What is Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped object that goes inside your uterus. There are two types of IUDs:
- Copper IUD – contains copper, a type of metal
- Hormonal IUD – contains the hormone progestogen
When inserted correctly, IUDs are more than 99% effective. An IUD works as soon as it’s put in and lasts for 5 to 10 years, depending on the type.
The purpose of intrauterine device (IUD) placement is to prevent pregnancy.
When is Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement needed?
If you want to have an IUD as your method of contraception, it can be fitted at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant. You’ll be protected against pregnancy straight away.
What should you know before undergoing Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement?
Not everyone can safely undergo this procedure. This procedure may be contraindicated in cases of:
- Uterine anomaly (including distension of uterine cavity)
- A history of pelvic inflammatory disease
- Postpartum endometritis or septic abortion in the past 3 months
- Untreated cervicitis/vaginitis, including bacterial vaginosis
- Multiple sexual partners
What are the complications and side effects?
There’s a very small chance of getting a pelvic infection in the first 20 days after the IUD has been inserted.
It’s not common, but the IUD can be rejected (expelled) by the womb or it can move (displacement).
In rare cases, an IUD can make a hole in the womb when it’s put in. This may be painful, but often there are no symptoms. If the GP or nurse fitting your IUD is experienced, the risk is extremely low. But see a GP straight away if you’re feeling pain, as you may need surgery to remove the IUD.
If the IUD fails and you become pregnant, there’s also a small increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
People usually feel some cramping or pain when they’re getting their IUD placed. The pain can be worse for some, but luckily it only lasts for a minute or two.
Some people feel dizzy during or right after the IUD is put in, and there’s a small chance of fainting.
It is important you understand the precautions and know the possible complication and side effects before having this Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.
How do I prepare for Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement?
Before your IUD is fitted, a GP or nurse will check inside your vagina to check the position and size of your womb. You may be tested for any existing infections, such as STIs, and be given antibiotics.
What happens during Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement?
The appointment takes about 20 to 30 minutes, and fitting the IUD should take no longer than 5 minutes
Some doctors tell you to take pain medicine before you get the IUD to help prevent cramps. They also might inject a local numbing medicine around your cervix to make it more comfortable.
You may be offered medicine to help open and/or numb your cervix before the IUD is put in.
To put the IUD in, the nurse or doctor will put a speculum into your vagina and then use a special inserter to put the IUD in through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus.
What happens after Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement?
Many people feel perfectly fine right after they get an IUD, while others need to take it easy for a while.
Hormonal IUDs eventually make periods lighter and less crampy, and you might stop getting a period at all. On the flip side, copper IUDs may make periods heavier and cramps worse. For some people, this goes away over time.
If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.
What should you do after Intrauterine Device (IUD) Placement?
- Use a hot water bottle or a heating pad set on low on your belly for pain.Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve) if needed. Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
- Check the string of your IUD after every period. To do this, insert a finger into your vagina and feel for the cervix, which is at the top of the vagina and feels harder than the rest of your vagina. You should be able to feel the thin, plastic string coming out of the opening of your cervix. If you cannot feel the string, use another form of birth control and make an appointment with your doctor to have the string checked.
- If the IUD comes out, save it and call your doctor or nurse call line. Be sure to use another form of birth control while the IUD is out.
- Use latex condoms to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. An IUD does not protect you from STIs. Having one sex partner (who does not have STIs and does not have sex with anyone else) is a good way to avoid STIs.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
What's an IUD insertion like? https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud/whats-an-iud-insertion-like. Accessed June 28, 2018.
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Intrauterine device (IUD). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/iud-coil/#risks-of-the-iud. Accessed June 28, 2018.
Intrauterine Device (IUD) Insertion: Care Instructions. https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=uh4130. Accessed June 28, 2018.
INTRA UTERINE DEVICE (IUD). http://www.familyplanning.org.nz/advice/contraception/intra-uterine-device-iud. Accessed June 28, 2018.
Insertion and Removal of Intrauterine Devices. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0101/p95.html. Accessed June 28, 2018.
What are contraindications to IUDs? https://mdedge.com/jfponline/article/62315/womens-health/what-are-contraindications-iuds. Accessed June 28, 2018.
Review Date: November 12, 2018 | Last Modified: November 12, 2018