There has been a lot of talk about the use of menstrual cups in conjunction with/while also using an IUD (Intrauterine Device). Since menstrual cups have only started gaining popularity in the last few years, there are not a lot of scientific studies regarding this.
That said, at Asan, we’ve done in depth research by speaking to gynaecologists as well as users of our cup who have IUDs, and have gathered a fair bit of data along the way. Here is all the information you need on IUDs and menstrual cups.
the basics: what is an IUD?
An IUD or intrauterine device is a small T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a medical practitioner as a means of long-term contraception. They work by preventing sperms from entering the uterus and fertilizing the egg. IUDs can function from between three to ten years depending on their type.
There are two types of IUDs: non-hormonal (also called the Copper T) and hormonal. Both types create an environment in the uterus that kill sperm. Non-hormonal IUDs (ParaGard is a popular brand) release copper, and hormonal IUDs (popular brands include Mirena and Jaydess) release the hormone progestogen into the uterus, both of which act to deter sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg. IUDs are popular as they provide long-term contraception without the need of taking pills.
the short answer to “can i use a menstrual cup if i have an IUD?”
Yes, most people with an IUD can use the Asan cup. This is because an IUD sits inside the uterus, while a menstrual cup sits at the bottom of the vaginal canal. However, it is useful to understand what happens inside the body when both these insertable products work in tandem. Let us brush up on our anatomy lessons.
where does an IUD sit?
Let’s do a basic recap of our anatomy.
The uterus (or womb) is a hollow organ within the pelvis. This is where the foetus develops and grows during a pregnancy. If there’s no pregnancy, the uterus sheds its lining on a monthly basis, constituting a period. If you choose to have an IUD, it will sit inside your uterus.
The cervix is the lowest section of the uterus, and it opens into the vagina.
The vagina (or birth canal) is the muscular canal that connects the uterus to the outside of a woman’s body. During a birth, the baby passes through the vagina. The bottom of the vagina is where a menstrual cup would sit.
An IUDs sit in the uterus. The IUD has strings attached to it, which enable its removal when so desired. Once implanted, the device sits snugly in the uterus, with its strings passing through the cervix and into the vagina. The medical practitioner may trim the string to the length suitable to individual users.
By contrast, the Asan cup sits towards the bottom of your vaginal canal. The correct position of an IUD and the Asan cup are illustrated below.
do the IUD and the asan cup come into contact with one another?
Not directly. Since IUDs sit in the uterus and your Asan cup sits in the vagina, they inhabit two different parts of your body. However, the trailing string of the IUD may come in contact with the top of your Asan cup or may rest inside it.
can a menstrual cup dislodge my IUD?
The likelihood of your Asan cup sitting in your vagina dislodging the IUD in your uterus is low as they are in two different places in your body. However, there are still precautions you can take to ensure that there are no accidental displacements.
what precautions can I take to ensure that my IUD is still in place?
First, always break the suction seal of your Asan cup by pinching its base, and only then sliding it out. This ensures that the force of the vacuum or yanking the cup out does not disturb the IUD’s strings.
Second, after the removal of your Asan cup, always check to see that your IUD’s strings (and hence your IUD) are in place. In case you do not feel them, we recommend visiting the medical practitioner who installed your IUD to do a check.
Lastly, some IUD users may choose to get the string of their IUD trimmed to a shorter length. While this may reduce the chances of the string touching your Asan cup, it may mean that removal of the IUD when so desired may be more challenging.
what do I do if I think my IUD has been displaced?
If the position of your IUD’s strings has changed, it may be the case that your IUD has been displaced. In the event that this happens, we advise you to visit your gynaecologist or doctor as soon as possible. They can check whether it has moved and replace it if necessary.
Keep in mind that if your IUD is displaced then you may be able to get pregnant – so make sure to use a source of back-up protection until you visit your doctor!
remember: every experience is unique
Every user’s experience is unique and would depend on the length of the vaginal canal, the length of the string, the height of the cervix, and more. These pointers are a guide to understanding how these two wonderful conveniences—a menstrual cup and a contraceptive—work in tandem to serve you.
Yes! You absolutely can use the Asan cup if you have an IUD. Many Asan cup users do so safely. Just keep in mind what we laid out above, and follow the guidelines for a smooth and stress-free period.