Whether or not you can use a menstrual cup and IUD simultaneously is a big question for many women as both become increasingly popular. Before you decide to use either, here are a few things you should know--based on the latest research when it comes to using a menstrual cup with an IUD.
The following content is not medical advice. Please contact your gynecologist if you have any questions or concerns.
What Is an IUD? Meet the Intra-Uterine Device
An IUD is an increasingly common form of birth control. Unlike “the pill” which is taken orally, an Intra-Uterine Device is placed within the uterus. It’s considered one of the most effective and longest-lasting forms of birth control.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, IUDs are 99% effective. IUD effectiveness ranges from 3 to 12 years, depending on the brand.
6 Quick Facts About IUDs
Before we dive into the realities of using a menstrual cup and IUD, it’s important to understand a little about the device.
- There are 2 types of IUDs: hormonal and copper.
- There are 5 FDA-approved Intra-Uterine Device brands, four of which are hormonal. There’s the Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, Skyla, and Paragard. The hormonal versions work by introducing a hormone called progestin.
- It’s a long term form of birth control, lasting between 3 years and 12 years.
- It’s the shape of a T and slightly larger than a quarter.
- Intra-Uterine Devices are inserted and removed by medical professionals.
- It is not a way to protect against STIs.
What Are the Benefits?
Women are asking whether or not using a menstrual cup and IUD simultaneously is all right because of the benefits offered by Intra-Uterine Devices. These include:
- It’s affordable. Compared to oral birth control and condoms, an Intra-Uterine Device comes with one up-front cost.
- It’s easy and discreet. Unlike a pill that you have to take every day, these unique devices will last years. Once it’s inserted there is nothing you need to do in terms of maintenance.
- Intra-Uterine Decides are effective. Condoms are approximately 85% effective at preventing pregnancy in real life, according to Planned Parenthood.
- Hormonal devices are often implemented because they shorten the length of a woman’s period and diminish cramps.
Does It Matter What Kind You Use?
No, it doesn’t matter. The question of whether to use a copper Intra-Uterine Device or a hormonal one is a personal one that should be made with the help of a gynecologist.
For some women with heavy bleeding or severe cramps, suggest a hormonal option is preferred. By contrast, other women who do not want to take hormones to prevent pregnancy sometimes prefer the copper intra-uterine device.
Can a Woman Use a Menstrual Cup with an IUD?
This is one of the biggest questions concerning menstrual cup use and not one to be taken lightly. The answer is yes, but we recommend speaking with your gynecologist first before you do anything.
If you choose to use a menstrual cup and IUD, it’s key to understand why people would be worried about this in the first place.
Why Do Women Worry about Menstrual Cups and IUDs?
An Intra-Uterine Device is actually a lot smaller than one would think. However, it comes with strings. Though the device sits inside the uterus--which is NOT where your EverCup goes--the strings can hang down.
More technically speaking, the cervix separates your cup and your Intra-Uterine device. In other words, they’re close but by no means in the same area.
Once your device is inserted, some say that knowing where the strings are and never pulling on them is key. This is true whether you’re using a tampon or menstrual cup with an IUD.
Is the Danger of Intra-Uterine Device Expulsion Higher for Menstrual Cup Users?
Some research suggests that no, the risk isn't any higher. Here’s a little background:
Women who are concerned about using a menstrual cup and IUD are worried that their IUD will be displaced. This is referred to as “expulsion” in the medical community, and most frequently happens in the first weeks after insertion.
According to a study conducted by the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, women who use menstrual cups had the same risk of intra-uterine device expulsion as those who used pads and tampons.
The study found that only 2.5% of women experienced device expulsion during the first 6 weeks after receiving their intra-uterine devices. Keep in mind that the risk of IUD expulsion is highest in the weeks immediately following insertion.
In other words, women who use pads and tampons were at the same risk for IUD expulsion as those who use pads, according to this study.
Are There Ways to Reduce Risk?
Whether you’re using a menstrual cup and IUD or another form of birth control, it’s important to break the menstrual cup seal before removing it. This means pushing in gently on the side of your EverCup before pulling it downward. This makes it a lot easier to remove, as well.
Also, the best way to prevent accidents is always to be aware of your body. That’s why we recommend knowing how to measure your cervix. This is an important step when choosing your menstrual cup, too. For example, a woman with a low cervix may prefer a smaller cup to a woman with a higher cervix.
Some women counsel never to pull on your intra-uterine device strings as this will displace it, no matter what form of feminine product you use.
If the strings are too long, some users suggest going to the doctor to have them shorten them. Additionally, some women prefer to wait a few weeks for their bodies to adjust to an IUD before trying to use a menstrual cup.
Is Using a Menstrual Cup and IUD Safe?
Choosing to use both simultaneously should be a personal choice made with a gynecologist. Some research has found that using a menstrual cup with an IUD is just as safe as any other form of period protection.
Some women suggest the following best practices:
- Not pulling on Intra-Uterine Device strings ever. If they’re too long, it is possible for a medical professional to shorten them.
- Awareness of cervix position. This will help you pick the right size, too.
- Break the seal before taking your cup out.
The above information and graphics are not medical advice. Check with your doctor or medical professional if you experience any discomfort or have any questions.
How to Choose the Best Menstrual Cup for IUD
- Talk to your doctor. Make sure that you have their go-ahead to use a menstrual cup and IUD at the same time.
- Measure your cervix. This will ensure that you get the right size.
- Look for quality. The best menstrual cup for an IUD is also the best menstrual cup for your body, too.
- Some women suggest making sure you know where your IUD strings are and never pulling on them.
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