HOW IS AN INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD) REMOVED?


OVERVIEW

People, especially women that use birth control like the intrauterine device (IUD) may have to remove it for some reasons.

Inserting and removing an IUD may be a straightforward process for most women.

Read on to know about the types of IUDs and how it is removed.

WHAT IS AN IUD?

An IUD, also known as intrauterine coil or contraceptive device (IUC), is a small T-shaped device used for birth control that is inserted into a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy.

IUDs are one of the most long-acting forms of reversible birth control. Less than 1 in 100 women with IUDs become pregnant yearly.

There are other reversible birth control methods including contraceptive patches, injections, oral contraceptives and vaginal rings.

IUDs can be hormonal or copper.

HORMONAL IUD

The three different hormonal IUD options available are:

Mirena- This releases progestin in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The progestin works to thicken cervical mucus, which blocks sperm from getting to and fertilising an egg. It can also hinder eggs from being released and narrow the uterine lining to prevent Implantation. Mirena lasts up to five years.

Liletta - This IUD is similar to Mirena and lasts up to 3 years. Liletta releases a comparable amount of progestin which prevents fertilisation.

Skyla - Skyla lasts three years. It is smaller in size and releases the least amount of progestin.


COPPER IUD

The copper IUD, which is known as ParaGard in the US, is a T-shaped device that contains a stem wrapped with two copper sleeves and copper wire. Copper IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years by releasing copper into the uterus. This stops the sperm from getting to the egg.


REMOVING AN IUD

Although your IUD can protect you from pregnancy for 3 to 10 years, you can have your doctor remove your IUD at any time for any of the following reasons:

  • You don't need this form of birth control anymore
  • You are trying to get pregnant
  • You are experiencing prolonged discomfort or other uncomfortable side effects
  • You have used it up to the recommended period, and it has to be replaced

Most women can take out their IUD in a doctor's office. To do this, your doctor will grasp the threads of the IUD with ring forceps. The arms of the IUD will collapse upward in most cases, and the device will slide out.

Another method will be used by your doctor if the IUD doesn't come out with a slight pull.

If the IUD is attached to your uterine wall, you may need a hysteroscopy to remove it. During this procedure, your cervix is widened to insert a hysteroscope. The hysteroscope will allow small instruments to enter your uterus. A hysteroscopy can take 5 minutes to 1 hour to complete, and you may require anaesthesia.

An effective way to take out an Intra-uterine device that won't come out with forceps, as indicated by current research is by ultrasound-guided removal. This method is more cost-effective and less invasive than hysteroscopy.

LIVING WITH AN IUD

An IUD once inserted, protects you against pregnancy for 3 to 10 years. The type of IUD you choose will determine the duration you're protected against pregnancy. About one month after your IUD is placed, you will have a follow-up appointment with your doctor. During this appointment, your doctor will ensure the IUD stays in position and hasn't caused any infection.

You should confirm that your IUD stays in place every month. After inserting the IUD, the string hangs down into your vagina. Checking for these strings should be done to ensure the device is still in place.

You shouldn't be able to touch the IUD after insertion.

Contact your doctor if:

  • You can feel other parts of the IUD in your vagina or cervix
  • You experience unusual bleeding
  • Sex becomes painful for you
  • The IUD strings seem abnormal

With a copper IUD, you may experience heavier periods along with menstrual cramps. This usually lasts for a short time. Many women find that their cycles regulate 2 to 3 months after insertion. You may experience a lighter period or it might your period disappear if you have an intrauterine hormonal device.


Some other side effects may include:

  • Severe headache or migraine
  • Unusual fever
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad

It is noteworthy of mentioning that IUDs don't prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a barrier method for prevention.


DECIDING THE RIGHT BIRTH CONTROL FOR YOU

There are a plethora of birth control options that are available. Consult your doctor to help you find the right method. If you choose to use an IUD, discuss with your doctor to figure out which IUD is best for you.

Check the strings regularly after insertion of your IUD.

Ensure you notify your doctor if you observe that the IUD has moved out of position or you have any side effects. If for any reason, you choose to take out your IUD, don't forget that the procedure should be a quite simple one performed at your doctor's office.

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