Pain With Sex With IUD? What an Expert Says

Are you experiencing pain with sex with an IUD? It’s not uncommon We will talk about this important topic today. But first, let’s define what an IUD is and what types of IUDs are out there. Then we’ll cover the important topic of pain and your overall health and well-being. 

But First, What is an IUD?

An IUD is an intrauterine device. It is a small, T-shaped contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is also known as an intrauterine contraceptive device or coil. IUDs offer long-acting yet reversible birth control.

What are the different types of IUDs?


There are two main types of IUDs: the hormonal IUD and the copper IUD. Each type works differently and offers unique benefits.


Hormonal IUDs:


Levonorgestrel IUD (e.g., Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta): These IUDs release a small amount of the hormone levonorgestrel into the uterus. They are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and can also be used to manage heavy menstrual bleeding and certain gynecological conditions.

Etonogestrel IUD (Nexplanon): While not a traditional IUD, Nexplanon is a small implant that releases the hormone etonogestrel. It’s placed in the upper arm and provides long-term contraception.


Copper IUDs:


Copper T IUD (e.g., ParaGard): This type of IUD does not release hormones. Instead, it is wrapped with copper, which creates an environment that is toxic to sperm, preventing fertilization. Copper IUDs are effective for a longer duration and can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within a certain timeframe after unprotected sex.


The choice between hormonal and copper IUDs depends on factors like your medical history, contraceptive needs and personal preferences. Hormonal IUDs provide additional benefits like lighter periods and reduced menstrual cramps. Copper IUDs are hormone-free and have the advantage of longer-lasting contraception.


Reasons for Having Pain With Sex with an IUD


What if you are experiencing pain or discomfort during intercourse with an IUD in place? Well, there could be several reasons for this.


  • IUD Placement: If the IUD was recently inserted, it’s possible that your body is still adjusting to its presence. It can take some time for the body to get used to the IUD. This adjustment period might involve some discomfort or pain during sex.
  • IUD Strings: The strings of the IUD can sometimes cause discomfort or pain during intercourse, especially if they are too long or not properly trimmed. If the strings are positioned in a way that they poke or irritate the cervix or vaginal walls, it can lead to discomfort.
  • Positioning: Sometimes, the IUD can shift or move slightly. This might lead to discomfort during intercourse. If the IUD is not in the correct position, it can cause pain when the penis comes into contact with it.
  • Infection or Inflammation: Infections or inflammation in the reproductive organs can cause pain during sex. If you’re experiencing other symptoms like unusual discharge, odor or pain outside of intercourse, you should see your doctor to rule out any infections.
  • Endometriosis or Other Conditions: If you have conditions like endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), these can lead to pain during sex regardless of whether you have an IUD. It’s important to discuss your medical history and symptoms with your doctor before getting an IUD.
  • Vaginismus or Psychological Factors: Sometimes, pain during intercourse can be related to psychological factors like anxiety or stress. It can also be due to a condition called vaginismus. This is when the muscles of the vaginal wall involuntarily contract during penetration.


Depending on the cause, solutions might involve adjusting the IUD, trimming the strings, treating infections or inflammation, managing underlying conditions or exploring psychological factors. 


Can an IUD Get Dislodged?


An IUD can become dislodged. It could be due to various reasons:


  • Uterine Contractions: Strong uterine contractions, often experienced during menstruation, can push the IUD out of place.
  • Incorrect Placement: If the IUD isn’t correctly positioned during insertion, it might shift over time.
  • Strings Length: If the IUD strings are too long, they might irritate the cervix or be pulled accidentally during intercourse, leading to dislodgment.
  • Trauma or Impact: High-impact physical activities or those that cause pressure on the abdomen can potentially cause the IUD to move.
  • Expulsion: Sometimes the body might naturally expel the IUD, resulting in it being dislodged.

If you suspect your IUD has shifted or been dislodged, see your doctor to get it checked. It is important that an IUD is in the correct position.


What if you have a copper IUD?


Yes, pain during sex is possible with a copper IUD too. The IUD itself can sometimes cause discomfort, especially if it has not been properly positioned, if the strings are too long or if there’s any movement or irritation. 


If the IUD is causing heavier or more painful periods, it could indirectly contribute to discomfort during sex.


If you have a copper IUD, the same general principles apply to concerns about dislodgment. While a copper IUD doesn’t contain hormones like some other types of IUDs, it can still become dislodged due to the factors mentioned earlier. To make sure the IUD is effective, it is important to regularly check for the presence of the IUD strings. See your doctor if you have pain or discomfort, changes in your menstrual cycle or suspect the IUD has become dislodged. 


Are you concerned about adhesions with your IUD?


Adhesions involving an IUD are really quite rare. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can form between internal organs or tissues. They are often the result of surgery, infection or inflammation. In the case of IUDs, the risk of adhesions forming specifically due to the presence of an IUD is minimal.


IUDs, both copper and hormonal types, are designed to be well-tolerated within the uterus and usually do not cause adhesions. 


Can Adhesions can cause lower back pain?


Yes, adhesions can potentially cause lower back pain. Depending on their location and extent, adhesions can lead to various symptoms, including pain. When adhesions develop around organs in the abdominal or pelvic area, they can create tension, pull on surrounding structures and cause discomfort. This might radiate to the lower back.


However, lower back pain can have many possible causes, including muscle strain, spinal issues and other medical conditions. 


Adhesions, IUDs and other symptoms 


Adhesions specifically caused by an IUD are rare because IUDs are well-tolerated within the uterus. 


However, in rare cases, adhesions around an IUD might potentially lead to symptoms such as:


  • Localized Discomfort: Adhesions around an IUD could potentially cause localized discomfort or pain in the pelvic area.
  • Changes in IUD Position: Adhesions might theoretically cause the IUD to become displaced from its correct position, which could lead to irregular bleeding, pain or other symptoms.
  • Infertility Concerns: If adhesions affect the fallopian tubes or reproductive organs, it could potentially impact fertility.
  • Pain During Intercourse: If adhesions lead to changes in the shape or position of the uterus or other pelvic structures, it might contribute to discomfort during sex.

If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms or discomfort, see your doctor. They can evaluate your situation, perform necessary examinations or tests and provide treatment. Open communication with your doctor is key to address any concerns you have about your birth control choice, your sexual health and overall well-being.

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Pain With Sex With IUD