can I remove my IUD myself? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 10-09-2005, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Finally did some PubMed research that showed there is minimal published research in the area of affect of levonorgestrel (Mirena) IUD contraception on milk supply...but the ONE study that there is, showed that a significant number of babies started supplementary foods earlier and weaned earlier when their moms were using that type of IUD, compared to a copper IUD . All the info out there that says progestin does not affect milk supply is actually based on studies of moms taking progestin ORALLY (i.e., the mini-pill). As for my doctor and countless web or print articles claiming that an intra-uterine device releasing progestin is even less likely to interfere with milk than the pills because the hormone is not released into the bloodstream, that is apparently an ASSUMPTION. Not a single published article supports that claim. Someone made it up and then everyone else repeated it until it came to be true . MAYBE having progestin delivered directly to your uterus is WORSE for milk than taking it orally and metabolizing it through your digestive system.

Anyway having learned this I really want to just take my Mirena out immediately and try to relactate. I had considered DS (2) "weaned" as of about a month ago but I let him nurse practically all day yesterday and a couple times when he pulled off I saw a few drops. I think I could probably get my milk back, if this is truly the source of the problem. I also have a week's worth of domperidone I could try to jumpstart things with. He is soooo much happier this weekend than I've seen him in weeks. He just really wasn't ready to be weaned.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I want to get this thing out of me NOW, not wait until I can get an appointment somewhere. I don't even have a midwife or OB/GYN since we moved here not too long ago. When I had my first Mirena removed in order to conceive DS, the midwife just firmly yanked on the string and it came right out. It didn't hurt. So I'm wondering if I can do the same thing or if I might hurt myself. Anyone ever do this on her own?

TIA!
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#2 of 10 Old 10-09-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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((((hugs)))) I'd have the doc do it, and I'd tell him/her why.
even oral progestin runs the small risk of lowering milk supply (something like .5% but it's still a possibility) and depo-provera has an even higher risk of that happening. I can't believe they didn't inform you of that possibility when they gave it to you!

good luck relactating! it's a wonderful thing you are going to do for your baby.
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#3 of 10 Old 10-09-2005, 12:37 PM
 
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I don't think so. I *think* that it would be to hard on your cervix to do so. But if you have planned parenthood around there, you could get it taken out by them I think. That is what I am planning to do anyway so I hope so. You could make the situation sound more extreme if you need too to get a quicker appt.

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#4 of 10 Old 10-09-2005, 08:49 PM
 
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I've heard of women doing it themselves before. Just grabbing and slowly and gently pulling the strings is the same way that they take it out. It folds up and comes out. It's really easy to do. I've heard stories of women though that inserting it or removing it can cause an anxiety-type response where they pass out, but don't know how often that occurs.
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#5 of 10 Old 10-10-2005, 02:09 AM
 
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In all likelihood it wouldn't be any problem, especially if it hasn't been in long. All the doc does is yank it out. However, I'd be hesitant to do it myself on the off chance it had become embedded in the uterine tissue or wasn't oriented correctly. The chance may be terribly slim, but I wouldn't want to take the risk. I'd want it checked first, and it would take only seconds for the doc to remove it after the check.
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#6 of 10 Old 10-10-2005, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I got an appointment for 2:30 this afternoon! But it will cost $80 and they don't take insurance . I can file it myself but I think we haven't met our deductible yet...oh well.

I asked DH to do it but he declined :LOL
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#7 of 10 Old 10-10-2005, 12:54 PM
 
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Just something else to consider. I had a Mirena last year for a couple months. It gave me a pelvic infection and I was having a lot of cramps, so went to the ER cause I was worried about perforation, etc. The doc didn't know much about IUD's. He checked to make sure that he could feel the string, and didn't know what he was doing. Said it wasn't there! I checked and it was fine. The doc consulted with a GYN and decided to take it out. I ask him if he knows what he's doing and he says, I think you just pull it out. Grrr!! I *knew* that's how you get it out, as I'd researched it but was scared of the perforation thing so didn't do it myself. He used forceps and pulled it out. The bleeding and cramping stopped soon after that. But just so you know, docs don't always know what they are doing either. If I was having issues again, I'd probably just do it myself. But if you are seeing a midwife or OB, they should know. Good luck with it.

