IUD PLACEMENT & REMOVAL
At Women's Health Specialists, we are able to provide information and advice on IUDs. Our doctors are trained and skillful at inserting and removing the devices for the patients who choose this as their preferred form of birth control.
What is an IUD?
An Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into a woman's uterus by her doctor, and it is either wrapper in copper or contains hormones. The IUD prevents fertilization of an egg by damaging or killing sperm. The IUD also makes the uterus inhospitable to fertilization by affecting the uterine lining. Once the IUD is inserted, the woman will need to check it each month following her period by feeling for the fine plastic string which passes through the cervix, but can otherwise be ignored and the patient can get on with her life.
How is the IUD inserted?
A doctor can insert the IUD during a normal office visit. Insertion only takes a few minutes. The patient will be in stirrups, like in a regular pelvic exam, and the doctor will first measure the uterus to make sure the device will fit. Then the cervix is opened manually with a series of dilating rods. Once the cervix is open, the doctor inserts the IUD using a narrow plunger. Levels of discomfort will vary from woman to woman, but most describe the feeling as similar to menstrual cramps, which go away soon after the device is inserted. The woman does not need to have had a child for an IUD to be inserted.
How is the device removed?
IUD removal is a similar process. A woman visits her gynecology provider, the provider will locate the strings on the outside of the cervix and use forceps or clamps to slowly pull the device out of the uterus at a specific angle to allow the flexible arms of the device to fold and pass easily. A woman should never try to remove her IUD on her own. It is unlikely, but if she is unable to locate the strings during her monthly post-menstrual check, the device may have expelled itself and she should visit her doctor as soon as possible.