As with most women, my sister chose to use an IUD, intrauterine device, as a method for contraception. With placement of her IUD over a year ago, she quickly learned of the complications that can arise from using this relatively simple form of contraception.
The intrauterine device, IUD, is a copper, hormone-releasing contraceptive device that is popular. In fact, the IUD is so popular, today, that it is estimated that nearly 10 percent of all women, worldwide, use an IUD as the choice of contraception. However, in the United States, the IUD only accounts for approximately two percent of the female population using contraception.
Like my sister, some women who choose to use an IUD may experience complications associated placement and displacement. Unfortunately, when these complications present, the female patient using the IUD may not even realize the event has occurred.
A complication of the intrauterine device, IUD, is known as uterine perforation. This complication involves the displacement of the IUD, during insertion. When displaced, the IUD may move into the uterus, perforate the uterine wall and become lodged into the abdomen. For many women, there are no signs or symptoms associated with this complication and, often, is not realized until follow-up examination when it is determined the uterine threads are missing.
Such is the case in my sister’s use of the IUD for contraception. However, instead of displacement immediately after inserting the IUD, during the one year of use, the IUD becomes dislodged, subjecting her body to a potential pregnancy risk.
At her one year follow up, after learning that her IUD was displaced, my sister underwent several tests to learn that her IUD was, indeed, lodged into the abdomen after puncturing her uterine wall. As a result, she underwent a minor surgical procedure to have the IUD removed and may now face risks with future pregnancies.
As with any form of contraception, there are risks and benefits. If you are struggling with the decision to use a hormone-releasing IUD, while there are many benefits, it is important to discuss the issues involving complications associated with displacement. If you feel you are at risk for displacement, follow up with your gynecologist should occur on a regular basis to ensure the thread placement can still be seen. When thread placement is questionable, investigation into a displaced IUD should be considered. Without proper follow-up, your IUD may be displaced, placing you at risk for pregnancy, and further health complications including uterine perforation.