Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Planning ahead about your family, deciding when to have children and the number of children you want are things that comes under family planning. If you decide to postpone your pregnancy, then opting for one of the best contraceptive methods is very important. There are many options available in the market; consult your doctor about the one that suits your lifestyle. This piece of writing will brief you about one of the effective contraceptive option – Intrauterine device (IUD).
Understanding intrauterine devices
Intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of birth control device. It is a small T-shaped plastic device that is inserted through the cervix and placed in the uterus to avoid pregnancy. A small string from the bottom of the IUD always hangs down the cervix so that you can check often to make sure that the device is in place. Inserting an IUD is very easy, and can be performed during your regular visit to your doctor’s clinic. Once placed properly in uterus, the IUD remains there until your doctor removes it. The inserted IUD doesn’t feel during sexual intercourse and it do not cause any discomfort during sex. Two types of IUD are available
- The Mirena, which continuously releases hormone progesterone for up to 5 years
- Copper T IUD, which is covered with copper
Working of IUD
To understand how your IUD works, you need to have a basic understanding about how normal pregnancy occurs. A woman’s reproductive system has two ovaries and two fallopian tubes on either side of the uterus. Every month one of your ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube. During sexual intercourse, the sperms swim towards the egg and fertilize it resulting in pregnancy. Now the job of IUD is to stop this process from happening in order to prevent pregnancy. The basic structural concept of both the IUD’s are similar as both are T-shaped device but they differ in their working concept.
The mirena or the hormonal IUD releases a female hormone called as progestin, which prevents the sperm from meeting the egg by thickening the mucus wall in the vagina or cervix, making the sperms less active, and less likely to meet the egg.
The copper IUD continuously releases copper into the uterus preventing the egg from being fertilized or attaching to the uterus wall. The released copper also makes the sperms less active and prevents it from reaching the uterus and the fallopian tubes.
Period of IUD
The effectiveness of an IUD depends on the one that you are using. If you are using a hormonal IUD, then it requires replacement every 5 years; but in case you are using a copper IUD, then it can stay in your uterus for as long as 10-12 years. Before this period, you can prefer to remove your IUD at any time, if you are planning for pregnancy or you decide to use it no longer.
Advantages of IUD
There are many benefits of an IUD. Once inserted, you are protected against pregnancy until you wish to remove. It is easy to use and is a very effective birth control method, it is effective from the time it is inserted. It can be in place effectively for 5-12 years without interfering with normal sexual activity. In addition, IUDs require no particular care, there is no messing up or dislodging. It can be removed at any time. Women, who breast feed their baby, can continue even if using IUD. Hormonal IUD decreases menstrual bleeding and pain. Copper IUD is 99% effective, if inserted within 5 days of intercourse.
Disadvantages of IUD
No contraceptive device is flawless, there are very few disadvantages of IUD, which occurs very rarely.
- Cramps and backache during the first week of insertion
- Provides no protection against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases
- Sometimes very rarely it can be expelled
- Insertion and removal require clinic visit
- More difficult menstrual periods
- Bleeding between periods
- May interfere with future fertility
- Sometime during insertion the IUD can perforate or pierce the uterus wall
- Uterus and fallopian tube infection
- Rarely pregnancy may occur while your IUD is in place (in such case get it removed immediately)
- Few are allergic to copper
After having your IUD placed in your uterus you do not require much daily care or attention. You can exercise, swim, ride cycle, use tampons, and have sex as soon as you wish to. You or your partner will not feel the presence of IUD. But during your monthly periods you should check your IUD string by inserting a clean finger into your vagina. If you do not feel the string or you feel the IUD itself then you may have to visit your doctor as this means that your IUD is not in position and it needs to be repositioned.
The IUD is a very effective and affordable birth control method; they are effective as soon as they are inserted. They offer safe and reversible protection against pregnancy. Weighing the pros and cons of IUD it is sure that the benefits over shadows its disadvantages. But we cannot ignore the fact that it might also cause complications very rarely, which should be taken care of. Knowing your medical and sexual history will help your doctor to decide the best IUD for you.