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What Are the Most Common IUD Complications?

Antibiotics can be prescribed to deal with infection caused by an IUD.
A copper IUD.
IUDs are placed into a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy.
Women commonly experience pain after an IUD insertion.
One big risk of getting pregnant with an IUD is that use of the device increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2014
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An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a type of birth control device that is inserted into the uterus. Any woman who is considering using this birth control method should be aware of the possible complications, including infection, menstrual irregularities, and expulsion of the device. Some women may develop a medical condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease. More severe IUD complications may include damage to the uterus and permanent infertility.

Infection is one of the possible complication of using an IUD. The uterus or fallopian tubes could become infected, causing pain, fever, or other symptoms. Although oral antibiotics typically work very well at battling these infections, it is possible for the problem to become severe enough to require surgical intervention, sometimes leading to a loss of fertility.

Menstrual irregularities are the most frequently experienced IUD complications. Menstrual periods often become longer and heavier, especially for the first few months following the insertion of the device. This added blood loss may cause a condition known as anemia and require additional medical treatment. There may also be an increase in menstrual pain and cramping associated with the use of an IUD. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen may help to ease this discomfort, although alternate methods of birth control may need to be considered if the symptoms become severe.

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Expulsion of the device is also possible if the IUD moves out of its normal position. When this occurs, it may not be effective at preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, when pregnancy does occur while using this birth control method, the risks of an ectopic pregnancy are significantly increased. An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus, usually inside one of the fallopian tubes, creating a medical emergency.

Pelvic inflammatory disease may occur in some women as a result of using an IUD. This is a potentially severe type of reproductive infection that often leads to permanent infertility issues. Antibiotics are sometimes successful in treating this condition, although the development of scar tissue may cause severe pelvic pain and other problems. Complications from pelvic inflammatory disease sometimes require surgery to remove the uterus and other reproductive organs, causing permanent infertility. Any questions or concerns about potential IUD complications or other birth control methods should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

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Discuss this Article

anon354578
Post 9

I'm having cramps,bleeding and had a vaginal examination. The doctor can't see the end of the IUD. Does this mean it is covered with a tumor, or scar tissue? Please let me known if anyone has gone through this. I have another two or three week wait until I see a specialist.

makyla1988
Post 8

I have had the IUD since February 2012 and I haven't had any heavy bleeding, or extreme pain. I love the fact I don't have to take pills. The only concern I have is that I can't feel the string. All I feel is a bump on my cervix where the string used to be,

anon302790
Post 7

I have an IUD. I've had it for about a year now, and right now I'm either pregnant or there's some kind of complication. Last week I had severe pain for about two hours after having sex. I now have missed my period and am puking regularly in the mornings. Anyone know what could be happening?

anon286365
Post 6

I have had the Paragard (copper IUD) in ever since I had my son (a little over two years ago). I have never had any problems or complications with it. I love it! I had it inserted about six weeks after having my son, there was hardly any pain and afterwords it was like nothing was there. I love that there are no hormone effects as I have tried multiple types of birth control and had to stop because the hormones made me so sick.

I am now ready to have it removed and try for another baby. So I'm a little nervous about the process of getting it removed, especially after reading a few horror stories of it being stuck or embedded in the uterus. Hopefully it will be as quick and pain free as it was getting it inserted. I would recommend getting the IUD, but like they say, every woman's body reacts differently.

anon282149
Post 5

I would love to know how common these complications are as well. It is so difficult to find facts on the internet. Everything I am reading is so generalized and I bet when I meet with my doctor soon she won't know any facts either because most of them don't. Ugh, it is so frustrating!

anon270475
Post 4

I personally have not had any of the side effects listed, I have had shorter periods tho they tend to be from one to two days and very light. I love this form of birth control.

surfNturf
Post 3

@ElizaBennett - I agree with you. I had side effects from a Mirena IUD and it was terrible. I was very irritable and felt bloated all of the time. The Mirena IUD lowers your hormone level which is why you tend to become more irritable.

I also gained about twenty pounds. When I finally went in for my IUD removal, I became sick and was vomiting all over the place. I also felt a little dizzy and had a really bad headache. It cleared up after a day or so, and I vowed never to take one of these again.

The only good thing about it was that I had birth control for five years and I had no period during that time.

I did have to pay out of pocket for this IUD because IUD’s are not covered by my insurance. The IUD cost about $900 to insert. I was going to get the copper IUD because it was good for ten years and was a non hormonal IUD, but I heard that the cramps associated with this IUD were really intense and many women complained of having a much heavier flow than normal.

ElizaBennett
Post 2

@Kat919 - Remember that these are just theoretical side effects of an IUD. There's a really, really low rate of complications, although if you do get pregnant on an IUD, it can be a health emergency.

A friend of mine used an IUD for a while, but when she went to have it removed, it was stuck. The doctor inflated her uterus with carbon dioxide in an attempt to loosen it, but instead the device perforated her uterus! That sounds a lot more serious than it was, but it was enough to turn me off of getting one.

But the CDC says they're really safe (not at all like the Dalkon Shield, which was dangerous in the 1970s - today's designs are very different). And remember that hormonal birth control has scary side effects, too - there's the possibility of blood clot and even stroke (possibly higher with the new methods like the ring, patch, etc.).

Not for me, thanks. I use condoms - no risk of complications - combined with the Fertility Awareness Method. When I am at highest risk of conceiving, I use two barrier methods or abstain. Condoms are more effective than people realize if you use them correctly (as most sixteen-year-olds don't).

Kat919
Post 1

I'm thinking of getting pregnant pretty soon, but I was thinking about using an IUD for birth control after that while I consider whether two kids will be enough. My doctor recommended it to me, especially because with the changes to insurance law in this country, they may be free soon!

But reading this article, the IUD sounds really dangerous! I like the idea of not having to take a pill every day, but this just seems ridiculous. How common are these complications?

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