Woman's Coil That 'Fell Out' Found Lodged In Her Abdomen 11 Years Later
Like any type of contraception, you probably know that the coil or intrauterine device (IUD) isn't 100 per cent effective or safe. But, what you probably didn't realise is that, as well as something 'minor' like falling out, that pesky little coil can puncture your uterus and get to the rest of your organs - and that sounds like something you should probably be aware of.
In 2007, Melinda Nichols from Ohio in the US, decided she'd completed her brood and it was time to stop having babies.
She'd already tried the pill and contraceptive injection but neither worked for her body.
So, several weeks after giving birth to her youngest son, she opted for an IUD - a semi-permanent form of hormonal birth control and her doctor inserted it.
Two weeks later she had a routine appointment for an X-ray to make sure the IUD was in the right place.
But mysteriously, there was no IUD there at all. So the doctor explained that it had simply fallen out.
When Melinda asked if she should have noticed something like that happening, they assured her it was normal and she should book an appointment to get another one fitted.
She opted to not take any risks and get her tubes tied instead.
A decade later, Melinda, who had not fallen pregnant in the meantime, was now 40.
She was at work when she felt as if she'd strained a muscle in her back.
When she went to her doctor they took an abdominal X-ray as a precaution. When to her surprise as he reviewed the black and white images he said:
"You need to call your OB, your IUD is in a weird spot."
Her X-ray revealed that the implant had apparently punctured through the cervix and migrated up and into the abdominal cavity.
She was flabbergasted. "I had no clue," Michelle told The New York Post. "It was in me for almost 11 years."
Maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine & NewYork-Presbyterian, Dr. Stephen Chasen, told the newspaper that IUD "migration" happens due to "perforation" of the uterine wall.
This can occur when it's inserted if the doctor or nurse are inexperienced or, over time, can "erode" through the wall of the uterus and end up floating in the abdomen.
This happens to about one in every 1,000 women who are fitted with IUDs.
He explained to The New York Post: "For the cases of IUDs gradually eroding out of the uterus, it is not clear why it happens or whether or not it can be prevented."
Dr. Stephen says the biggest risk of a displaced IUD is an unintended pregnancy.
But in rare cases, women like Melinda can experience mystery abdominal pain, severe cramping, spotting in-between periods and normal to heavy periods (a hormonal IUD should make them much lighter or halt them altogether).
"I would get this weird pain in my side," she confessed, but didn't think much of it at the time. "You don't go to the doctor just because you have a weird pain every once in a while."
Last month, she had her IUD removed via keyhole surgery, but doctors had to use the flexible cameras and technology to explore her organs and track down the rogue coil.
If Melinda had not seen a doctor for an apparently unrelated issue, she may have lived with the IUD floating in her body for much longer and doesn't understand why the doctor didn't see the out-of-place implant in her initial follow-up appointment.
Melinda hopes women will read her story and ask their doctors for answers if there's something that doesn't make sense.
"Make sure that if you have something like this that you check it," says Melinda. "If they say it fell out, you make sure they know it fell out!"
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/nitrodelozni_teliska