12 responses to “Part 2: Minimizing the pain of the IUD insertion: all effort required”

  1. I find too much instrumention and procedures are unnecessary and probably even increasing anxiety in a patient who is predisposed to anxiety states.

  2. Can you share your powerpoint presentation?

    Willa Henry MD

  3. For uterine cramping consider premedicating with homeopathic magnesium phosporicum 200 C; this can then be repeated every 1-4 hours as needed. Since magnesium deficiency is so very common in Canada, especially among women, it might be helpful to encourage magnesium glycinate (dose b.i.d. to bowel tolerance, then reduce a bit) daily for a couple of weeks before and after insertion.

    Use Gelsemium 200C for anticipatory anxiety — night before and q 4 h PRN.

  4. I have been inserting IUD’s ‘old school’ for 20+ and have yet to cause anyone excruciating pain, or can only recall 1 nullip having moderate pain. So I never really feel motivated to make a change to my practice. I think the therapeutic alliance with my patients might be anxiolytic, since I don’t do them on a referral basis, or in a women’s health clinic. Usually I have had a few conversation with my patients about all forms of contraception, and what to expect, prior to the actual moment of insertion. I agree that knowing what to expect – according to what they want to know – is anxiolytic. Not all of my patients would be interested in seeing/hearing all about it. Some prefer only to know what they have to, and then want to listen to some music, and not even look at the insides of the package. I don’t think the ppt would be good for them. Last week, for the first time I gave a patient some lorazepam, because her previous MD gave it to her, and she felt she couldn’t try without it. I didn’t find it any different than any other IUD I had put in, so my n of 1 doesn’t convince me. Also, I find that putting on a tenaculum is equivalent to the pain of the injection in the cx prior to putting it on. I don’t see the benefit. I find once it is on, there is no further pain on the cervix. Maybe I have just been lucky? I go around this topic about once a year, and was very happy to see the resources and references. I am still mulling it over.

  5. Can you share your powerpoint?

  6. Thanks very much for this presentation. In the past, I also used to routinely do a cervical/paracervical block, however I’ve found that in about 80% of the patients, I can sound the uterus without a tenaculum by having them tilt their pelvis while applying downward suprapubic pressure with their hands. This serves 2 purposes – First it straightens out the anteverted uterus, and second, it gives them a sense of participating in the procedure. Years ago, working with fertility clinic patients doing intrauterine inseminations, we found that our pregnancy stats were higher when we were able to insert the IUI catheter without tenaculum, and certainly the patient experience was more positive – so I tried the same techniques here and it works well in nullips and multips. I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion about the anxiety and anticipatory contributors to the pain experience, and really appreciate your comments about the importance of thoroughly preparing them. I find that most women aren’t interested in too much detail, but do want to have a general idea, so my pre-insertion consultation caters to as much info as they want, and I also show them how they can help with the procedure. I advise that sometimes we have to do a block and there can be some cramping, but I’ve found that each of these women leave after the insertion pleasantly surprised at having experienced little or no discomfort. I do have them take some ibuprofen pre-procedure. There are certainly some trickier ones where this minimal intervention approach doesn’t work and I need to do a block and be more aggressive, but as we hit that point, I remind her of what we discussed and talk her through it. Always glad to hear new ideas, and thanks for the resources and references. Much appreciated.

  7. I provide lorazepam to my anxious patients and give ibuprofen immediately after inserting the iucd. I’ve never done a paracervical block for inserting an iucd. I may try it but so far all my patients have been quite happy with the procedure when I do it.

  8. IUD Insertion and removal was incredibly painful for me. We medical providers – we should be giving a complete pain regimen before the procedure to reduce pain for our patients.
    One dose of Torodol
    One dose of Xanax or other relaxant
    I dose of narcotic for pain 1 hour prior to procedure
    Clamping the cervix with a tanaculum is an outdated Instrument a butcher would use in medieval times. We can use a suction or plastic non- piercing instrument.
    It’s time for zero pain in Gynecology.
    It’s 2022.
    No woman should have to put up with pain when we have resources to extinguish pain.


  9. I came across this publication while searching for options in reducing pain for my upcoming IUD replacement. I was one of the patients who experienced excruciating pain, which is part of the reason I’m more than a year overdue for my replacement.

