Is Cramping after IUI Normal?
At Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, PC, our doctors provide IUI, or intrauterine insemination, treatments to help those who have struggled to conceive increase their chances of pregnancy.
IUI is often recommended before in vitro fertilization (IVF) because it is less invasive and less expensive. IUI also has less side effects than other fertility treatments but patients should be aware that some cramping after treatment may occur. With this in mind, let’s take a moment to consider if cramping after IUI is normal for our Omaha, NE, patients.
What Is IUI?
IUI is a form of artificial insemination. IUI is performed by placing sperm directly into the uterus at the time of ovulation. Before placing the sperm in the uterus, it is washed and concentrated.
The concentrated sperm is placed into the uterus during ovulation to help increase the chances of sperm reaching the egg and resulting in pregnancy for our Omaha patients.
Cramping Can Be Normal
Cramping after IUI is normal although not everyone experiences cramping after the procedure. Usually cramping is mild but some people may experience severe cramps. In most cases, cramping resolves on its own and within a few days.
It should also be noted that in some cases, cramping after IUI are actually menstrual cramps and may indicate that menstruation is about to begin.
What Causes Cramping after IUI?
There are several possible causes for cramping after IUI. Some possible causes include:
- Uterine irritation: During the IUI procedure, a catheter is inserted into the uterus to deliver sperm to the uterus. Insertion of the catheter sometimes irritates the uterus, which can cause cramping.
- Ovulation: Because IUI is performed during ovulation, some cramps may actually be from ovulation itself.
- Medications to stimulate ovaries: Medications are often given as part of the IUI procedure to stimulate the ovaries to release more eggs during the ovulation to increase the chances of pregnancy. Sometimes the release of extra eggs can cause cramping to be stronger.
- Menstrual cramps: If the IUI procedure doesn’t result in pregnancy, menstrual cramps may occur a few days after IUI, followed by menstruation.
- Implantation: When a fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus, it may cause mild cramping in some women as well as mild spotting.
Alleviating Cramping Pains
Cramping after IUI usually resolves on its own after a few days, but pain can be managed the same way that regular menstrual cramp pain is managed. Some ways to relieve cramps after IUI are as follows:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually recommended after IUI to manage pain.
- Gentle physical activity: Gentle physical activity, like walking, can help relieve mild cramps.
When to See a Doctor
Although most cramping after IUI is normal, there are some circumstances where it may be a sign of a complication, specifically infection, and should be brought to your doctor’s attention. Cramping with fever, heavy vaginal bleeding, or abnormal discharge may be a sign of infection and should be treated immediately.
Of course, if cramping is severe and extremely painful, it should be brought to your doctor’s attention regardless of other symptoms being present.
Contact the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, PC
For more information about IUI or other treatments for infertility, please call our Omaha fertility specialists at (402) 717-4200 or send us a message online.