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can't feel my paragard strings!

So, i got my paragard about a month ago. i JUST felt the strings 2 days ago, and last night, while my fiance was touching down there, he noticed he didnt feel any strings. so, then i propped myself up, and tried myself. my cervix is open, and i cant feel a THING. i would think if it was lodged up there, i would feel some sort of discomfort, but, i dont. i dont know if maybe sex pushed it up, or if i randomly LOST my iud? i'm going to try checking again, and calling the doctor after lunch. i'm mildly freaking out, only because i had unprotected sex last night, well, besides the iud that may or may not be there anymore :/ has this ever happened to anyone else? what ended up happening? thank you for any help!


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
ARRRGGHHHH !! These strings will be the death of me!!!

Whether or not u can feel your strings means nothing.. read some of the posts on here, and you'll see that.

My doc told me specifically NOT to check for them, because all it does is cause unnecessary anxiety (i.e. what u are going through right now) because sometimes u will feel 2 strings, sometimes 1, sometimes none, sometimes they will be lower, sometimes they will be higher.
The only medical reason they are there is for removal, NOT to use as a gage as to whether or not u've 'lost' your IUD. It isnt a mitten, it isnt just going to fall out or get sucked up into your body.

Also, if u insist on checking them I would say only check once a month after your period - checking a lot (every couple days) is really unnecessary. I say if u want to check for something, feel for something hard coming out of your cervix (the actual IUD). If that isnt there, you are fine.
My gyno said expelling alone is extremely rare, and expelling without realizing it is even more rare. Don't think about your strings, truly, all it will do is freak you out - it already has!

I say stop checking for the strings, or if u want to check for them, realize it really means nothing. I havent checked up there once for anything, and dont ever intend to - if you just trust it, it is the easiest, most worry free birth control.
Jan. 26th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
i read up on it a bit after i posted this. i didnt really think anything of it, since i am having no cramping or anything. i have read lots of iud nightmares, but decided to get one anyways. I figured i would more than likely feel something like that actually coming OUT of me, lol.

i haven't checked my strings since i got it, but, my fiance usually gets poked by the strings often in certain positions, and last night, he didn't feel anything, so i checked, and they weren't there. My fiance is the one who was all "omg, call the dr" etc, lol.
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
@Footballgirrl I feel your pain. I never worry, I check whenever I feel like it, maybe once a month or two, and if there's no plastic coming out, I'm fiiiiine. If only there were less of these posts every week.
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
If only there were less of these posts every week.

Hear hear. Do you think it would help to have an expanded 'troubleshooting' section in the FAQs to cover this a little more comprehensively, or even have something about strings on the homepage?
Jan. 28th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
couldnt agree more. one more "i cant find my strings" posy.. good lord!
Jan. 26th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
I agree with footballgirrl. Chances are that there is nothing at all wrong if you aren't experiencing heaving cramping or abdominal pain.
Jan. 26th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
this is pretty much what i thought when i was like.. uhhh, i cant feel them! haha. i just wanted 2nd hand opinions, only because i've only had it a month, and my gyno told me to check it monthly, which, well.. i don't do, until my fiance didnt feel anything last night, lol.
Jan. 26th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there isn't really point in checking except at the same time of the month--otherwise the variation that naturally occurs will throw you off.

Jan. 26th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
My strings 'disappeared' at around the 6 month mark or so, and 23ish months later, they're still gone. I just abstained til I could get a gynecologist appointment. My doctor confirmed that my strings weren't present, and said that they like to do ultrasounds in this situation. The purpose of an ultrasound is to be extra-safe and check for two rare possibilities: a., that you expelled without noticing, or b., (super super rare) that your IUD had perforated at the time of insertion and hadn't been noticed at that time. You may want to wait a couple weeks and see if this is just part of your natural variation in cervix position, because your strings may very well come back. If the very unlikely possibility of unnoticed expulsion bothers you, you can use a back-up method while you wait and see if they return. If they don't after 2-3 weeks, you may want to get a doctors appointment for an ultrasound, just to verify everything is still in place. Chances are, your strings will just live in your cervix for either part of your cycle, or permanently, and it won't be any big deal. Personally, I think it's nicer to not have any strings coming out of my cervix, because my partner is no longer poked by them.
Jan. 26th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
it's definitely nicer without the strings! i will definitely wait and see if they come back, since im not cramping, like the thing is lodged in my uterus or anything, lol.
Jan. 26th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
I'd still say it's worth checking with your doctor. My doctor has been working with IUDs for many years and she still encourages people to check their strings, because one of her patients had hers perforate her uterus, but had no pain or symptoms. They dicovered it because her strings were missing. Call your doc and see what they recommend.
Jan. 26th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Perforating your uterus with your IUD any time outside of the insertion is SO RARE i wouldnt make that a reason to be checking for anything. Perforation even during inserion is rare.
The rate of perforation is practically next to none.

I'm sure there are a lot of things that could happen to us in life that would happen that rarely, but we cant worry about them on a daily/monthly basis.
Jan. 26th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
But would it have been better for her to have not known? And have it hanging around, perforated? and with no protection? Lots of things are "rare." HPV causing cervical cancer is "rare"--do you not get pap smears?

Is it worth freaking out over? no. But MOST medical professionals want to know if the strings go missing. I just suggested that she continue to follow up with her doctor, not doctor internet.
Jan. 26th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
Obviously its better to have known, im saying that perforating itself is rare, and not knowing its happened is even MORE rare.

