An Ohio mother who underwent an x-ray after a back injury was shocked to discover that the scanner had detected an intrauterine birth control device (IUD) floating in her abdomen that her doctor reportedly claimed to be fell out more than ten years ago. Melinda Nichols, who had opted for an IUD in 2007 after giving birth to her youngest child, told the New York Post that her follow-up appointment after her placement meant that her doctor could not find him.
"He fell," says Nichols, now 40, whom the doctor told him.
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When she asked if she would have seen him fall, she claimed that the doctor had assured her that this sometimes happened without the patients noticing it.
IUDs are a T-shaped device that a health care provider places in a woman's uterus and remains a popular birth control option for patients in the United States. A potential complication for patients who choose an IUD is their expulsion as the device moves from its desired position to the top. of the uterus. According to the Comprehensive Women's Center, this occurs in 2 to 3% of women using an IUD and can cause cramps.
Perforation is another rare complication, in which the IUD penetrates through or into the muscle of the uterus and occurs in 1-2 insertions. In a small percentage of cases, the device can cross the uterine wall and migrate to the pelvis, abdominal cavity, gastrointestinal tract and bladder, requiring surgical removal.
But Nichols says her doctor convinced her she just broke down. Rather than opt for a second IUD, Nichols underwent tubal ligation, commonly known as tubal ligation. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the procedure is a permanent birth control that blocks or cuts the fallopian tubes. Women who undergo the procedure will still undergo menstruation, but this prevents the egg from getting from the fallopian tube to the uterus.
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Nichols said in the mail that during the next decade she had felt intermittent pain at the side, but never anything serious enough to require a visit to the doctor.
But in November, she had another x-ray for her injury and made the shocking discovery that the device was floating in her abdominal cavity.
"I had no idea," she told The Post. "It was in me for almost 11 years."
She said she hoped her shocking discovery would affect women and help them push their doctors to look for answers.
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"Make sure if you have something like that you're checking out," she said in the mail. "If they say it's fallen, make sure they know it's fallen."
Nichols posted the photo of her X-ray on Facebook, where she was shared an additional 51,000 times and received more than 4,400 reactions.