What to Expect During Your IUD Removal

At some point, you will have to get your intrauterine device (IUD) removed. If you're nervous about the removal procedure, keep in mind that it is often easier, less painful, and quicker than an IUD insertion.

What to expect during an iud removal.

Emily Roberts / Verywell

This article will cover why someone may want to have their IUD removed. It will also explain what happens during the IUD removal procedure, as well as potential complications.

Why Should You Have Your IUD Removed?

IUDs have expiration dates and each brand must be removed after a certain amount of time. Not removing it on schedule means that your birth control may not be as effective.

If you do get pregnant with an IUD, it can lead to pregnancy-related complications such as infection and pregnancy loss.

When an IUD needs to be removed depends on the type you have:

  • Skyla will last a maximum of three years.
  • Kyleena will last for up to five years.
  • Liletta will last up to six years.
  • Mirena will last up to seven years.
  • ParaGard IUD will last up to 12 years.

Other reasons for having an IUD removed include:

  • Trying to get pregnant
  • Experiencing side effects that you can no longer deal with
  • Having an infection or another complication, like your IUD has moved out of its proper position

How Do I Prepare for IUD Removal?

An IUD can be removed at any time. That being said, it may be a little easier to remove an IUD during your period. This is because your cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina, moves lower and widens a bit during this time.

Before picking the day for your appointment, think about whether you are at risk for becoming pregnant once your IUD is removed. Keep in mind that sperm can live inside a female's body for up to five days.

If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant, you should not have sex, unless you also use a condom or other non-hormonal birth control method, for at least one week before your IUD removal.

IUD Replacement

You can have a new IUD inserted immediately after your old IUD is removed. This can all be done in one office visit, as long as there are no complications.

What Happens During the IUD Removal Procedure?

Just like during your IUD insertion, your doctor may begin your IUD removal by figuring out the position of your uterus.

  1. An instrument, called a speculum, may be used to open up your vagina.
  2. Next, you can expect: Your doctor will look for your IUD strings.
  3. They will use a medical instrument, like an IUD hook or forceps, to grasp the IUD strings and slowly pull on them.
  4. The flexible arms of the IUD will fold up as the IUD slides through the opening of the cervix and out of your vagina.

This whole process generally takes a few minutes.

Recap

Your doctor will use a medical instrument to grasp the IUD strings. They will then pull the IUD through the opening of your cervix and out of your vagina. This should only take a few minutes.

Is IUD Removal Painful?

IUD removal may cause some pain and discomfort, but typically hurts less than insertion. Cramping may also occur during removal.

What Are the Complications of IUD Removal?

An IUD removal is usually a simple procedure. But, complications can occur.

IUD Strings Cannot Be Located

If your IUD strings are missing, it is most likely because they have moved up into the cervical canal or uterus.

Your doctor may try to find the strings by using an ultrasound, which is an imaging test used to see organs and tissues. If they have slipped up into your cervical canal or uterus, your healthcare professional will try to gently pull them out with forceps or an IUD hook.

Once the strings have been pulled into your vaginal canal, then the IUD removal will continue.

If your IUD strings cannot be located and your healthcare professional has confirmed that the IUD is still in its proper place, removal can still be attempted using forceps or an IUD hook.

Recap

Your doctor may use an ultrasound to locate missing IUD strings and then continue the removal procedure. Even if your doctor can't find the strings, they can still try to remove the IUD with forceps.

IUD Stuck in Uterine Wall

Very rarely, an IUD may be difficult to pull out because it has become stuck in the uterine wall, which is also called perforation.

Your doctor can use different imaging techniques, like an ultrasound or X-ray, to determine if this has taken place. If your IUD is stuck in your uterus, your doctor may need to remove it surgically, if they are unable to get it out with forceps.

Summary

IUDs are removed for a variety of reasons.

Your IUD can be removed at any time, although your doctor may suggest doing so when you have your period, as your cervix widens a bit during this time.

During the IUD removal procedure, your doctor will use forceps, or an IUD hook to grasp the IUD strings and pull it out. You may have a new IUD inserted during this appointment as well.

Complications during the removal procedure include not being able to find the strings, as well as uterine perforation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is an IUD removed?

    An IUD is removed during a pelvic exam. Your doctor will use a tool to grasp the strings and gently pull out the IUD.

  • Can you remove your own IUD?

    Technically, yes, you can remove your own IUD. However, it is not recommended. An IUD should be removed by a health care professional because there is a chance of complications, such as a perforation of the uterine wall.

  • Does IUD removal hurt more than insertion?

    IUD removal is typically less painful than having an IUD inserted. However, it may cause some pain and cramping. Taking ibuprofen prior to your IUD removal can help to reduce pain during and after the procedure.

  • Is it normal to have blood clots after having an IUD removed?

    No. Spotting or light bleeding is common, passing blood clots is not. Spotting can last for a few hours or days after having an IUD removed. If you pass blood clots or experience heavier than normal bleeding after having your IUD removed, call your doctor.

  • When do periods go back to normal after IUD removal?

    It can take up to three months for your period to return to normal after having an IUD removed. If it has been longer than three months and your period has not returned, it is recommended that you take a pregnancy test and call your doctor.

  • How long will it take to get pregnant after IUD removal?

    It depends. Once the IUD is removed, you are no longer protected against pregnancy, so theoretically, you could get pregnant right away. The majority of women—about 85 percent—conceive within a year of having their IUD removed. 

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18 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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