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You've got questions, we've got answers

IUD FAQsIf you have a question about the IUD, chances are someone else has already asked it. Here, we present a list of FAQs and all of their answers - though, if you have questions about costs and insurance, we have a separate page for that. If you have another question that we do not answer here, feel free to contact us and we'll add it to the page!

1. After a hormonal IUD is inserted, when can I have sex? Wait 24 hours, then you're good to go!

2. What do I have to do after the IUD is inserted? You should check to make sure it's in place every month or so. Do this by seeing if you can feel the strings at the top of your cervix. If you can't feel them, check with your doctor to make sure the device is in the proper place.

3. When should I have an IUD inserted? Most doctors recommend getting it inserted during your period because your cervix is wider, which makes the procedure less painful.

4. Does the insertion procedure hurt? According to most women....yes. Ask your doctor if you can take pain medication beforehand. But know that it only takes a minute or two to insert, so it'll be quick.

5. I just had a baby. How long should I wait to get an IUD? First of all, congrats! Now, to answer your question, most wait about 6 weeks. But some hospitals are doing postpartum insertions now, in which they insert the device literally minutes after you give birth (saves you a trip to the clinic!).

6. What can I expect right after the insertion procedure? Most women experience cramping, dizziness, and some bleeding within the first 30 minutes. If symptoms last longer than that, call your doctor again to see what's up.

7. How often should I see my doctor after I get an IUD? You should have a follow up in 4 - 6 weeks, then after that, once a year (unless you have uncommon symptoms, or if you feel something is wrong).

8. What if I change my mind and want a baby? How soon can I get pregnant after having the IUD removed? If you have the IUD removed, you can get pregnant almost immediately.

9. Okay, the expiration date is up. What if I still don't want to become pregnant? You can have your expired IUD removed, and simply get another one!

10. Can I still use tampons? Yep! Just watch out for the IUD's strings when you remove the tampon.

11. Can my partner feel the IUD during sex? Your partner will not feel the T-shaped device itself, but he may feel the strings that come down into the top of your vagina. If he doesn't like that, try foreplay - that lengthens the vagina, so the strings will be farther away. Also, the strings will get softer over time, and become less noticeable. If it's really bothering your partner, ask your doctor what she/he can do about it.

12. What's with the strings attached to the IUD? Those are there to help remove the IUD after it expires. The doctor essentially pulls it out by the strings, so if they retract into the uterus, removal will be harder. AKA don't mess with the strings!

13. What's the insertion procedure like? You'll rest on the examination table as your doctor uses a speculum to dilate the vagina and examine your cervix. The doctor will then clean the cervix and insert a tube holding the IUD into your uterus. He'll release the IUD device, gently remove the tube, and cut the strings to about 1.5 inches beyond the cervix.

14. Do you have to have had children before using an IUD? Nope! 

15. How long until the IUD starts working? After insertion, IUDs start working almost immediately! You might want to wait a few days to have sex you eager beaver, until cramps and any discomfort subside.

16. Should I expect heavier bleeding during my periods? With Paragard, this might happen in the first few months. But if it continues longer, check in with your doctor.

17. How effective are the IUDs? Over 99% effective!

18. How long do they last? Paragard will last up to 12 years, Mirena, Liletta, and Kyleena, up to 5. Skyla should last around 3 years.

19. Is the IUD covered by insurance? Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, yes, IUDs should be covered by most insurance plans.

20. I don't have insurance. How much will it cost? Without insurance, IUDs can cost around $500-900 dollars, depending on the brand you get. But don't worry! There are lots of financial aid packages, low-cost clinics, and programs for low-income residents that can help reduce the costs. Check out Paying for the IUD for more information on costs and insurance.

21. How long do you bleed after getting the IUD inserted? Bleeding might last for a few days as your body adjusts to the IUD. If bleeding continues, call your doctor.

22. What does IUD stand for? It stands for intrauterine device (basically, a device that goes into your uterus).

23. Can I drive myself home after the insertion procedure? Best to play it safe and have someone else drive you. You might be a little dizzy and uncomfortable.

24. Does the insertion procedure cost anything? Yes - the insertion procedure can cost between $150-250 if you don't have insurance. That's on top of the device itself.

25. What's the Dalkon Shield, and why do I keep seeing references to it when I research the IUD? The Dalkon Shield was an intrauterine device from the 1970s that caused many infections, and even led to the death of 17 women. It was terminated in a huge lawsuit, but it unfortunately imposed a stigma on all IUDs, even though modern ones have been shown time and time again to be completely safe and effective. Paragard, Mirena, Skyla, Liletta, and Kyleena have a completely different design from that of the Dalkon Shield, so risk of infection is extremely remote.

26. What are the chances of the IUD being expelled accidently? Between 2-10%. It's a little higher for those who have not had a child before, since your uterus is smaller. Also, if it expels once, it raises the risk of a second expulsion.

27. Do IUDs protect against STDs? NO!! Tell your partner to wear a condom!


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