Implantation of an intrauterine system is painful. Nearly 100% of women who undergo the procedure report feeling pain. Researchers from the Human Reproduction Unit at the University of Campinas School of Medicine recently published a study in the journal Contraception outlining pain and difficulty of insertion among three groups of women – nulligravida (23), vaginal delivery (23) and C-section (28).

Pain scores were based on pain visual analogue scores and difficulty of insertion was reported by the attending physician. The reason for difficulty was noted for each patient. Nearly all of the women reported pain, regardless of the study group, but women who had not previously given birth felt the most pain (6.6). Vaginal delivery (5.9) and C-section (5.2) groups followed in second and third place. As for difficulty at insertion, doctors reported having the most difficulty in women without children followed by C-sections. The vaginal delivery group was the easiest in terms of insertion.

Conclusion: Women who choose IUD birth control are likely to feel pain during insertion. Women with no children may feel the most pain. The pain could be associated with a tighter cervix, as reported by implanting physicians. Despite reports of pain, most women were willing to have the IUD implanted again, if necessary.

Source: Santos AR, Bahamondes MV, Hidalgo MM, Atti A, Bahamondes L, Monteiro I. Pain at insertion of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system in nulligravida and parous women with and without cesarean section. Contraception. 2013 Mar 15. pii: S0010-7824(12)00945-6. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.10.015.