-Marsha
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#8 of 10 Old 10-10-2005, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE -- got the IUD removed this afternoon, although it was a little tricky. The midwife couldn't see the string, so she called in the other midwife, and she couldn't see it either, but then they both checked manually and agreed that they could feel something that MIGHT be the very end of the string. I felt it too. There is no way I could have pulled that sucker out myself! There was nothing to grab onto. I was a little anxious but the first midwife decided to give it a try with the forceps and she got it. So that's solved.

The downside to the appointment, however, is that I was looking forward to meeting this midwife because she attends homebirths, and I hope to have our next child at home. Unfortunately I didn't get the greatest feeling that she would be right for me. She was perfectly nice and spent quite a bit of time talking to me but some things she said really put me off. Like I mentioned having my son at the birth center across the state, and how I pushed for four hours, and she was shocked and incredulous. Not only that, she was telling me I remembered it wrong. Her words were something like, "You must not have REALLY been pushing, they wouldn't have let you push that long." Well, I remember it just fine, and I did push that long, although I didn't know how long it took until afterwards, and I'm DAMN GLAD nobody at the time let on AT ALL that it was taking a long time. I was absolutely full of confidence that I was going to push my baby out and meet him soon, and I think it would have been horribly undermining for someone else to start getting antsy about the length of time, or --gasp-- suggesting a hospital transfer. A while after the birth I requested copies of my records to refresh my memory of what happened and it's pretty exactly as I remember it. I started pushing around 3:30 and my son was born just before 7:30. So besides telling me I was wrong about what I remember, she told me she would never allow a mother to push for that long at a homebirth, because they have to be more careful at a homebirth or they'll ruin it for everybody : . So in other words, unless everything about your homebirth is going totally IDEAL and FAST, you're going to get transferred. Not at all what I wanted to hear.
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#9 of 10 Old 10-10-2005, 07:07 PM
 
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The downside to the appointment, however, is that I was looking forward to meeting this midwife because she attends homebirths, and I hope to have our next child at home. Unfortunately I didn't get the greatest feeling that she would be right for me.
I am glad you had an oppertunity to meet the midwife and get to know her. Also, I am relived that you didn't remove the IUD yourself :LOL that was freaking me out, shows how comfortable I am with my body.
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#10 of 10 Old 08-24-2015, 01:27 PM
 
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a detailed sotry of how I took out my IUD with a little help

How I took my IUD out myself……well, how my husband and I did it.
Details for the gals who have more trouble than just pulling it out with your fingers… Its still worth it. I feel that I had an interesting experience and it may help some one out there to share it.


This is a bit of a long story but I just wanted to put it out there for all the other girls who don't have the easiest time doing this themselves and are discouraged. Im not a doctor, but you don't need a doctor for this. In fact, before I got my IUD I asked the OBGYN what the procedure was for removing it…… Just in case it was going to be a serious deal getting it out in the future. The Dr said, "oh it's nothing, all we do is use a speculum and forceps and pull it out." I have had Dr.s underplay symptoms and how painful their procedures can be, and I always keep that in mind, but it seemed pretty strait forward. No special tools or tricks. That was three years ago and I didn't have the idea of having kids on the horizon at the time, so I had the Paraguard IUD put in. I was very excited, no hormones, no more worries, yes!


Ok here is where my story starts to get a bit interesting. I have Vasovagal Syncope, which is a blood pressure condition that causes me to faint at the sight of most medical procedures or when I am anemic and stand up too quickly. It was really a problem when I was a teen but after the Dr. told me to eat meat and plenty of salt I was able to turn it around. I would still faint during any medical procedures, blood draws and stuff like that. It's not that I am a sissy, but there's just something in my body that those things trigger. Anyway, I just like to tell doctors I am a fainter so they are prepared when I hit the floor. Most of the time I can sit down on the floor before I fall but sometimes it catches me too quickly. If you faint at things read about it on wikipedia/ vasovagal response.


When I had my IUD administered 3 years ago I was told it wasn't going to hurt. To be honest, it did hurt. I have had a D&C without anesthesia and I would say it was comparable. The OBGYN did not prepare me or acknowledge that it hurt after and so I laid on the table until I felt I was ok to go home, stumbled out to the car and barely made it. I laid across the driver and passenger seats of my car, green and called my husband who came and picked me up. I felt like someone hit me with the ugly stick. I was having a vasovagal response.
I went right to bed and nearly passed out several times over the next couple of days. I was cramped up and in pain and I even considered getting it removed but I wanted to give it time because 1) I am a cheap bitch and just paid $850 for a 12 year IUD that was supposed to set me and my husband free! and 2) I was going to feel better eventually right?


