IUD (cont.)

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How is an IUD removed?

An IUD must be removed by a health care professional. It is very important that a woman not attempt to remove an IUD on her own, as serious problems may result. IUD removal is carried out by determining the position of the uterus, then locating and grasping the stings of the IUD with a special forceps or clamp. The health care professional will then remove the IUD by gentle traction on the strings.

Occasionally, the strings of the IUD will not be located. In these situations, the strings have often slipped higher into the cervical canal. Your health care professional can use special instruments to locate the strings and/or remove the IUD. Complications of IUD removal are rare, and removal can take place at any time. Some studies have shown that removal is easier during the menstrual period, when a woman's cervix is typically softer, than during other times in the menstrual cycle.

What are the risks and complications of intrauterine devices (IUDs)?

An IUD may not be appropriate for women who have heavy menstrual bleeding, had previous pelvic infections, have more than one sexual partner, or plan on getting pregnant. This is because IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STDs) and should not be in place if a woman intends to become pregnant.

If women become pregnant with their IUDs in place, 50% of the pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Women who use non-progesterone types of IUDs are less likely to have an ectopic pregnancy compared to women using no contraception. When a woman using an IUD does become pregnant, the pregnancy is more likely to be ectopic, but still ectopic pregnancy in a user of an IUD is a rare occurrence.

Serious complications due to infection associated with an IUD may prevent a woman from being able to become pregnant in the future.

Also, with the progesterone-releasing IUD (levonorgestrel IUD), a reduction in menstrual flow and a decrease in painful menstrual cramping are often observed with continued use. This is because the progesterone hormone can cause thinning of the lining of the uterus. These menstrual changes are not dangerous in any way and do not mean that the contraceptive action of the IUD is diminished.

The IUD provides no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Mikio A Nihira, MD; American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology

REFERENCE:

MedscapeReference. Contraception.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/10/2014

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