Is it painful to have an IUD inserted?

Some women experience mild pain and discomfort when having an IUD placed.
Some women experience mild pain and discomfort when having an IUD placed.

Gynecologists insert a T-shaped device into the woman’s uterus (womb). This process is quick and not very painful. However, some pain is inevitable, and pain experience is different for every woman. It is normal to feel some discomfort when the opening of the womb (cervix) is stretched. For most women, this only lasts for a few seconds and may be felt as a sharp pain. The pain level during the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) is between 2/10 and 4/10 on the pain scale. Inserting an IUD is a simple procedure that takes a few minutes. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device made from plastic and copper that is placed in a woman's womb and provides contraceptive protection for up to 10 years.

  • Before an IUD is fitted, a doctor or nurse may examine the vagina.
  • Having an IUD fitted can be uncomfortable. The patient may be given local anesthesia to numb the pain.
  • A speculum is inserted into the vagina and the coil is inserted through the cervix (neck of the womb). It can feel slightly uncomfortable and can cause some period-like pain afterward. However, painkillers can ease cramps. The patient may also bleed for a few days after having an IUD fitted.

Is it painful to have an intrauterine device removed?

Removing an intrauterine device (IUD) is a quick procedure and it is not very painful. However, it should be only done by an experienced medical practitioner. Removing an IUD is usually less painful than putting it in.

  • The patient may be asked to lie on a table with their knees bent and legs apart.
  • The doctor may insert a speculum into the vagina to widen the opening.
  • Threads from the patient’s IUD hang out from the cervix (neck of the womb) into the vagina.
  • Using a special grasping tool, the doctor may gently pull the strings and pull out the device.
  • An IUD is T-shaped and its arms will fold up as it slides out.
  • If the doctor can't see or reach the threads, they may use a special hook or other tool to pull them into view.
  • In rare cases, an IUD won't come out easily because it may get stuck in the wall of the uterus. During such instances, doctors usually give anesthesia to the patient and widen the cervix with forceps to pull it out. The doctor may use a thin, lighted scope to look inside the vagina and uterus to remove the IUD.
  • The patient may feel mild cramps and may experience spotting or light bleeding for a few days or weeks after the IUD is removed. An over-the-counter pain reliever is usually recommended for a few days.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is one of the safest and most effective methods of contraception. The advantages include

  • The IUD works by creating a hostile environment inside the uterus for the sperm by acting as a foreign body.
  • The IUD starts working as soon as it is put in and stops working as soon as it is taken out.
  • It can be easily inserted by a trained doctor.
  • It protects against pregnancy for 5 or 10 years, depending on the type.
  • It is easy to use (nothing to remember after insertion), except a woman should keep tabs on the threads.
  • It can be easily removed.
  • It's possible to get pregnant as soon as the IUD is removed.
  • There are no hormonal side effects, such as acne, headaches or breast tenderness.
  • It does not interrupt sex and the partner will not know about it.
  • It's safe to use an IUD if a woman is breastfeeding.
  • It's not affected by other medicines.
  • The IUD is 99% effective, if used correctly. During the course of 5 years, less than 1% of women using the IUD may become pregnant.

Although these side effects are uncommon, an IUD has disadvantages, which include

  • Periods may become heavier, longer or more painful, although this may improve after a few months.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so condoms are still recommended during intercourse.
  • It increases the chances of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy happening outside the uterine body).
  • Rarely, an IUD can lead to pelvic infection, if not treated.
  • Most women who stop using an IUD do so because of vaginal bleeding and pain, although these side effects are uncommon.

Can I still get pregnant while using an intrauterine device?

Yes, but it is extremely rare. If the intrauterine device (IUD) isn't functioning properly or hasn't been put into place properly, the chances may go up.  An IUD is extremely effective, having a 99% effectiveness rate. When getting an IUD, the patient may either get a non-hormonal IUD that lasts for up to 12 years or a hormonal IUD that usually lasts for two to six years. It should also be noted that IUDs do not offer protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Hence, it is advised to use condoms for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and nullifying the chances of getting pregnant.

QUESTION

Which of the following are methods for contraception? See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 11/6/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference