Here's what to expect after an IUD insertion.
You knew your IUD insertion was probably going to be a little uncomfortable, but you decided 10 minutes of discomfort would be worth it. However, you might be concerned if you're continuing to have pain a week or two after your IUD insertion.
Is this normal? Is the IUD inserted incorrectly? Is your body rejecting it? What’s going on?
Is pain after IUD insertion normal?
An IUD (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.
While unpleasant, cramping after getting an IUD is common and somewhat expected. That said, not every woman who gets an IUD will experience pain. Some people experience pressure and cramping during the insertion itself, but then they feel fine. Others may continue having pain for weeks or even a month or two after the IUD insertion.
When does the cramping go away?
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 with:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- A hot water bottle, heating pad, or warm bath
Here are more tips to soothe menstrual cramp pain.
Dr. Wu is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist practicing in New York City.
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-: An IUD is an intrauterine device.
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This is a device that's passed through the cervix,
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into the uterus, and it sits there
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and acts in preventing pregnancy.
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An IUD is a plastic device that is about the size
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of a bobby pin, but it's in a T shape.
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We open up the cervix to place the IUD
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inside the uterus.
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Oftentimes patients will have a lot of cramping
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when it's placed and sometimes there'll be cramping
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for the first month or two after the placement.
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There's an IUD called the copper IUD,
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and typically patients will have a longer and heavier flow
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Many patients say after six months their flow normalizes.
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With the hormonal IUDs, which have progesterone,
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typically the flow is a lot lighter
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and some patients even don't really have a period,
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they just have a little bit of discharge each month.
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Many patients are concerned about putting something
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inside of their bodies, it feels strange to them.
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I try to reassure patients and tell them to wait it out
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for two or three months just to make sure
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that it will work for them.
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Occasionally if it's very painful
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we may do a sonogram to check on the location of the IUD.
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The IUD is a very effective form of birth control,
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because it doesn't depend on a patient to remember it
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every single day, which can be hard,
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and it's good for long term,
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so this is often the ideal birth control
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for someone who may be done with childbearing.
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The small percentage of patients that don't like their IUDs
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usually complain about cramping and irregular spotting.
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Like all birth control, it's ideal for some people
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and not for others.
How effective are IUDs? New York, NY: Planned Parenthood. (Accessed on January 9, 2021 at https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud/how-effective-are-iuds.)What’s an IUD insertion like? New York, NY: Planned Parenthood. (Accessed on January 9, 2021 at https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud/whats-an-iud-insertion-like.)