You knew your IUD insertion was probably going to be a bit ugh-worthy, but you decided 10 minutes of discomfort would be worth it. After all, no daily pill and up to 10 years of effective, who-knows-it’s-even-there birth control seems like a great payoff.
But a week (or even a month) after the big insertion day, you’re still having cramps. Is the IUD inserted incorrectly? Is your body rejecting it? What’s going on?
While unpleasant, this cramping after getting an IUD is expected and normal, although not every woman who gets an IUD will experience it. “Oftentimes patients will have a lot of cramping when it’s placed,” says Jennifer Wu, MD, an ob-gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “And sometimes there’ll be cramping for the first month or two after the placements.”
An IUD—or intrauterine device—is a plastic T-shaped device that sits in your uterus. It’s long-acting birth control method that can be over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancies. Learn more about how the IUD works here.
Persistent cramping after an IUD insertion is reasonably unsettling. You can’t see the thing, after all, so it’s impossible to know if everything’s A-OK in there. You might even want to press the undo button and get the IUD removed. “Many patients are concerned about putting something inside of their bodies; it feels strange to them,” says Dr. Wu. “I try to reassure patients and tell them to wait it out for two or three months just to make sure that it will work for them.”
In most cases, time will do the trick. However, if your cramping lasts longer than about three months, you may need to pay your ob-gyn another visit. This pain could be a sign that your IUD has slipped out of place and will need to be re-inserted. While possible, this is pretty rare.
Like all menstrual cramps, pain following an IUD insertion can be effectively managed using OTC painkillers, rest, a hot water bottle, and bingeing on your favorite Netflix show. Here are more tips to soothe menstrual cramp pain.