IUD stands for Intra-Uterine Device, and it is a tiny device put inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy, it is one of the most effective birth control methods out there. There are 2 types of IUD, copper and hormonal.
In the US there are 5 different brands approved by the FDA. For copper there is Paragard, and for hormones, there are Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla.
So how do they work?
Also known as non-hormonal, the Copper IUD is a T-shaped plastic frame with copper wire coiled around it that is inserted into the uterus. This IUD helps prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years after insertion, thanks to its wire that produces an inflammatory reaction toxic to sperm and eggs.
The copper IUD can stay in place for up to 12 years, it can be removed at any time, even be used while breastfeeding, and doesn't carry hormonal side effect risks like blood clots.
When not to use:
if you suffer from a pelvic inflammatory disease, have uterine or cervical cancer, have too much copper accumulate in your liver.
Some side effects of the Copper IUD include bleeding between periods, cramps, severe menstrual pain, and heavy bleeding.
It's great as an emergency contraceptive:
The Copper IUD is highly effective as an emergency contraceptive as long as it is put within 120 hours (before 5 days) after unprotected sex. According to Planned Parenthood, it is more than 99% effective.
Isn't having copper up there bad for my health?
While it is improbable, it's still necessary to note that few women may experience copper toxicity. If you experience nausea, fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or any other adverse effects, you may be undergoing copper poisoning. In this case, make sure to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Hormonal IUDs use progestin to prevent pregnancies. Progesterone is a hormone linked to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, progestin is an artificial form of progesterone. It helps thicken the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg and thinning the lining of the uterus, and partially suppressing ovulation. Depending on the brand, they can work from 3 up to 7 years.
It can decrease severe menstrual pain, the risk of pelvic infections, and the risk for endometrial cancer. Because of these benefits, the hormonal IUD is often prescribed to women with heavy bleeding, endometriosis, anemia, fibroids, and more.
How it is placed:
To make sure you are eligible for an IUD you need to talk to your OB-GYN first. You may not be eligible if you have had breast cancer, liver disease, uterine or cervical cancer before, amongst other complications. You may have to take a pregnancy test, a screening for STI's as well as a pelvic exam.
It can be inserted at any time during your cycle. Your healthcare provider will insert a speculum into your vagina and clean it with an antiseptic solution, then it will place the T into an applicator tube to help place it right into the uterus when the applicator is removed, the IUD will stay in place.
Can you still have sex?
You shouldn't feel an IUD during sex. If you have penetrative sex, your partner may or may not feel the IUD string, if the string actually bothers your partner, you can ask your healthcare professional to trim it more.
Your partner can even finish inside the vagina since the IUD prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg.
You still need to use condoms:
While the risk of getting pregnant with an IUD is extremely low, it won't protect you from sexually transmitted infections; only a condom will.
If you're not all too convinced on the IUD as a contraceptive, remember there are many options out there for you to choose from. Make sure to check out our other blog posts for more information