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Topic Tuesday: Is it painful to get an IUD removed?

Great question! We hear from many patients that they are a little apprehensive about getting their IUD removed, or they are scared to get one in the first place because they fear the removal process down the road. The good news is, the majority of the time, it is a very simple and quick procedure.

Usually removal of an IUD takes less than a minute and causes brief, minor cramping. Patients have a variety of descriptions of what it feels like to get their IUD removed but some of the most common ones we hear are:
• A pinch
• A light cramping feeling
• A strong cramping feeling
• Like a pap smear

While uncommon, it is important to know that there are a few situations that can make it a little more complicated:
• If the strings of your IUD are tucked up in the cervix at the time of removal, the process can take a little longer, but it shouldn’t hurt. The strings are usually retrievable with a soft cytobrush which feels similar to a pap smear. If the strings are not retrievable with the cytobrush, the removal process can be more uncomfortable.
• This is very rare (1/1000) but, if your IUD perforates or becomes embedded in the uterus, the removal process is more difficult and requires general anesthesia and a laparoscopy so you would be asleep during the procedure.

It is important to remember that these more complicated situations are very, very rare, and most women describe their IUD removal as being similar in discomfort to a pap smear. Everyone has a different reaction, but most patients agree that the removal process, even if uncomfortable, is worth the 5 or 10 years of worry-free and reliable birth control they get with their IUD!

Interested in learning more about whether an IUD is right for you? Schedule an appointment online below.

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