Is My IUD Source of This Odor?

Question

I have had a copper, non hormonal IUD in place for almost three years now. I was married at the time but within the past two years I have had more than one partner. Most females do experience discharge at some point, mine however has a strange smell, it is rather disgusting to me. I have been checked for all STD-s, have been tested to make sure I am not pregnant, however all tests have come back negative. Could the actual IUD be causing an odor? Have you heard of this happening? I have good hygeine, actually now b/c of this issue I am cleaning that area three times a day. I never even had a noticeable odor before. I was thinking maybe b/c I have had different partners that it may be causing something like this to happen. I am not sleeping with anyone currently, and have not for a few months. What should I do? Do you think removal of the IUD is necessary? I am planning on taking it out soon anyway but if it is possible that the IUD is causing an odor I would like to know. I need to resolve this issue. I appreciate you responding to such an awkward (for me) question.  Krystan

Answer

Last Updated: December 12, 2014
Dear Krystan,

A foul-smelling discharge certainly suggests infection or bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is a relatively common cause of a watery smelly discharge that often reminds people of a fishy odor. If you were not checked specifically for that, you should be.

With regards to the IUD, a continuous odor that does not clear with treatment for BV might mean there is an infection due to the IUD. Since you are considering removing it anyway, why not go ahead and have it taken out now?

Another concern about IUDs is that they can cause early abortions. That is, although they can prevent pregnancy by various means, they also can inhibit the implantation of the young human embryo to the wall of the uterus and, perhaps, they can cause dislodging of the human embryo from the wall once he or she has attached.

To many people, this possibility of early abortion is not acceptable. Unfortunately, patients are not always told about this risk when they have an IUD inserted.

George Delgado, MD

Answered By:

George Delgado, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.
George Delgado, MD, President and Founder of Steno Institute and Medical Director of Culture of Life Family Services (COLFS), San Diego, is a Professional Member / Supporter of CANFP. Board certified in both family medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, Dr. Delgado received his medical degree from the University of California, Davis, and completed his residency at Santa Monica Hospital/UCLA. Dr. Delgado is a Natural Family Planning Medical Consultant, trained in NaProTechnology. He and wife have four children and seven grandchildren.

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