FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Sometimes people are too embarrassed, too busy, or just don’t know the right questions. The questions on this page should cover a lot of aspects of what you need to know though.

INTRAUTERINE SYSTEM – IUS

Is it painful to have an IUS inserted?

An IUS insertion is usually well tolerated by most women. Some women may experience pain and dizziness after insertion, which usually settles after resting for a short time. Normal pain killers or local anesthesia may be applied to the uterine cervix prior to the insertion.

What is the difference between an IUS and IUD?

The IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small plastic T-shaped device covered by copper or other metals which is inserted in the cavity of the womb. The IUS (Intrauterine System), is made of two components: the plastic T-shaped device and a cylinder containing progestin hormone, which is released slowly from the system. The IUS and IUD have a number of different characteristics and work in a different way. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to find out which option is more appropriate for you.

Can the IUS also be used as emergency contraception?

The IUS was not investigated for use as an emergency contraception.

Can the IUS come out or get stuck in my uterus?

The IUS must be inserted by a trained healthcare provider, who will follow the necessary procedure to ensure it is correctly positioned. Occasionally, the muscular contractions of the womb during menstruation may sometimes push it out of place or expel it. Very rarely it can perforate the wall of the uterus. If a user of an IUS experiences any unusual bleeding, pain or discomfort, the doctor or healthcare provider must be informed as soon as possible.

Will my partner or I feel it during sex?

Neither you nor your partner should feel the IUS during sexual intercourse. If you do, sexual intercourse should be avoided until your doctor or healthcare provider has checked that the IUS is still in the correct position.

Is it safe to wear tampons during my period if I have an IUS fitted?

Use of sanitary pads is recommended. If tampons are used, you should change them more frequently the first month after the IUS is inserted.

Will I bleed after having an IUS fitted?

Many women with an IUS will experience less and lighter bleeding after the IUS is fitted. Some women may not have any periods at all anymore.

Is it ok to have an IUS fitted for more than the indicated three or five years?

An IUS can be left in place for up to three or five years depending in the type. After this time, it will need to be replaced with a new device. If this method of contraception has worked well for you, and if you still wish to use a long-term contraceptive option, then you can discuss with your healthcare provider about continuing with this method.

What should I expect immediately after placement?

Most women tolerate placement of IUS well. However, you may experience pain and dizziness during or after placement, which usually settle down quickly. If these effects do not disappear within half an hour, the IUS may not be correctly positioned. Your healthcare provider will examine you to see if the IUS needs to be removed or replaced. If you have severe pain or if pain continues for more than a few weeks after placement, you should contact your healthcare provider.

What are the threads attached to the IUS?

The 2 threads allow your healthcare provider to remove the IUS. Your healthcare provider may show you how to check that the threads are present. Being able to feel the threads can reassure you that IUS is still in place and providing effective contraception. If you have any additional questions about the threads, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.

How soon does the IUS start working?

If placed within 7 days of the start of your monthly period, IUS immediately provides more than 99% efficacy and works for up to 3 or 5 years to prevent pregnancy. However, it is advised to wait 24 hours after IUS is placed before having sex. With IUS you don’t have to think about taking birth control every day.

Should I follow up with my healthcare provider after the IUS has been placed?

You should visit your healthcare provider once in the first 4 to 6 weeks after having the IUS placed. After that, your healthcare provider will advise you about scheduling follow-up visits.

How will the IUS affect my bleeding pattern? Will I get a monthly period?

Overall, you are likely to have a gradual reduction in the amount and number of days of bleeding each month. However, you may have some spotting or light bleeding in addition to your periods for the first 3 to 6 months after IUS is placed. Some women may have heavy or prolonged bleeding during this time, but this does not mean you will bleed daily.

Consult your healthcare provider if bleeding remains heavier than usual or if the bleeding becomes heavy after it has been light for a while.

Among some women, periods may disappear altogether when using IUS. If you have not had a period for 6 weeks and are concerned about pregnancy, then consider taking a pregnancy test. In case it’s negative, there is no need to take another test unless you have other signs of pregnancy (e.g. sickness, tiredness, or breast tenderness).

If your monthly period does stop while on IUS, it should return once IUS is removed.

Will the IUS interfere with sex?

Since the IUS is placed in the womb, not the vagina, neither you nor your partner should feel IUS during sexual intercourse.

Should I keep track of my bleeding profile?

Because you may experience changes in your monthly period, keeping track of any bleeding or spotting may be helpful. This will help you and your healthcare provider monitor your experience with the IUS. There is a bleeding diary in the back of this brochure to help you get started.

What if I decide to have a baby?

The IUS prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years, but you can ask your healthcare provider to remove the IUS at any time if you want to have a baby. You may begin trying to become pregnant as soon as IUS is removed. In clinical trials, the majority of women who desired to become pregnant after removal of IUS were able to do so within 1 year. These rates were similar to those for women who had not used an IUS.

How is an IUS placed?

Once you and your doctor have decided on an IUS, it can be placed during a healthcare providers visit. After a gynecological examination, an instrument called a speculum is placed into the vagina, and the cervix may be cleaned with antiseptic. Your healthcare provider then places the IUS in the womb using a thin, flexible plastic tube. Local anesthesia may be applied to the cervix before the IUS is placed.

Does an IUS protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

No, an IUS is used for the prevention of pregnancy only and will not protect you from STIs, including HIV and AIDS. It’s important to be safe and protect yourself from STIs by using condoms.

What if I get a sexually transmitted infection STI?

If you think you have an STI while using an IUS, contact your doctor or healthcare provider. You should avoid intercourse or use a barrier contraceptive (such as condoms) until you see your doctor or healthcare provider.

What if I get pregnant while using an IUS?

Although rare, it is possible to become pregnant while using IUS. Not having a period is not necessarily a sign of pregnancy while IUS is in place; however, if you do not have your period and have other symptoms of pregnancy (for example, nausea, tiredness, breast tenderness), you should contact your healthcare provider.

Can I use an IUS between pregnancies?

Yes. Starting 6 weeks after delivery, you can use an IUS for up to 3-5 years between pregnancies. When you want to have another baby, you can try to get pregnant as soon as the IUS is removed by your doctor or healthcare provider.

Can I have the IUS removed before the 3 or 5 years are up?

Yes, you can have it removed at any time by your doctor or healthcare provider if your life plans change.

Can I use tampons with IUS?

Yes, but remove each tampon with care to ensure that you do not pull the IUS threads.

Can an IUS fall out?

While it is very unlikely, it is possible for IUS to fall out completely or partially. If you notice your bleeding is heavier than usual during your period, it may be a sign that the IUS has fallen out either completely or partially. If the IUS falls out, you may not be protected from pregnancy. You should avoid intercourse or use a barrier contraceptive (such as condoms) and consult your doctor or healthcare provider.

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