Wondering If It's OK to Remove Your Own IUD? We Asked an Ob-Gyn
In order to get an IUD inserted, you have to visit a healthcare provider — like a board-certified ob-gyn. These experts are not only trained to determine which IUD is best for you and your needs, but also to safely place it into your uterus.
But what should you do when you want the device removed? Recent viral TikTok videos featuring people taking out their own IUDs may have left you wondering if it's OK to remove the device at home.
Jennifer Lew, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, mentioned that it is never her recommendation for someone to remove their own IUD.
Planned Parenthood also notes that the best and safest option is to have a doctor or a nurse perform this procedure.
Why, you ask? While IUD removal is considered a simple and easy procedure for trained healthcare professionals, rare complications can occur — Dr. Lew said there is a possibility that the IUD may not come out easily or that a part of the IUD may be left behind in your body during the removal process. "This would be unusual, but it is one of the things that is evaluated for when the physician removes it in the office," she further explained.
Someone who is trying to do it by themselves at home may not be aware of these possible complications or know what to do if something does occur. In an article on this topic by the Cleveland Clinic, Ashley Brant, DO, noted that some people who try this at home are able to dislodge their IUDs but not fully remove them, which could then lead to pain and other health issues.
So, when it's time for your IUD to go, be sure to book an appointment with your healthcare provider.
If the cost of the IUD removal is a concern, Planned Parenthood specifically recommends reaching out for information on more affordable options. Some insurance plans cover the entire cost, while others may require patients to pay a fee.
Of course, if you have any questions about your IUD, or simply don't feel like it's the right birth control method for you, you should reach out to your doctor for personalized advice as well.
"The most common concerns I see patients for with the IUD would be irregular bleeding, discharge, and a string concern. Usually these are not serious problems, but they would be a good reason for a checkup to make sure everything is OK," Dr. Lew said.