    A friend of mine suggested the IUD and said the only discomfort she felt was the clamp. We both had not had children, so I was excited that it was an option with minimal pain. I had a normal level of anxiety going in and actually felt relieved once I experienced the “discomfort” of the clamp. It was completely tolerable and I thought the rest would be a cake walk. That was until the sound was used. I yelped due to the excruciating pain. My doctor explained that it seems she had to push past some scar tissue and called the nurse closer so I could squeeze her hand as the IUD was placed. I used to have severe menstrual cramping that caused shooting pains and that was nothing compared to what I felt at this appointment. The pain caused cold sweats, nauseousness and extreme cramping. I felt like my body was going into shock and I’m not a stranger to painful procedures.

    I sincerely hope the Nurse Practitioner for my appointment on 7/19 provides some pain management because the IUD is the absolute best birth control method. I wanted to share my experience for any healthcare providers who have not had the unfortunate experience of a patient going through what I did. Please consider pain management so it does not scare anyone away from getting the IUD.

  10. Not a doctor but a patient. Most women will try not to make a big deal about the pain because we’re not supposed to. Just because your patients aren’t screaming don’t underestimate the amount of pain they are going through. Instead give them an option to choose a sedative or whatever you can give for the pain. I haven’t met one women yet who said it didn’t hurt or was east. Not just the procedure, but hours after as well. Your going inside a woman’s body and busting through her cervix for crying out loud. Not painful?

  11. Not a doctor, only a medical student who is well-versed in IUD insertion/removal.
    For background:
    – First insertion/removal – under sedation, no complications, removed by specialist ob/gyn.
    – Second and third insertion/removal – paracetamol/ibuprofen and cervical block – problems with the second insertion ongoing profuse bleeding for 6 weeks however this was fitted 3 months postnatally and resolved eventually
    – Fourth insertion – the ob/gyn who delivered my baby convinced me to have insertion without any pain relief. It was incredibly painful and traumatizing. I screamed, became lightheaded, almost fainted, and was instantly nauseous. I had attended the appointment alone and drove myself home in pain and shock (literally not sure how).

    I am currently trying to get it removed due to ongoing complications since its insertion 8 months ago, but I will not return to the original ob/gyn because I am so frightened and traumatized. I have had two specialists try to remove it in their offices without success because the strings were cut too short and cannot be located. Neither offered pain relief or alternative options when informed of my traumatizing experience. My body starts shaking and I am crippled with anxiety. I believe ALL doctors who perform this procedure should provide pain relief to individuals undergoing IUD insertion AND removal regardless of whether they have a cervix of their own. Pain relief should be a rule, not an exception. Women shouldn’t be expected to just “suck it up” when these procedures can leave long-lasting physiological, emotional, and mental health consequences. If any doctor reads my comments, please discuss pain relief with your patient and adopt the practice this doctor has written about as it should be the gold standard and provides a holistic patient-centered approach.

  12. I recently retired after a 35 year OBGYN practice and spent a solid amount of time overcoming the “male in OBGYN” stigma that men don’t care about pain control. My approach to analgesia during IUD insertion evolved to the success level where probably 65-75% of women (includes nullips & multips) “felt nothing” and the vast remainder stated “I felt a little discomfort.” Of those who had an IUD inserted by previous providers many wanted to know why the previous provider didn’t use “numbing medicine.”
    1.) stop using spinal needles – too expensive. Use a 20 cc syringe with a metal needle extender (reusable) & a 1/2″ 25g. needle. The smaller gauge means less pain.
    2.) inject 3-4 cc of 0.5% or 1% lidocaine at 12 o’clock on the cervix. Use a curved Allis clamp to grasp the cervix. (Less post procedure bleeding than a single tooth tenaculum.) DO NOT skip the anesthesia before this. If you do it WILL hurt, a lot.
    3.) place a PC block but save 3-5 cc of lidocaine in the syringe.
    4.) remove the metal needle extender from the syringe & attach an IUI catheter (best) or EMBx catheter (not a pipelle, it doesn’t have a Luer lock tip) & pass that through the cervix & slowly inject the remainder of the lidocaine into the endometrial cavity. This part of the procedure was my eureka moment and it made a huge difference in analgesia compared to a PC block alone.
    5.) remove the catheter and get your IUD set. If you can give the intrauterine lidocaine a few moments to work you’ll get better results. Then sound the uterus and place the IUD.
    6.) if you have a multip reverse steps #3 & 4. That gives the intrauterine lidocaine more time to work.
    7.) you may need to dilate the cervix because you can’t pass the catheter in a nullip. ONLY dilate the cervix and then inject the intrauterine lidocaine and then sound the uterus. Don’t use the cervical dilation step to sound the uterus – it hurts, as other commenters have noted.

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