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Menstrual cup & IUD

“Can a menstrual cup be used with an IUD?”

It’s a recurring and important question that deserves a full explanation.

What is an IUD ?

The IUD ( for Intra Uterine Device) is a T-shaped contraceptive method about 3.5cm high, which is effective between 2 and 10 years depending on the model.

It is inserted into the uterus by a competent health professional: gynaecologist, midwife or general practitioner.

A few years ago, IUDs were only inserted in women who had had children, but this is no longer the case today.

The IUD ends with a removal thread that protrudes through the cervix and is cut more or less short after the IUD is inserted.

There are 2 types of IUDs:

Copper IUD

It is made of plastic and partially coated with copper, which creates a slight inflammation in the endometrium (i.e. the lining of the uterus) that prevents implantation.

Copper also has a spermicidal action. The IUD can have an effect on menstruation (especially after insertion) by making it heavier. Even MUCH more abundant. Usually, this disturbance only lasts a few cycles.

Hormonal IUD / hormonal IUD

It contains a progestin hormone that it releases gradually.
This hormone has a contraceptive effect: it thickens the secretions of the cervix so that sperm can no longer pass through.

It can also have an effect on menstruation, since many people have fewer or shorter periods, or even stop menstruating.

Recently, it has been blamed by several people for severe depression. So stay alert and listen to your body.

Where and how is an IUD placed?

The IUD is placed by the doctor, who introduces a cannula through the cervix. The IUD is then slipped through this cannula into the uterus, and its “arms” are extended. Sometimes the placement is a little uncomfortable or slightly painful, but it does not last long.

Here’s what it looks like in this situation:

How do you remove an IUD?

Like the insertion, the removal is done by a gynaecologist/midwife/general practitioner, who has to pull on the removal thread in the axis of the cervix: the “arms” of the IUD will fold back to pass through the cervix.
And as shown in the diagram below, the axis of the cervix is very often different from the axis of the vagina (it will be useful to remember this for the rest…).

What causes an IUD to be expelled?

It is commonly accepted that approximately 4% of IUDs are expelled spontaneously. Most often, this expulsion occurs within 3 months after insertion.

Several approaches have been put forward:
– The body doesn’t accept it well
– The shape of the uterus makes it difficult to hold in place.
– He was placed too low
– During menstruation, the cervix is more open and the uterus contracts, making it easier to be expelled.

Can my menstrual cup suck out my IUD?

For the classic menstrual cups (with stem), this is already unlikely. To remove an IUD, the threads must be pulled in line with the cervix. Any suction effect that you may experience when pulling on the stem of a conventional menstrual cup would be applied in the axis of the vagina, which would therefore have little impact on your IUD.

With La Cup Luneale, the suction cup effect is limited to a minimum, first 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 affirm that the Moon Cup is the safest for IUD wearers.

What precautions should you take when you wear an IUD and want to switch to the menstrual cup?

You have to ask your gynaecologist/midwife/general practitioner to cut the wires short. Not flush with the cervix, of course (but don’t worry, they are professionals anyway, so they will know how to find the right compromise).

Because if the wires are long, they can get caught between the vaginal wall and the top edge of the cup.
Pulling on the wires could cause the IUD to pull, as shown in this illustration:

What do the scientific studies say about the IUD and menstrual cup duo?

Only one study has been carried out on the subject (ref at the bottom of the page), published in 2012 in Canada.

Out of 930 women who participated in the study :
– 74% used tampons (under 30 years old: 61% – nulliparous: 69%)
– 43% used towels (under 30 years old: 51% – nulliparous: 54%)
– 10% used cups (under 30 years old: 77% – nulliparous: 88%)
Note: The total is greater than 100% because some used several types of periodic protection.

620 women completed the study with proper follow-up.
The average expulsion rate within 2 months of insertion was 3.5%, evenly distributed among the 3 types of periodic protections.
The study therefore concluded that there was no influence of the type of protection used on IUD expulsion.

So you can sleep easy with your cup, you don’t risk expulsion any more than with a towel!

But we are aware that when you spontaneously expel an IUD with a towel, you don’t think it’s the cause. But when you find your IUD in your menstrual cup, it’s only human to think that it’s the cause…

If you have any questions or feedback to give us, 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

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