New partner = New IUD?

Originally Published: February 6, 2004
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Dear Alice,

I recently had an IUD inserted. I'm not currently having sex, but wanted to be prepared as I am seeing someone who I may become sexually involved with.

My concern is I was told the IUD would need to be removed if I had sex with a partner and then changed partners later. This IUD is a 5-year IUD and the cost was quite a bit. If I have sex now and then stop for a year (or any period of time) and was to become sexually involved again with another partner, why would it need to be removed? If STDs are not an issue, does it still need to be removed?

Dear Reader,

The short answer to your question is, no, you do not need a new IUD if you switch partners. Since the IUD, or intrauterine device, releases hormones or ions into the vagina and has no effect on nor is affected by the other guest at the party, a change of partners doesn't require a change of devices. A refitting might be in order if your vagina significantly changes shape, but that will be more an issue of comfort than chemistry.

It's possible that you heard from a health care provider that an IUD is not intended for women who have multiple partners. The reason for this is not what the IUD does, but rather what it doesn't do. The IUD has proven effective at preventing pregnancy, but is powerless against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Because of this, providers tend to recommend this method to women who are married or involved in monogamous relationships.

You say that STIs are not an issue. Hopefully this means you are either using condoms in addition to the IUD or making a point to have you and your partner tested for STIs prior to having sex. If these are not the case, you might reconsider whether or not the IUD is your best choice for contraception and safer sex.

For more detailed information about the IUD and other contraceptive options, check out the Related Q&As below.

Alice