An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a contraceptive that is placed inside the uterine cavity to prevent pregnancy. Currently, there are 3 IUD’s on the market:
Paraguard – hormone free, lasts for 10 years, associated with slightly heavier periods
Mirena – contains progesterone, lasts for 5 years, associated with no periods
Skyla – contains progesterone, lasts for 3 years, associated with light periods
Prior to insertion of an IUD, your doctor will do a pelvic exam to assess the size, shape, and position of your uterus. In addition, vaginal cultures may be collected to assure that you do not have any vaginal or cervical infections that could contaminate the IUD and cause a pelvic infection. On the day of your IUD appointment, you should take 2 Motrin or Advil about one hour before the scheduled insertion.
The process for IUD insertion is the same for each of the three devices.
A speculum is placed into the vagina to allow visualization of the cervix
The cervix is opened, or dilated, with a small thin instrument
The IUD is threaded through the cervix and into place at the top of the uterus
The strings of the IUD are trimmed so they extend just outside the cervical opening
After the IUD is inserted, you may experience:
Mild abdominal cramping, which is usually relieved with Motrin or Advil
Vaginal spotting, which can continue for 2-4 weeks after insertion
Vaginal discharge, which can last 1-2 months after insertion
If you have severe pain, heavy bleeding, fevers, or copious discharge, you should contact your physician. You should not have sex for 72 hours after placement. Your IUD will be effective for contraception immediately.