A long-lasting birth control option, IUDs can stay inside your body for 3 to 10 years, depending on the type.
But when the time is up, that sucker has to come out! Ditto if you decide to get pregnant.
Removing the IUD is usually easy. Usually, a healthcare professional simply pulls on the string hanging from the device, the “T” arms fold up, and the little guy comes out.
In light of this, you might be wondering if it’s okay to remove the device yourself at home.
The short answer: it is best to have your IUD removed by a healthcare professional.
As Kimberly Langdon, OB-GYN and medical advisor to a telehealth provider Medzino says, “IUD removal is a medical procedure.
But if that is not feasible, a home move may be an option.
PSA: It is possible to have your IUD removed to free or at low price, and by a to affirm provider. And that remains valid even if the insertion of your IUD was expensive or carried out by a provider who was not (ugh – sorry, I love it) affirmative.
To find an affordable and assertive supplier, check with your local:
That said, if it is not possible to see a provider because you cannot afford the removal or babysitting while you are at the appointment, or for some other reason, you should are safe and less secure ways to remove the IUD at home.
We will walk you through how to do it in the safest way possible below.
Know just before you start that if a complication occurs, you will need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Quick reminder: The IUD is a T-shaped device (about the size of a quarter) that goes into the uterus through the cervix.
The cervix is known as the anatomical stopping point of the vagina. It’s what you or your partner bump into when you feel like you’re as deep as possible during sex.
This is also as far as you will need to reach to grab the IUD string that is attached.
If you’re reluctant to go this far, you may want to consider asking a trusted friend or partner to lend a hand.
Due to the angle of entry, her hand will likely be able to penetrate further into your vagina than you can.
Yes, you will need a set of hands.
But you will probably also want:
- a nail clipper and a nail file to cut and smooth the nails before removing them
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) taken 30 to 60 minutes beforehand to reduce pain and cramps
- a towel or blanket for sitting or lying down
- a hand mirror – or TBH, a phone with a front camera – that you can use to see better
If your friend or partner is doing the removal, you will probably also need nitrile gloves, ring pliers, or both, which can help The Remover with the removal.
When the IUD is safely removed, you will probably need some downtime.
So make sure you have comfortable clothes, blankets and pillows, and your favorite book or TV show handy. Oh, and you’ll probably want some extra ibuprofen, water, and some snacks, and a heating pad.
If there’s anything you learned from life during a pandemic, hopefully it’s how to wash your hands. Welp, it’s time to take advantage of these new skills, girls!
Wash your hands with lukewarm water and unscented soap. Keep washing them until you have finished singing “Happy Birthday”. K?
If you don’t wash your hands properly, you could introduce bacteria into your lumps that disrupt your pH, which could lead to:
When your hands are dry, put on these nitrile gloves.
You have two options: lying down or standing.
Which choice you choose will depend on various factors, such as:
- the strength of your leg
- the flexibility of your back and trunk
- your personal comfort
- whether you or someone you trust will make the withdrawal
Lie on your back. If you are going to remove the device yourself, place your firmest pillow under your hips. This will bring your vaginal opening closer to your hands.
(Even better: use a sex wedge, which will be even firmer than your sleeping pillow.)
Then, spread your knees wide and tuck them towards your stomach, suggests Langdon.
While standing, place one of your feet on a tub ledge or toilet. Then, “take a position similar to what you usually use to insert a tampon,” Langdon says.
Once you are in position, you will expose yourself, which will bring your cervix (and uterus) closer to the vaginal opening.
To get naked, consider pushing a fart out of your vagina. Seriously, it works.
When your provider first inserted the IUD, they probably left 1 to 2 inches of string hanging for removal, explains Kecia gaiter, MD, who is dual certified in OB-GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, and Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals / Lincoln.
You’ll be pulling this string down in a smooth motion when you find it.
Ready to go fishing? Slide a finger into your vagina and see if you can feel the string.
“The rope is very, very thin. It’s not like a tampon string, ”Langdon says. So don’t be discouraged if it takes you a minute to locate.
Can’t find the channel? Stop.
Sometimes the IUD strings can travel up to the uterus. If this happens, removal should be performed by a healthcare practitioner.
Although rare, a missing IUD string could also be a sign of a bigger problem like expulsion or puncture.
Once you find it, slide your index and middle fingers together and pinch the string between them. Pull down.
IUDs are supposed to come out quite easily. If not, something is wrong.
The IUD, for example, could have become embedded in the tissue of the uterus or moved outside of where it was originally implanted, says Felice Gersh, MD, author of “PCOS SOS: the lifeline of a gynecologist to naturally restore your rhythms, your hormones and your happiness. “
“The doctor will know exactly how to manage these mild complications, but you can’t do it at home,” she says.
If you try, you can really hurt yourself. You could tear or puncture the uterus, Langdon says.
“This could lead to scarring and make an infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, more likely to occur,” says Langdon.
Orgasm can make withdrawal easier
Orgasms can cause muscles to contract in the pelvic floor. These contractions can help the uterus to “release” the IUD more easily.
Where you are in your cycle matters
The cervix naturally opens slightly during ovulation and menstruation. Removing the device during these times in your cycle may be easier.
Just note: “As soon as the IUD is removed, pregnancy is possible,” Gersh says.
So if you are going to have P-in-V sex and don’t want to get pregnant, avoid removing the device around ovulation, which is when pregnancy is most likely.
Remove the IUD directly
When the IUD comes out of the uterus and enters the cervix, you may experience cramps.
Expect that! Don’t be alarmed.
Instead, continue to remove the device. Mild cramps are not a sign that something is wrong.
Congratulations! Your uterus is free! But before you throw in the little asshole, take a look at him.
As, really Check it out.
Are all the pieces still there? Google your device brand and compare your IUD to the photos to be sure.
Part of the IUD may come off and stay in the body, says Huong Nghiem-Eilbeck, MD, MPH, a health care provider. Pandia Health and Board Certified OB-GYN in Los Angeles, California.
If it appears that a part is missing, consult immediately
“Keep all the parts of the IUD that came out in a bag, then come back for a doctor’s evaluation,” says Nghiem-Eilbeck.
The missing parts can become embedded in the uterus – or travel elsewhere in the reproductive system – causing things like discomfort, scarring, or even internal bleeding.
“Very mild discomfort, slight cramps and maybe a few spots are normal symptoms after removal,” explains Nghiem-Eilbeck. Usually these last a few hours.
If you experience cramping, Gaither says that another dose of an NSAID like ibuprofen should be enough to relieve the pain.
If you need new contraception
Without a prescription, you can easily obtain and start using:
- internal condoms
- external condoms
If you are looking to avoid a doctor’s office, you may still be able to access certain prescription contraceptive options like the pill, patch, or ring through telemedicine companies.
“Persistent discomfort, uncomfortable symptoms, fever, or changes in your flow are not normal,” says Nghiem-Eilbeck.
If you experience these symptoms, avoid penetrative sex and see a doctor as soon as possible.
It is best to see a healthcare professional to have your IUD removed if possible.
But as Nghiem-Eilbeck says, “While not generally advised, self-removal is something that can be done, as long as the patient can learn how and reach for the device.”
Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based Sex and Wellness writer and Level 1 CrossFit trainer. She became a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and ate, drank, and brushed with charcoal. – all in the name of journalism. In her spare time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench press or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.