pregnant right away after it has been removed. This is great for those who are hoping to start a family, but if you are having it removed and are not interested in getting pregnant, it means you will need to start using another form of birth control immediately.
When you have an IUD removed, you may experience some spotting for a short time after the removal. However, your body will eventually go back to the way it was prior to your IUD. This means, for example, that if your period becomes heavier with a copper IUD, it will return to your normal flow that you experienced before the IUD. Likewise, if a hormonal IUD caused your period to stop coming, it will return after the IUD is removed, although it may take a couple months before it goes back to your normal schedule.
Reach Out To Raleigh Gynecology And Wellness For Info On IUD Insertion
If you are considering getting an IUD or any other type of birth control, reach out to the friendly team of contraceptive care professionals at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness to learn more about your options and to get all of your questions answered.