Birth control is a tremendously important concern for those in the reproductive phase of their life. People want options that are safe, readily available and convenient. An IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) often serves as a good option.
As with birth control options, your period is also a significant and vital part of your reproductive lifetime. For an event that occurs approximately once a month or quite frequently, you also want to use a period product that you feel comfortable with, that is convenient and safe (- just like the IUD).
It’s your way of taking control of your reproductive health, and for more and more people, the menstrual cup has become the preferred choice of period product for managing menstruation. But can a menstrual cup and an IUD be used together?
Let’s say you already use an IUD and want to switch your period product to a menstrual cup. Or you’re a devoted menstrual cup user and are looking into getting an IUD but you’re unsure if you can use both devices at the same time? Don’t despair and read on! In the following, we’re want to help you understand how and if these two can get along fine.
What is an IUD?
IUDS are, small, t-shaped devices inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. They last years—usually between three and twelve—and have few side effects. Providers insert the IUD—Planned Parenthood or your gyno are a great place to get them. In general, IUDs are pretty affordable and they come in both hormonal and non-hormonal options. IUDs can be removed at any time if the person decides to try and become pregnant.
All that sounds great, of course—but sometimes, people worry about using a menstrual cup and an IUD together as both products are used internally. The biggest fear is usually the menstrual cup dislodging the IUD.
A guide to IUDs and menstrual cups
Here at Ruby Cup, we want to make sure that everyone has the information they need to stay safe, so we created a guide to IUDs and menstrual cups. We know that reinsertion of an IUD can be expensive, inconvenient, and sometimes painful, so we want to make sure our cup users and people interested in trying a menstrual cup know how to combine the two products best.
First things first, keep in mind that each vagina and female anatomy is unique. Just as with menstrual cups, the key to finding the right solution for you is research, information and then trial and error. If your friend can’t use a cup and IUD together, it doesn’t mean that you can’t (btw, we recently added a money-back guarantee - so you can try a Ruby Cup and if it doesn’t work out for you, you can get a refund).
Since there are many different experiences on this topic, we asked you to share your thoughts on using menstrual cups and IUDs, so we could share as many real-life experiences as possible. We asked you during one of our #TalkingTuesday posts on Facebook and shortly after, comments and private messages started pouring in. Spoiler alert: Like all things in life, it worked fine for some, and not so well for others. So, let’s get down to the most common questions:
Can a menstrual cup dislodge an IUD?
Yes, it can happen. But a study shows that chances are only slightly higher than for those who don’t use a menstrual cup. There are people who have been using IUDs and menstrual cups together for years:
"It's been great for me. I just make sure I release the suction before I remove it. I've been using both for 2 years and will never go back!"
But like mentioned above, there have also been experiences that weren’t as rosy:
“I, unfortunately, was part of the ‘IUD and menstrual cup are not ok with each other’ group…my IUD fell out some months after I started using Ruby Cup. I wanted to have it expulsed anyway, so no drama there, but it was a pretty scary experience. I feel like many OB/GYN don’t know enough about the usage of menstrual cups and IUDs—maybe because the number of women using a menstrual cup is still less than the number of women using other period accessories.”
Also, a friend of mine had her IUD dislodged when removing her cup. She said, “I just kind of pushed out my cup and pulled it a bit and had a weird sensation and was about to dump it, but I always check the clot situation, so I took a little peek and my IUD was just perched on the edge of the cup. If I hadn’t checked the cup, I might have flushed it without realizing...I was a little shaken but more about the fact that it came out than any pain.”
IUD displacement can happen occasionally, but there are certain precautions you can do to minimize the risk.
How can you prevent your menstrual cup from removing your IUD?
The first thing to do is to make sure that your menstrual cup is positioned properly. Ruby Cup is designed to sit low in the vagina, and if placed properly, it shouldn’t be touching your IUD strings. If you have an IUD, make sure you know where your strings are and place your cup accordingly.
One tip for making sure that you use a menstrual cup and an IUD effectively together is to check your strings every month to make sure they haven’t changed length; another is to be sure that the strings are inside the cup, so one Ruby Cup user recommends:
"It's worked well for me, you generally have to be pretty careful about not pulling strings. But, if you're checking your string length and getting regular checkups to make sure you don't get an infection, it's fine. I find it way better than using a tampon with one in. Once I lost a tampon and accidentally tugged on the strings instead. Only problem I've had with the cup and IUD is when the strings get caught on the outside of the cup, you may get a slight leak. But it's generally pretty good."
Her tip was also to talk to your gyno. Tell her you use a menstrual cup and prefer to have the strings of your IUD clipped a bit shorter so they don't interfere with your menstrual cup.
Can the suction of your menstrual cup interfere with your IUD?
Since menstrual cups rely on suction to prevent leaks when removing the cup, it is important to release the seal on the cup before removing it; otherwise, it could pull on the IUD (as what happened to my friend).
This and checking the strings of your IUD are the two main precautions you’ll need to use the products together. But if you have any concerns or if you have an unusually low cervix, make sure you visit a doctor and ask for an opinion. It’s always best to check in with a professional!
Menstrual Cups with IUD - Yes or no?
To sum it up, when using both products together, make sure to take all the precautions and be conscious about how it feels for your body. Like mentioned above, there have been cases of where using an IUD and a menstrual cup has worked fine for years, and cases where it didn’t work out as well.
In short, it is possible to use a menstrual cup and an IUD in combination, if you check on your IUD strings, make sure the suction is released properly before taking it out, and in general use both with precaution. Both products are sustainable and convenient, so it is understandable that people want to make sure they can use them together. Our customers have, for the most part, had success.
A Ruby Cup user from Germany shared her menstrual cup and IUD journey with us and how she feels about of using both products together, saying,
"I first got a menstrual cup when I was 16 and I got the Gynefix (an IUD) when I was 20. I was looking for a non-hormonal contraceptive method and the Gynefix caught my attention because it has no impact on my hormonal balance and less impact on my body than other IUDs (it would be nicer to use nothing, but that's the best I can do to avoid babies).
I have no issues using my Ruby Cup and my IUD, I just try to be careful when taking out the menstrual cup. The IUD strings are long enough to look out of my cervix and I always make sure to break the suction seal before pulling out the cup. But that's just precaution, generally, I'm happy with my choices to use a menstrual cup and an IUD and I'm grateful to have the privilege of having access to methods that give me such comfort and freedom.”
We at Ruby Cup want to make sure that everyone has access to sound information about contraception and period products to be sure you can feel safe and in control—and IUDs are no exception. These convenient devices don’t have to prevent you from using a menstrual cup, and while it won’t always work for everyone, the first step is to be informed about your options and how to handle them.
Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a medical or health professional. The purpose of this blog is informative and to share an experience – not to give health or medical advice. You should always do your own research when it comes to your health.