Can I use tampons or menstrual cups if I have an IUD?

Sometimes when you get a coil (IUD) fitted, you’ll be told to avoid using tampons or menstrual cups for a few weeks. This is said to help reduce the chance of getting an infection or having the coil fall out.

But the current research and guidelines from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) show that yes, using a menstrual cup can risk your coil coming out. But it’s no more likely to happen right after the coil is fitted than it is at any other time.

If you want to use a menstrual cup with your coil, check the instructions that came from the manufacturer to see if you need to follow any special considerations.

Always take care not to dislodge or pull on the IUD threads when removing a tampon or menstrual cup. And if your menstrual cup uses suction, make sure you release this before taking the cup out.

At the moment, there’s not enough evidence to know if tampons can increase the chance of your coil coming out. And there’s no clear evidence that using tampons, having sex or using menstrual cups increases your chance of infection in the days and weeks after your IUD fitting.

So we recommend always talking to the person who fits your coil and get their advice on using different period products. Whatever you do, take care and make sure you know how to check the strings of your coil to make sure it’s in place. If anything doesn’t feel right, or you think your IUD has moved, contact your GP or sexual health clinic. Do not try to remove it yourself.

If you see your coil has come out for any reason, remember this means you are not protected against pregnancy. Avoid sex or use condoms or another method of contraception.

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 05 February 2024
Published on: 11 July 2023