Despite the fact that people take contraception for a variety of reasons, the primary purpose of birth control remains the same. People avoid unexpected pregnancies using birth control. Contraception allows women to plan how many children they want to have, as well as the timing of any pregnancies.
Birth control methods work in a number of ways to prevent pregnancy. These include preventing sperm from reaching eggs, stopping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs for fertilization, and permanent birth control methods such as vasectomy and tubal ligation.
It’s been nearly 60 years since the introduction of birth control pills as a contraceptive. Despite this fact, drug companies continue producing new pharmaceuticals and contraceptive devices at a fast pace. Females use the majority of the birth control methods available (excluding condoms and vasectomy). Included in the contraceptives available to consumers is the intrauterine device (IUD).
IUDs have a troubled history and basically disappeared from the U.S. market after several deaths linked to the Dalkon Shield IUD occurred in the 1970s. That particular IUD put women at risk for serious infection. In addition to 10 female users losing their lives, thousands more experienced infertility. The device was unavailable after the FDA took it off the market. The manufacturer went out of business after settlement judgments in excess of $400 million.
IUDs regained popularity in recent years with a new design and marketing which touts them as safe. But how safe are IUDs? How frequently do complications, like IUD perforation, occur? And what are the IUD perforation symptoms?
If you believe you are experiencing IUD perforation symptoms, first go to the hospital. Then, contact the Houston personal injury attorneys at Reich & Binstock. Our extensive experience helps us represent clients across the nation hurt by medical devices such as IUDs.
What is an Intrauterine Device (IUD)?
An intrauterine device is a type of long-lasting contraception inserted directly into the uterus by a doctor. Skyla, Liletta, Kyleena, and Mirena are hormonal IUDs, while Paraguard is a non-hormonal copper IUD. IUDs prevent pregnancy by limiting the movement of sperm by thickening the mucus in the cervix. It’s also believed they thin the uterine lining.
IUDs must be inserted and removed through the cervix by a physician. Surgery is only needed if complications arise. IUDs can last for many years. For example, the Mirena IUD lasts about 5 years and the copper Paraguard is good for 10 years. IUDs usually have a 99.7% effectiveness rate. An added bonus is the lack of user error that exists with other types of birth control.
Common IUD Injuries
Despite the great results, many women experience complications from their IUD. While uncommon, IUDs sometimes get stuck in the uterine wall. It can be hard to remove if this happens.
A more serious complication is perforation. This is when the IUD moves or migrates in the abdominal cavity. It’s possible for the device to embed in the bowel, bladder, or another nearby organ. Abdominal surgery may be the only way to get it out. Adhesions (bands of scar tissue) are also a concern. Future pregnancies are threatened in some cases.
The uterus is the most common site of IUD organ perforations, but once the device fully pushes through the uterus, it can travel to other parts of the body. Some women also suffer damage to the cervix, fallopian tubes, or abdominal organs such as the bladder or intestines in addition to uterine perforation.
Other possible injuries include:
- Serious infection
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID
- Pelvic pain
- Indefinite pelvic pain
In the worst cases, surgical removal of the IUD occurs. Surgical repair of damaged organs and/or a hysterectomy could be necessary. So, what are the IUD perforation symptoms to look out for?
IUD Perforation Symptoms
IUD perforation is the most serious complaint by patients. A perforation causes significant pain and potentially fatal infection.
How does a perforation happen? It can happen when a doctor inserts the device into the uterus. Another way this happens is if the IUD moves around in the body. It can eventually pierce or push through the uterine wall. Symptoms aren’t readily apparent when perforation happens during insertion. It often takes patients weeks or months to realize something is wrong when pelvic pain and cramping begin. On the other hand, IUD perforation symptoms from the device migrating in the body typically occur years after the device was inserted.
There are two types of perforations: partial and complete. A partial perforation occurs when only a part of the device penetrates the uterine wall. A complete perforation is when the entire IUD punctures the uterine wall and migrates outside the uterine area. Complete perforations involve the device moving into a fluid-filled part of the body cavity that’s a barrier between the organs and the abdominal wall.
The two types of perforations often share similar symptoms, though a complete perforation is more serious. When an IUD comes loose or moves from its designated position in the uterus, symptoms commonly include abdominal pain and discomfort, unusual bleeding, and disappearing or shortened IUD strings.
More serious IUD perforation symptoms arise if the device punctures the uterine wall and affects other organs, or if it causes an infection or internal bleeding:
- Severe or sudden pelvic or abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Bruised or swollen abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Fast heart beat
- Irregular periods or uncommonly heavy menstrual cycle
The longer a moving device is untreated, the greater the chance of further difficulties. IUD perforation symptoms, on the other hand, are not always easy to notice because they can be mistaken for other illnesses or go undetected by a doctor. You need the guidance of an experienced Houston defective medical devices attorney if you experience IUD perforation.
How Do You Treat a Perforated IUD?
Patients without IUD perforation symptoms may detect the device’s string is shorter or completely gone. Following a physical examination, X-ray procedures can find the device and an appointment set for its removal.
When a device migrates and punctures the uterine wall, you will likely undergo surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon will remove the IUD, assess the harm, and if necessary, repair tissues. Laparoscopic surgery repairs most IUD perforation damage, but severe conditions need major abdominal surgery.
Some patients need multiple procedures to reduce blood loss, remove the device, and repair damaged tissues and organs. The patient’s fertility is impacted when damage to the reproductive system prohibits future pregnancies. Scar tissue formation in the abdomen causes discomfort or other debilitating problems.
Complications From Uterine Perforation
Uterine perforation is a rare consequence of IUD insertion. It only occurs in every 1,000 procedures. To limit the danger of potentially life-changing complications for women, surgical treatment for uterine perforation is needed right away. Delayed treatment causes several complications. These include scarring or tearing of the uterus, organ perforation, hemorrhage or bleeding, infection or sepsis, miscarriage, and infertility.
What to Do if You Think Your IUD Is Out of Place?
If you think that your IUD is out of place, call your doctor right away. Avoid getting pregnant by using your backup birth control technique if you’re sexually active. If you’re in too much pain, hold off on having sex until you’ve seen your doctor. However, if you’ve recently had intercourse, you may need emergency contraception.
Don’t try to push your IUD back in or remove it yourself. You can seriously hurt yourself or develop an infection if you do so. The IUD can also become less effective.
Contact Reich & Binstock About Your IUD Injuries
Many patients experience IUD perforation symptoms or harm by an IUD. Have you been denied medical care because your IUD isn’t in the right place? Please contact our Houston personal injury lawyers at 713-622-7271 for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options, or fill out the form below. We represent people all around the country with defective medical device injuries from IUDs.
Our law firm helps you get the greatest possible settlement. Our free case examination will determine whether or not you have a strong case. We will not accept any payment until we have obtained a recovery.