While the intrauterine device, or IUD, may have more upfront costs than other forms of birth control, the less than 1percent failure rate and five- to 10-year effectiveness makes it an appealing option for many women. The IUD is inserted into your uterus and releases either progesterone or copper into the uterine lining that effectively kills sperm. The hormones also change the uterine lining to prevent implantation. If you're having an IUD inserted you may feel slightly cramped and uncomfortable following the procedure, but you won't have any limitations on activities.
When you make the decision to have an IUD inserted, you need to make an appointment with your doctor. While the IUD insertion shouldn't be a painful process, it can cause cramping. It may help to take an over-the-counter painkiller 30 minutes before the insertion appointment. Your doctor will give you a regular pelvic exam to ensure that you're healthy enough for the IUD. When she's decided you are, she'll insert the device through the vaginal opening and cervix and implant it into the uterus.
When you're having the IUD inserted, you may notice slight pinching and cramping. Staying relaxed can help you manage your pain. Afterward, you may have some slight spotting, much like a light period, along with cramping that is akin to premenstrual cramps. You may bleed intermittently for two to four weeks, but the bleeding should be light and manageable. If you are in severe pain or soaking through several pads per day, make a follow-up appointment with your doctor to check the device placement.
Aftercare and Activities
Aside from the bleeding, there should be no reason why you need to abstain from physical activities after getting your IUD. In the 24 hours following the implantation, it may be a good idea to rest, especially if you're cramping. You may use a tampon anytime after getting the IUD, so you can control the bleeding enough to go swimming. In fact, physical activity may help you to manage cramping and pain following the procedure. For most women, it's a simple and relatively pain-free experience.
Complications and Follow Up
No matter what physical activity you enjoy, certain warning signs could tell you of an IUD complication. You should not be able to feel the IUD in your body and after the first day or two; you should not be uncomfortable. If sex or other activities are painful, see your doctor. The IUD may not have implanted properly or the strings may be too long. You'll need to return to your doctor two months after insertion to have your IUD checked; otherwise your doctor can check the IUD at your yearly gynecological exam.