Signs Your IUD Has Moved

A popular form of birth control is the intrauterine device, commonly referred to as an IUD. The small device is in the shape of a T and is designed for pregnancy prevention. Made from bendable plastic, an IUD has two strings attached to it. If you are concerned about getting pregnant, you should check your IUD every once in a while. There are signs if your IUD has moved, so it is important to know what to look out for. Being alert and diligent will lower your chances of birth control failure.

IUD Held in Hands

Signs Your IUD Has Moved

1. Something Is Wrong With Your Strings

IUDs have strings attached to them so your doctor can easily remove it when it is time to do so. When it was placed into your uterus, the strings were cut just long enough for you to feel them in your vagina. To check the strings, you should be able to simply put a washed and clean middle or index finger in your vagina. You will be able to feel them coming through your cervix if the IUD is correctly placed.

If the length of the strings changes, your IUD may have slipped out of place. When you can't find the strings at all, it may have traveled up further in your uterus or fallen out without you knowing it. Any changes should be evaluated by your doctor.

2. IUD in Cervix

Since your IUD is supposed to be in your uterus, you should not be able to feel it. However if it has slipped into your cervix, you may feel your IUD as it moves through and possible out it. You might actually be able to feel it with your fingers like you would the strings. Or you might have a feeling of discomfort with your cervix because your IUD has moved to a place it should not be.

3. Unusual Bleeding

A lot of the time, women's menstrual cycles will change after getting an IUD. If you get the one that contains hormones, after a while you may have a lighter period or no period at all. If you get the one with no hormones made from copper, you may get heavier periods. Most women will spot irregularly for a little while for a few months after getting an IUD inserted, but if you have sudden, unexpected changes in your period it may be one of the signs your IUD has moved.

4. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge is normal. However, you should be concerned if your discharge has changed. If the texture, color or smell is off and has not been caused by an infection, see your doctor right away. Your IUD might have moved.

5. Sex Hurts

Sometimes women say sex feels different after getting an IUD, especially when having intercourse in specific positions. Some women say sex doesn't change at all. You should be concerned if all of a sudden sexual intercourse hurts. This may be an indication your IUD has moved. It could be sticking out of your cervix just enough to make the area tender. 

6. Painful and Intense Cramps

Most women experience some type of cramping during their menstrual cycle. Quite a few women get cramps after an IUD has been inserted, but the discomfort should stop after a short while. The copper IUD without hormones is even known for making cramps more painful. Keeping this in mind, if your cramps become more frequent, painful or intense, make an appointment right away with your doctor so you can have your IUD checked.

What to Do If Your IUD Has Moved

If you think your IUD has slipped out, there are a couple of signs your IUD has moved to look for as well as things you can do.

1. Know When to Seek Help

  • Before panicking, double check to see if you were mistaken. If you can feel the plastic of the IUD protruding from your cervix, it is definitely not where it should be. However, it may have fallen out and you didn't notice at all. Either case you need to make an appointment with your doctor.
  • Explain your concern to receptionist, maybe you can get in sooner. Let the office know if you are experiencing pain, cannot find your strings, can feel your IUD, the strings feel longer or shorter or tell them of any other symptoms that have you worried.
  • Seek medical help as soon as possible if you are experiencing abnormal discharge, intense cramping and pain, heaving vaginal bleeding or a fever. If the pain and cramping occurs shortly after your IUD is inserted, this can be normal but see your doctor if it does not go away after a couple of days.

2. Don't Stress Out

When an IUD moves or falls out, it can be very unpleasant. However, it is a risk that accompanies this device if you choose to use it for birth control. If you are feeling discomfort or pain, try to remain calm so you can get the help your need. Excessive worry will only make the situation worse.

3. Avoid Sex

Delay sex until you can meet with your doctor. Not only may it be painful, you will be at a higher risk of pregnancy. If you cannot wait, use alternative birth control until you can take care of your IUD.

If you do become pregnant, you should have your doctor remove your IUD as soon as you find out. Keeping it inserted increases your chances of an ectopic pregnancy, infection, early labor and miscarriage.

4. Consider Other Alternatives

If your IUD has moved or fallen out before, your risk of it occurring again is slightly higher than a woman who has not had this issue. If you still want to give the pregnancy prevention device another try, talk to your doctor. There are different types of IUDs and maybe you should try an alternative one. There may be other tools available to place your IUD and your doctor might be able to use them when inserting your device. If you keep having problems with your IUD, you should probably explore other birth control options. Your doctor can discuss this with you.

IUD Maintenance Tips

  • The chances of IUD displacement are highest during the first couple months after insertion or during your menstrual cycle. It is important to watch out for the signs your IUD has moved and to check your strings often. Checking them monthly when you are not menstruating is best. Since chances of your IUD falling out are also high during your period, inspect your tampons and pads when changing them.
  • Some women choose to have doctor cut their IUD strings shorter if their partner feels them during intercourse. If you decide to do this, remember you may not be able to feel them yourself and will not be able to check on your IUD anymore by checking your strings. You will have to have your doctor check it during your annual exams.
  • It is a myth that you have to have your IUD replaced each time you change sexual partners. This is not true. An IUD does nothing to protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. However, it will work to prevent pregnancy no matter who you're having sex with.
 
 
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