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Intra-uterine device

An intra-uterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped birth control device which is usually made of plastic and wrapped with copper or hormones. This device is inserted into the women’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. A plastic string is tied to the end of the IUD that hangs down the vagina through the cervix. One can check if the IUD is in place by feeling this string. This string is also used by the doctors to remove the IUD.

TYPES OD IUDs:

There are 2 types of IUDs that are usually preferred. They are:

  • ¨ Hormonal IUD
  • ¨ Copper IUD

The hormonal IUD releases a form of progestin hormone called as levonorgestrel. This type of IUD is found to be the most effective form of contraception than the copper IUDs. They can prevent pregnancy for 3 to 5 years.

The copper IUD is the most commonly used IUD. A copper wire is wound around the stem of the T-shaped device. This can prevent pregnancy for 10 years.

Insertion & working of IUDs:

The insertion of IUD into the uterus is done with help of a specialized doctor. An IUD can be inserted anytime into a women’s body provided she is not pregnant or have a pelvic infection. The insertion procedure takes only a few minutes and sometimes an anesthetic may be given in the area around the cervix.

The main function of the IUD is to prevent the fertilization of the egg by killing or damaging the sperms. The hormonal IUD prevents the fertilization of the egg by killing or damaging the sperms. It makes the mucus in the cervix thick and sticky so that the sperm can’t get through the uterus. It also weakens the uterine lining so that it becomes a poor place for the fertilized egg to implant and grow. The hormone in this IUD also reduces the menstrual cramping and bleeding.

Copper is toxic to the sperm. The copper enables the fallopian tube and uterus to produce a fluid that consists of copper ions, enzymes, white blood cells and prostaglandins that kill the sperms.

What to expect after the treatment and follow-up procedure:

One may experience mild cramping or bleeding after the insertion of IUD. You are not expected to have sex within 24 hours of insertion. You should have a follow-up with your doctor after 4 to 6 weeks of the insertion. Ensure to check the string of the IUD after every period. To do this, insert your finger into the vagina and feel for the plastic string coming out of the cervix. If you cannot feel the string then it doesn’t mean that your IUD has expelled. Sometimes it is difficult to feel the string. There are chances that the string has been pulled up by the cervical canal.

When can it be done?

Women can undergo an IUD if she fits into one of the below categories;

  • Do not have a pelvic infection at the time of insertion
  • If a woman is breastfeeding
  • If she is not prone to sexually transmitted diseases
  • If she do not want to use birth control pills
  • If she prefers a long-acting method of birth control

Advantages of IUDs:

The advantages of IUDs include:

  • ¨ It is cost-efficient
  • ¨ Less time-consuming method of contraception
  • ¨ Lowers risk of ectopic pregnancy
  • ¨ Reduces menstrual bleeding and cramps by 90%
  • ¨ It may prevent endometrial cancer
  • ¨ Do not cause weight gain

RISKS FACTORS:

Menstrual problems: the hormonal IUD reduces menstrual cramps and bleeding whereas the copper IUD increases menstrual cramps and bleeding. Some may also experience spotting between the periods.

Perforation: one out of 1000 women will strike in perforation. It almost occurs during insertion. The IUD should be removed if the uterus perforate.

Expulsion: about 1 out of 100 women may experience expulsion. The IUD may be expelled out of the vagina.

Disadvantages of IUDs:

  • The hormonal IUD may give rise to non-cancerous growth such as ovarian cysts.
  • It may cause hormonal side effects as that caused by oral contraception.
  • The side effects include breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches, and acne.

You can chat with a gynaecologist online about the different contraceptive methods available at freedoctorhelpline.

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