Debunking The IUD Insertion Pain Myth

Debunking The IUD Insertion Pain Myth

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June 9, 2022

Know the real truth about IUD insertion before visiting a birth control clinic

The Intrauterine Device (IUD) has been around since the early 1900s and has grown in popularity as a trusted method of birth control since then. In fact, it is now one of the most sought-after forms of contraception available - thanks to its 99% rate of effectiveness. 

This style of reversible contraception is placed inside the uterus, is typically T-shaped and small. Some IUDs are hormonal and contain progestin - lasting up to five years, while others are non-hormonal (containing copper) and are effective against pregnancy for up to 5-7-10 years depending on the style.

Regardless of IUD type - plenty of misinformation has spread on social media about pain related to IUD insertion that's simply not true.  

Rather than believe the false claims made, it’s important to know the truth behind this method of birth control and learn about how to minimise IUD insertion discomfort when visiting your birth control clinic. 

One of the most prominent claims about discomfort during IUD insertion is that the procedure itself is similar to childbirth. Though the process might sound scary, the pain isn’t as bad as you may be led to believe.

Will I feel pain during & after?

Yes, you will feel some slight discomfort during the IUD insertion process, but the degree of discomfort varies, and it often doesn’t last long, and it also depends on important factors such as an individual's level of pain tolerance. If you have ever experienced the dull ache of period pain, IUD cramping can feel very similar… and entirely different than childbirth.

What can I do to help with IUD insertion?

There are a few simple things you can do when preparing for your IUD clinic appointment that will help prevent discomfort during the insertion process. 

When setting up an appointment with your healthcare provider, ask if the doctor who will be doing your insertion does the procedure frequently. Experienced inserters tend to have patients that report less pain with IUD placement.

Before your appointment at your birth control clinic , consider taking an anti-inflammatory pill such as Advil 400 -800 mg or Tylenol 500mg 1 hour before your appointment. It will help alleviate any feeling of pain after IUD insertion and help keep you comfortable. 

Prepare a few things to keep you comfortable during and post-procedure such as eating a light snack one hour before, otherwise blood sugar levels drop, placing stress on your body.

Bring a heating pad, some music, or meditation to help you stay focused and relaxed before, during, and after insertion. Ask your doctor their permission beforehand as some physicians want to talk to their patient during the procedure.

Be positive and motivated - Studies have shown that women who are motivated experience less discomfort than those that are apprehensive. 

If you’re anxious - focus on the positives of having an IUD (mistake proof , convenient and no estrogen)  -

pros outweigh the cons for the  temporary discomfort.

Think about the timing of when your IUD clinic appointment will take place.  

The two best times for IUD insertion are thought to be either toward the end of your period, or within a window of a few days as it will hurt less - or during ovulation. This is because your cervix is softer and more open during these times, making the procedure more comfortable. 

If your periods are irregular, it’s important not to delay your insertion waiting for it to start - many women get iuds when they are not on their period without difficulty.

Say no to freezing or Misoprostol

Various studies have shown that Misoprostol causes more discomfort and cramping during IUD insertions. This drug is best used if you've had a failed attempt at a previous IUD placement.

Doctors may also offer to freeze your cervix before the procedure, but any pain that’s reversed from the placement is usually experienced during the freezing.

Will my IUD hurt my partner (and cause me pain, as a result?)

No - it shouldn’t. Because an IUD is placed in the uterus, not in the vagina, your partner should not feel your IUD during sexual intercourse. There have been cases where a partner has reported that they’ve felt the threads of an IUD. This has not caused any sensation of pain. If this is a concern, it is important to talk to your doctor to check on the IUD position and length of string.  

Interested in learning more about using an IUD as a method of contraception, or would you like a consultation with Dr. Michelle Gerber to answer any additional questions? Contact our office for more information and assistance.