The intrauterine device (IUD) has become an increasingly popular choice of birth control among women.
And even though experiences with an IUD might vary, many people have reported mild to severe cramping after insertion of an IUD by a doctor.
To insert the IUD, your doctor will push the T-shaped stick through the cervical canal and into your uterus.
And since your uterus is a muscle, when you have something inserted into it, the body’s normal reaction would be muscle tightening, or cramping.
Each person might experience mild cramping or severe cramping after IUD insertion or removal. Everyone has unique experiences with device.
In this article, you will get to learn more about what to expect with your cramps after getting an IUD, how long the pain normally lasts, how to deal with it, and when to call your healthcare provider.
How Long Do Cramps Last after IUD Insertion?
Cramps happen because the body responds to your cervix opening in order to fit the IUD inside.
That said, it’s totally normal to experience cramping after getting an IUD.
However, the duration of cramping may differ from person to person. The type of intrauterine device (IUD) you had inserted might also play a role on how long you may experience cramping.
For instance, hormonal IUDs such as Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, and Liletta might cause less cramping, while with a copper IUD like Paragard, women may experience more cramping.
Normally, you should feel better after a couple of months once your uterus gets used to it.
But everyone’s experience is different. For some women, cramping may last up to 2 days after IUD insertion by your doctor. For others, it may last a few weeks. It could also last from 3 to 6 months before the cramping completely subsides.
Irregular and heavy bleeding may also last from 3 to 6 months.
However, in some cases, complications may also arise after IUD insertion or removal. These instances are rare, but they can still happen.
And did you know that these concerns of complications have been the cause of lawsuits named under a copper IUD brand?
You probably guessed it by now.
Plaintiffs in the Paragard IUD lawsuit have complained of serious injuries due to the copper IUD being prone to breaking inside the body of the woman who had it inserted.
This may lead to the device becoming embedded inside the uterus, and the pieces of the IUD migrating which can perforate other organs.
Many users of the copper IUD have also reported about the device breaking during IUD removal. When this happens, the fragments of the IUD must be painfully removed from the body one by one through a complicated medical procedure in order to further avoid organ damages and injuries.
Other side effects reported from the use of the copper IUD include scarring, infection, and ectopic pregnancy, which can lead to fatal heavy bleeding in the woman. In this case, the copper IUD must be removed immediately.
Cramping after IUD Insertion: Paragard
Compared to hormonal birth control methods, copper IUDs have no hormones.
However, copper IUDs often cause more cramps and bleeding during your period, especially in the first three to six months.
Normally, shortly after the IUD insertion, severe cramping should go away. But if it doesn’t subside even after 1-2 days upon insertion, it’s best to call a healthcare professional for medical advice.
Mild cramping, on the other hand, can at times persist for a couple of weeks or even months.
Similarly, talk to your healthcare provider if your cramps do not go away or if your pain becomes severe.
How Long Will I Bleed after Paragard IUD Insertion?
Right after getting the copper IUD inserted, women may experience heavy periods and bleeding or spotting in a span of three to six months.
This can come in the form of on and off bleeding or brown vaginal discharge which may be worse in the first one to two weeks. Bleeding may also be the heaviest after hours or days of insertion.
This heavier menstrual flow in women who use copper IUDs may be because of vascular changes, which regulate blood flow to the uterus.
Can the Copper IUD Birth Control Cause Cramps?
Women who choose non hormonal IUDs over the hormonal ones may expect heavier periods, bleeding between periods, as well as more intense cramping.
Hormonal IUDs, which release hormones similar to those of birth control pills, might be a great choice for women with painful periods. This type of intrauterine device has been known to help with cramping and heavy periods.
Some women even notice their periods entirely disappearing or becoming little more than spotting following hormonal IUD insertion.
How Long Does it Take for Your Body to Adjust to Paragard?
Here’s the thing: non hormonal IUDs are not entirely free from side effects.
The most common side effect to this type of IUD is longer and heavier periods, especially around three to six months after insertion. Many women find that their period goes back to its original state after six months.
Other side effects associated with this medical device may include infection, expulsion, organ perforation, painful insertion, scar tissue buildup, ectopic pregnancy, pain during intercourse, cramping, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
If you are lucky to not experience the rarer and more severe symptoms, it may take anywhere from six to eight months before your body can fully adjust to the IUD.
Set an appointment with your healthcare provider if you notice that cramping or any other symptoms do not go away even after six or eight months.
