UTIs are common in the adult population and far more common in men than women. Due to this, you may be curious about the different causes of a UTI.
In this article, we’ll discuss whether an IUD can cause a UTI. We will also explore whether IUDs can cause other issues.
Table of Contents
- What Is an IUD?
- What Are UTIs?
- Can an IUD Cause a UTI?
- Can IUDs Cause Other Infections?
- Are IUDs Safe?
- How to Prevent UTIs?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Is an IUD?
An intrauterine device (IDU) is one of the many forms of birth control available to women today. The IUD is a t-shaped device that is made of plastic. It is inserted directly into the uterus of a woman and regularly releases controlled levels of copper to prevent pregnancy.
The copper ensures that the sperm is not able to fertilize the egg. It also makes the process of implanting a fertilized egg into the womb far more difficult. An IUD may also be coated with progestin. A device like this provides a similar impact by thickening the cervical music and thinking the lining of the uterine.
IUDs are a recommended form of birth control because they are considered to be 99% effective. This means that out of 100 women who use an IUD less than one will get pregnant per year. As with any form of birth control, a small risk of pregnancy does remain. However, generally speaking, they are highly effective. IUDs are also becoming more popular. A CDC study found that the usage of IUDs had increased from 2% to 14% between 2002 and 2017.
That said IUDs are not without their issues. They can cause problems with uterine bleeding as well as pain. This may lead some women to have them removed early.
What Are UTIs?
A UTI or urinary tract infection is a type of bacterial infection that can affect any area of the urinary tract. Typically, the infection will enter through the urethra before affecting various other areas such as the kidneys and the bladder.
UTIs are incredibly common. Indeed, 1 in 5 women will experience a UTI at some point in their life. Women are more likely to experience a UTI compared to men and they become more likely as they get older. Once you have been infected with a UTI, it is also common for the infection to recur.
Can an IUD Cause a UTI?
Various research has explored the link between getting an IUD and the development of a UTI. These studies have provided evidence that getting an IUD implant will not directly result in a UTI.
That said, getting an IUD could make an existing UTI worse due to the bacteria that may be present on the device. Research as late as 2021 has also concluded that more studies need to be done to explore the association of a UTI with an IUD, taking into account any known or identifiable covariates.
Despite this, there is no significant evidence to suggest a causal link.
Can IUDs Cause Other Infections?
Getting an IUD can increase the chances of a woman developing other types of infections, albeit only slightly.
For instance, studies have found evidence that an IUD may increase the chances of a disease such as pelvic inflammatory disease. This infection can impact areas of the body including the:
- Fallopian tubes
If you develop PID after the insertion of a UTI then you are likely to start noticing symptoms within the first 20 days.
Other studies have explored the causation between IUDs and bacterial vaginosis. The research investigating this link is inconclusive.
Are IUDs Safe?
Despite their increased popularity, there is still a considerable amount of skepticism and weariness concerning the use of IUDs. This could be due to highly documented past cases of IUDs that have been deemed unsafe and may have even led to the death of a number of individuals who used them.
One example of a device like this is the Dalkon Shield. Studies have suggested that the Dalkon Shield is functionally and structurally different compared to other IUDs available. Due to this, it could lead to pathogenic bacteria spreading to the uterine cavity, causing side effects such as sepsis.
Today, the IUDs available on the market are considered safe. Although, there is still the chance of perforation and the side effects that we mentioned earlier in this article.
How to Prevent UTIs?
There are numerous steps that you can take to prevent UTIs and ensure that your chances of developing an infection like this are reduced. For instance, it’s important to ensure that you stay hydrated. Various studies have found that increased hydration reduces the chances of a UTI. This is due to the fact that water will act as a natural detox and flush out any bacteria, ideally before it can lead to a UTI.
You should also practice good hygiene before and after sexual activity. However, do be aware that overwashing – particularly in women – can indirectly lead to issues with a UTI. Overwashing may disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina, increasing issues with bacteria.
When to See a Doctor?
It’s important to note that a UTI is not usually a serious medical issue. However, you may develop severe symptoms including blood in the urine and significant abdominal pain. If this is the case and your symptoms are getting worse over time, then you should contact a doctor.
Do note that various symptoms of a UTI are similar to those associated with various common STDs. A doctor will help provide the right diagnosis. If it is a UTI, it can usually be cleared up with a course of antibiotics.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
If you’re concerned about developing a UTI or you’re experiencing symptoms, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. With DrHouse, you can start an on-demand virtual doctors visit any time of day or night.
We can assess your symptoms and provide you with the best possible course of treatment, whether that’s a prescription for antibiotics or something else. Remember, we’re here to help you so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
There’s no evidence to suggest that an IUD can cause a UTI. However, research does provide evidence that an IUD could make an existing UTI worse due to bacteria present on the device.
While IUDs do not cause UTIs they have been associated with other issues including another type of infection known as PID.
However, IUDs are still considered a safe form of birth control and one of the most effective options for preventing pregnancy on the market.
- Lean K, Nawaz RF, Jawad S, et alReducing urinary tract infections in care homes by improving hydrationBMJ Open Quality 2019;8:e000563. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1136/bmjoq-2018-000563
- Tatum HJ, Schmidt FH, Phillips D, McCarty M, O’Leary WM. The Dalkon Shield Controversy: Structural and Bacteriological Studies of IUD Tails. JAMA. 1975;231(7):711–717. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1001/jama.1975.03240190015009
- Madden T, Grentzer JM, Secura GM, Allsworth JE, Peipert JF. Risk of bacterial vaginosis in users of the intrauterine device: a longitudinal study. Sex Transm Dis. 2012;39(3):217-222. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31823e68fe
- IUD Side Effects. WebMD. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/iud-side-effects
- Lo, CT, Abraham, A, Lipworth, L, Aronoff, DM. Intrauterine devices as an exposure risk for urinary tract infections: A scoping review. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2021; 86:e13476. https://doi.org/10.1111/aji.13476
- David Hubacher, Pai-Lien Chen, Sola Park, Side effects from the copper IUD: do they decrease over time? Contraception, Volume 79, Issue 5, 2009, Pages 356-362, ISSN 0010-7824, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2008.11.012 .
- National Health Statistics Reports. 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr104.pdf