My Paragard is...stuck. What should I expect next?
February 7, 2019 9:19 PM   Subscribe

My Paragard IUD has reached the end of its lifespan, but it's not ready to leave just yet.

At some point over the past decade it got itself stuck to my uterine wall, and my GP is referring me to a gynecologist to have it removed. I'm freaking out a bit as my Google-fu skills are failing me on this one. Has this happened to you or someone you know? What exactly am I in for?
posted by Vervain to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This happened to me! I got it removed about a month ago now. I ended up in the chair that is for cervical scrapings as opposed to the stirrups type set up. It brought everything down enough that the gyn was able to kind of get ahold of it better than the gp was and he asked me if was ok and he just pulled it. It was two bits of sharp pain but it was tolerable. There was a little bit of tissue on the tiny part that was embedded but I didn't even have any spotting afterword.
posted by stormygrey at 10:31 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]

Just as a data point, I had a fairly trauma free IUD removal and bled like a stuck pig for 2 straight days after. Not a big deal, apparently all within the bell curve of normalcy, but since I didn't feel like using my cup I did have to go buy heavy pads for the first time since I was a teenager. Better prepared than not.
posted by phunniemee at 2:38 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

this happened to me, i guess my uterus is like velcro. it hurt like the fire of a thousand suns when they tried to remove it in the gyno office, and i had to be put under anesthesia to have a hysteroscopy and have it removed. bonus was that i got a new one put in while i was under, so it was pain-free after that. just had some light bleeding after.
posted by kerning at 6:46 AM on February 8

Hi, I'm a midwife and NP (TINMA/IANY-CNM/NP). The above experiences are spot on for the range of what you might experience. Your experience will vary depending on how embedded the IUD and where it is. How was it determined that it's stuck? Was it just a failed removal with your PCP? Were they able to see the strings? Or have you had an ultrasound that shows the device is actually penetrating the uterine wall, and if so, how deep is it, and where?

Sometimes, it's just a matter of having the right person have a try of removing it. (i.e., if you saw a GP who doesn't do many of them, s/he may not have the same tricks for removal that someone who does them more often does). It might also be that you need to have it removed while someone presses on your belly with an ultrasound. In rarer cases, if the IUD is deeply embedded in the uterus/cervix, and/or it's in a more risky place (say, near to the uterine artery), you may need more invasive procedures, like dilation and hysteroscopy as kerning experienced. This may also vary according to the preferences, experience, and resources available to the provider(s) attempting the removal.

Generally, IUD removals are very quick and very painless. If there is some muscle involvement, it may be much more uncomfortable, so you could have sedation or anesthesia. If your IUD has actually perforated your uterus or cervix (i.e., made a hole and passed through), you would likely need an operation to remove it--generally, laparoscopy--but it doesn't sound like that's your situation, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Good luck and hope you get it sorted out as soon and as comfortably as possible.
posted by stillmoving at 8:44 AM on February 8 [5 favorites]

Oh, and: if you’re being referred for a second attempt at straightforward removal, you might want to schedule it when you’re on your period and take a couple of ibuprofen beforehand, in case there is extra discomfort when it comes out.
posted by stillmoving at 9:02 AM on February 8

This happened to me, I was so scared I would need to have it surgically removed. But my gyno said, 'hey, let's just give it a shot and see if we can remove it.' So she did, and it hurt a lot for a couple seconds but she got it out. It hurt way less than when they put it in. She said it's pretty common to see minor embedding, but that most of the time they can be removed quickly without surgery.

So don't worry too much just yet.
posted by ananci at 10:17 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

stillmoving, you reminded me of a half dozen things I could've added to my question for context! This attempt was made on a moderate flow day, with misoprostol 6 hours beforehand. The doctor working on me was able to get a good grip on what's left of the strings (they had to be trimmed twice), and was tugging fairly firmly...still, no luck. Ah, well.

Thanks to everyone for your answers!
posted by Vervain at 11:40 PM on February 9

UPDATE: After a pelvic ultrasound, it has been determined that my little copper buddy is in fact embedded. Going in today to (presumably) talk about what the next steps are. Good times!
posted by Vervain at 12:55 PM on March 22

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