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Pain Relief during IUD procedures

131 replies

1stWorldProblems · 19/06/2021 21:29

Apologies if this has already been covered - the search facility doesn't seem to be working today on MN. I know that Caitlin Moran is a bit of Marmite person for Mumsnet (& even for me some days) but today's Times magazine is a) laugh out loud funny in parts and b) made think about something I'd just taken for granted as a given - why is it that coil insertions & removals are done with out any offer of pain relielf? It never just "hurts a bit" and leaves me feeling physically odd for several days after.

She has recently had a particularly bad procedure and has been tweeting about a petition by Lucy Cohen calling for more information & pain relief for the procedure. This bit made me laugh out loud

"Interestingly, several who worked in the medical industry pointed out that during colonoscopies – a unisex procedure – people are offered either gas and air or sedation. In many ways a colonoscopy is similar to an IUD insertion – doctors are putting something up one of your special, private holes. The big difference between the two is in scale and accessibility. The sphincter is essentially like the Blackwall Tunnel; it’s built for daily traffic. It’s a well-travelled route, open 24/7.

The cervix, on the other hand, is a bit like my nanna’s sitting room. The door was always closed, it was only used on “special” occasions, and she’d be quite agitated that someone might break something precious while they were in there. She was relieved when everyone left."

OP posts:
ButItRingsAndIRise · 19/06/2021 21:53

Our practice nurse applies a little bit of local anaesthetic numbing gel when fitting & removing coils, I had no clue this wasn’t standard procedure.

Vinniepolis · 19/06/2021 21:56

I nearly passed out after having the mirena coil fitted - unfortunately I was driving at the time so that was a bit scary.

cheugy · 19/06/2021 22:04

I had my copper coil inserted in the US. No pain relief. As I have a titled uterus, they also inserted it incorrectly and left me swollen and in pain for months until had it removed (was never explained to me that this could happen).

CatherinaJTV · 19/06/2021 22:05

I had a lidocaine injection into the cervix and no problem

Dowermouse · 19/06/2021 22:17

I've had both, they aren't that similar in my experience. I'd chose an iud insertion with paracetamol over a bum camera with g&a, although ideally I'd have neither.
I was told that colonoscapys are on the whole more painful for women due to the bowel taking more twists and turns because of the reproductive organs and the larger chance of internal scar tissue and adhesions in the pelvis.

334bu · 19/06/2021 22:45

I was told that colonoscapys are on the whole more painful for women due to the bowel taking more twists and turns because of the reproductive organs and the larger chance of internal scar tissue and adhesions in the pelvis.

Also because equipment was made for male anatomy not female anatomy
Can also result in incomplete tests as scope simply won't fit.

FindingMeno · 19/06/2021 23:02

Even worse than having the coil fitted are hysteroscopies without pain relief.

Beeboopbop · 20/06/2021 01:33

Am I the only one who isn't bothered by the fitting or removal?

PrawnofthePatriarchy · 20/06/2021 09:00

I had three injections into my cervix when I had my Mirena fitted. It still hurt.

Babdoc · 20/06/2021 09:18

I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t be laughing as this is a serious subject, but cheugy’s “titled” uterus cracked me up!
Is it a Duchess or a Countess? Grin

Cakeandslippers · 20/06/2021 09:33

Oh my goodness I'm so sorry so many people struggle. I had no idea, I didn't even feel mine going in. If people are finding it painful of course pain relief should be on offer, ridiculous it's not.

teawamutu · 20/06/2021 10:24

I've had two that were no bother - right after births - two that were utterly bloody excruciating (first and last, which came seven Blush years after last birth).

The last one actually triggered a fainting reaction. Had to have several tries. No pain relief.

SRK16 · 20/06/2021 10:30

I was traumatised after my IUD being out in 10+ years ago. I had never experienced so much pain (I was 21 with no children). I’ve never passed out before but nearly collapsed after it having it done. The doctor was incredibly unsympathetic. I had taken painkillers prior to the procedure and a diazepam but was only offered numbing gel which did nothing. I had to get a taxi home and was in severe pain for the next day or so. It absolutely killed my sex drive because the thought of anyone touching me after it brought back the physical sensations of having it put in. I probably had a particularly bad experience but was not warned that I could experience anything over the discomfort of a smear. It was great while it was in but bloody thing dislodged after about six months and got stuck in my vaginal wall 😭😭 NEVER AGAIN. I can’t believe that options of pain relief are not more widely offered.

cheugy · 20/06/2021 14:21

I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t be laughing as this is a serious subject, but cheugy’s “titled” uterus cracked me up!
Is it a Duchess or a Countess? grin

It was obviously a typo for ‘tilted’. Maybe keep this to yourself next time if you know you shouldn’t be laughing?