So things did get better and life went on, my periods had always been rough and I just had some additional cramping that I could survive. Then I got struck by what my mother calls "baby lightning". You start seeing them everywhere. Pregnant women with these magical domes stuffed under their shirts, their rosy fat arms pushing strollers down every isle. My world became a baby funhouse and I wanted to be pregnant in the worst way. I even had dreams about giving birth and I look forward to it today. Yeah its weird, at least for me it was, it felt like a major shift and my body was taking over my mind. I kind of loved it too though, it felt so womanly.


Talked about it with my husband for a few months and he says he thinks its a great idea. We knew we wanted a few kids so he said "lets get started!" So I call around to see which clinic (I don't have insurance because it won't cover the care I need anyway, chiropractic, message, physical therapy, and doctors treat me like a drug addict because I have a bad back), and no one has time this month. Everyone is booked and they won't even put appointments in till next month. Both of the women's clinics in the area and their other locations within 2 hours drive are booked up this month and want $200 + to remove it. The soonest appointment I could get was for a place 2 hours away and still was $200 bucks. I called a private practice and they wanted $586 to take it out, I laughed and hung up.


It wasn't so funny that I wanted this thing out like today. I knew that if I made the appointment to go for a 4 hour round trip drive I would be faint on the way back and get stuck where ever I was. Actually if it wasn't 112 degrees in Phoenix ( I live in Tucson) I would have done it, but I knew I wouldn't be able to find a cool place in the shade to recover in that heat.


And so it began. I started reading about women who have taken their own out. They made it all sound so easy. "Just fish around up there and get the sting and pull". LOL "OK" I thought! Well guess what? apparently my cervix is way up there compared to most of these gals, either that or I just have tiny fingers and a very narrow vagina opening. I could get only my middle and index finger in there deep enough to just slightly feel the plastic strings, I struggled over several days while my husband was at work. I tried until my wrist was sore from being bent.


My cervix was really up there! I waited till the time of your cycle where it come down a bit but not dice. I did however find that the best way to get a good reach was to straddle the tub, one foot braced to the wall while I half sat with my thigh on the other side of the tub. In all the things I read no one online mentioned having a deep vagina, so I knew I was going to have to experiment a little to find any success.


So I ordered a speculum and some very large forceps online. I recommend the plastic speculums as the metal ones are harder to use and pinched me a little. I purchased the extra large forceps as they had a sort of blunt tip and had a long reach. I piled up all my pillows against the wall and positioned myself on the bed similar to how you are the the OBGYN office. I had hard time finding my cervix at first and getting used to the feeling of the speculum. It made my dizzy and flush, but I kept tying. With a compact mirror set on the bed and a small flashlight I was able to wiggle the speculum to get my cervix into view. Finally, there were those pesky little strings, sticking right out of the mouth of my cervix as if to mock me, "here I am the chuckled at me" , ok well they didn't talk but they did mock me.


I gently nosed the forceps all the way to cervix and teased the strings a little, they were curled round my cervix and maybe even held into place by the speculum and I couldn't tease them into a position to get ahold of them. I also didn't have the kind of grip on the forceps that allowed me the control I wanted because of the awkward reach. I decided that I would have to get a hand in this job.


I coolly confronted my husband that night over dessert and he accepted my offer. He would clasp the forceps on the string and I would do the pulling. He worked on several farms in the past and was used to doctoring momma animals so this wasn't strange to him at all. If he wasn't the kind of guy who was comfortable without the slime and mucous of life I wouldn't have asked him to help me, and probably married him altogether.


I did a little more research as I wanted to have an easy go if it, because my husband would be there after all and I didn't want to get all faintly. I read a couple of places the the opening to your cervix is at its most open and soft during your ovulation/fertile phase and during your period. Since I was past my fertile phase (I chart) I was going to plan this for the first day of my period. I also read that your cervix softens too after orgasm.


So I had all my gear: The lube for the speculum, the speculum it's self, the forceps, a compact mirror, a little bright flashlight and two towels. One to put one under my bum to keep from dripping anything on the sheets, which was also helpful in position my compact mirror, and smaller towel to wipe my lubed up hands with. And last but not least, my willing helper.

