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The Doctors are joined on Skype by Tanai, a woman who had a harrowing experience after her IUD migrated into her stomach and then later, her liver. Tanai received her IUD eight weeks after giving birth to her daughter. She initially felt headaches and cramps and returned to her doctor. The doctor told her the IUD string was cut too short so she couldn’t see it but that everything was fine and the side effects will go away. Three years later, that IUD was found to be lodged in her abdomen.
The Doctors share Tanai’s X-ray alongside an X-ray of a normal IUD to show how hers migrated. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains this problem occurred months before Tanai experienced symptoms.
When she went in for the first surgery she was told the IUD was fine and then in a week it traveled from her stomach to her liver. After that, she began to bleed internally and was rushed back to the hospital. During that surgery doctors discovered her uterus, ovaries and cervix were blackened so she had to get a full hysterectomy. She then went into septic shock because the blood flow was shutoff to her main organs. She was administered medicine that brought the blood back but it caused her to lose blood flow to her hands and feet causing her feet to blacken resulting in a loss of part of her foot.
Dr. Travis asks OB/GYN Dr. Millie Behara, who joins The Doctors in the studio, how does something like this happen with an IUD when they are very safe and effective?
Dr. Behara explains IUDs are a good birth control option for some women and they are typically low-maintenance but sometimes do take some. You don’t want the string to interfere with daily function but it should be long enough so that the woman can check for herself. Dr. Behara says she has at times had to go in herself to get the string out or even used a camera to locate it.
Tanai says women should do their research and know what they are putting into their bodies as well as the pros and cons. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon adds that women need to listen to their bodies and if you feel like your concerns aren’t being met, keep looking for another opinion. Dr. Travis adds that if you have a foreign object in your body, you should be able to find it! “Usually if the IUD is going to rupture through the uterine wall or move up in the abdomen it is going to cause some symptoms, some pain, and that’s important to talk to your doctor about,” Dr. Behara concludes.