They may have to remove the IUD to avoid further damages and injuries if the worst case scenario happens.
Here’s What You Can Do to Ease Pain after IUD Insertion and Removal
It’s normal to feel cramping and discomfort after women had their IUD inserted.
But not many research has been conducted to determine effective methods to find relief from cramps after IUD insertion and removal.
However, considering the fact that these cramps bear a striking similarity with menstrual cramps, women may use the same strategies they do with period cramps to help ease the pain and discomfort due to insertion or removal.
To ease your pain after procedure, you can try the following:
- taking over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen
- applying a heating pad or a hot water bottle to the area where you feel the cramps
- doing lighter exercises like walking or stretching
- massaging the area where you feel cramping
When it comes to medications for pain relief, you can talk to your doctor and ask medical advice about the right dosage to help you with your cramping.
You may also want to ask your doctor about any drug interactions that might possibly occur with the other medications that you take.
In case your cramping lasts for more than a week, you might want to talk to your doctor about some long-term strategies for pain relief after IUD insertion or removal.
Some studies have found that supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-6, B-1, and vitamin E may help reduce cramps over time.
Just like always, it is important to talk to your doctor for medical advice on which supplement to take and the safe dosages for you.
The Cramps Do not Go Away. What Should I Do?
Cramping can normally a few months or longer. However, some women’s body just do not warm up to a foreign body in their uterus. If that’s the case, you may experience cramping that does not go away.
If your cramping becomes severe and lasts for more than three months, or you begin to notice new and severe pain, you might want to set an appointment with your doctor. An IUD removal might be necessary.
Additionally, it is important to talk to your doctor if you begin experiencing severe cramping, abnormal or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, bleeding that is much heavier than before, and if your period has stopped.
These symptoms may signal other underlying health issues, like infection or IUD expulsion.
You should also seek medical attention if you think you are pregnant with an IUD, you can feel the IUD falling out through your cervix, or if the length of the IUD strings are different from when you last checked them.
Cramping During IUD Removal
Having an IUD inserted is almost same with the process of having it removed. The only difference is that this time, the doctor pulls on your IUD strings to have something removed from your cervix.
If your doctor can easily access your IUD string, they will most likely be able to remove the medical device hassle-free. Mild cramping is still possible, but it does not have the intensity of the cramping you have experienced during insertion.
Some women experience cramping during the process of having the IUD removed because having the string pulled puts pressure on the cervix. The cervix opening as it allows the IUD to come out may also cause discomfort to women.
Cramping may last for a few minutes after removal, but it normally subsides after a short while.
However, if the IUD strings have coiled up through your cervix and are now in the uterus, the removal procedure may be more complicated.
There’s a chance that the procedure of removing the IUD may irritate the cervix, causing light spotting for 1-2 days. However, experiencing intense pain after the whole process is not normal.
In fact, severe pain or cramping that lasts for a few hours after removal of the IUD may be symptoms of an issue with the cervix or an infection.
When to Call Your Healthcare Provider
Anyone who plans to have an IUD inserted should pay a visit to their healthcare provider first for the best medical advice on how you can experience minimal pain through the whole process of having an IUD.
It is also best to see your healthcare provider if:
- you feel like your IUD moved out of place
- your IUD comes out
- you experience symptoms of an infection or issues with the cervix such as intense pain, foul smell from the vagina, and fever or chills
- you have a heavy and painful period that interferes with your daily routines
- you experience bleeding that’s heavier than usual
- you experience cramping or excessive bleeding even after a few hours of having your IUD inserted or removed
Cramping is perfectly normal. But having an IUD should not cause prolonged and excessive pain.
The Bottom Line
Due to that fact that IUDs are a type of contraception that remains effective for a longer period of time even without user compliance, they have been surging in popularity lately as a method of contraception among women.
Although in general, IUDs are considered as a safe and effective form of contraception, complications that may cause pain and affect your overall health may still occur in rare instances.
This is where consulting a healthcare provider for medical advice proves to be very important.
A health professional may help you choose which type of IUD suits you better, and they may also offer you strategies on how to manage your pain post-IUD.
How about you?
Are you considering having an IUD inserted lately?
Or are you now with an IUD, and are having cramps as of late?
Either way, you are welcome to share with us your experiences on this increasingly popular birth control method.
Who knows, your story might just help other women who are still on the process of choosing the perfect contraception for them.