It’s normal to have cramps when you get an intrauterine device (IUD) placed in your cervix, especially right after the device is inserted and your muscles are adjusting to the foreign object. Cramping may also be caused by the changes in your hormone levels due to the IUD.
The intensity of cramps varies from woman to woman. Some may experience such intense pain that the IUD may need to be removed immediately after its insertion, while others feel very little at all.
What to expect when you get an IUD
An IUD is a small plastic tube that is inserted into your uterus through your vagina to prevent pregnancy:
- You may feel cramping or discomfort as it’s being put in, which may increase if you have anxiety.
- You may also experience dizziness or nausea, which is normal.
- If you have given birth in the past, you may have less cramping because your uterus has already undergone a lot of stretching and has become less sensitive.
How long do IUD cramps last?
Cramps usually last 1-2 days after the procedure. Some women may have cramps for several weeks or even as long as 3 months. As your body adjusts to the IUD over time, cramping will gradually subside.
You may have cramps that come back each month during your period. For some women, monthly period cramps eventually go away, while other women may experience period cramps as long as the IUD is in place.
There are two types of IUDs, copper and hormonal. Cramping tends to be less frequent and severe in women who use hormonal IUDs.
How to reduce your chances of cramping
Before the procedure
While you are bound to experience some sort of discomfort during the procedure, you can reduce your chances of cramping by doing the following:
- Eat, drink and make sure you are in good shape. Getting the procedure done while dehydrated or on an empty stomach will only cause more discomfort.
- Try to relax and stay calm. Stress and anxiety can make the procedure more painful for you. Practice deep breathing, listen to music, or have a conversation with your doctor while they insert the IUD.
- Take analgesics beforehand. You can take 600 mg of ibuprofen or 500 mg of naproxen an hour before your appointment to reduce muscle cramping.
- Schedule your appointment at the right time. During the last few days of your menstrual cycle, your cervix is soft and dilated. Scheduling an appointment for IUD insertion at this time is likely to cause less cramping.
After the procedure
A few simple measures can ease your pain after the procedure:
- Take OTC pain medication like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to help reduce inflammation and alleviate cramps. Try 600 mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day (or every 8 hours) for the first 1-2 days. Your doctor will usually recommend how much to take; if they don’t, make sure to ask about it.
- Ensure you drink plenty of water and get adequate rest.
- Gently apply a heating pad to the area.
- Avoid exercising and having sex when you are in pain.
When to see a doctor about cramping
Though cramping is normal during and after an IUD procedure, severe cramping needs medical attention. It may be a sign of improper insertion or an injury to your uterus.
If you experience cramping that lasts for more than 3 months and have associated symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, you should visit your gynecologist. If you do not feel the IUD strings in place, inform your gynecologist immediately.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Planned Parenthood Federation of America. What Are the Side Effects of IUDs? https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud/iud-side-effects
Brett AJ. Insertion and Removal of Intrauterine Devices. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jan 1;71(1):95-102. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15663031/
Top Is It Normal to Have Cramps With an IUD? Related Articles
Barrier Methods of Birth Control Side Effects, Advantages, and Disadvantages
Many barrier methods of birth control are available for a man or woman, for example, the sponge, female and male condoms, diaphram, spermicides, male condoms, female condoms, contraceptive sponge, diaphragm, and cervical cap. Side effects, and efficacy (in preventing pregnancy) depends on the type of birth control used.
Birth Control OptionsBirth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning-after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed before using any birth control method.
Choosing Your Birth Control MethodWhich birth control option is right for you? Discover birth control methods such as birth control pills, birth control shot, implant, patch and more. Learn about birth control side effects and effectiveness.
Birth Control Quiz: Test Your Medical IQWhat is the best form of birth control? Take this quiz to find out about hormonal, surgical, barrier, and natural methods!
Does Birth Control Affect Your Appearance?The birth control pill or the “pill” is used to prevent an undesired pregnancy. Over years, the pill has been blamed to cause weight gain, sex drive, and even affect the skin in a bad way. Which part is true? Which part is a myth? Let’s find out.
Hormonal Methods of Birth ControlThere are several different hormonal methods of birth control. The hormones can be estrogen and/or progesterone. The hormones can be taken by mouth, implanted into body tissue, absorbed from a patch on the skin, injected under the skin, or placed in the vagina. Common types of hormonal birth control include: "The Pill" (oral contraceptives), injection (Depo-Provera, Lunelle), the patch (Ortho-Evra), and the vaginal ring (Nuvaring).
IUD (Intrauterine Device for Birth Control)
An IUD (intrauterine device) is a birth control method designed for a woman. The IUD is a small "T" made of molded polyethylene plastic coated with barium so that, if need be, it can be seen on X-ray.
There are two types of IUDs 1) Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) including the ParaGard, Copper 7, and Mini-7; and 2) Intrauterine system (IUS) including Progestasert and Mirena.
Side effects of the IUD include spotting, infection, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Risks and complications of the IUD are miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and increased menstrual bleeding.
Mirena Weight Gain: Do IUDs Cause Weight Gain?Nonhormonal IUDs generally do not cause any weight gain. Hormonal IUDs cause weight gain in about 5% of patients. As Mirena is a hormonal IUD, there are chances of weight gain. This weight gain is mainly due to the hormone progestin that causes water retention and bloating.
Muscle Cramps: Foods That Help and Prevent CrampingOne way to prevent muscle cramps is to get enough of these nutrients: potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium. They’re called electrolytes, and you can find them in these foods.
Natural Birth ControlNatural methods of contraception are considered "natural" because they are non-mechanical and non-hormonal. Fertility awareness methods (FAMs) are based upon knowing when a woman ovulates each month. Natural methods of birth control include: the calendar rhythm, basal body temperature, mucus inspection, symptothermal, use of an ovulation indicator testing kit, withdrawal, lactational infertility, douching and urination, and abstinence.
25 Ways to Relieve Menstrual CrampsMenstrual cramps happen when prostaglandins force the uterus to contract. Dysmenorrhea, or period pain, may be relieved by heating pads, ibuprofen, and other measures. Endometriosis may cause severe cramps during the menstrual cycle. Luckily, women have many options for period pain relief.
Birth Control: Surgical SterilizationSurgical sterilization is considered a permanent method of contraception. In certain cases, sterilization can be reversed, but this is not guaranteed. For this reason, sterilization is meant for men and women who do not intend to have children in the future. Types of surgical sterilization include: vasectomy, tubal ligation, STOP (selective tubal occlusion procedure), and hysterectomy.
What Are the Symptoms of a Moved IUD?An intrauterine device or IUD is a popular birth control device. Symptoms of a moved IUD include being able to feel the IUD with your fingers or during sex, painful intercourse, abdominal cramping, foul-smelling vaginal discharge and fever.
Why Did I Miss My Period on Birth Control?Missed periods on birth control are a common issue that affects many women. Learn why you missed your period on birth control, how your doctor will diagnose why, and how you can treat your missed period.