IUD Pain and Ways to Find Relief 

Nishi Kashyap
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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IUD pain how painful is iud insertion

Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a birth control used to prevent pregnancy with more than 99%  successful rates, as per Planned Parenthood. The birth control method is safe, rapidly reversible, effective, and does not require daily or monthly action to prevent pregnancy.

However, there are certain side effects and concerns regarding the usage of IUDs, such as IUD pain, which may affect many women during and after its insertion and may require being addressed. Though it is completely normal to face some difficulties in the initial days of IUD insertion, if the pain persists, seeking medical help is crucial.

Read this article to know more about IUD pain and how you can get relief from it.  

Pain during IUD insertion

The process of insertion of an IUD into the reproductive tract can cause pain in some women, ranging from mild to moderate. Several factors contribute to this pain, including the following:

  • When the speculum is inserted into the vagina
  • After stabilization of the cervix
  • When an IUD is inserted into the uterus
Fact:
A study indicates that almost 60% of people who haven’t given birth may have moderate to severe pain within 24 hours of insertion, and about 30% may still experience this pain up to 3 days later.

Pain after IUD insertion

According to medical experts, cramps and period-like pain are normal during the first 2 to 3 weeks after IUD insertion.

The intensity and duration of pain can vary. For some, it subsides within a few days, while for others, it can last up to a week and may intensify around their periods, often worsening in the first few months.

The period pain after IUD insertion can vary depending on the type of IUD. With Mirena and Kyleena, period pain may intensify for up to 3 to 6 months. You may also experience spotting during this period, and for some, your periods might stop altogether.

With copper IUDs, period pain typically returns to normal levels after 2 to 3 months, but your periods might become heavier, adding to the discomfort.

Additionally, some women may experience lower abdominal pain with IUDs even after two years of insertion. While some discomfort is normal post-insertion, ongoing or increasing pain may indicate a more serious issue requiring evaluation. Possible causes include:

IUD displacement

Over time, an IUD can shift from its original position, leading to discomfort or pain. IUD displacement can lead to various complications, such as reduced contraceptive efficacy, as well as abnormal bleeding or spotting. If you suspect your IUD has moved, consult your healthcare provider for evaluation and possible repositioning or replacement.

Infection

While rare, infections can occur at any point after IUD insertion, with symptoms such as persistent pain, fever, and unusual discharge. One serious infection is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which requires immediate medical attention.

Uterine perforation

Though extremely rare, an IUD can sometimes perforate the uterine wall, leading to pain and other symptoms such as bleeding, abnormal discharge, or changes in menstrual flow. This complication typically occurs shortly after insertion but can manifest later if the perforation is not immediately detected.

Warning
A device puncturing the uterine wall requires urgent medical attention and should not be taken lightly. Surgery is often required in such cases, during which the surgeon removes the IUD and repairs the tissues.

How to relieve IUD pain

Copper IUD
Copper IUD

To relieve the IUD pain, you can take the following effective measures:

  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like Brufen 400mg (Ibuprofen) or Naprosyn 500+ about an hour before your appointment to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Apply a heating pad or warm compress to your lower abdomen after the procedure to help relieve cramping
  • During the insertion, use relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization to minimize pain and anxiety
  • To relieve IUD pain, consume a balanced diet rich in Magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamins. Incorporating foods such as leafy greens, fish, nuts, and fruits can help ease IUD discomfort
  • Ask your doctor about using a local anesthetic like Xylocaine gel on your cervix to numb the area before insertion

Further, if the pain gets unbearable and persists for longer, consult a healthcare practitioner and seek medical treatment. Your physician may check if your IUD is at the right place or displaced and can prescribe medicines to relieve severe pain.

When to visit a doctor

After experiencing IUD pain, it is important to know when to seek medical attention. Here are the key signs that indicate you should visit your doctor after IUD pain:

  • Severe pain: If the pain is severe or worsens after the insertion procedure, especially if it is accompanied by a fever, it could indicate inflammation in your uterus
  • Heavy bleeding or bleeding with odor: Watch for any bleeding after the procedure. Heavy bleeding or a foul smell may signal an infection
  • Missing IUD strings or feeling out of place: If you cannot find your IUD strings or they feel out of place, contact your doctor, as there is a chance your IUD may have slipped out of place
  • Painful intercourse: If intercourse becomes painful after getting an IUD, it is advisable to contact your gynecologist
  • Symptoms of an STD: IUDs do not protect against Sexually Transmitted Diseases, so if you experience symptoms of an STD after insertion, visit your healthcare provider immediately

Conclusion

The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is an effective, reversible, and convenient birth control method. However, some women may experience IUD pain during or after its insertion. Generally, pain occurs when the speculum is inserted into the vagina, after the cervix is stabilized, or when the IUD is placed into the uterus. This pain may last up to 3 to 6 months and typically becomes less intense over time.

In rare cases, an IUD can perforate the uterus and migrate to the abdominal or pelvic organs, causing severe complications. To alleviate pain, you can take medications, use a heating pad, perform stretching exercises, and consume a healthy diet.

If the pain persists even after several months, it is important to consult a healthcare practitioner for further evaluation and medical assistance. Taking proactive steps can help ensure both comfort and the continued effectiveness of the IUD.

Frequently Asked Questions

How painful is an IUD?

IUD insertion can cause brief, intense cramping or pain, with discomfort levels varying among women. Some experience only mild discomfort, while others may feel significant IUD pain. Post-insertion cramping can last from a few days to several months but typically decreases over time. For pain management options, consult your healthcare provider.

How long does IUD pain last?

The intensity and duration of pain may differ from woman to woman. For some, the pain may disappear within a few days, whereas for others, it may last for a week. Further, the pain may intensify around the periods, and the periods may get worse during the first few months.

Can an IUD cause back pain? 

Yes, an IUD can cause back pain, especially shortly after insertion. This pain is usually due to cramping and typically subsides within a few days to weeks. If back pain persists or worsens, consult your healthcare provider.

What is the best pain medication for IUD insertion?

To relieve IUD pain, you can take over-the-counter medicines, such as Brufen 400mg (Ibuprofen) and Naprosyn 500+ from WowRxPharmacy. You can also apply a hot pad to the abdominal region or consume food rich in Magnesium, Vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Consult your doctor for the best guidance.

Citations:
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