You are surely asking yourself a lot of questions about birth control pills when considering protecting yourself from a pregnancy. Can you get pregnant on the IUD, how efficient is the IUD, how is an IUD inserted – these are only a few of the important questions that may interest you.
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What Is an IUD & How Does It Work?
IUD is short for intrauterine device and is considered one of the most efficient and safest methods of contraception. It`s a small and flexible device in the shape of the letter “T,” normally made from plastic and with a string hanging down at the top of the vagina. The device is placed in the uterine cavity of the woman through her vagina to prevent a possible pregnancy.
The intrauterine device, known for short as IUD, is of 2 types: classic (from copper) and with hormones, Mirena type. Its efficiency of pretty high: 0.6 of pregnancies out of 100 women in the first year of usage if used properly. The intrauterine device with hormones has even more efficiency.
How does it act? The copper-based one prevents the encounter of sperm with the egg, and the one with hormones prevents ovulation, as a main mechanism. Both types of IUDs hamper the movements of sperm through the female genital tract, reduce their ability of fertilizing the egg and prevent the implantation of the egg in the uterine wall, as a secondary mechanism.
The Copper T intrauterine device is very efficient and may last over 10 years. The extremely good benefit of the Copper T IUD is that it prevents pregnancy immediately after being installed.
What Is the Best IUD?
- Copper IUD: ParaGard – This type of IUD will interfere with male sperm and egg fertilization, thus preventing implantation. This IUD can be used at least 10 years. It`s considered the only IUD which does not decrease menstruation and it might lead to heavier periods.
- Hormonal IUD – Liletta (3 years), Mirena (5 years) and Skyla (3 years). Mirena is considered the most expensive, depending on insurance coverage. Skyla is smaller and easier to insert; it`s great for pregnant women who haven`t been pregnant and might have a tighter opening of their cervix.
How Is an IUD Inserted?
The device is mounted relatively inside the uterus by a relatively simple maneuver, which can be performed in the consultation room without anesthesia. Practically, any woman who started her sexual life can benefit of this modern, comfortable and efficient contraceptive method.
If you choose to use this device, a doctor will need to insert it for you. Also, you need to check if the device is still in place from time to time. You can do this by confirming that the IUD`s string is still in the cervix. The devices itself should never be touched.
Can You Get Pregnant on the IUD?
Less than 1 in 100 women who choose to use this device get pregnant on a yearly basis. Practically, the IUD is as efficient as permanent sterilization.
So, it almost never happens; but if it does, it won`t be an ectopic pregnancy. And although it rarely happens for a woman to become pregnant while using an IUD, having a pregnancy after the device is removed isn`t rare; actually, it happens quite often.
In case the device is inserted properly, the rate of efficiency is of 99%. It should be mentioned that only a doctor or nurse is qualified to insert the device in your vagina.
Is an IUD as Effective as the Pill?
The small number of women who opt for IUDs as their favorite birth control method might be on to something interesting: according to a new research, IUDs are considered to be 20 times better than the birth control pill or other methods on short term at preventing unwanted pregnancies. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and compared the efficiency of several birth control types in around 7.500 women in the region on St. Louis over 3 years. Over this period, 9.4% of all women used patches, vaginal rings or pills accidentally got pregnant, while only 0.9% of women who chose implants or IUDs. – More info!
Do IUDs Have Contraindications?
Yes. First of all, you shouldn`t be pregnant and don`t have a sick uterus. That`s why, the genital exam – with valves and bimanual – performed by an experienced gynecologist, is mandatory before inserting a IUD.
Also, it`s very important to not have any infection in the urinary tract with a STD and have at least 1 previous pregnancy. The general recommendation is not to use this contraceptive method if you didn`t yet had a child.
Using a Copper T IUD can bring a couple of advantages:
- It doesn`t contain hormones.
- It`s highly efficient.
- It doesn`t interact with drugs.
- You do not need to think about protection each and every day.
- It can easily be removed in case you decide to remain pregnant.
- It`s among the least expensive birth control options. – Check this out!
- Menstrual cycles can change – bleeding may occur between periods.
- Pain during menstruation, abundant bleeding with a risk of secondary anemia – very rare in case of IUDs with copper and inexistent in case of Mirena.
- Possible headache and cramps during the first 3 – 5 days after insertion.
- It doesn`t offer protection against STDs.
- It can only be inserted or removed by a health care expert.
- Sometimes, the device may slip out of its position, although this rarely happens.
How to Know if the IUD Is Still Functional?
After each menstruation, you`ll need to check your fibers by inserting the fingers into the vagina. If you don`t feel the fibers, you didn`t had a menstruation or this has changed in flow or moment of appearance. You need to visit the doctor immediately.
The same thing you need to do if you exposed to infections, if you have abundant bleeding or inferior abdominal pains (especially if they are accompanied by fever).
If you want to change your contraceptive method or if the time in which you had to use the device has expired, you should also contact your doctor. Don`t forget about the routine checks, about 3 – 6 weeks after inserting the IUD.
Does the IUD Make You Gain Weight?
One of the possible side effects of hormonal IUDs is weight gain. However, less than 5% of women who used this device experienced weight gain, according to the Mirena site.
If you experience side effects after using such a device, including excessive weight gain, get in touch with a doctor immediately.