Menstrual Cup and IUD
One of the most common questions about IUDs, or intrauterine devices, is if you can use them with a menstrual cup. An IUD is a T-shaped flexible plastic device that’s inserted into the uterus for birth control. The 4 types of IUDs that use the hormone progestin include Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena and Liletta. The IUD Paraguard is hormone free and uses copper. (1)
These devices can be worn for years and are reversible. However, many menstrual cup users wonder about the safety and have a real concern for dislodging the IUD with menstrual cup use.
Can you use a Menstrual Cup with an IUD?
While searching for answers, I went straight to the source. I called Mirena’s customer service number and pressed keys to lead me to professional educators.
After a brief hold, I spoke with a representative who could not provide me any information over the phone about reusable menstrual cup use and IUDs. Instead, she took my information and promised a phone call from the local company sales rep. I did not receive a call. I did get an e-mail with information stating that the company has not yet researched their product with reusable menstrual cups. Maybe they will now!
What the research says
They also provided a link to a medical study from 2012 that looked at IUD users who use tampons vs those who use reusable menstrual cups. Of the 930 women studied, and 743 who provided adequate data to use their information for research purposes, they concluded that “…there is no evidence that women who report using menstrual cups or tampons for menstrual protection had higher rates of early IUD expulsion.” (2)
However, for the most part, this is not a widely studied topic. I mean, the makers of the most popular IUD haven’t studied it? That’s not only short-sighted but providing a disservice to menstrual cup users around the globe.
To be safe, for questions specificially about you, consult the practitioner who is going to put your IUD in or has already placed it for individual recommendations.
Tips for using a reusable menstrual cup with an IUD
While IUD companies themselves haven’t studied product use with reusable menstrual cups, nearly all menstrual cup companies provide tips for using a menstrual cup with an IUD.
Typically, a reusable menstrual cup sits below your cervix and suctions to the vaginal walls. However, if you’re like me, you have had a cup or two sneak up or create a better seal with your cervix.
What you don’t want to do.
Basically, an IUD is placed in the uterus and has strings that hang out through your cervix for removal. The goal is, not only with menstrual cups but also with tampons and intercourse, to avoid pulling on the strings! Any pulling on the strings or suction on the cervix could potentially dislodge the IUD.
You can make sure that the strings are not pinched between your cup and vaginal wall by running your finger around the cup after insertion. (4)
1 Make sure to break the suction before removing your menstrual cup.
If you’ve ever not completely broken the suction, you know the feeling. The first time I removed a menstrual cup I simply pulled down. Ouch. That quickly taught me that I need to pinch the cup, I actually hear the suction break, and I kind of fold the cup as I remove it.
2. Have your strings shortened.
IUD strings can be fairly long in length. Their purpose is to provide your practitioner with something to pull on to re-fold and remove the IUD during removal. You do not want to pull on these strings during menstrual cup removal so the goal is to have them sit above or inside of your menstrual cup. (3,4)
3. Do a string check.
As an IUD user, you should have some idea about the location of your strings. In fact, most companies recommend doing a monthly string-check. Your period, when your cervix is typically in it’s lowest position, is the perfect time to do this!
If you don’t know where your strings are, ask someone to lend a hand. Maybe your partner does! It’s important to self-monitor their length. Finding that your strings suddenly seem longer could mean that your IUD has moved and you need to contact your practitioner.
4. Don’t pinch strings with your cup.
When using a menstrual cup and IUD, you want to avoid pinching your strings between your vaginal wall and reusable menstrual cup. This may pull on your IUD and move it out of place. In order to avoid this, you may want to have your strings shortened and ensure that you have them placed above or in your cup by running your finger around your menstrual cup after putting it in place to see if you feel a string. (4)
Can you use a reusable menstrual cup and IUD together?
The answer from menstrual cup companies is yes…but with the proper measures and precautions.
However, I would still consult with your OB or midwife to be sure because as I mentioned, there really hasn’t been a lot of research on this topic. However, there also haven’t been a lot of articles about menstrual cup users pulling out the IUDs with menstrual cups…so one may think that lots of safe cup + IUD use is happening already?
Getting a newly installed IUD?
The only information I could find about timing & menstrual cup use with IUD is from Organi Cup. Organi Cup recommends waiting for 2-3 full cycles after having your IUD placed due to the fact that “5% of IUDs (coil) will get naturally rejected by the body within the first 3 months after the device has been inserted.” The wait period will give your device time to settle. (5)
For individual concerns, talk with your IUD practitioner. Few people know your cervix better than the person examining it!
(Pinterest image below)
As always, thank you for stopping by! I appreciate any comments you have about your personal experience with this and anything that may help others on the same journey.
The cup image in the graphics above is a MeLuna shorty. Read about menstrual cups for low cervix here.
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- Does using tampons or menstrual cups increase early IUD expulsion rates? Wiebe, Ellen R. et al. (2012) Contraception, Volume 86 , Issue 2 , 119 – 121
Disclosure: This article in no way attempts to make individual recommendations or replace the advice of your physician, OBGYN or Midwife. Please consult your practitioner for individual needs.