Cramping after IUI

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility solution which involves the introduction of the washed sperm into the woman's uterus at the onset of ovulation. In this article, we will find out if it is normal to experience uterine cramping after IUI along with the ways of dealing with uterine cramps
For women who are unable to conceive, despite consistent efforts, fertility solutions such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), certainly give a reason to be hopeful. IUI is a simple fertility treatment that is employed for facilitating conception. Under this procedure, the semen sample from the partner or a donor, is washed and the best quality sperms are deposited into the uterus through a catheter. This procedure must be performed when a woman is ovulating. Delivering the sperm at this time, helps in facilitating the fertilization of the egg and the sperm. Generally artificial insemination method is used in conjunction with drug therapy. Women who have undergone this assisted conception method, often complain about experiencing uterine cramping. In this article, we will find out why such women may be experiencing cramps after this procedure.

What Causes Cramping after Intrauterine Insemination?

Is it normal to experience cramps after undergoing intrauterine insemination? IUI is one of the simplest forms of artificial insemination, and is believed to be less risky. However, a majority of women who have undergone this procedure, experience a few side effects. Cramping is one of the most common side effects that may be experienced during or after IUI. As mentioned earlier, the introduction of sperm into the uterus is timed in such a way that it coincides with the process of ovulation. It is not uncommon for women to experience cramps during ovulation. So, the uterine cramps that one may be experiencing may actually be ovulation cramps, which would soon subside.

As mentioned earlier, the seminal fluid is never directly introduced into the female's womb. The seminal fluid must be treated and the semen sample must score high in terms of sperm count and motility. If the sample is taken from a sperm bank, care must be taken to ensure that the sperm donor is not suffering from any serious disease. There is a need to wash the seminal fluid sample, and separate the unwanted elements from the motile sperm. The sample needs to be washed, and bacteria, pus cells and prostaglandins need to be removed. Prostaglandins are chemicals that induce uterine cramps during menstruation and also bring about uterine contractions during labor. It is therefore, natural for women to experience cramps, if these chemicals are still present in the sperm sample.

While some women may experience mild cramps some may even experience severe uterine cramping after IUI. The discomfort or pain that women may experience may be attributed to the insertion of a surgical instrument called speculum. The purpose of inserting the speculum is to create space for the insertion of the catheter. It is through this small tube that the prepared semen sample is introduced into the uterus. Care must be taken while inserting the catheter into the uterus via cervix. Attempts must be made to prevent injury to cervix. Studies have revealed that cramps that may be caused due to IUI is not really a cause of serious concern, however, doctors must ensure that they take all possible measures while preparing the sample and depositing it into the uterus.

How to Treat Uterine Cramps

Uterine cramps that may occur after intrauterine insemination, doesn't last for a long time and usually resolves on its own. However, doctors may recommend the use of pain relievers for women who are in a lot of discomfort due to severe cramps. If you do experience such symptoms, the wise thing to do would be to comply with the guidelines given by the doctors. One must take rest at least for a few hours after the procedure. One may take painkillers to alleviate pain or discomfort. It would be best to refrain from strenuous activities for sometime. Precautionary measures that are followed by every woman who is trying to conceive, must be followed by women who have undergone artificial insemination. Cramping that one may be experiencing can also be caused due to other reasons. At times, cramps or abdominal discomfort may even result from the use of fertility drugs. Usually fertility drugs such as Clomid or Serophene are prescribed so as to induce ovulation or for promoting the production of eggs. Some women, however, may have an adverse reaction to such drugs and may develop a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Under these circumstances, the ovaries may become extremely sensitive, and swell up. They may even leak fluid into the abdomen. It is therefore, essential to report recurring episodes of pain or any other distressing symptoms.

It is not uncommon for women to suffer from slight spotting and mild cramps, however, it is only in rare cases, that these may actually pose any serious health risks. Mild cramps that occur after the intrauterine insemination are experienced by a majority of the women, and these usually resolves on their own, or may subside with the help of painkillers. However, women who are experiencing severe or persistent uterine cramps, must immediately seek medical assistance. A proper medical checkup can help the doctors determine the underlying cause of cramping, and help them in deciding the best course of action.
By Smita Pandit
Published: 6/2/2011
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