More and more women are choosing IUDs as their preferred form of contraception. (IUD stands for intrauterine device.) This is a t-shaped device that a physician inserts into the uterus. It has a string attached to it, which physicians use in the removal procedure.
Menstrual cups (also called Diva cups) have also increased in popularity for menstrual hygiene. This is a plastic cup women can purchase and insert into the vagina to catch menstrual blood. They are an alternative to tampons.
These two devices are not cohabiting well. Studies show that women who used a menstrual cup had a nearly fourfold increased risk of IUD displacement compared with women who do not use menstrual cups. The researchers also noted that around one-third of menstrual cup users whose IUD came out said it dislodged during cup removal.
There are no official guidelines about the use of menstrual cups with an IUD. A popular method is to break the seal of the menstrual cup before removing it from the vaginal canal to reduce the chance of IUD displacement.
Displacement or expulsion of an IUD can be dangerous. While it may not harm some women, others may experience cramping, bleeding, or perforation of the uterus. This is why only a medical provider should remove an IUD and you should never attempt it on your own.
When discussing IUDs with your doctor, mention if you use (or have considered using) a menstrual cup. Your doctor can counsel you on the risks involved and the best techniques for safe removal.