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Can I use a menstrual cup if I have an IUD ?

Many of you ask us this question. And we understand you: copper IUDs tend to increase the volume of periods, which often leads to leaks with conventional hygiene protection. So, many of you choose Claricup for its collection capacity, which is greater than that of tampons. To tell you the truth, we even created size 3 (the largest), at the request of women who had such heavy periods that they had to change their usual protection every 2 hours ! But back to the main topic: is there a risk in using a menstrual cup when you have an IUD ? Let’s go back over the state of scientific knowledge to date:

A few reminders

IUDs, also known as IUCDs or ICDs (intrauterine contraceptive devices), are a means of contraception. They are placed in the uterus for several years and can act in two different ways:

 

  • Hormonal IUDs provide contraception by continuously delivering progestin. Under the action of this hormone, the cervical mucus thickens around the cervix, which slows down the passage of sperm. The endometrium (the lining of the uterus) also becomes thinner, preventing the development of an embryo. The thinning of the endometrium reduces the duration and volume of periods. Sometimes, women don't even have periods anymore, which is safe for their health and fertility.
  • The copper IUD does not contain hormones. The copper makes sperm less mobile and less viable, preventing them from fertilising an egg. The IUD also causes inflammation of the uterus, which modifies the endometrium and prevents the development of an embryo. A copper IUD does not influence ovulation or hormone production but may trigger longer or heavier periods. It is usually copper IUD users who switch to menstrual cups because they have very heavy periods.

An IUD can be inserted by a gynaecologist, midwife or general practitioner. It is inserted into the bottom of the uterus via the cervix, an opening at the end of the vagina that is no bigger than a match head. In order to remove it when the time comes, the healthcare professional lets the IUD strings protrude into the vagina.

 

 

Rest assured: There are no contraindications to wearing a Claricup with an IUD

Much has been said about the suction effect of cups, which may be able to suck the IUD out of the uterus.

However, a menstrual cup simply does not have enough strength to suck out anything: a Canadian study conducted in 2011 showed that during the six weeks following insertion of an IUD, there was no greater risk of losing the IUD if the women used tampons, sanitary towels or menstrual cups (Wiebe & Trouton, 2012).

 

Nevertheless, it should be noted that there is always a risk of spontaneous expulsion: the current estimate of the spontaneous expulsion rate is around 10%, with a peak during menstruation and in the three months following insertion of the IUD (but this can also happen much later). Unfortunately, not everyone has the same risk: young women are more likely to spontaneously expel an IUD, as are women who already had painful or heavy periods before the IUD was inserted(Zhang, Feldblum, Chi, & Farr, 1992).

And often... it's you! Cups users, who are tired of leaking when their flow is like Niagara Falls in their knickers, who want more naturalness and fewer hormones, who want to know what they are putting in their bodies... and we get you!

But be aware that there is always a risk of spontaneous expulsion of your IUD. If it happens to you, it's not your fault, it's not the fault of the person who put it on you, and it's not the fault of the cup or the tampon or the towel ; it's the fault of a somewhat ticklish uterus, and, unfortunately, nothing can change that...

What precautions should you take?

Remember to release the suction of your Claricup before removing it: for this, the stem will serve as a guide to help you find the base. Pinch the base to allow air to enter the cup, which will make it easier to remove.

 

In rare cases, the IUD strings may be long enough that you grasp them when you remove your Claricup. If that happens, you’ll feel a sharp pain: stop everything! Change the way you’re gripping the cup to remove it and consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible. And, in the meantime, use an additional method of contraception, such as a condom.

To avoid this, it is important to discuss the matter with the healthcare professional performing the IUD insertion and request that the strings be cut fairly short. This is obviously something that can also be done after insertion if, for example, you decide to use a Claricup after having an IUD for a couple of years. It is also an opportunity for you to ask how you can check for yourself that your IUD hasn't moved during your period each month.

 

And, of course, we are always at your disposal via telephone or social networks to answer all your questions!

 

 

 

Bibliographie

Wiebe, E., & Trouton, K. (2012). Does using tampons or menstrual cups increase early IUD expulsion rates? Contraception, 119-121.

Zhang, J., Feldblum, P., Chi, I., & Farr, F. (1992). Risk Factors for Copper T IUD Expulsion: An Epidemiologic Analysis. Contraception, 427-433.

 
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