In recent years, more and more women have been turning to intrauterine devices (IUDs) as birth control due to their high effectiveness rates and long-term convenience. However, despite the popularity of IUDs, many women are still unsure about the insertion and removal process. In this post, we’ll look inside at what to expect from the process of IUD insertion and removal so that women can feel confident and empowered regarding their birth control choices.
In This Article
What Is an IUD?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a long-acting reversible contraception to prevent pregnancy. It is a small, T-shaped device made of plastic or metal placed into the uterus by a healthcare professional. IUDs are highly effective that can last several years before needing replacement. They are also easily reversible, meaning fertility can quickly return once the device is removed.
How Is the IUD Insertion Procedure Performed?
The IUD insertion involves consultation, cleaning and numbing, trimming, and post-insertion check.
Consultation with a Doctor and Decision Making
Before IUD can be inserted, you must consult with a gynaecologist or healthcare provider to decide which type of IUD will best suit your needs. They may also perform a physical exam to ensure you are a good candidate for the IUD. There are two types of IUDs available: copper/non-hormonal and hormonal.
Copper/non-hormonal IUDs do not contain any hormones and work by releasing copper ions into the uterus, which are toxic to sperm. Hormonal IUDs, on the other hand, contain a synthetic form of progestin hormone which thins the uterus lining and makes it hostile for the implantation of fertilised eggs. Your provider will also discuss the benefits and risks of the IUD with you, including possible side effects and complications.
Positioning During the Procedure
You will lie on your back with your feet in stirrups during the procedure, much like during a pelvic exam. Your healthcare provider will then insert a speculum into your vagina to hold it open and provide access to your cervix.
Cleaning and Numbing
Your healthcare provider will clean your cervix and the surrounding area with an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection. They may also apply a numbing agent to your cervix to help minimise any discomfort during the procedure.
Measuring the Uterus
Your healthcare provider will then use a special instrument called a sound to measure the depth and angle of your uterus. It helps them determine the appropriate size and placement of the IUD.
Insertion of the IUD
Once the uterus has been measured, your healthcare provider will insert the IUD through the cervix and into the uterus. Some women may experience mild cramping or discomfort during this part of the procedure, but it usually only lasts a few seconds.
Trimming the Strings
After the IUD is inserted, your healthcare provider will trim the strings hanging from the device. These strings allow you to check that the IUD is still in place and can be used by your healthcare provider to remove the IUD if necessary.
Your healthcare provider will then perform a final check to ensure the IUD is properly positioned inside your uterus. You may be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment to check the position of the IUD and discuss any concerns or side effects you may be experiencing.
What to Expect? Insertion Side Effects
After inserting an IUD (intrauterine device), it is common to experience some side effects. These side effects can include:
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
How Is the IUD Removed?
IUD removal also involves consultation and decision-making, and post-removal checks.
Consultation and Decision Making
It is important to consult a healthcare provider before removing the IUD. The provider can provide information about any potential risks associated with the removal and discuss potential alternatives if the IUD is better left in place. It is also important to consider how long the IUD has been in place since some types have a limited lifespan.
Once the decision to remove the IUD has been made, an experienced doctor must use forceps to gently and safely extract the IUD. This procedure should only be done by a healthcare professional who is familiar with this specific type of procedure and who can ensure that no damage is being done to surrounding tissue.
After the IUD has been successfully removed, a healthcare provider needs to perform a post-removal check. It includes an examination of the uterus and cervix to ensure that the IUD was completely removed and that no other pieces are still embedded in the uterine wall. It can help to prevent any potential complications from occurring.
What to Expect? Removal Side Effects
Removing an intrauterine device (IUD) can cause mild to moderate side effects. These may include cramping, spotting or local bleeding from the vagina, and dizziness or lightheadedness during and after the procedure. It is also important to note that fertility can return quickly after IUD removal. Many women who wish to become pregnant can do so within six months of IUD removal.
IUDs are quickly becoming a popular choice in contraception for women of all ages. However, knowing the process and what to expect from insertion and removal is essential. By educating ourselves about this long-term birth control option, we can become empowered to make informed decisions regarding our reproductive health. Whether you choose an IUD or another method of contraception, it is important to be knowledgeable, take precautionary steps, and seek regular check-ups with your doctor. Understanding the IUD insertion and removal processes can help make for an effective and successful birth control experience.