A woman on TikTok has gone viral for taking out her own IUD—on camera. TikTok user @Mikkiegallagher shared a video of the upper half of her body during the DIY procedure. "Come along for a little DIY IUD removal," she wrote over top.
The video then segues to @Mikkiegallagher standing outside, holding her IUD in her still-gloved hand. "Catch of the day: Mirena IUD, 2 inches," she wrote. She notes in the caption, "This is NOT medical advice but it only took 2 minutes 😳," and the video has over 178,000 at the time of publishing this post.
People had plenty of questions in the comments, and some questioned if this was even legit. "Bull! Nope they don't leave strings that long," one said. (@Mikkiegallagher's response: "LOL except they did.") "Did it hurt as much as it did getting it put in?" another asked. (@Mikkiegallagher's response: "I did not feel it.")
Others shared their own stories of at-home IUD removals. "I did this after I told my gyno it made me extremely depressed and anxious & needed it out and she told me the soonest I could come in was two months," one person wrote. "Sooo I did this and now my cervix is permanently open more than it should be and I can never get an IUD again," another commenter said.
Others chimed in to warn against removing your own IUD at home. "Please if your IUD is resisting when you pull, do not continue in case it has embedded in your uterus," someone advised.
If you have an IUD, it's understandable to have some questions about whether it's safe to try something like this, perhaps because you don't want to wait for an appointment, or if you don't have health insurance and don't want to pay out-of-pocket. But ob-gyns say this is a really bad idea for more reasons than one.
"Taking out your own IUD is not safe," Jessica Shepherd, MD, an ob-gyn in Texas and founder of Sanctum Med Wellness, tells Health. She says there are a few possible issues that could crop up. "It might not come out intact, and some portion can be left inside the uterus," she says. "The IUD will hopefully come out completely intact, but there are cases where it can break off and you still have pieces in there," Christine Greves, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells Health. "It's rare, but I've seen it."
If you happen to tear something in the process, you could end up with bleeding that needs immediate attention, Dr. Shepherd says. And, she adds, "it can be painful if not done correctly." One more thing to consider, per Dr. Greves: "You could break the string and your IUD could get lodged in your cervix. That hurts so bad."
Ultimately, Dr. Shepherd says, IUD removal "is for a healthcare provider to do." Dr. Greves agrees: "It's really best to see a doctor for this." And, if you don't have health insurance and are concerned about cost, call your local Planned Parenthood to see what options are available to you.
To get more inspiring stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter