Women STILL face nagging IUD adjustments

Women are having to endure excruciating adjustments of IUDs with no pain relief — who are expected to “just grit their teeth and deal with it,” experts warn.

The warning comes despite new guidance issued by health chiefs last year recommending that women should always be offered “appropriate analgesia” before the procedure, which involves inserting a small T-shaped device, about half the length of a cotton swab the uterus is inserted.

The move was recommended by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Medicine – part of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – after BBC broadcaster Naga Munchetty spoke of her “traumatic” experience of having an IUD inserted.

While many women find IUD insertion painless, some experience cramping, discomfort and anxiety, so anesthesia should be offered to all, the guidance added.

But exclusive data obtained by The Mail on Sunday shows up to a third of women did not receive any pain relief at all during the procedure. And half of the women who wear an IUD describe the discomfort as a “five out of five” — the highest possible.

Women are having to endure excruciating adjustments of IUDs with no pain relief — who are expected to “just grit their teeth and deal with it,” experts warn. Lucy Cohen (above), 39, from Swansea, underwent the procedure last summer. “It was excruciating, the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” says the accountant

dr Philippa Kaye, a general practitioner who focuses on women’s health, believes the problem is partly because women’s pain is often dismissed by the medical profession.

She says: “Women have always been expected to endure more pain than men – it is assumed that this is just part of being a woman. It’s really disappointing that this is still happening.’

dr Rebecca Mawson, GP and women’s health expert at Sheffield University, adds: “Some doctors think that women are stoic and just grit their teeth.”

More than a million women in the UK use the IUD, with at least 45,000 undergoing the IUD fitting procedure each year.

The warning comes despite new guidance issued by health chiefs last year recommending that women should always be offered

The warning comes despite new guidance issued by health chiefs last year recommending that women should always be offered “appropriate analgesia” before the procedure, which involves inserting a small T-shaped device, about half the length of a cotton swab the uterus is inserted

There are two types of coils – one made of copper and the other made of plastic. The copper IUD, also known as a contraceptive intrauterine device or IUD, releases copper ions into the uterus. These affect the fluids in the fallopian tubes and uterus, which become toxic to sperm and destroy them on contact.

It can stay in place for ten years before needing to be replaced. The plastic IUD or intrauterine system (IUS) releases the hormone-like drug progestin, which stops pregnancy and lasts up to five years.

Both IUDs are 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, but the plastic IUD can also be used to treat a number of conditions, including heavy menstrual bleeding, period pain and some menopause symptoms.

During the insertion procedure, which usually lasts about five minutes, a GP or nurse first inserts a speculum — a duckbill-shaped device — into the vagina to open access to the uterus.

The thin lining of the cervix is ​​then punctured with a tenaculum, an instrument that looks like scissors with a tiny hook on the end of each prong. This secures the cervix in place. The coil is then threaded through the speculum and positioned in the uterus.

Last June, Ms Munchetty revealed that she screamed so loud during the procedure that her husband, who was waiting in a nearby corridor, tried to find the room she was in to stop the procedure. “I passed out twice and felt hurt, weak and angry,” she said.

Ms Munchetty claimed she was not offered pain relief during the procedure but was told to take paracetamol and ibuprofen before her appointment.

While experts say their experience is unusual, studies show that a large number of women experience severe discomfort during the fitting of an IUD.

A year later, that newspaper asked The Lowdown, a website that reviews contraceptive products, to ask readers about their experiences with the spiral fitting. More than 600 women responded, and 32 percent said they were not offered any pain relief.

Over 60 percent said they had previously self-medicated with over-the-counter pain relievers, and yet some said the procedure was “excruciating” and even “the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.” “I passed out from the pain,” one wrote. Another said: “I had to take three days off because I was in so much pain.”

Experts say the results are particularly frustrating because pain relief — usually a local anesthetic spray applied to the cervix to numb the area — is readily available and carries minimal risk.

“The spray is easy to use and most GPs will use it or some other form of local pain relief,” says Dr. kaye “However, some doctors are still unaware that they could use these for coil adjustments.

“We want to make access to contraception as easy as possible for women, and if they are afraid of pain they are less likely to use contraception. Not everyone will need pain relief, but it should definitely be offered.’

Lucy Cohen, 39, from Swansea, underwent the procedure last summer. “It was excruciating, the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” says the accountant. “It took 20 minutes and I was shaking and sweating.”

Lucy, who is married to Adam, 37, an engineer, says her GP asked her if she wanted to stop but offered no pain relief. She adds: “The coil is amazing. I just don’t think you have to go through that much pain to get it.’

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Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid gland, when the gland doesn’t produce enough of the key hormones.

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Drugs to limit hormone production or radiation therapy to destroy overactive cells in the thyroid are effective treatments.

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