Um, is everything OK down there?
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.
00:00.118 --> 00:02.701 line:15%
00:08.070 --> 00:10.560
-: An IUD is an intrauterine device.
00:10.560 --> 00:12.950 line:15%
This is a device that's passed through the cervix,
00:12.950 --> 00:15.010 line:15%
into the uterus, and it sits there
00:15.010 --> 00:16.900 line:15%
and acts in preventing pregnancy.
00:16.900 --> 00:20.260
An IUD is a plastic device that is about the size
00:20.260 --> 00:22.110
of a bobby pin, but it's in a T shape.
00:22.110 --> 00:24.610
We open up the cervix to place the IUD
00:24.610 --> 00:25.670
inside the uterus.
00:25.670 --> 00:27.780 line:15%
Oftentimes patients will have a lot of cramping
00:27.780 --> 00:30.010 line:15%
when it's placed and sometimes there'll be cramping
00:30.010 --> 00:32.600 line:15%
for the first month or two after the placement.
00:32.600 --> 00:35.439
There's an IUD called the copper IUD,
00:35.439 --> 00:38.840
and typically patients will have a longer and heavier flow
00:38.840 --> 00:39.780
00:39.780 --> 00:43.560
Many patients say after six months their flow normalizes.
00:43.560 --> 00:46.710
With the hormonal IUDs, which have progesterone,
00:46.710 --> 00:48.260
typically the flow is a lot lighter
00:48.260 --> 00:50.470
and some patients even don't really have a period,
00:50.470 --> 00:52.950
they just have a little bit of discharge each month.
00:52.950 --> 00:55.020
Many patients are concerned about putting something
00:55.020 --> 00:58.400
inside of their bodies, it feels strange to them.
00:58.400 --> 01:01.650
I try to reassure patients and tell them to wait it out
01:01.650 --> 01:03.560
for two or three months just to make sure
01:03.560 --> 01:05.540
that it will work for them.
01:05.540 --> 01:06.890
Occasionally if it's very painful
01:06.890 --> 01:10.510
we may do a sonogram to check on the location of the IUD.
01:10.510 --> 01:13.170 line:15%
The IUD is a very effective form of birth control,
01:13.170 --> 01:15.270 line:15%
because it doesn't depend on a patient to remember it
01:15.270 --> 01:16.850 line:15%
every single day, which can be hard,
01:16.850 --> 01:18.850
and it's good for long term,
01:18.850 --> 01:20.670
so this is often the ideal birth control
01:20.670 --> 01:22.700
for someone who may be done with childbearing.
01:22.700 --> 01:25.150
The small percentage of patients that don't like their IUDs
01:25.150 --> 01:27.760
usually complain about cramping and irregular spotting.
01:27.760 --> 01:29.970
Like all birth control, it's ideal for some people
01:29.970 --> 01:31.053
and not for others.
How effective are IUDs? New York, NY: Planned Parenthood. (Accessed on March 22, 2018 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 March 22, 2018 at https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud/whats-an-iud-insertion-like.)