The intrauterine device (IUD) is an effective long-term birth control method. The two types of IUDs that are available in the United States are the hormonal IUD, which releases a small amount of hormone (levonorgestrel) directly to the uterus, and the copper IUD. The hormonal IUD can be used for up to five years before it needs to be replaced and the copper IUD can be left in place for ten years. Both IUDs can be removed sooner if pregnancy is desired. Your doctor will explain the differences between the IUDs and you can determine which is best suited for you. IUDs can be placed in either of our offices in a quick and simple procedure. You can check that the IUD is in place by feeling for this string. Do not attempt to remove your IUD – your doctor will remove it safely.
IUDs are usually placed during the first five days of your menses. This is done for two reasons, it ensures that you are not already pregnant and it also makes the procedure easier because your cervix is slightly dilated during the menstrual flow.
Your doctor will do a bimanual pelvic exam to determine the position of your uterus. She will then insert a speculum into your vagina to visualize the cervix and cleanse the cervix with an antiseptic. A probe is placed into your uterus to determine its length. The IUD insertion tube is then passed through the cervix to the top of the uterus and the IUD is released as the insertion tube is removed. The IUD string which hangs down through the cervix is trimmed to 1-2 inches from the cervix and the procedure is completed. Slight cramping is expected during the procedure and may last for a short time afterward.
A follow-up appointment is usually scheduled for 6 weeks after IUD insertion to check that the IUD is in place. Thereafter, you can check that the IUD is in place by feeling for the string in the vagina near the cervix. Do NOT attempt to remove your IUD---it can be safely removed by your doctor.