Best Menstrual Cup for IUD
Choosing the best menstrual cup for IUD can be tricky. Furthermore you need to figure out whether you can actually use one with your particular IUD. This is definitely the question that a lot of people ask when first deciding to use both a menstrual cup and an IUD. You might already have an IUD, and want to look into using a menstrual cup for the first time. Or you might be a menstrual cupaholic already, deciding to insert an IUD for the first time!
We are going to look at the concerns that some women might have when deciding to use both a cup and an IUD together. What considerations do you need to think about, and which menstrual cup will work the best for you? A lot of women are concerned with menstrual cup IUD expulsion.
Menstruation is a fact of life and is linked to your reproductive lifetime. Therefore, birth control is a very important concern. Nowadays, women are lucky enough to have different options when choosing the birth control that works best for their body, and their lifestyle. These can include but are not limited to; condoms, birth control pills, implants, patches, diaphragms, or an IUD.
So what is an IUD, and will it work with a Menstrual Cup?
What is an IUD?
IUD stands for Intrauterine Device, a small object that is inserted into your uterus by your gynaecologist. It is a T-shaped, small, flexible piece of plastic that will be left inside your uterus, and the strings that are attached to the IUD will stick out of the cervix, high up in the vaginal canal.
These are the 5 different brands that are FDA approved for use in the United States. The copper IUDs (ParaGard), and hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla).
The way these little T-shaped things work is that they change the way sperm cells move, so that they can’t get to the egg, meaning; no pregnancy! The biggest pro for inserting an IUD is that they last for years, (up to 12 years in some cases), but are not permanent. If you decide you do not want an IUD or that you want to get pregnant, then your doctor will be able to remove this easily.
To find out more information on IUDs, and whether this type of birth control is best for you, then we would suggest you chat to your doctor or gynaecologist.
Remember that IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so you should still use a condom with your IUD!
Will I Get my Period if I Have an IUD?
Different factors can determine whether you will still have a period when you have an IUD. Research from this CHOICE study where 1,802 women were studied, found that those who had ‘light’ periods (10 or less tampons or pads used per month) before their IUD, reported that their periods were most likely to stop within 12 months. Furthermore it was found that most women with ‘heavier’ periods (those who used more than 21 tampons or pads) still had monthly or irregular periods after a year.
Regardless, when you first get an IUD inserted, you may find you have a heavier period at first, or that your period is irregular. This is where you might want to decide to use a menstrual cup!
What is a Menstrual Cup?
Menstrual cups are the holy grail for periods. Seriously, just look at the shape! These little grails are designed to collect your menstrual blood before it leaves your body, and are reusable for years to come. For more information on cups, and how to use them, check out these pages:
So, Can You Use A Menstrual Cup with an IUD?
An IUD is in your uterus, while a menstrual cup (like a tampon) will sit below the cervix. Planned Parenthood puts it like this:
“Tampons and IUDs are kinda like next-door neighbors. They’re close but they live in different parts of the reproductive system….An IUD and a tampon are separated by the cervix, and don’t interfere with each other’s business.”
The biggest worry that most women have when deciding to use a menstrual cup with an IUD is whether the strings will interfere. Most of the time this is not an issue, but here are some common concerns.
The Strings Are Too Long.
If the strings are too long, it is very easy to go and see your doctor or gynaecologist and ask them to trim them. When using a menstrual cup, the strings should ideally sit above or inside the cup, not outside.
The Strings Sit Outside of the Cup.
Menstrual cups work on suctioning lightly to your vaginal walls to collect the blood. If the strings sit outside of the cup, it can ruin the suction and you may experience some leaking. Therefore we recommend you double check the first time you use them together. After inserting the cup, you can run your finger around the edge to make sure you can’t feel the string. If you can feel them, then it might be a good idea to remove the cup, and try to re-insert it.
TIP: Some women find it easier to pop open the rim of the cup early, as soon as it is inside the vagina, and then slowly slide it up to ensure the strings sits inside the cup.
Can Removing the Cup Dislodge the IUD?
This is the big one for most women using the two together, and there are mixed results. But on the whole, this study showed that “there is no evidence that women who report using menstrual cups or tampons for menstrual protection had higher rates of early IUD expulsion.”
This means that the risk of accidentally removing your IUD when using a tampon or a menstrual cup is the same. It is extremely rare, even when using the easiest menstrual cup to remove.
Like with using any menstrual product, there is no 100% guarantee that a menstrual cup will work perfectly with your IUD. Some people have reported that their IUD was found inside their cup when removed. This may also have been from an incorrectly inserted IUD or the strings were too long or got caught around the edge of the cup when removing.
So how can we minimize this?
1. Wait a few weeks after getting your IUD before using a menstrual cup.
Give your body a chance to adjust to the IUD. The position of the IUD, and where the strings sit may change. Also, the risk of your uterus expelling your IUD naturally are always higher right at the start.
2. Always remove the menstrual cup by ‘breaking the seal’ first.
We never recommend just pulling on the stem of the cup to remove the cup. Therefore the first few times you remove a cup with an IUD, you need to be extra, extra careful. Pinch the base of the cup, or use a finger to break the seal between the cup’s edge and your vagina, then slowly pull the cup down. If you feel severe pain, then stop, and try again when your body is more relaxed.
Always see your doctor if pain persists.
Check out How To Remove A Menstrual Cup for more in-depth information on how to safely remove your cup with little risk of dislodging your IUD.
So, Which is the Best Menstrual Cup for IUD?
- Soft Cup
- Made in Finland to the highest standards
- Very popular cup in Europe
- Air holes are a bit larger so it's easier to release the suction to remove safely
- More of a rounder shape which conforms comfortably to your body
- A bit firmer, so easier to 'pop' open
- Unique 'bell' shape with a completely smooth rim so strings can't get stuck
- Soft grip rings on the stem so once the seal is open, it's very easy to wiggle the cup down
- This is the menstrual cup that seems to fit most women
- Thick, sturdy stem with raised dots to make it easier to remove
- 4 small air holes under the rim
- 100% medical grade silicone is very smooth with no obvious seams
- Amazing 'Buy one, give one' initiative, for every cup sold, one is donated to a girl in Africa
So yes, you can use a menstrual cup with an IUD. You can manage your birth control safely and conveniently, while safely and conveniently managing your period! Both products are sustainable, safe, and most importantly, effective, and they can work well together. However, like with anything that is being internally inserted into your body, you should always take precautions, and consider what is best for you.
There are cases when an IUD has never been impacted by using a cup, while there are some cases where it has been dislodged. So regardless of the best menstrual cup for IUD, always exercise caution when using your cup in conjunction with your IUD.
Have personal experiences you would like to share? Please do so in the comments.