Tanai Smith, 25, of Baltimore, Md, recently lost her ovaries, uterus, and toes after her IUD forced its way up into her stomach and migrated over to her liver.
In 2014, just six weeks after her daughter’s birth, Smith was offered birth control that would work for five years. However, at an annual check-up with a new gynecologist in October 2017, she learned that there was a potential problem: the gynecologist couldn’t find the IUD.
And after sending her for two ultrasounds, they still couldn’t find it.
Other women have had issues with IUD’s as well:
At the beginning of November, Smith began having sharp pains in the bottom right side of her stomach and the first thing that popped into her head was, “Could that be the IUD?” When the pain worsened she went to the emergency room and that’s when an X-ray showed that the IUD had wound up in her stomach.
“I went and talked to my OB-GYN, told him everything that was going on and even showed him the X-ray picture that they allowed me to take. So he said I have to get surgery. So I asked him how would they have to get it out and he told me they would cut me right under my belly button and use a scope.”1
Smith says that when she woke up from the procedure, she had been cut three times. Doctors would eventually tell her that the IUD had broken into pieces with part traveling to her liver.
Even though she was bleeding the hospital released her but she was rushed back overnight. She went into septic shock, her organs began to fail, and she was placed on a ventilator which caused her to be in the ICU for a few weeks. (Doctors think that either her IUD was put in too soon after childbirth and the healing of her uterus pushed it up or that the tightening of her muscles during menstruation forced the device upward.)
“At the end of my third week in the hospital, sensation returned to my hands while my toes began to blacken from necrosis, tissue death due to loss of blood flow. On February 2, almost two months after my first surgery, I was finally discharged with a prognosis that hung over me for months: When I felt ready, I’d need to return for the removal of all toes on my left foot and the tips of my right toes.”2
In May, Smith had her toes removed but still hasn’t been able to return to school or her jobs. On her GoFundMe page she wrote, “Sometimes things happen in your life and you don’t know why. You question yourself why me or what did I do to deserve this? But what you should be asking is what can I learn from it. I’m finally coming out to tell my story because I feel like I can help someone.”3
As always, if you are able to help and feel led to do so, please do.