The intrauterine device (IUD) is all the rage on the birth control scene. It’s a small, T-shaped device inserted through the cervix. It then hangs out in your uterus for three to five years (depending on the type you get), preventing pregnancy. “You can think of the IUD as nestled in there; the non-pregnant uterus is quite snug,” Dr. Kristina Tocce, resident physician of Vibrant, Planned Parenthood’s online sexual wellness store, tells Brides.
Some questions, though.
How do you know if it will stay in place? Can you dislodge your IUD during rough sex? What about when doing squats at the gym? If your period is super-aggressive this month, can you knock that sucker loose?
These are all things anyone who has ever had an IUD, or has thought about getting an IUD, has wondered. So we asked Dr. Tocce all these scary questions so you don’t have to.
Here is what you need to know about IUDs and whether or not a vigorous bout of lovemaking can throw it off-kilter.
What does “dislodged” mean?
First of all, what does dislodging an IUD even entail? Tocce says IUDs can become dislodged through either expulsion or malposition.
“Expulsion is where the IUD comes completely out of the uterus. This is something that is seen and reported by the patient as they may see the IUD come out and [it may] be in the toilet bowl or in their underwear,” Tocce tells us. The odds of this happening are pretty low. Only 3 to 6 percent of IUD-owners will have this happen.
Malposition, though, is when the IUD isn’t placed correctly when it's inserted at the doctor’s office or health-care clinic. “They may be ‘low’ (not at the fundus), partially expelled (and in the cervix), rotated in the uterus, partially embedded in the muscular wall of the uterus, or protruding through the muscular wall of the uterus,” Tocce explains. This happens to about 10 percent of IUD-owners.
If your IUD feels out of place, you experience heavy bleeding, or you have pain after the first few weeks, seek medical attention to have it checked out.
OK, about that rough sex thing…
No, you absolutely cannot dislodge an IUD during sex—even rough, kinky, dirty sex. “The IUD is in the uterus, ‘nestled’ in between the uterine walls,” she says.
This means it's inside your uterus, not anywhere near where a penis, fingers, or toy can reach it. There are some instances of a partner being able to “feel the IUD,” but this is a misleading way to think about it. There are two strings at the bottom of the IUD that hang through the cervix. This is how you check to see if your IUD is where it should be. They soften over time, but can feel a bit pokey or rough in the first few months. Don’t be alarmed; it’s perfectly normal.
##Can your period knock it loose?
When you have your period, your uterus contracts (aka: period cramps). While it’s not super common, “IUDs can sometimes expulse during menstrual periods,” Tocce says.
Since is it possible for your period to expel your IUD, healthcare professionals suggest checking for the strings of your IUD when you’re finished with your monthly period. This way you can rest assured that it’s right where it should be.
“If you place a finger in your vagina and go to the back of the vagina, you will find your cervix. It feels firm, almost like a nose,” Tocce explains. “Once the cervix is identified, feel around it and you will encounter the strings. They are often described as feeling like fishing line. They are usually 2 to 3 centimeters long.”
Remember, if your IUD does come out, it’s not your fault. “In general, patients cannot ‘dislodge’ their IUD. If an expulsion or malposition occurs, it is not within a patient’s control,” Tocce adds.
Nothing you DO is going to knock that little guy out of you. No number of squats at the gym, crazy sex, or salsa dancing can force an IUD out of the uterus. But if you experience superheavy bleeding while on the IUD, go and see your doctor. It may be misplaced and in need of some readjustment.