What To Do If Your Iud Strings Are Missing

What To Do If Your Iud Strings Are Missing

The strings attached to an IUD runs down the uterus, out of the cervix, and rest high up in the vaginal canal. It’s common for women not to feel their IUD string and if this happens to you, you are not alone – up to 18% of women with IUDs experience the same thing. IUD strings are helpful is knowing whether the IUD is still in place.

Most times, missing IUD strings are no cause for alarm because there are several reasons why the string is not in place. As you read-on, you will find out these reasons, when you should be concerned about your missing IUD strings, and how your doctor will help you out. 

Reasons Why You Cannot Feel Your IUD String

Usually, you should be able to feel your IUD string with the tip of your finger because about 2 inches of the string is located in your vaginal canal. The string feels like a light fishing line but when you are unable to feel it, you should use a backup form of birth control until you can locate the string or see your doctor.

You may not be able to locate your IUD string for the following reasons.

  • The stringais high up in your vagina because they were cut too short when the coil was fitted
  • The string is coiled up against your cervix, broken or hidden in folded vaginal tissue and may fall back into place during your next period.
  • The IUD rotated during insertion
  • Enlargement or swelling of the Uterus
  • Perforation of the uterus:this happens when your IUD is pushed through the wall of your uterus or cervix. Perforation is rare and occurs in about 0.14% hormonal IUD insertions and 0.11% copper IUD insertions. Breastfeeding mothers and women who recently gave birth have a higher risk of perforation.
  • Expulsion: In expulsion, the IUD completely falls out of your uterus. It is not common, and if it does happen, it usually does so in the first year of insertion. Most times, when your IUD device falls out, you are likely to find it in your underwear or the toilet.

Your IUD may fall out due to the following reasons.

  • Nulliparity (never given birth)
  • Prior IUD expulsion
  • Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)
  • Severe dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps)
  • Under 20 years

When You Should Be Concerned

It is essential to periodically check for your IUD strings especially in the first few weeks of the insertion and between your periods because that’s the only way to know if the IUD is in place or not. If your IUD is out of place, you are at risk of getting pregnant, especially when you do not have a backup birth control method.

If your doctor inserted a hormone-releasing IUD, your periods should be lighter and shorter. If your period returns to the pre-IUD state, make an appointment with your doctor because your IUD may have fallen out.

If you experience the following symptoms, it is an indication that something is wrong and you should see your doctor right away.

  • Severe or prolonged cramps
  • Fever or chills
  • Expulsion of abnormal blood, fluid or odour from your vagina

How Your Doctor Will Locate Your IUD String

If your IUD string is no longer in place, your doctor will first conduct a pelvic exam to check if the string is still there. Your doctor will do this using a cotton swab or cytobrush (a type of brush used to collect pap smear samples) to feel around your vagina and into your cervix. Your doctor may use a colposcope (magnifying device) to get a better look.

If this method doesn’t work, your doctor will have to perform an ultrasound. If the ultrasound doesn’t find the position of your IUD in your uterus, chances are the IUD was expelled without your knowledge. You doctor will then carry out an x-ray to rule out perforation of your uterus by the IUD.

If your doctor finds your IUD in place using any of the methods above, there would be no need for anything else except you want to remove the IUD. You can continue to use the IUD as contraception, but you will need to have an ultrasound once a year for the first few years because you are at a high risk of expulsion.

What Will Your Doctor Do When The IUD is Found

If the IUD perforated your uterine wall and found its way into your uterine cavity, your doctor will have to remove it surgically. However, if the IUD is simply out of place, your doctor will have to remove it and insert another one during your appointment

To remove the IUD, your doctor will dilate your cervix by inserting Misoprostol into your vagina. Your doctor may also give you a pain relief medication like ibuprofen, a numbing medication or topical numbing gel to help with the pain during the procedure. Once your cervix is dilated, your doctor will use clamping forceps to remove the IUD.

It is advisable to check for your IUD strings at least once a month using a clean finger. A good time to do this is after your period. If you are unable to feel it for any reason, use backup contraception first and contact Gynae Clinic to see a doctor.

You can call 020 71831049 or send an email to [email protected] to book an appointment with one of our expert gynaecologist.

Gynae Clinic is a website designed to inform our patients about gynaecological services delivered at Medical Express Clinic at 117a Harley Street. In the event that patients are seen by a clinician, this will be arranged at Medical Express Clinic which is registered in the United Kingdom with the Care Quality Commission to provide healthcare services.