Lately, there have been many medical malpractice cases where doctors have been accused of overestimating the pain tolerance of their patients. Sadly, a current issue with intrauterine devices (IUDs) is yet another example of healthcare providers who failed to take the concerns of their patients seriously. IUDs are small devices placed inside a woman’s uterus to prevent unplanned pregnancy.
IUDs are the most common form of birth control. They can also inflict indescribable amounts of pain on some of their users. While some OB/GYNs warn their patients that the procedure of inserting an IUD may be uncomfortable, The Lily reports some patients are experiencing significant amounts of pain that go far beyond regular discomfort.
What are IUDs?
Over the past three decades, many women have gravitated towards the use of IUDs for birth control. From the early 1990s to today, the percentage of women between the ages of 15 and 44 who used the contraceptive device went from 1.5 percent to 14 percent. In the early 1970s, women who used the early model of the IUD experienced adverse issues such as incorrect placement, IUD failure, infections, and unwanted pregnancy.
As a result, these contraceptive devices were widely rejected until a resurgence in the 1990s. The first version of the IUD device was called the Dalkon Shield.
What is the Dalkon Shield?
Before the introduction of today’s T-shape design, the previous model for the IUD was known as the Dalkon Shield. It resembled a beetle, and the device had nobs sticking out on both sides. The odd shape of the design and the numerous safety issues women who used the device experienced led to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare issuing a massive product recall for the device. This massive product recall led to the decline of IUD use until the 1990s when the T-shape design was introduced to the market.
How do today’s IUDs work?
T-shaped IUDs are the current models used by most women today. This plastic device is the size of a quarter and is placed inside the uterus for three to 12 years. Unlike the previous model, this device has a 99 percent effective rate of preventing pregnancy and is reversible. Some IUDs prevent pregnancy by altering the direction in which the sperm cells are traveling so the cells can’t reach the egg; other devices use elements such as copper to prevent the sperm cells from reaching the egg. The biggest advantage of the T-shaped IUD is that when a woman decides to get pregnant, the effects are reversible. The device can be removed at any time by a medical professional and once the device is removed, a woman is able to become pregnant.
Is IUD insertion supposed to be painful?
Although there has been improvement with recent models of IUDs, patients still experience issues with the devices. Many women who use IUDs are experiencing extreme amounts of pain during the insertion process. While many OB/GYNs warn their patients that the insertion procedure for an IUD may be uncomfortable, some women experience adverse symptoms after the device has been inserted, such as irregular cramping. According to several medical professionals, the pain from insertion is not supposed to be long-lasting. Should the pain continue for more than a few days, patients are advised to reach out and notify their doctors.
Pain tolerance and IUDs
The Lily, part of the Washington Post, recently asked patients to share their experiences with the IUD devices. From the 130 respondents, they discovered a majority of women encountered some type of pain while using the IUD, either during the insertion process or afterward. The severity of pain varied from mild forms of cramping to being bedridden for days and experiencing symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. One woman compared the severe pain she felt after the IUD was inserted to breaking her arm.
Medical malpractice and IUDs
Another commonality between many of the women in the study was the feeling of being ignored by their healthcare providers who did not take their pain seriously. One woman in particular shared her experience of being in pain so intense that she had to take two days off from work because she was unable to move.
When she expressed how much pain she was in to her OB/GYN, she was not taken seriously and was advised to come back in a couple of weeks. Five months later, the doctor was unable to locate the IUD on an ultrasound, and it was discovered that the IUD had perforated the woman’s uterus. As a result, the woman had to undergo laparoscopic surgery.
Have you endured excruciating pain when using an IUD for birth control? You might have a case for Maryland medical malpractice or potential product liability. Call the injury attorneys at Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA at 410-730-7737, or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation today. We have offices throughout Maryland.