There’s a lot of wonderful information out there on IUDs, one of the most effective methods of birth control on the market. Here we answer some questions that are not always part of the typical IUD spiel, but are crucially important (and often asked!) by a lot of people on the Interwebs:
- I have an STI. Can the strings of my IUD transmit STIs to my cervix or uterus, either during insertion or just through regular wear? I don’t want to end up with herpes sores inside my uterus.
Short answer: no.
Long answer: The IUD is sterilized during insertion, and the strings are made of sealed, non-porous material that will not transmit or transfer bacteria/viruses anywhere inside the body. Some of the first IUDs used porous, multifilament strings that did cause internal infections, which is where this idea comes from now, but ever since 1976 modern IUDs have been monitored by the FDA to ensure their strings are sealed.
- Is it true that the IUD increases cervical mucus to the point where it’s really hard to get anything else up in the vaginal canal?
Hormonal IUDs, like other hormonal birth control such as the Pill, can cause your cervical mucus to thicken as an added precaution to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. However, any fluctuations in the viscosity/amount of your cervical mucus should definitely not be large enough to impede your ability to have penetrative sex.
- Is it safe to fist with an IUD? Can the strings from your IUD rip holes in gloves/condoms?
Regarding condoms and gloves: This is not currently thought to be a major concern or occurrence, but in theory, the strings could potentially damage condoms or gloves. We have not seen any data that supports or refutes this, and invite it if any of our readers have seen such studies - but extra precautions should be considered regarding this. It is certainly possible to fist/use large insertable toys safely and getting an IUD doesn’t mean you have to cut these fun activities out of your sex life completely!