IUD Removal: Exploring the Procedure and Reasons Behind it  

Dinesh Patel
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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In recent years, Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) have become a prevalent and effective choice for many individuals seeking long-term contraception. 

However, just as deciding to get an IUD is a personal choice, so too is the decision to have it removed. 

IUD removal is done by healthcare professionals, and it is often easier and less painful than the IUD insertion. 

This article will guide you through the IUD removal process, covering what to expect during the procedure, when to consider removal, and what comes after.

The IUD removal procedure

Getting your IUD removed is a relatively straightforward and quick process. 

The procedure is typically done in a healthcare provider’s office and involves gently pulling the IUD out by its strings. 

Assessment of uterus position

The healthcare provider will start by using a speculum to open the vagina, allowing visualization of the cervix.

The position of the uterus is determined to facilitate the subsequent steps.

Locating IUD strings

The provider will search for the IUD strings at the cervix’s opening, which is essential for a smooth removal process. 

These strings can be felt with the hands without the need for any invasive procedures. 

IUD removal

Copper IUD devicesSource: Mariakray
Closeup of a doctor holding copper IUD device

Using an IUD hook or forceps, the healthcare provider will gently grasp the IUD strings and slowly pull on them.

As the IUD slides through the cervix and out of the vagina, its flexible arms will fold up. 

The entire removal process typically takes only a few minutes.

Unlike IUD insertion, IUD removal is generally less painful. 

Some discomfort may be experienced during removal, along with mild cramping afterward.

Fact:
The doctor advises you not to have sex one week before the IUD removal as it might increase your chances of getting pregnant after it is removed.

When to consider IUD removal

The decision to have your IUD removed is entirely up to you and your reproductive health goals. 

However, there are specific timelines to keep in mind:

  • Paragard: Should be replaced after 12 years
  • Mirena: Should be replaced after 8 years
  • Liletta: Should be replaced after 8 years
  • Kyleena: Should be replaced after 5 yearsSkyla: Should be replaced after 3 year
  • If your IUD is approaching its expiration date and you wish to continue avoiding pregnancy, it’s crucial to schedule a replacement. 

Additionally, some individuals choose to have their IUD removed for personal reasons, including:

  • Desire to conceive
  • Experiencing adverse side effects
  • Encountering complications such as infections or IUD displacement
Recommended Article
IUDs can cause serious infections such as UTIs. To know more about the infection in detail, read IUD and UTI: Navigating Concerns and Solutions

What to expect after IUD removal

painful and heavy periodsSource: Samotrebizan
Women suffering from cramps

Immediately after the removal, you should feel mostly normal. 

Some individuals may experience:

  •  Light bleeding and slight cramping during and immediately after the removal procedure
  • Any side effects that were associated with the IUD should gradually diminish, and your menstrual cycle will return to its pre-IUD state
  • One of the advantages of IUDs is their reversible nature. Fertility typically returns to normal immediately after the IUD is removed, making it possible to conceive right away

If pregnancy is not part of your current plans, it is advisable to use an alternative method of birth control after IUD removal.

Warning:
If you have a temperature exceeding 101 degrees Fahrenheit after removal of your IUD, contact your healthcare provider promptly, as a fever could indicate infection.

Potential complications

While IUD removal is usually uncomplicated, certain complications may arise:

Missing IUD strings

Sometimes, the IUD strings may move up into the cervical canal or uterus, making locating them challenging.

Healthcare providers may use ultrasound imaging to visualize the IUD and locate the strings.

If the strings are found within the cervical canal or uterus, they can be gently pulled using forceps or an IUD hook.

If the strings cannot be located, but the provider confirms that the IUD is in the right place, hysteroscopy may be used for removal.

IUD stuck in the uterine wall (Perforation)

In rare cases, an IUD may be difficult to remove because it has become stuck in or perforated through the uterine wall.

Imaging techniques such as ultrasound or X-ray may be employed to confirm perforation. 

Surgical removal is also required in extremely rare cases where the IUD has moved outside the uterus.

Side effects of IUD removal

If women have hormonal IUDs, they can experience certain side effects after its removal. This includes

  • Headache
  • Low libido
  • Mood changes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Tiredness

Conclusion

The decision to have your Intrauterine Device (IUD) removed is a personal one, influenced by your reproductive health goals and individual circumstances. 

The IUD removal process is generally straightforward and quick, with minimal discomfort.

IUD can be removed due to its expiration, desire to conceive, or experiencing any side effects.

While IUD removal is usually uncomplicated, it’s important to be aware of potential complications such as missing IUD strings or rare cases of perforation. 

After IUD removal, your body typically returns to its pre-IUD state, and fertility resumes promptly. 

Ultimately, the IUD removal process is a manageable and reversible step in your reproductive health journey. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is removing the IUD painful?

Removing an IUD is generally less painful than the insertion process. While some individuals may experience mild discomfort during the removal, the procedure is typically quick and straightforward. Most people feel only a brief cramping sensation as the IUD is gently pulled through the cervix and out of the vagina.

What happens when the IUD is removed?

When the IUD is removed, you may experience light bleeding and slight cramping during and immediately after the procedure. Any side effects associated with the IUD should gradually diminish, and the menstrual cycle typically returns to its pre-IUD state.

Can I get pregnant after IUD removal?

Yes, fertility typically returns to normal immediately after IUD removal. If you do not wish to conceive immediately after removal, it’s advisable to use an alternative method of birth control. However, if pregnancy is part of your plans, you can start trying to conceive immediately.

Can you remove your own IUD?

It is strongly advised not to remove your own IUD. A trained healthcare professional should perform it in a sterile environment. The procedure requires specific instruments to safely and effectively remove the device. Attempting self-removal can lead to complications, such as injury or infection.

Citations:
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