Your example, in my opinion, is not the reason to be checking for strings. Or something to even bring up to someone who was freaking out in the first place. So by your example, anytime anyone cant find these stupid strings should freak out they are perforating? or at the least thing "shit, maybe im like that one chick 10 years ago who didnt feel she had PERFORATED her uterus?"

Also, my gyno told me that recently MOST medical professionals are advising AGAINST checking for strings because of the anxiety it causes, and how little it means 99.999% of the time when u cant find it. He does many many MANY IUD insertions per year, and knows what hes talking about.

And ya, i do get a pap, but it isnt only for HPV.
Jan. 26th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
Let me quote myself: Is it worth freaking out over? no.

I didn't realize telling someone to follow-up with their doctor was such radical advice.
Jan. 27th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
It seems like ur just being difficult for no reason, but..

NO (AS U ALREADY KNOW IM SURE) it was not the fact of checking with a doctor that I thought was radical - im not a moron. It was relating missing strings to an undetected perforation that I had a problem with.
Jan. 27th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
and another thing.. i do actually think its unnecessary (maybe not radical tho) to follow up with a doctor when u cant find your strings, considering they move, disappear, change, etc all the time.
Women would be at the doctor once a month if that was good advice. Adn like another poster said, I dont think most docs want their patients running to them everytime theres a change in their strings.

Checking with a doctor isnt "radical" but it definitely is not necessary at all in this case, especially if there are no other symptoms accompanying the missing strings.
Jan. 27th, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
Generally, I'd agree that it's not necessary to go to the doctor if you can't find your strings. However, the OP can feel her cervical os, and can feel that there are not strings in it.

This is a little different from most of the "can't feel my strings" posts from women who've never learned that their cervixes move around during the normal cycle. The vast majority of those are because the cervix has moved up, the poster does not know what the cervix feels like, and thus, is concerned that their strings have "disappeared"

I've always heard that when strings aren't in the cervix, an ultrasound should be done to confirm placement. If you go to your gyno for a normal checkup and the doc can't find your strings, they'll do an ultrasound. It's unusual, but not completely rare for an IUD to expel without being noticed.
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
Not trying to be difficult honestly, just sharing my opinion. We obviously disagree and I think that it is great the OP can make a decision after reading multiple opinions.
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:25 am (UTC)
Just an FYI, because I think a lot of people think perforation is almost guaranteed to cause pain: perforations are often asymptomatic. I was surprised to read this myself, but it's discussed in medical literature. Again, it's so very rare that it's not worth panicking and paranoia, but I believe the more information you have, the better off you are. And I hope at this point, the OP's concerns have been quelled sufficiently, and that this information won't raise any alarms :)

Out of curiosity, what do paps do beside test for cervical changes? Is there something else I should be finding out when I go for them?
Jan. 26th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
While it is terrifying to hear about a perforated uterus, I have to agree with footballgrrl in that my doctor also adamant about not checking strings. I am not sure that the claim that most medical professionals want to know about missing strings is quite accurate.

Strings disappear for a lot of reasons, and it is beyond rare--almost unheard of--for them to go missing because of a completely asymptomatic perforation. True, it was a good thing that your doctor's patient did find out about the perforation. However, I would also caution anyone about factoring that into the decision to check for strings.

People on this community should always follow up with their doctors if there are questions. That said, one of the biggest obstacles faced by IUD users and advocates is the constant stream of scare-mongering on the internet.

To the OP, I was told, as were many on this community, not to check for strings. As Elkay said, if you do check for strings, do it at the same point in every cycle. Otherwise, it's not going to tell you a whole lot. As polerbere said, it's always worth checking in with your doctor.

For what it is worth, I have checked my strings in the past and they go missing all the time. That's why I took my doctor's advice and stopped checking!
Jan. 26th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
I think there's a big difference between checking for your strings every month after your period, and living in fear of something going wrong. The studies about expulsion rates vary widely, but anywhere from 2% to 10% of IUDs expel. Most women notice expulsion, but some women don't (sometimes cramping isn't present, or they think it's cramping associated with their menstrual cycle). If the small chance of expelling your IUD and not knowing doesn't bother you, then like you say, it's certainly not worth checking. But for other women, an unplanned pregnancy after an expelled IUD would be very problematic. Painless perforations do also (super rarely) happen; and in the extremely unlikely instance that the doctor doing the insertion didn't notice they'd perforated, it's better to find out than not.

I think the fundamental problem with this whole string-checking thing is that many women don't have adequate information about their IUDs. It simply isn't helpful for most people to be told "you have strings now, don't forget to check them!" I'm sure some doctors are more thorough when it comes to counseling their patients, but I wasn't given any information about how long the doctor had cut the strings to begin with, or what range of normal variation to expect. It seems like it would be very easy to tell patients to worry only if they feel an extra 2-3 inches of string or the hard tip of the IUD, and that if the strings are gone, use back-up for a couple weeks until your strings come back or you can get a check-up.
Jan. 26th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
This makes sense to me. Also the comment above about being consistent within your cycle is beneficial.
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
Jan. 27th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
IAWTC 100%, thank you for injecting some sanity into this comment thread.
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
i've had my iud for about 7 months, the first few months i checked my strings, but now i never do. I don't even get a period anymore. I'm not worried about it.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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