Intrauterine Device (IUD) Removal

Intrauterine Device (IUD) Removal

There are several birth control options, but an IUD is one of the most effective long-term options. Different types of IUDs are available, and each lasts for a specific number of years. The good thing about IUDs is that your doctor can remove it whenever you want even before it expires.

IUDs are also known as intrauterine contraception (IUC). They are T-shaped devices fitted into the uterus to prevent the occurrence of pregnancy. If it is properly fitted, it can last about 3 – 10 years depending on the type you inserted. If an IUD is left in the uterus after it has expired, it becomes ineffective in preventing pregnancy, and it can cause infections.

Types of IUD

There are two types of IUDs

  • Copper IUD

This type of IUD has a copper coil on its stem and arms. The copper coils release copper into the uterus, which helps to prevent pregnancy by causing an inflammatory reaction that destroys the sperm.

  • Hormonal IUD (levonorgestrel LNG)

Hormonal IUDs releases the hormone levonorgestrel, which causes the thickening of the cervical mucus. This prevents the movement of the sperm to the egg for fertilisation. Levonorgestrel also prevents pregnancy by thinning the uterine lining and partly preventing ovulation.

When should an IUD be removed?

A coil removal procedure can be done by your doctor whenever you do not need a contraceptive, and when it is expired.

Copper IUDs can last for up to 12 years after insertion while hormonal IUDs can last for a different number of years depending on the brands, some brands can last for about three years while others may last for up to 6 years.

You may have to remove your IUD if any of the following conditions arise.

  • Menopause
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Endometritis- an inflammation of the lining of the uterus
  • Pelvic infection
  • Other severe side effects and discomfort

What to expect during an IUD removal

You can remove your IUD at your clinician's office or a gynaecology clinic. IUD removal can be done at any time by a qualified health professional, but the procedure is easier during the menstrual cycle when the cervix is softer. 

IUD removal is a simple and fast procedure, and complications rarely arise from it.

Steps for an IUD removal

During your IUD removal,

  • You will lie on your back on an examination table. Your feet will be apart or in stirrups
  • Your doctor will use a speculum to open your vagina and separate its wall before locating the device
  • When the doctor finds the device, he/she will remove it by gently pulling the string attached to the device. As your doctor pulls the stings, the arms of the device will fold upwards as it removed.
  • When your doctor has removed the device, he/she will remove the speculum.

You may experience cramping or light bleeding after the procedure. A painkiller will help reduce the pain and discomfort while the bleeding will cease after a short period.

What happens after an IUD removal?

You may have to take a prescribed antibiotic after the procedure if it was carried out because of an infection, but if you did not have an infection and there were no complications, you can insert a new one.

What are the risks?

Rarely, a few complications may arise from having an IUD. These complications include:

  • Incomplete removal
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Migration of the IUD

When to have sex before and after an IUD removal

You can have sex before and after removing your IUD, but you can get pregnant immediately your device is removed.

Since the sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days after sex, you may get pregnant if you have unprotected sex at least five days before removing your device depending on your ovulation day.

To prevent this, abstain from sex at least seven days before your device is removed or use other birth control options.

Other types of birth control

Different types of effective birth controls are available. They include

  • Mechanical barriers like diaphragms
  • Hormonal birth controls like vaginal rings

If you need a private IUD removal in London, contact Gynaecology Clinic on 020 7183 0435.