6 Common Mistakes First-Time IUD Users Make

Birth control measures have been around for a long time now. Over the years, these contraceptives have only evolved in terms of accessibility and efficiency. 

According to Grand View Research, the global contraceptive market was valued at $28.3 billion as of 2022. The credit for such a high market value goes to the diversity seen in this area, which, although not much, is still enough to give people a lot of options to choose from. 

Contraceptive drugs alone dominate more than half the market. As reported by Allied Market Research, in 2019, oral contraceptive pills accounted for over 85.36 percent share of the global contraceptive drugs market. Injectable and topical contraceptives occupied the majority of the remaining market share. Another birth control measure that has seen some popularity over the years is the intrauterine device or IUD for short. 

An IUD is placed inside the uterus and releases copper into the womb which alters the cervical mucus. This in turn makes it difficult for the sperm to fertilize the egg.

Despite being a common birth control measure nowadays, many people still struggle to use this device, especially when they are first-time users. In this article, we’ll shed light on some of the most common mistakes first-time IUD users make and why it’s necessary for them to avoid these mistakes.  

#1 Not Seeking Professional Advice

One of the most significant mistakes that first-time IUD users make is not seeking professional advice before getting an IUD. This is especially important for first-time IUD users as this birth control device can feel intimidating and it’s easy to make mistakes while using it. 

It is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider who can provide accurate information about the different types of IUDs available, the insertion process, potential side effects, and any contraindications based on an individual’s medical history. Consulting a professional ensures that you make an informed decision and choose the right type of IUD that suits your needs.

#2 Not Preparing for the Insertion Process

Another mistake is not adequately preparing for the insertion process. While it is a relatively quick procedure, it can cause discomfort or pain for some individuals. To ease the process, it is recommended to take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, before the appointment. 

It is advisable to schedule the appointment during your menstrual cycle, as the cervix is naturally more open, which can make the insertion easier. Of course, if you’re already seeing a doctor or a gynecologist who has a different opinion than this, by all means, follow their advice.  

#3 Ignoring Potential Side Effects

It is essential to be aware of the potential side effects of getting an IUD. Some common side effects include cramping, irregular bleeding, and spotting in the first few months. Ignoring or dismissing these side effects as something abnormal can cause unnecessary anxiety. 

It is crucial to have realistic expectations and understand that these side effects usually subside over time. However, if you experience severe or persistent pain or any other unusual symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

#4 Not Seeking Professional Assistance for Removal

When the time comes to remove the IUD, it is essential to seek professional assistance. Some individuals may attempt to remove the IUD themselves, thinking it is a simple process. However, attempting self-removal can lead to complications, including infection or damage to the cervix. It is always best to have a healthcare provider perform the removal to ensure it is done safely and correctly.

Some IUDs have been found to fracture when removal is attempted on them. Such was the case with the Paragard IUD which eventually led to the Paragard lawsuit. The Paragard IUD lawsuits have been filed against the device’s manufacturers and designers Teva Pharmaceuticals. 

According to TorHoerman Law, the Paragard lawsuits have been consolidated into a Paragard MDL in the US District Court, Northern District of Georgia. The Paragard cases act as a grave reminder that removing an IUD comes with a lot of risks which is why it’s advisable to seek professional assistance for IUD removal.

#5 Not Checking the Strings

After the insertion of an IUD, it is crucial to regularly check the strings attached to the device. These strings hang down into the vagina, allowing you to confirm that the IUD is in place. Many first-time users forget or neglect to check the strings, assuming that everything is fine.

However, checking the strings monthly after each menstrual cycle helps ensure that the IUD is correctly positioned. If you cannot feel the strings or notice any changes in their length, get in touch with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

#6 Assuming It Provides Protection Immediately

A common misconception among first-time IUD users is that the device provides immediate protection against pregnancy. In reality, it takes time for the IUD to become fully effective.

Depending on the type of IUD, it may take anywhere from 24 hours to several weeks for the contraception to be fully active. It is crucial to use an additional form of contraception, such as condoms, during the initial period to avoid any unintended pregnancies.

According to the UN Contraceptive Use by Method 2019 data booklet, there are around 159 million IUD users worldwide. You might be one of them or plan to use an IUD sometime soon. If so, make sure you don’t make the mistakes discussed above so that you don’t end up having a bad experience with what is otherwise a rather efficient contraceptive method. 

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