Medically reviewed by Joni Gunzburger, MSN, FNP-C on January 10, 2020
In most cases it’s not necessary to schedule a checkup with your medical provider after having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted, but always follow the advice of your provider who placed the IUD. Women using IUDs are encouraged to learn how to check for the strings on their IUD to ensure that it is still in place and some providers may want to schedule a follow-up visit with their patients to make sure there are no issues.
IUDs must be inserted by a medical provider. After placing the IUD in the uterus, the medical provider will check for the IUD strings. When the IUD is properly positioned, the strings sit at the back of the vagina. Unlike tampon strings, IUD strings do not hang out of the vagina. Your medical provider may cut the strings in order to achieve the appropriate length.
The purpose of the IUD strings is to provide a way to check that the device is still in place. Your medical provider can teach you how to check the strings yourself to make sure that the IUD is still providing effective protection against pregnancy. About once a month, you should insert a finger into your vagina until you feel the strings coming out of your cervix.
When to Schedule a Checkup
If you cannot feel the device’s strings or you’re able to feel the hard part of the IUD against the cervix, your IUD may be out of place. Make an appointment with your medical provider and use a backup birth control method until you’re able to have your IUD reinserted.
In rare cases, women experience IUD expulsion, which is when the IUD comes out of the uterus. If this occurs, do not try to reinsert the IUD yourself. Instead, make an appointment with your medical provider to have it reinserted.
In the first six months after having an IUD inserted, menstrual cramping and heavier periods may occur. However, if your symptoms are severe or they persist beyond six months, call your medical provider.