Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are among the most popular and effective forms of birth control today ( Birth Control Options for Women ). Once inserted, they are expected to stay put, and fulfill their functions without pain or problems.
However, on rare occasions, it is possible for your IUD to detach and even fall out, which is phenomenon known as expulsion. Below is a description of what happens when this occurs.
Expulsion is the term used to describe the process of your IUD falling out of your uterus. It may come out partially, but can also come out the entire way. Unfortunately, the reason for it falling out is not always apparent, but we do know that the risk of expulsion increases during your period. What you should know, however, is once your IUD is out at all, it must be removed.
The likelihood of expulsion is small, ranging from .05% to 8%. Certain factors affect the possibility of expulsion, including your age, pregnancy history, the length of time since the IUD was inserted, and even how well your health care provider inserted it in the first place. Because there is a higher rate of expulsion during the menstrual cycle, it is important that you check your strings regularly. You should also note that expulsion is most likely to occur in the first three months that you have your IUD.
IUD expulsion is more likely for women who:
- Have never experienced pregnancy
- Are younger than twenty years of age
- Have particularly heavy or painful menstrual cycles
- Had the IUD inserted following an abortion during the second trimester
IUD Falling Out : What to Do ?
Our first piece of advice is to stay calm. The experience of anything not being where it should be in your uterus is disturbing, but panicking will simply make the process of expulsion worse. Know that it is a normal risk when using an IUD, and that a doctor will be able to handle its reinsertion or replacement.
To keep a small problem from becoming big, the best thing to do is check your IUD strings each month, after your menstrual cycle, to make sure it is still in its proper place. You should contact your doctor right away if any of the following phenomena occur:
- The strings seem shorter than usual.
- The strings seem longer than usual.
- You can’t locate the strings.
- You’re able to feel your IUD.
Please, do not to push the IUD back in place, or try to remove it on your own. Until you are able to see a doctor, you should also use an alternative method of birth control, such as a condom, as your IUD may no longer be effective.
Follow these steps to properly check your IUD strings:
- Thoroughly cleanse your hands.
- Sit or squat, then place your finger inside your vagina until you are able to touch your cervix.
- Feel for the strings, which should be hanging through the cervix.
If your IUD is expelled completely, you may feel pain or discomfort. Other symptoms associated with expulsion include:
- severe cramping
- heavy or abnormal bleeding
- abnormal discharge
- a fever, which may also be a symptom of an infection
Though this all sounds scary, it is important to note that the IUD is one of the most effective forms of birth control. In the majority of cases, it stays where it should and you can forget about it until it’s time to see the doctor and have it removed. Once again, if it does fall out, use a different source of birth control and call your doctor to determine your course of actions.
Wondering if you should try the IUD again after experiencing expulsion?
Once your IUD has fallen out, the likelihood of it happening again is unfortunately raised. However, if you think the IUD is the best method for you, it can definitely be worth trying again. Talk to a healthcare professional about your options. Perhaps a different IUD, a different provider, or even a different method of insertion can help to ensure your IUD stays in place.
If you have experience expulsion more than once, or do not feel comfortable trying again, it may be time to explore other methods of birth control ( NuvaRing vs Mirena ) . Fortunately, there are plenty of different options that are available to you.