When Should You Replace Your IUD?

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June of 2022, demand for all types of birth control methods have increased across the United States (via CNN). While the most common forms of birth control still include contraceptive pills and wearable options like condoms and diaphragms, IUDs are a close third (via Time). 

The popularity of this option is understandable, as IUDs bring many benefits to the table, including a 99% effectiveness rate. Further, medications do not stop them from working, they are safe to use while breastfeeding, and they are fairly low maintenance, as they can be worn for years at a time before needing to be replaced (via Better Health). And unlike some other birth control options, as soon as a copper or hormonal IUD is removed, your chances of getting pregnant go back to normal almost immediately, making it a good option for family planning.

But each type and brand of IUD needs to be changed at different intervals, so make sure you know which kind you have and when you need to head to the doctor for a new one.    

When each IUD needs to be changed

Each different IUD has its own brand name, and your doctor's office will have a record of which one you're using. It's important to change your IUD at the recommended intervals, as possible side effects of leaving it in past its expiration date include lessened effectiveness at preventing pregnancy and possible infection (via Medical News Today). 

If you are using Skyla, you should replace it after three years (via Planned Parenthood). Kyleena can be used for five years, and both Mirena and Liletta should be replaced after eight years. If you are using Paragard, however, it technically does not need to be replaced for twelve years.

Of course, this all assumes that your IUD is working properly, feels comfortable, and is not causing you and type of pain or other issue. Make sure to keep up with your regular OB-GYN check-ups and appointments to ensure all is well, and if you ever feel something isn't right, don't hesitate to reach out to your health care provider.

When to call your doctor for an issue

While we've given you the recommended replacement suggestions for some of the most popular IUD brands, it most certainly doesn't mean you have to keep your IUD in for as long as it is recommended. You may wish to remove it to try for a pregnancy, to use a different form of birth control, or because you are experiencing side effects. All of these reasons are perfectly valid and require a call to your doctor. 

While the insertion of an invasive object like an IUD is likely to cause some cramping and possibly some bleeding after insertion, if you are experiencing any of the following things while wearing an IUD, you should call your doctor or seek emergency care immediately (via Raleigh Gynecology). If you have severe pain either shortly after insertion or at any point while wearing an IUD, you need to see a doctor. If you experience heavy bleeding, that is also abnormal and requires medical attention, as does painful intercourse or a foul-smelling discharge with or without blood. 

You know your body; even if an IUD is new to you, it is better to err on the side of caution and reach out to your provider if you experience anything that concerns you.