IUDs (Intra Uterine Devices) can be a really helpful option for those looking for a hassle free birth control solution. The hormonal form of IUDs can also provide ease for those living with menstrual related disease and heavy bleeding. These T shaped devices are hassle free, discreet and can be very effective. IUDs need to be inserted by a healthcare provider and the procedure itself only takes a few minutes. Depending on your healthcare coverage, an IUD can be costly, and the insertion experience for some, may be uncomfortable (remember to relax those pelvic floor muscles). Most who choose the IUD route have put good thought into the option and keeping their IUD in place for years to follow is the ideal.
Insertion involves a speculum (the same tool used when you get a pap) which is inserted into the vagina. Then, an inserter is used to place the IUD through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus. Often, having an IUD inserted during your cycle can make the experience more pleasant as the opening to the cervix is a bit wider.
We are often asked: Can I use my DivaCup with an IUD? The great news is that yes, yes you can! But, there are a few things you’ll want to check on before inserting your favorite period care solution with an IUD.
Timing is Everything
The main concern with using a menstrual cup with an IUD is expulsion – basically your strategically placed IUD, falls out. IUDs may naturally expel from the body, and often this will occur within the first 3 months of insertion. For this reason, we recommend that you wait at least 3 months, or until cleared by your doctor, to resume using the DivaCup. In the meantime, cloth pads are a great solution, especially since many experience spotting for the first few months after IUD insertion (sigh).
The good news is that research has shown that there is no increased risk of IUD expulsion with the use of menstrual cups. Unfortunately for some, after insertion, the body rejects the IUD naturally. In other cases, incorrect placement leads to expulsion. Be sure to choose a healthcare provider who regularly inserts IUDs as this will ensure both comfort and proper placement.
After an IUD is inserted, it is important to schedule a follow up appointment with your healthcare provider within 3-6 months to ensure the device is correctly in place. A pelvic ultrasound is the easiest way to determine proper placement.
IUDs have two strings that hang naturally at the opening of the cervix. We recommend checking on these each cycle prior to inserting your DivaCup.. If you have any concerns regarding the strings, or can’t find them, we recommend you check in with your doctor. Many DivaCup users ask their doctor to trim the strings to they won’t interfere with cup placement.
Know your Cervix
Did you know your cervix changes shape and positioning throughout your cycle? Since the DivaCup is designed to sit low in the vaginal canal, away from the cervix, the IUD strings shouldn’t interfere with cup placement. However, for those with a dropped cervix, you may find your cup sits close to your cervix. Being mindful of this when inserting and removing your DivaCup is important. Not sure how to find your cervix? Check out our cervix blog post.
Release the seal, then remove. Regardless of if you have an IUD or not, it is important to first release the cup’s seal before trying to remove the DivaCup. To do this, grip the base of the cup and pinch it gently. Pinching the cup will release the seal and collapse the cup, making removal easier.
If you know your cup sits closer to your cervix, we recommend gently sliding your finger alongside the outside of the cup prior to removal to ensure the strings of your IUD are out of the way. Once confirmed, gently pinch the the base, release the seal and remove your cup.
Above all, talk to your healthcare provide and take time to understand your body.