How Is the Copper IUD Inserted?
After first measuring the depth of your uterus, your healthcare provider will insert the copper IUD
into your uterus using a small tube. The tube will be inserted into your vagina, through your cervix (the opening from the vagina to the uterus), and into the uterus. Once the copper IUD is in place, the insertion tube is removed, leaving the device in your uterus and the removal threads (which are attached to the copper IUD) in your vagina.
Before the copper IUD is inserted, your healthcare provider will clean your vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution, in order to prevent an infection. He or she may also choose to inject a little anesthetic into your cervix, depending on whether it is expected that you might feel pain. This can be predicted based on several factors, such as the narrowness of your cervix.
Some degree of discomfort should be expected. If this makes you nervous, do not hesitate to talk with your healthcare provider. Extra measures can be taken to make sure you are relaxed and comfortable.
You will return to your healthcare provider after your first period to make sure that the copper IUD is inserted properly. Although the device is made of plastic and copper, barium is added to the device so that it will show up on an x-ray. An ultrasound can also show the location of the copper IUD.
General Information on Using the Copper IUD
Some considerations to keep in mind while using the copper IUD include the following:
- Some women have cramps and dizziness while the copper IUD is being inserted.
- Although the copper IUD can be left in place for a decade or so, your healthcare provider can remove it any time before that. After the specified time has run out (10 or 12 years, depending on your healthcare provider's recommendation), your healthcare provider can remove the old device and replace it with a new one.
- You will not feel the device in your body; it will be placed safely in your uterus. However, you will be able to feel the removal threads at your cervix (the top of your vagina). Do not pull on the threads, as this could displace the device.
- You can still use tampons while using the copper IUD.
- After each menstrual period, it is a good idea to make sure the copper IUD is still in place. After washing your hands, feel to make sure the threads are still there. Make sure you do not feel any other part of the device. If you can't feel the threads, or if you feel other parts of the device, let your healthcare provider know right away and use a backup method of birth control (such as condoms) until your healthcare provider gives you further instructions.
- If you are unsure about any of the dosing guidelines related to the copper IUD, please talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist.