Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are very small, slender medical implants that can be placed into the uterus to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The IUD is a birth control method that is becoming more commonly requested at gynecology clinics, but it isn’t necessarily the best choice for every woman. Talk to your gynecologist about your health history and preferences before making an informed decision. If you do choose to get an IUD, it will be non-surgically inserted by your gynecologist during a normal office visit.
What to Know Before You Go
Your gynecologist may give you some advice on preparing for the insertion . Know that it can be an uncomfortable process, and some women do experience pain. However, it only takes a few minutes to insert the IUD. To minimize your discomfort, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever before your appointment. Your doctor might prescribe a medication intended to dilate the cervix, which can help make the procedure more comfortable and easier for you. Bring a sanitary pad to your appointment, as some bleeding can occur.
What to Expect During the Insertion
After you change into a gown, you’ll be asked to lie on the exam table and place your feet on the stirrups—exactly as though you’d be having a cervical cancer screening. A speculum is inserted, and then a special device is used to insert the IUD into your vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus.
What to Do Afterward
It’s common to experience cramping, which can be fairly intense for some women. Although some women feel fine driving themselves home afterward, you might want to bring a friend with you, just in case. Rest at home with a heating pad for the remainder of the day. It’s normal to have some light bleeding or spotting for a few days afterward, so have a few extra sanitary pads on hand.
The IUD is one of many birth control methods available in Washington, D.C. At Washington Surgi-Clinic, our gynecologists take the time to thoroughly counsel each of our patients about their reproductive healthcare options. Request an appointment by calling our friendly office staff at (202) 659-9403.