• Intrauterine Device Removal

    (IUD Removal; Removal, Intrauterine Device; Removal, IUD; Copper Intrauterine Device Removal; Copper IUD Removal; Removal, Copper Intrauterine Device; Removal, Copper IUD; Hormone-releasing Intrauterine Device Removal; Hormone-releasing IUD Removal; Removal, Hormone-releasing Intrauterine Device; Removal, Hormone-releasing IUD)


    An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of temporary birth control for women. The device is usually used to prevent pregnancy. It is inserted into the uterus though the vagina by a healthcare professional.
    A woman with an IUD may decide to have it removed. IUD removal is done by a healthcare professional. You should never remove an IUD yourself.
    There are 2 types of IUDs:
    • Hormone-releasing—Releases the hormone progestin. Can be left in the body for 5 years before it needs to be replaced.
    • Copper—Releases copper ions. Can be left inside the body for 10 years.
    Intrauterine Device
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Reasons for Procedure

    Reasons to remove an IUD may include:
    • It has expired or needs to be replaced
    • You get a sexually transmitted infection
    • Side effects, such as abnormal bleeding or pain
    • Heavy and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding
    • IUD fails and you become pregnant
    • You want to use a different birth control method
    • You want to become pregnant
    • Your menstrual periods have ended due to menopause
    • You need treatment that requires the IUD to be removed

    Possible Complications

    Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have your IUD removed, be aware that cramping and bleeding may occur during the removal process. However, this is normal. Some women may experience fainting or near-fainting just after the procedure.
    An IUD can be removed at any time, but it may be easier during a woman’s menstrual period, since the cervix (opening of the uterus) is softer. Once the IUD is removed, a woman is able to become pregnant again.
    Note: If you have the IUD removed during the middle of your menstrual cycle and you had sex during the week before removal, you may be at risk of being pregnant.

    What to Expect

    Prior to Procedure

    Your doctor will go over the steps to remove the IUD. This is a good time to ask your doctor any questions regarding the procedure. It is important to think about what other type of birth control you will want to use once the IUD is out if you do not want to become pregnant. Sometimes you may need to start the other method before the IUD is removed.


    In most cases, no anesthesia is used. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen.

    Description of the Procedure

    This procedure is usually done in an office or clinic setting with no need for an overnight stay.
    First, the doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina to see the cervix. The doctor may clean your cervix and vagina with an antiseptic, such as iodine. Next, the strings attached to the IUD will be located. The strings usually hang out from the cervix into the far back of the vagina. You will be asked to take deep, slow breaths. It is important to relax during the procedure. Forceps or other tools will be used to grasp the strings and gently pull the IUD out.
    If you are having your IUD replaced, the new IUD will be inserted at this time.
    There may be situations where it is difficult to remove the IUD. In these cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. There is a chance that the IUD may need to be removed using a hysteroscope. This is a long, thin telescope with a camera and tools on the end. The hysteroscope will be inserted into your vagina and uterus to locate and remove the IUD.

    How Long Will It Take?

    The procedure only takes a few minutes to set up and perform.

    Will It Hurt?

    You may experience cramping and bleeding while the IUD is being removed. This is normal.

    Post-procedure Care

    Be sure to follow any instructions your doctor gave you when you return home after the procedure. If you are starting a new contraceptive method, make sure you ask any questions about it. If you are going to attempt pregnancy, begin taking prenatal vitamins.

    Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:
    • Severe cramps, pain, or tenderness in your abdomen
    • Fever or chills
    • Unexplained vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge from your vagina


    Office on Women's Health—US Department of Health http://www.womenshealth.gov

    Planned Parenthood http://www.plannedparenthood.org


    The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org

    Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca


    IUD. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/iud-4245.htm. Accessed March 14, 2016.

    Johnson BA. Insertion and removal of intrauterine devices. Am Fam Physician. 2005;71(1):95-102.

    Mirena prescribing information. Mirena website. Available at: http://labeling.bayerhealthcare.com/html/products/pi/Mirena%5FPI.pdf. Updated October 2015. Accessed March 14, 2016.

    ParaGard intrauterine copper contraceptive prescribing information. Paragard website. Available at http://www.paragard.com/Pdf/ParaGard-PI.pdf. Updated September 2014. Accessed March 14, 2016.

    The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 110: Noncontraceptive uses of hormonal vontraception. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;115(1):206-218. Reaffirmed August 2012.

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review BoardMarcie L. Sidman, MD
    • Review Date: 03/2017
    • Update Date: 04/30/2014
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