IUDs, intrauterine devices are one of the most common and effective birth control methods. IUDs are a long-term form of contraceptive. If you want a hormonal or copper coil fitting, you should understand how the device works.
Below are some vital questions most people ask to helps them understand how IUDs works before they go ahead to fit the device.
What is an IUD?
An IUD is a small device in the form of the letter T. It is also flexible, and when inserted into the uterus by a health care provider, prevents pregnancy for a specific number of years.
There are two main types of IUDs, the hormonal and copper IUD. There are four brands of hormonal IUD, and they include Skylar, Mirena, Kyleena, and Liletta. These IUDs release a synthetic hormone into the female reproductive tract, which helps to prevent pregnancy.
Paragard is the only type of copper IUD, and the copper released is toxic to the sperm. It destroys the sperm, thereby preventing pregnancy. Copper IUDs can serve as an emergency contraceptive. It is best to insert hormonal IUDs within the first seven days of the menstrual cycle, but if you insert it during the other days of your menstrual cycle, it requires seven days before it can be effective.
An IUD can remain in place for years, but you can remove it at any time if you decide to get pregnant or switch to an alternative contraceptive. This makes IUDs an excellent form of contraception for women who want to prevent pregnancy for the main time but want to get pregnant in the future.
How does an IUD work?
Hormonal IUDs release a synthetic hormone which thickens the cervix in the mucus and this either traps or prevents the movement of sperm to fertilise the egg. The hormones also prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries.
Copper IUDs release small quantities of copper from the arms of the device into the uterus, which serves as aspermicide.
IUDs are about 99% effective and one of the most reliable birth control options, unlike birth control pills and condoms that have a failure rate of 9% and 21% respectively.
Is getting an IUD painful?
During insertion of an IUD, some women experience mild cramping and discomfort. If you feel pain during your IUD insertion, it would only last for a few seconds. You may experience dizziness or feel faint after the insertion.
For the discomfort, you can take an over-the-counter pain killer like ibuprofen before your appointment. To make the process less discomforting, you should schedule your appointment on the last day of your period because the cervix is usually softer and more open during this time.
To insert the device, your healthcare provider will first open your vagina with a speculum to enable easy access into the cervix. The health professional then inserts the device and removes the speculum. The process does not take up to five minutes.
Will I see my periods after inserting an IUD?
Some women experience spotting and cramping with IUDs, but it stops after 3 – 6 months. Hormonal IUDs tend to reduce cramps during periods and makes periods lighter. Some people with hormonal IUDs do not get their periods at all. However, copper IUDs increase cramps and periods, but it subsides after a while.
How long do I have to wait to get an IUD after I give birth?
You can insert an IUD immediately after you give birth, but, you may decide to wait for about six weeks after childbirth before the insertion because it requires a different technique of insertion.
Is it true that IUDs are unsafe?
The risks of inserting and having an IUD are few. Irregular bleeding and cramping are common side effects of IUDs, but they subside after about 4 – 8 weeks.
Other severe but rare effects of IUDs are perforation and malposition. Perforation occurs when the IUD passes through the uterine wall into the abdominal cavity, while malposition occurs when the device is abnormally positioned in the uterus.
If the healthcare professional carefully inserts the IUD, it reduces the risk of these complications. In any of these cases, you may need an ultrasound to know the exact position of the device.
IUDs are safe for most people, but you should not insert an IUD if:
- You experience vaginal bleeding that is not associated with your period
- You are allergic to copper, have a bleeding disorder or Wilson’s disease
- You are pregnant
- You have an infection or STD
- You have uterine cancer
IUDs are generally an excellent contraceptive, and there is no room for error which may lead to pregnancy, unlike birth control pills and barrier methods like condoms.
For an IUD insertion by an experienced private gynaecologist, visit Gynae UK today or contact us now on 020 7183 0692 to book an appointment.