IUD and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The intrauterine device (IUD) has been around since the 1960s, and it’s enjoyed increasing popularity since then. Many women have found it an effective birth control technique, with an accuracy of 99 percent. In the U.S alone, over 4.5 million women use the IUD to prevent pregnancy.
But even with the many approvals, there is one lingering fear keeping some women from using IUDs. These devices have been connected to some cases of pelvic infections and pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) in a number of users.
In this article, we’ll take a look at IUDs and how they’re connected to pelvic floor disorder.
What is an IUD?
An IUD is a T-shaped device that a doctor places in a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two categories of IUDs: Paragard and hormonal.
The Paragard brand of IUD releases copper, which interferes with sperm movement in your uterus. On the other hand, hormonal IUDs release hormones like progestin to prevent ovulation and stop sperm from reaching an egg.
Both types of IUDs can be left in place for up to five years. Doctors may recommend an IUD as an alternative to birth control pills if you have medical conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids.
Can an IUD Affect Your Pelvic Floor?
Just like many other medical procedures, IUDs can come with several side effects and complications, especially on your pelvic floor. So, it’s important to talk to your physician before using this birth control technique.
Among the major side effects of using IUDs are hormonal imbalance and the higher risks of contracting pelvic infections, which might cause serious complications like pelvic floor dysfunction. This might occur in the first few days of insertion, but the symptoms might improve over time.
However, in some women, symptoms of pelvic infections triggered by IUDs tend to remain throughout their use. If this happens, you need to look for effective ways to treat the situation.
The connection between intrauterine devices and pelvic infections can be traced to as early as the 1970s. A CDC report found that women who used certain types of IUDs had higher chances of suffering from pelvic disorders.
It’s no doubt that IUDs have come a long way in safety since they were developed. However, some women still express concerns about using them. If you’re one of them, you need to watch out for some signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction caused by IUDs.
The Connection Between IUDs and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Pelvic floor dysfunction describes a group of health problems that affect how you experience in your pelvic region. Some of these problems include pain during sex or bowel movements, irritation when urinating, trouble sitting down or standing up, and discomfort or difficulty with movement or walking.
There’s a connection between IUDs and pelvic floor dysfunction. Since some women experience discomfort as a result of their IUDs, they can develop one or more symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Even after removing their IUDs, a number of women may continue to suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction for years afterward. The solution is simple. If you are experiencing persistent pain or discomfort while using an intrauterine device, talk to a professional to avoid further complications.
An expert may take you through a pain management process that might help you overcome pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms.
How To Manage Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Caused By An IUD
Though pelvic floor dysfunction is a common side effect of using an IUD, it doesn’t have to ruin your life. A team of experts may be able to help get you back on track. One effective way of alleviating symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction is physical therapy.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a special kind of treatment that an expert uses to help your pelvic muscles relax and function as they should. Before you begin a session of this therapy, you need to explain your symptoms to a qualified physical therapist (PT).
Your therapist then proceeds to assess your pelvic muscles to measure their strength and endurance. While doing this, the PT might ask you to perform some activities in different positions to check how your pelvic floor muscles coordinate. An assessment is important because it helps your physician develop a custom plan that suits your problem.
A pelvic floor physical therapy involves both internal and external sessions. Most physical therapists won’t begin internal therapy until you’re ready for it. This is because some people might find the sessions uncomfortable.
Once you complete your physical therapy, you might stop feeling some signs of pelvic floor dysfunction. Your pelvic muscles might start working normally, allowing you to control your bladder and enjoy participating in physical activities. Your pre-IUD sex life might also be rekindled.
Techniques and exercises your PT might suggest to you during pelvic floor physical therapy sessions include:
Kegels are an excellent way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These exercises will help increase control over your bladder and prevent future incontinence issues. Kegel exercises are performed by contracting the muscles between your thighs and crotch area, near your vagina and anus.
Trigger Point Therapy
There are points on your pelvic floor that correspond to trigger points in your glutes, hamstrings, and other muscles. Your PT might develop a special massaging technique that can help you release tension and pain in these areas.
Biofeedback is a method your physician can use to retrain your pelvic floor muscles in a safe and non-invasive way. A biofeedback device provides real-time data on pressure changes within your pelvic floor muscles, making it possible for you to isolate these muscles while performing other exercises.
Using a vaginal dilator every day will help increase blood flow to your pelvic region, increasing muscle tone in your pelvic muscles and improving overall function.
While the IUD is a safe and effective birth control method, sometimes it can cause discomforts in some women, including pelvic floor dysfunction. Luckily, this condition can be successfully treated with muscle strengthening exercises and pelvic physical therapy. If you experience pelvic floor issues caused by an IUD, discuss the symptoms with your doctor to determine an appropriate treatment plan.