How long does it take for periods to regulate after IUD removal?

An IUD (intrauterine device) is a highly effective reversible birth control method for women. It’s normal to have changes in your periods while using an IUD. But you may wonder about your period after IUD removalespecially if you want to get pregnant.

Here’s how IUDs work, how they affect your periods, and what to expect after IUD removal.

How Does an IUD Work?

An IUD is a small, plastic T-shaped device that a doctor inserts through your vagina and into your uterus. Insertion is quick and mostly painless, although some people have mild cramping for a short time afterward. IUDs are very effective, preventing pregnancy about 99% of the time.

There are two different types of IUDs:

  • Hormonal IUDs.
  • The copper IUD.

Hormonal IUDs release small amounts of hormones for three to eight years. They work by thickening the mucus in your cervix, making it unfriendly to sperm. The sperm then can’t move well enough to fertilize an egg.

Hormonal IUDs also thin the lining of your uterus that sheds during your period each month. That’s why many women have lighter periods when they’re using a hormonal IUD — and why some don’t get their periods at all.

The copper IUD doesn’t have hormones. Instead, copper ions repel sperm, preventing them from reaching an egg to fertilize. This type of IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years.

A copper IUD might cause heavier bleeding or more painful periods initially. Your periods should return to normal after the first few months. But there is a potential these side effects can last.

Unlike other long-lasting forms of birth control, like the pill or an implant, IUDs usually do not affect ovulation. When you ovulate, you release an egg each month. That usually still happens with an IUD, but sperm can’t fertilize your egg.

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What to Expect After IUD Removal

Both types of IUDs are reversible, making them a good choice if you want to get pregnant. A health care provider can remove your IUD quickly.

To remove your IUD, your provider pulls the threads attached to the bottom of the IUD. The arms of the device fold up, and it slips out of your cervix through your vagina.

You might have cramps for a few minutes during removal or spotting for a few days afterward. Call your health care provider if you have severe pain, heavy bleeding, or a fever.

Once your doctor removes your IUD, your body and fertility quickly return to how they were before. Because IUDs usually do not stop ovulation, you can potentially get pregnant right away. If you’re worried about pregnancy, it’s essential to use a backup form of birth control.

Your Period After IUD Removal

After hormonal IUD removal, your periods might take a few months to return to normal. That’s because the hormones make the lining of your uterus thinner, so it takes time to build up.

There’s a chance you can get your period within the first month after having a hormonal IUD removed. But it’s not unusual for at least three months to pass before you get a period. And often, it takes a few more months for periods to become regular.

A copper IUD doesn’t affect your uterine lining and usually doesn’t lighten or stop your periods. If your periods were heavier with the copper IUD, they should return to normal afterward. As with a hormonal IUD, it may take a few months to settle into regular periods.

You should call your doctor if it’s been more than six months with no period after IUD removal. They can check for any hormone problems or underlying reasons for no period. Keep in mind that you can ovulate but not get a period, so they’ll also check if you’re pregnant.

IUD Removal and Pregnancy

One benefit of an IUD is that when you’re ready for a baby, you usually don’t have to wait for ovulation to restart. That differs from other types of hormonal birth control, like the pill or birth control shot. With these, it can take at least three months for your hormones to reset and ovulation to restart.

Fertility usually returns immediately after the removal of any type of IUD. But your ability to get pregnant depends on many factors, including your age, health, and when you ovulate.

If you’ve had an IUD for many years, you might have a harder time getting pregnant because you’re older. In your 20s and early 30s, you have a 25% chance of getting pregnant each month. By the time you turn 40, your chances of conceiving drop to about 10% during each cycle.

And if you’ve developed any health problems, like diabetes, or gained significant weight since starting an IUD, that might also affect fertility. These might cause irregular cycles, making it harder to time intercourse with ovulation.

Tracking ovulation after IUD removal

Chances are, you are ovulating after your IUD removal. If you’re having irregular periods or no periods, natural family planning methods might tell you when you’re ovulating. These include:

  • Checking your basal body temperature. If you track your temperature first thing in the morning before getting out of bed, you’ll notice a slight change each month. It drops about half a degree just before you ovulate and spikes about one degree right after you ovulate.
  • Checking your cervical mucus. As ovulation approaches, your cervical mucus becomes more plentiful, thin, and slippery, like egg whites.
  • Using an ovulation predictor kit. These work like at-home pregnancy tests. But they check urine for luteinizing hormone (LH), the hormone that triggers ovulation.

Whether you’re hoping for a baby or not, it’s wise to talk to your doctor when having your IUD removed. They can tell you more about what to expect after IUD removal, including when your periods will regulate and what to do if they don’t.

Your health care provider can also help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy if that’s a goal. And they can advise you on other safe birth control methods if you want to avoid pregnancy.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC): Intrauterine Device (IUD) and Implant. LINK

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Having a Baby After Age 35: How Aging Affects Fertility and Pregnancy. LINK

American Pregnancy Association. How to Track Ovulation With Irregular Periods. LINK

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