If you cannot feel your contraceptive IUD string inside your uterus, there’s nothing to worry about. A doctor associated with Gynae UK – a reliable private gynaecology clinic located at Harley Street in Marylebone, London says that this is a very common issue and large number of women experiences it. There can be many reasons behind it.
Let’s explore some of those reasons in the following paragraphs.
Reasons people fail to locate their IUD strings
Doctors at a private clinic renowned for IUD coil fitting in London explain that healthcare experts typically leave a string or two hanging down into your vagina from the IUD. Feeling the end of those IUD strings is not difficult when you insert your fingers into the vagina. But sometimes, the tips of your fingers might just fail to reach the strings which may scare you into thinking the contraceptive device is missing.
The following possibilities are usually found to be responsible for your fingertips missing the strings:
The strings hanging from the contraceptive device get curled up on themselves. They may rest on the cervix wall and thus, you are likely to miss them. The strings may also get trapped by a fold of your vaginal tissue. Reaching out to a curled string from the outside is a challenging task.
Strings are cut short in length
After inserting the IUD, perhaps the healthcare professional cut the strings too short and so you cannot feel them with your fingers. If your IUD strings are cut too short, there’s nothing to worry about. That won’t affect the efficiency of the birth-control device. On the other hand, your fingers may not be long enough to reach up and feel the strings.
Your IUD may also fall out of the cervix and as a result, you cannot feel the strings. This fallout can be partial or total and doctors describe this condition as IUD expulsion.
In case of expulsion, the IUD may not fall out totally and so, you’re not going to discover it inside your underwear or in the toilet. Rather, you’re likely to experience pain, severe cramping, bleeding and vaginal discharge.
Usually, IUD expulsion or fallout occurs inside the first year of its insertion. In case of an IUD fallout or expulsion, you must visit your doctor immediately because he or she is qualified enough to put it back in place. Under any circumstance, you should not try putting it back yourself using your untrained and unskilled hands.
Perforation in the uterus or the cervix
The IUD may perforate or puncture your cervix or the uterus although such accidents happen very rarely. Women who have just given birth or are still breastfeeding their little ones are at higher risk of perforation. This causes severe pain in the pelvic region and bleeding along with pain during sexual intercourse.
When to see a doctor
If you are unable to locate or feel the strings, book an appointment with your doctor to check out the condition and position of the IUD. Consider using alternative birth-control measures during this period till the doctor gives you confirmation about your IUD.
Women on hormonal IUD are likely to experience lighter periods over time. But if their periods start getting heavier with time, it could be a signal that the IUD has shifted from the position or fallen out.
If you fail to locate your IUD strings and experience the following symptoms at the same time, then it may be a case of perforation or infection:
- Chill or fever
- Severe cramps that last quite long
- Unusual vaginal odour
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Bleeding from the vagina
How the doctor finds the strings
Doctors usually start with a pelvic exam to find your IUD strings. A colposcope or a cyto brush is used as the tool during the exam. Cyto brush is a lengthy cotton swab typically used in Pap smears while coloposcope is a magnifying device that allows doctors take closer look at the cervix.
If a pelvic exam fails to locate the strings, an ultrasound test is done to locate them.
When the ultrasound fails locating the missing strings then the chances are high that they have slipped out of the vagina without you noticing. An x-ray is the only relevant option in such circumstances to ascertain the status of your IUD.
When doctor traces the IUD strings back
When the IUD strings are traced back, the doctor has nothing else to do unless you want to have the device removed.
If the IUD is missing, the doctor will replace it with a new one. If the birth-control device is found to have moved out of its position, the doctor has to get it removed.
At the time of IUD removal, doctors apply misoprostol to dilate your cervix. You may also be administered with local anaesthesia to numb the cervical pain. You may also be prescribed analgesics like ibuprofen to minimise the cramping effect.
After the cervix is dilated enough, the doctors will make use of the forceps to take out the IUD. If you want a new IUD, the doctor will insert it a little after taking out the existing one.
If the IUD has made puncture in the uterus, you’ve to undergo surgery to take out the device. But you can be assured that such cases come up very rarely.
Tips to check your IUD strings
Doctors associated with a reliable IUD coil removal clinic in London suggest the following tips to locate your IUD strings:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and sit down or squat on the floor
- Insert the middle and the index finger into the vagina and feel your cervix
- Feel around to locate the strings
If the strings feel longer or you feel the plastic part of the IUD, the chances are high that the IUD has moved away from the position.