JellySlice · 20/06/2021 15:09

I can cope with the removal part. It's unpleasant, but over quickly. The insertion OTOH is awful. Last time I was totally stoned on Diazepam (I took 3 tablets IIRC) and I barely remember it. I remember that it was nearly as bad as the previous time, but but I don't remember any details. So that's going to be my method in the future - Diazepam. Lots of Diazepam. I wish we could be offered Entonox while having an IUD inserted. As for having local anaesthetic injected directly into the cervix - ShockShockShock Just thinking about an injection there and my cervix has fled till it's somewhere near my ears!

RufustheBadgeringReindeer · 20/06/2021 15:20


I had three injections into my cervix when I had my Mirena fitted. It still hurt.

I didn’t get pain relief with mine about 16 years ago (it was only in a month)

But dd went privately and did (I’m sure others may have through the nhs)

I got a text all in caps when she left the hospital

Gooseysgirl · 20/06/2021 15:24

This is why I can never even contemplate having it done, I wound happily be sedated/anaesthetised for my smears 😭

Helen8220 · 20/06/2021 17:00

I had sedation for mine - when they tried to insert it normally I was crying with pain before they’d even got the speculum fully in (smear tests are similarly difficult). When I had the sedation the last thing I remember was counting down from ten, then waking up in the recovery room. I’ve also had a colonoscopy, but the sedation was much lighter for that - it didn’t honestly seem like it did anything and the procedure was pretty uncomfortable, but not terrible.

I was chatting to two colleagues who also have the coil the other day - one found it excruciating, the other barely felt it (neither have children). It’s clearly very different for each person

Helen8220 · 20/06/2021 17:03

Although after the Mirena insertion I cramped like hell for two weeks so it didn’t get me out of all the pain

LizziesTwin · 20/06/2021 17:11

Caroline Criado Perez has written about this here. This is a link to her newsletter. Do subscribe.

ferretface · 20/06/2021 19:03

I had my copper IUD replaced recently at a clinic run by GSTT. When I had my first IUD placed at a sexual health clinic (by a female clinician) she administered a superficial local anaesthetic as standard. I asked the (male) consultant if he was going to do that as it didn't feature in his explanation of the procedure and he said no, not as standard, as apparently research suggests administering local anaesthetic to the cervix doesn't actually have any impact on the pain. However to be fair to him he did then offer it (which I accepted!). No idea if it was actually an anaesthetic or just sterile saline for the placebo effect!

Both my IUD insertions have been pretty unproblematic. I get terrible mittelschmerz though which apparently shouldn't be connected to IUDs but definitely appears to be given I never experienced it before having them.

Bolets · 20/06/2021 20:03

I was offered a local anaesthetic gel or injection when I had mine fitted. Opted for the injection as the nurse said the pain relief was more effective. Insertion was uncomfortable but not painful, like getting a tooth pulled. Shocked to discover that's not standard.

Faffertea · 20/06/2021 20:13

I fit a lot of IUD/IUSs. The evidence for using local anaesthetic is that it doesn’t really help and you have at least partly put the inserter into the cervical canal to do it otherwise you are just applying it to the end of the cervix which is not much help. A cervical block (injection of local anaesthetic into the cervix) is generally considered a more specialist procedure so is not usually carried out in GP surgeries.
A coil fit is not really a similar process to a colonoscopy so I don’t think that comparison is helpful.
For me, the important things are that women should be as comfortable as possible during the fit and the expected level of pain should be similar to that of period type pain (although obviously that is variable) and manageable with over the counter pain relief. Most important of all though is that if at any point a woman wants to stop or have a break that should be done immediately.
As an aside, for some women procedures involving the cervix can trigger stimulation of the nerve pathways that lower blood pressure and heart rate making some women feel faint.

Faffertea · 20/06/2021 20:13

Damn no edit button!! Should say anaesthetic gel in the first line!

NiceGerbil · 20/06/2021 20:27

Mine was a nightmare.

I had two children which meant it was presumably going to be ok (ish) due to giving birth etc. I'd never actually been in Labour though.

She had a hell of a job getting it in. And she seemed quite pissed off with me about the struggle she was having. It was really just horrible.

The strings went AWOL and I had to have it out with a GA. the consultant who had a look before that said my cervix was 'tight as a drum' and it must have been really hard to get it in, and pretty awful for me.


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