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What Are the Side Effects of IUDs?

While IUDs are safe methods of birth control for most women, there are a few potential side effects, including:

  • Periods that become irregular or lighter or heavier than usual.
  • Spotting between periods.
  • Increased menstrual cramps.
  • Persistent premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, including breast tenderness, nausea, headaches, and acne.

Temporary Symptoms

The good news is most of these symptoms are temporary. Your body needs time to adjust to the new levels of hormones, and after it does, things should return to normal. This process usually takes around three months, so if you’re still experiencing symptoms after that point, get in touch with a medical professional to see if another method of birth control would be more suited for you.

In the meantime, you can reduce your side effects by taking over-the-counter pain medications to lessen pain, use heat to relieve cramping, and wear panty liners to absorb spotting.

Rare Side Effects

There are a few extremely rare side effects to look out for, as well. These include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, which can happen if the IUD brings bacteria into the uterus that cause an infection.
  • Uterine perforation, which is when the IUD breaks through the uterine wall, causing infection and bleeding.
  • Expulsion, which is when the IUD falls out of the uterus.

It’s unlikely that you’ll have one of these problems, but the warning signs if you do include:

  • The length of your IUD string is longer or shorter than it was before.
  • Severe cramping or bellyache.
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding, especially outside of your period.
  • Trouble breathing, chills, or fever.
  • Feeling the IUD coming through your cervix.

If you experience any of these symptoms you should contact your health provider.

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