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Difficult access to medicine | Women remove their IUDs themselves

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For women who want to have their IUD removed, it’s the cross and the banner. Access to doctors, especially in Montreal, is so difficult that women have begun to obtain it themselves, sometimes with the help of tutorials offered on the Internet.

In September, Maude Plourde-Desjardins went to see her doctor because she no longer wanted her IUD. Because of stomach pains, but also because she is more and more concerned about everything related to her health.

Her doctor, she said, flatly refused. Because his idea of ​​relying on condoms as a means of contraception was not wise, in his opinion. So she left him his IUD and gave him a prescription for painkillers.

In the doctor’s office, we have to argue to do what we want with our body!

Maude Plourde-Desjardins, who removed her IUD herself

Time has passed and a few weeks ago Mr.me Plourde-Desjardins called fifteen clinics and CLSCs in the hope of finding a doctor who would agree to remove his IUD, she continues. And in vain. “None were able to take me on as a patient, either because they don’t offer the only withdrawal service [ils offrent uniquement la pose ou le remplacement], either because this service has been cut due to the COVID-19 situation, or because they only take their patients. »

All she had left, she said, was the option of leaving it to the private sector, which she disagrees with.

So she started researching the internet and found videos of women, especially in the United States and France, removing their IUDs themselves.

A few days ago, she went ahead, which she says was painless.

In Urbania, already in 2018, the journalist Marianne Desautels-Marissal had told her own experience. Long live the copper IUD for its effectiveness in contraception, but she couldn’t stand the cramps and heavy periods that made her fear anemia. She had therefore removed her IUD herself, without difficulty.

A practice not recommended

The DD Martine Bernard, obstetrician-gynecologist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and secretary of the Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Quebec, is well aware of access problems in general, which she deplores. She says she is challenged by the fact that women manage to make their own medicine in a way.

Ignoring the phenomenon of tutorials circulating on the web, she warns women who would be tempted to do this at home, with the means at hand.

It worries me, if only because it’s not super sterile.

The DD Martine Bernard, obstetrician-gynecologist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital

Nurse practitioners – found especially in family physician groups – can also remove IUDs. But it is still necessary to have access to such clinics.

The DD Bernard believes that doctors who install an IUD must somehow offer after-sales service and also agree to remove it. It is true, she points out, that the condom is not the most effective method of contraception, but once this has been pointed out to a patient, “it’s not [eux] to make a decision for him”.

A “maternalistic or paternalistic” approach to patients is not necessary.

At the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Marjorie Larouche, of the public affairs department, points out that the Ministry does not recommend the removal of an IUD by oneself either. “The risk of injury is significant,” she says.

Mme Larouche explains that requests for specialized services in gynecology related to contraception “have indeed been affected by the pandemic”. Delays have been accumulated in handling requests for consultation in specialized services, in all sectors.

“The gynecology teams are working to recover from the delays, in collaboration with professional associations and the entire health network. »

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