A mum in the US has shared her brave story about a horrific ordeal with an IUD that ended up in her kidney. And I can relate.
Her doctor said it had fallen out. Mine did too. But our IUDs had in fact perforated the uterus and moved into other parts of our bodies.
An IUD migrating outside of the uterus is WAY more common than you think. This is why this mum is telling her story to warn others of the dangers of using IUDs. And not trusting your instincts.
Almost a year ago, mum of two, Tiffany O’Connor, was having a scan to determine the size of kidney stone when her doctor made a startling discovery. On the screen right next to her kidney was an IUD (intra uterine device).
Note: An IUD is a small birth control device that’s inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. You can either have a copper IUD or a hormonal one like what Tiffany had. One hormonal brand, the popular Mirena IUD, is widely considered an extremely effective and safe form of contraception for up to five years. Copper ones can last 10 years. Either need to be removed after their recommended length of time but you can replace them with new ones. You can also remove them any time before then as well. Side effects are apparently minimal and low risk.
With Tiffany, the IUD that appeared on her scan turned out to be one that been inserted NINE years ago. At the time her doctor had told her it had fallen out. It hadn’t. Instead it had gone through her uterus and been living with her kidney for almost a decade.
The damage it did
Apparently, Tiffany had gotten an IUD inserted after the birth of her second son. But a routine ultrasound to check its positioning showed it wasn’t there. She was told it had fallen out, and so another IUD was inserted. For six months she was a hormonal wreck, gained lots of weight and cried all the time (not knowing she was getting double the hormones). And so she had the second IUD removed and decided to let nature take its course.
She never fell pregnant again though (and now she knows why). After discovering the original IUD was still there years later, she’s since had two emergency operations to remove it and repair damage. She’s also struggled with her physical recovery, the huge medical expenses involved, and suffered depression and anxiety.
A warning to other mums
After doing research Tiffany found that IUD migration is actually very common. And she knows her experience could have been worse too. Which is why she’s now shared her story on her Facebook page Hashtaglifewithboys. She’s determined to warn other women about how dangerous IUDs can be. And to also remind mums to trust their instincts when it comes to health matters.
“In all seriousness, the moral of this story is if you are thinking about getting an IUD I strongly recommend that you choose something else,” she says in her Facebook post.
“And if you have one (or had one in the past) and are told (or have ever been told) that it fell out make sure you ask your doctor to do an ultrasound or X-ray to make sure it didn’t migrate.”
Tiffany’s not alone. It happened to me too.
I can honestly say that I wasn’t surprised to read this mum’s story. Because the same thing happened to me! I had an IUD inserted, experienced a lot of pain and decided I wanted it out. When I went to get it removed though it wasn’t there. My doctor said it had most likely fallen in the toilet.
I wasn’t convinced though and so jumped onto google. When I read that it can sometimes perforate the uterus and go walkabout that was it. I demanded an X-Ray and voila, there it was. Wrapped up in my bowel tissue. Luckily an operation retrieved it and not much damage was done. I was thankfully also able to go on to have my very much wanted third child. However, the experience was a MASSIVE eye opener for me.
What I learned
I ended up researching IUDs and the health complications they can cause extensively as a result of my experience. While negative side effects are a known risk of IUDs, unfortunately it appears that the statistics are drastically lower than anyone (including medical professionals), realises. And therefore they’re downplayed by your doctor, as being extremely unlikely to happen to you.
Frighteningly, perforation and migration is only ONE of the many negative side effects that can happen and that are listed in the fine print. Here are some others:
- The IUD embedding in the uterus wall (which usually requires a hysterectomy)
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Ovarian cysts
- Sepsis (which can be life threatening)
- Weight gain
- Heavy ongoing bleeding
Additionally, while not addressed by the medical community, many women collectively report that their IUD has led to other complications. These include: heart problems, infertility, seizures, memory loss, neurological problems, muscle pain and more.
It’s no wonder that Erin Brockovitch has been campaigning for years to get various types of IUDs banned in the US. Or that the TGA has been forced more recently to look at regulations around newer IUDs such as the Mirena. There are also numerous Facebook support groups for women who have had traumatic experiences from IUDs.
The risk is great, and it is real.
The bottom line
I completely understand that for many women having an IUD inserted is the most logical and appropriate contraception solution for them. And that for many women it works well.
That’s great for those lucky women. However, please take Tiffany’s warning and my experience seriously. IUDs are doing a LOT more damage to our bodies than anybody – including the women who have them – realise.
So before you go down this path, like Tiffany, I recommend that you think twice about using an IUD. If you do get one inserted, be sure to monitor your body – including your mental health – carefully for signs that something is wrong (for as long as you have it inserted).
And for heaven’s sake, if a doctor tells you your IUD has fallen out? Trust your instincts and don’t leave until they do a scan.
Have you had a bad experience with an IUD? Share it with us on Facebook. You might also want to read about the new male contraception pill coming soon here too.