It’s unlikely that sex will dislodge your IUD, but if you or your partner feel the strings of your levonorgestrel intrauterine device during sexual activity, talk to your doctor. It could mean that it moved or wasn’t inserted correctly.
Also contact your doctor if you have severe abdominal pain or cramping, heavy bleeding, a fever or chills, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, or pregnancy.
How long will it take?
Unlike some other birth control methods, an IUD can be put in very quickly. In fact, you can have sex right after getting an IUD, though you may want to use a backup method of birth control until it starts working (whether that happens within a few days or a few months depends on the type of IUD). It is normal to have bleeding and cramping the first month or so after IUD insertion. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help with the discomfort.
Some people experience spotting or irregular bleeding after an IUD is placed, but this usually stops after a few months. This is more likely to be caused by the IUD itself than by sex or using a condom.
Despite the fact that it is very rare, an IUD can sometimes be expelled from the uterus (though it’s not caused by sex). If you notice that your IUD has shifted and you’re bleeding a lot after sexual activity, make an appointment to see a healthcare professional. They will do a physical exam and check your IUD for you. Then they will trim the strings. They should be long enough that they can’t hang out of your vagina, but short enough that you can feel them with a finger inserted into the cervix. Avoid sex or using a sex toy with a hook-type end, as this can pull the IUD out by its strings.
Will it hurt?
The pain associated with IUD insertion can vary, but most people do feel some cramping and discomfort. It is important to discuss this with your health care provider and ask about ways to manage it. It’s a good idea to take over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen about an hour before your appointment, and to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.
Once you’re on the exam table, your healthcare professional will insert a small device that looks like a duck beak (called a speculum) into your vagina and clean it with an antiseptic liquid. They’ll also check the size and position of your uterus, as well as look for signs of infection or other problems that would make it unsafe to place Mirena (contraindications).
Your healthcare provider will then fold up Mirena’s horizontal arms and insert it into an applicator tube that is inserted into your cervical canal. Then they’ll insert the tube into your uterus and place the IUD.
If you don’t want to wait that long, your provider may insert the non-hormonal ParaGard at the same time as your Mirena during the same office visit. The non-hormonal IUD doesn’t cause as much pain or discomfort as the hormonal one. But it is a good idea to talk about this with your provider before scheduling the appointment so that they can plan accordingly.
Will it come out?
There’s a small chance that your IUD could slip out of place, especially during the first three months. You can check your pad, tampon or cup to see if it’s still in there (and to make sure you haven’t gotten a period) or use backup birth control.
When you get your IUD inserted, you’ll lie on an exam table and the doctor will put in a speculum to open your vagina, then clean your cervix and uterus with antiseptic solution. They’ll then fold the IUD into an applicator tube and slide it in through your cervix, right to the base of your uterus.
Once in the uterus, the IUD releases 52 milligrams of levonorgestrel slowly over six years, which thickens your cervical mucus and thins your uterine lining, making it less likely for sperm to attach to an egg. It also can treat heavy periods by reducing the amount of blood that’s lost during a menstrual cycle.
Your gynecologist will typically schedule you for a follow-up appointment within six to eight weeks of your initial insertion, so they can make sure that the strings are in the right spot and that the IUD is working well. During this visit, your physician may trim the strings. They’ll probably also ask about your health and discuss any symptoms you’re experiencing, including pain during penetrative sex.
Will it hurt my partner?
Some people feel cramps and pain during IUD insertion, but it doesn’t last long and medicine can help. It’s a good idea to take ibuprofen, like Motrin or Advil, an hour before your IUD insertion to minimize the pain and cramping.
After you lie on an exam table, your practitioner will insert a long-handled instrument called a speculum into your vagina to open it and check the size of your cervix and uterus. They will also clean your cervix with an antiseptic solution and test for STDs. After your cervix and vagina are ready, the doctor or nurse will fold the IUD into an applicator tube and insert it into your uterus.
Your partner may be able to feel the IUD strings during penetrative sex, but it should not be painful for them. Your GP or nurse will teach you how to feel for these strings so you can check they’re still in place after your period and at regular intervals.
Some women have had the IUD slip or move after sex, but this is very rare and can be prevented by using additional contraception. Don’t tug on the string because it could pull the IUD out of place or cause miscarriage. You can ask your gynecologist if you need more information about this or other types of birth control.