There are plenty of benefits to getting an IUD. You could have birth control that lasts anywhere from three years to a decade or longer. You won’t have to worry about getting refills on prescriptions, such as is the case with the pill, and if you go with a copper IUD, you won’t have to deal with hormones — a huge benefit if your body is sensitive to added hormones. The procedure is relatively fast, and while some pain and cramping can be associated with getting an IUD, many women say it’s worth it, it’s not that bad, and/or that they’d do it again.
For all the benefits that exist, however, there are some risks that should also be addressed. These are important to consider if you’re thinking about getting an IUD, because while an IUD is a great form of contraception for many, it doesn’t work for all. See some examples of risks, and who shouldn’t get an IUD in our blog — and as always, please reach out to gynecologist Dr. Carole Neuman to get answers to any questions you might have. Neuman GYN is here for all women, and your health and comfort is our number one priority.
Who Shouldn’t Get An IUD
If any of these descriptions fit you and your situation, there’s a chance that an IUD might not work for you. Consult with a gynecologist for more clarification.
An IUD might not work for you if…
- You might be pregnant.
- You have cervical or uterine cancer.
- You’re experiencing vaginal bleeding that’s not from your period.
- You have an STD or a pelvic infection.
- You had a pelvic infection after childbirth or an abortion, either of which events happened in the last three months.
- You have an allergy to copper, but this can be remedied by getting a hormonal IUD instead.
Risks of an IUD
As we’ve mentioned, there are risks to getting an IUD — just as there are risks with any medical procedure. But before making the decision of getting an IUD, you should know your risks in order to be as informed as possible.
It’s rare, but it does happen. Sometimes, when an IUD is placed, it can eventually (or immediately) push through the wall of the uterus. This could leave you susceptible to possibly getting pregnant, or potential infertility, and the IUD might need to be surgically removed. However, we go back to the fact that this is very rare. The NCBI reports that this happens .12 to .68 of the time, out of every 1,000 insertions (less than 1 in 1,000 insertions).
When getting an IUD inserted, there’s a chance that bacteria can move into the uterus. If this happens, it can lead to an infection, which can usually be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough. If this infection goes untreated, however, it could result in possible infertility.
The purpose of an IUD is to prevent pregnancy, but in very rare cases, a pregnancy can still occur. Sometimes, this can end up being an ectopic pregnancy, where a pregnancy happens outside of your uterus (most commonly taking place in the fallopian tubes). This is a serious condition that’s dangerous for the mother and is fatal for the fetus. The NCBI states that “Current IUD use does not increase the risk of the ectopic pregnancy. However, a pregnancy with an IUD in situ is more often an ectopic one than a pregnancy with no IUD. Past IUD use could mildly elevate the risk of ectopic pregnancy.”
In the event you think you might be pregnant and you have an IUD, you should see your gynecologist right away.
Additionally, there is a chance that your IUD could come out of your uterus, either partially or all the way out. If your IUD is not in place, you could get pregnant. Even if your IUD is still somewhat intact with your uterus, and only partially out, it still needs to be removed.
Wondering how you can tell if your IUD has shifted and you’re at risk for pregnancy? One way to tell is by feeling for your IUD strings — if you suddenly notice they’ve shifted or are longer than normal, it might be best to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist, just to be sure everything’s okay. Also, an IUD that’s slipping out can sometimes be felt itself. Feel around and see if you touch anything plastic. In the event that you do, do not remove your IUD yourself. Contact your gynecologist to ensure a safe removal.
There could be other risks for getting an IUD that aren’t listed above that are specific to you and your body, but these are some of the main ones. All of these risks range from being relatively to very rare, and gynecologist Dr. Carole Neuman can go into much further detail with you, to address any concerns you might have. Whether looking for an IUD, another birth control option, or simply needing a visit with the gynecologist, Neuman GYN is here. Visit our Jacksonville clinic to get the help and services you need.