Inserting an intrauterine device (IUD) is not a complex procedure and may take only a few minutes. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device made from plastic and copper that is placed in a woman's womb and provides contraceptive protection for up to 10 years.
- Before an IUD is fitted, a doctor or nurse may examine the vagina for proper positioning.
- The patient may be tested for any existing infections, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and maybe given antibiotics if needed.
- Having an IUD fitted can be uncomfortable; the patient may be given local anesthesia to numb the pain.
- Having a coil fitted takes less than 10 minutes in the doctor’s clinic.
- A speculum is inserted into the vagina, and the coil is inserted through the cervix (neck of the womb).
- It can feel slightly uncomfortable and can cause some period-like pain afterward. However, painkillers can ease cramps. The patient may also bleed for a few days after having an IUD fitted.
- Once an IUD is fitted, it may need to be checked by a doctor after three to six weeks to make sure everything is fine.
How does an IUD work?
The basic mechanism of an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is that it acts as a foreign body in the uterus. It invokes a strong reaction due to its presence and makes the uterine cavity hostile for the sperm. Newer intrauterine devices (IUDs) are loaded with progesterone that has an added advantage of thickening the cervical mucous and thinning the inner lining of the uterus. The IUD sits in the womb and does not move from there. It starts working as soon as it is put in and stops working as soon as it is taken out. The hormones can also stop the eggs from leaving the ovaries by avoiding ovulation and preventing pregnancy.
How is an intrauterine device removed?
Removing an intrauterine device (IUD) is a quick procedure; however, it should only be done by an experienced medical practitioner. Removing an IUD is usually less painful than putting it in:
- The doctor may ask the patient to lay on a table with knees bent and legs apart.
- The doctor may insert a speculum into the vagina to widen the opening.
- Threads from your IUD may hang out from the cervix (neck of the womb) into the vagina.
- The doctor may gently pull on the strings and pull out the device using a special grasping tool.
- An IUD is T-shaped, and its arms will fold up as it slides out.
- If the doctor can't see or reach the threads, they may use a special hook or other tools to pull them into view.
- In rare cases, an IUD won't come out easily because it may get stuck in the wall of the uterus. During such instances, the doctors usually give anesthesia to the patient and widen the cervix with forceps to pull it out. The doctor may use a thin, lighted scope to look inside the vagina and uterus to remove the IUD.
- The patient may feel mild cramps and spotting or light bleeding for a few days or weeks after the IUD comes out. An over-the-counter pain reliever is usually recommended for a few days.
Can I get pregnant even while using an intrauterine device?
Yes, but it is extremely rare. If the intrauterine device (IUD) isn't functioning properly or hasn't been put into place properly, the chances may go up. An IUD is extremely effective, having a 99% effectiveness rate. When getting an IUD, the patient may either get a non-hormonal IUD that lasts for up to 12 years or a hormonal IUD that usually lasts for two to six years. It should also be noted that IUDs do not offer protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs); hence, it is advised to use condoms for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and nullifying the chances of getting pregnant.