It's totally possible to use a menstrual cup when you have an IUD, but there are some important precautions to take.
So here are the elements to understand everything and take the right decision for you.
What is an IUD ?
The IUD (for Intrauterine Device) is a T-shaped method of birth control about 3.5cm high, which is effective between 2 and 10 years depending on the model.
It is inserted into the uterus by a trained healthcare professional: this can be your gynecologist, midwife, or general practitioner.
A few years ago, IUDs were only inserted in women who had had children, but that is no longer the case.
The IUD ends with a thread for removal that protrudes through the cervix and is cut more or less short after the IUD is inserted.
There are 2 types of IUDs:
The Copper IUD
It is made of plastic and partially coated with copper that creates a slight inflammation in the endometrium (i.e., the lining of the uterus) that prevents implantation.
Copper also has a spermicidal action. This IUD can have an effect on periods (especially after insertion), making them heavier. Even MUCH heavier. In general, this disturbance only lasts a few cycles.
The hormonal IUD
It contains a progestin hormone that is released gradually.
This hormone has a contraceptive effect: it thickens the secretions of the cervix, so that spermatozoa can no longer pass.
It can also have an effect on menstruation, as many experience less heavy or shorter periods, or even a cessation of periods.
Recently, it has been blamed by several people who attribute major depressions to it. So stay alert and listen to your body.
Where and how is an IUD placed?
The IUD is placed by the doctor, who inserts a cannula through the cervix. It is then slipped through this cannula into the uterus, and its "arms" unfold. The placement is sometimes a little uncomfortable or slightly painful, but it doesn't last long.
Here is how it is positioned:
How is an IUD removed?
Like the installation, the removal is done by a gynecologist / midwife / general practitioner, who must pull on the threadsin the axis of the cervix The "arms" of the IUD will fold up to pass through the cervix.
And as the diagram below shows, the axis of the cervix is very often different from the axis of the vagina (this will be useful to remember for the following...)
What are the common causes of IUD expulsion?
It is commonly accepted that about 4% of IUDs are expelled spontaneously. Most often, this expulsion occurs within 3 months after the implantation.
The causes of this expulsion can be multiple:
– The body does not accept it well
– The shape of the uterus does not fit well
– It has been placed too low
– During menstruation, the cervix is more open and the uterus contracts: it is therefore easier to be expelled.
Can my menstrual cup suck out my IUD?
For traditional menstrual cups (with a stem), this is already unlikely. Indeed, to remove an IUD, the threads must be pulled in the axis of the cervix. The possible suction effect that you could undergo by pulling on the stem of a classic menstrual cup would be applied in the axis of the vagina, which would thus have a priori little impact on your IUD.
With La Cup Luneale, the suction effect is limited to a minimum, firstly because it is very flexible, but also because to remove it, it is imperative to pinch the MoonPad which has the immediate effect of cancelling this effect.
This allows us to say that the Luneale Cup is the safest for IUD wearers.
What precautions should I take when I have an IUD and want to switch to the Menstrual Cup?
Check and possibly adjust the length of the threads of your IUD
You should ask your gynecologist/midwife/general practitioner to cut the threads short. Not flush with the cervix, of course (but don't worry, they are professionals anyway, so they will find the right compromise)
Because if the threads are long, they can get stuck between the vaginal wall and the upper edge of the cup.
As a result, pulling on the threads could cause the IUD to pull, as shown in this illustration:
2. Eventually, wait about 3 months after the insertion of your IUD to use a menstrual cup
This 3-month period corresponds to the period when the number of spontaneous IUD explosions is the highest.
Of course, you can use your cup after the ultrasound to check that your IUD is correctly placed (generally a few weeks after its insertion), but you must be aware that it is possible that during these 3 months, your IUD may move or be expelled without this being directly attributable to your menstrual cup.
What do the scientific studies say about the IUD and menstrual cup duo?
Only one study has been conducted on the subject (reference at the bottom of the page), published in 2012 in Canada.
Out of 930 women who participated in the study:
- 74% were using tampons (under 30: 61% - nulliparous: 69%)
- 43% used pads (under 30: 51% - nulliparous: 54%)
- 10% used cups (under 30: 77% - nulliparous: 88%)
Note: The total is higher than 100% because some women used more than one type of sanitary protection.
620 women reached the end of the study with a correct follow-up. The average expulsion rate within 2 months of insertion was 3.5%, evenly distributed among the 3 types of menstrual protection. The study therefore concluded that there is no influence of the type of protection used on IUD expulsion.
So you can sleep easy with your cup, you are no more likely to expel than with a pad!
But we are aware that when an IUD is expelled spontaneously with a pad, we do not think that it is the cause. However, when you find your IUD in your menstrual cup, it is human nature to think that it is the cause...
If you have any questions or feedback, you can of course leave a comment!
source : Does using tampons or menstrual cups increase early IUD expulsion rates? Ellen R. Wiebe & Konia J. Trouton – Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC, Canada