So sunday morning rolls around and we had a fabulous romp before getting out of bed, and I noticed a little bit of pink signifying that my period had just started. "Good" I thought to myself, "perfect timing". After we rested I suggested this would be a good time to take out the IUD. He was agreeable and we went off to the bathroom to scrub our fingernails and I used a douche to tidy up a bit. Douching with cool water is just enough for me as I have very tender skin.


We went into the bedroom and I set up the pillows and towel with the mirror resting where I needed it. It turns out if you try to get your helper to hold the mirror at the right angle they just can't keep it still so its easier to sit all the way at the top of the bed, and set everything up just like if you were alone. That way he was able to lay on the bed and prop himself up on a pillow at my feet. He watched until his help was needed and he found it very interesting to see what was in there. I found my cervix and showed him the strings, everything was very tidy thanks to the douche. I did not hand him the forceps until it was time to help. He got all get excited and a bit nervous, and so I breathed calmly and gave clear calm directions. I told him to go very slowly and keep the forceps locked in the closed position to tease the strings into a position where they could be grasped by the forceps, away from the tissue of the cervix, and not to open the forceps until the strings were right where he needed them. I did not want any of my tissue to get nipped. I told him there was no rush, just to go slowly and take his time and if he couldn't get it it would be alright. This part was a challenge for me because up until that point I had been doing everything myself in my pelvic exams, and he was the first persons in 3 years to be in there with an instrument.


I should note, he works with his hands and plays instruments, and this took a steady hand. I don't think I would have let him in there if he did not have very good motor skills and delft fingers.

I just relaxed and breathed and really in just about 20 seconds he said he had got the strings. "Really?" I said, "really." he said. I reached down and transferred the forceps to my hand gently. I asked him if he thought I should take the speculum out and we decided together that we should just leave it be. After all the doctor would leave the speculum in, and we didn't want my cervix of the IUD to suspect that we weren't doctors


So I very gently started to pull the forceps towards my feet. "ooo" I said "I can feel tugging and a little cramp!" I paused for a moment, now knowing what it might feel like. I prepared myself in case it was going to be a little painful. I took a 2 deep breaths and decided to gently pull at an even speed until it was free. My only caveat was if I felt an extreme pulling back with the inclusion of pain, that, I thought would mean it was embedded in my uterus. I started pulling gently down, feeling a little cramping and tugging which I needed to make a little growl though, kept breathing and kept pulling evenly and in about 5 seconds it was totally free. My helper took the forceps and speculum too the bathroom and I stayed on the bed for a few minutes expecting to faint. "We did it!" we cheered! After a few moments I really had to pee and I got up to go to the bathroom, and he kinda stayed by me as we continued to celebrate. I peed and he went to the kitchen to get some water, which he brought back to me and handed me the glass as I stood up from the toilet, tossing the toilet paper roll on my way up, generally I don't throw the roll of TP around the bath room, but I saw myself do it. I watched my hand reach and miss the glass and "uh ooh", I was getting dizzy so I lurched towards the bedroom.


Another good reason to have a helper nearby is if you decide to pass out. I felt fuzzy and limp and tingly as I came too. We were sitting in the hallway and I was wrapped in his arms and legs. I just stared at our legs all tangled and he asked if "I was alright". How did I get on the floor I wonder. I asked if I fainted and he said "you just dropped right where you stood". I thank him for catching me and we start to fumble to the bed. I sit on the bed for a few minus and gather myself and we sit together, somewhat in awe of how we do things.


After a few minutes I got to the bathroom and rinse off the speculum and the forceps and investigate my IUD. I was not in very good shape and I have no idea if it would have even survived 12 years. Firstly it's arms were bent, one up and one down, as if it had been pushed all the way up into one corner of my uterus. The copper wire was uncoiling its self at the top tiny little needle sharp links came off on my fingers with very gentle handling. The string was caked with some kind of fossilized mineral that came off in little bits. It's hard to imagine that this little thing, made of poor quality materials and very flimsy was worth $850.

I recovered fully and I took my husband out to a sumptuous breakfast as a thank you.

I do wonder if this little IUD was jammed sideways and malpositioned as I feel a lot better now and have had no menstrual cramps since I took it out. It feels good to take control over my body and to be able to do something gently at my own pace because I have had a few rough insensitive doctors. I feel that I had the change to do even less possible damage than a doctor because I could feel everything during the process.
I checked my cervix the day after just to make sure I didn't scratch anything and everything looks 100% healthy in there.
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