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Do I Need to Have My IUD Removed if I Switch Sexual Partners?


Updated June 16, 2014

Do I Need to Have My IUD Removed if I Switch Sexual Partners?


© 2007 Dawn Stacey
Question: Do I Need to Have My IUD Removed if I Switch Sexual Partners?
The IUD contraceptive is a small, T-shaped flexible plastic device that is inserted into the uterus. The Mirena IUD continuously releases a small amount of progestin and is effective for 5 years. The ParaGard IUD (also known as Copper IUD) is the only non-medicated IUD available in the U.S. and can be left in place for up to 10 years. A great hurdle facing IUD use is that many people don’t have all the facts. Some women have been left to believe that they have to have their Mirena IUD or Paragard IUD removed if they switch sexual partners.
Answer: The good news is that IUD removal is not necessary if you switch sexual partners, so you do not have to have another IUD inserted again. Both the Mirena IUD and the ParaGard IUD will continue to work just as effectively regardless to how many sexual partners you have. That being said, many healthcare providers caution that the IUD is not the best birth control method for women who have ever had:
  • PID (pelvic inflammatory disease)
  • Who currently have an untreated pelvic infection
  • Have more than one sexual partner, or a sexual partner who has more than one sexual partner

According to Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Mirena, this IUD contraceptive is appropriate for women who have had at least 1 child, who are in a stable, mutually monogamous relationship, and have no risk or history of ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease. The reasoning behind these cautions has nothing to do with the IUD itself. Though both Mirena IUD and ParaGard IUD have been proven to be very effective at preventing pregnancy, the IUD offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Because of this, healthcare professionals typically recommend IUD birth control to women who are married or involved in a serious monogamous relationship.

In the past, IUD use in younger women (without children) was incorrectly linked to conditions like PID, infertility, and other side effects related to IUD placement. Nowadays, we know that the IUD is a safe and highly effective birth control option for women of all ages, with or without children. But, there is still some concern about an increased risk of PID with IUD use in women without children.

This is because higher rates of STDs (not IUD use) puts a woman more at risk for PID. Women who have not had children tend to be younger and generally have higher rates of STDs (like chlamydia), which can lead to PID. Mirena can actually help protect against PID because it thickens cervical mucus and decreases menstrual flow. BUT, Mirena does not protect against STDs.

If you choose to have multiple sexual partners while using IUD birth control, it is extremely important that you also use condoms for STD protection. It may also be a wise idea to have both you and your partner tested for STDs prior to having sex. You also need to be 100% sure that your partner is not having sex with anybody else.

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