TikTok has become a breeding ground for the latest trends and hacks. From viral dances to ingenious life hacks, the platform offers a plethora of content. However, it also has its fair share of alarming trends that can have serious consequences. One such trend is the DIY removal of intrauterine devices (IUDs), and it’s causing doctors to sound the alarm.
A recent viral TikTok video posted by user mikkiegallagher shows her removing her own Mirena IUD using only her gloved hands. The video has garnered millions of views, but health experts are urging women not to try this at home. The reason? Removing an IUD by yourself can lead to severe pain, bleeding, and even uterine prolapse. Only a doctor should perform an IUD removal.
The Rise of TikTok Trends and the Dark Side
TikTok has become synonymous with viral trends, often launching them into the mainstream. Whether it’s a clever popcorn butter hack or a mesmerizing dance routine, the platform has captivated millions. However, with its popularity also comes dangerous trends. The milk crate challenge, dry-scooping pre-workout powder, and now the DIY IUD removal trend have all caught the attention of health experts.
Understanding the IUD and its Popularity
Before delving deeper into the dangers of DIY IUD removal, it’s important to understand what an IUD is. An intrauterine device is a small plastic T-shaped device used for birth control. It is inserted into the uterus by a doctor and remains there to prevent pregnancy. Due to its 99% effectiveness rate, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends IUDs as the first line of contraception. In fact, the use of IUDs has seen a significant increase over the years.
Despite its benefits, the cost of professional IUD removal remains a concern for some women. The procedure can range from $50 to over $1,000 and is often not covered by insurance. This financial burden has led some women to explore DIY methods as a cost-saving measure.
The Danger of DIY IUD Removal
While the intention behind DIY IUD removal is understandable, health experts vehemently discourage it. Attempting to remove an IUD at home can lead to serious complications. If the device is embedded in the uterus, it can cause intense pain, excessive bleeding, or even uterine prolapse. These risks highlight why only a trained medical professional should handle IUD removal.
Dr. Kelly Culwell, a board-certified Ob-Gyn, emphasizes that the primary issue with self-removal attempts is the inability to locate or reach the strings for proper removal. However, in some rare cases, an IUD can become embedded or stuck in the uterus. Removing it without professional assistance can cause significant pain and potential damage to the uterus or cervix.
Even for experienced ob-gyns, IUD removal can be tricky. The device’s strings may curl up into the cervical canal, making them difficult to locate. However, with the use of specialized instruments, doctors can usually retrieve the IUD safely.
The Importance of Professional IUD Removal
So, what does a proper IUD removal entail? It closely mirrors the insertion process. A doctor will perform the procedure, using a speculum to visualize the cervix, then gently clamping onto the IUD strings and removing it. Some patients may experience mild cramping. If desired, a new IUD can be inserted immediately, providing continued protection for years to come.
For women who wish to have their IUDs removed, the safest approach is to consult a doctor. By seeking professional care, you can ensure that the procedure is carried out safely and without unnecessary risks.
As tempting as it may be to try the latest TikTok trend, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. To protect yourself from potential harm and complications, it’s essential to trust the expertise and experience of medical professionals. So, when it comes to IUD removal, leave it to the experts.