The intrauterine device (IUD) is a contraceptive method that is shaped like a T and is placed in the uterus with the sole intention of preventing unwanted pregnancy. The duration of the IUD can vary between 5 and 10 years and today it is widely used thanks to the good effectiveness it offers and that it is not affected by external factors such as medications or stomach upset, unlike the pill.
There are two types of intrauterine device, one made of plastic, which releases a small dose of hormones, and the other made of copper. Both versions are very effective as contraceptives and are usually recommended to women who do not feel good on the pill, who have been mothers or for some condition cannot consume the hormonal load of the contraceptive pills. Like any contraceptive method, these devices have their good things and their bad things, therefore, it is important to know in depth how they work to determine if it is the method that suits everyone’s needs. For this reason in eHealth we tell you everything you need to know about the IUD advantages and disadvantages.
How the IUD works
To understand the advantages and disadvantages of the IUD, it is necessary to explain how these devices work. When an intrauterine device is placed in the female body, specifically in the cervix, this device affects, due to the T-shape, the way in which the spermatozoa move within the woman, managing to prevent them from reaching the ovum so that fertilization does not occur.
The copper IUD releases copper ions, which are toxic to sperm, is the one that can remain in the uterus for up to 10 years and can be used as an emergency contraceptive method. The hormonal IUD releases a small load of progestin, a substance that works by preventing the release of eggs in the ovaries and, as if that were not enough, increases the thickness of the cervical mucosa so that sperm cannot travel to the egg. The progestin IUD begins to work 7 days after implantation while the copper one works immediately.
Very much, in fact, it is estimated that out of 100 women only 1 gets pregnant using this contraceptive method. We are talking about a percentage of effectiveness that ranges between 98% and 99%, which indicates that the chances of pregnancy are really low.
Many people will think that the percentage of effectiveness is the same as that of the pill, and yes, that is correct. However, it is important to bear in mind that many women forget to take the contraceptive pill correctly, not to mention that, unlike the IUD, the effect of the pill decreases if the female has episodes of diarrhea or if she takes antibiotics.
Advantages of the IUD
Among the advantages of the IUD as a contraceptive we find:
- Once the IUD is inserted, the woman is protected against unwanted pregnancies for 5 to 10 years. The duration of contraception will depend on the type of device that the woman and the gynecologist decide to place.
- When the woman feels that the time has come to seek pregnancy, the gynecologist will remove the device and at that very moment the woman is fertile to conceive. It is not necessary to wait some time to find a baby.
- The intrauterine device is inserted and removed in the gynecologist’s office and does not require the use of anesthesia. If implantation usually lasts less than 10 minutes.
- The IUD can be started one month after giving birth and is not inconvenient for breastfeeding. The IUD can also be used after an abortion.
- By releasing a small dose of hormone load, IUD use is not associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Contrary to what many women tend to think, the IUD does not feel or bother during sexual intercourse. And although there is a risk of mobility after placement, this is only 3%.
- The IUD is an inexpensive contraceptive method, representing a single investment.
- The IUD does not affect a woman’s fertility in any way.
Disadvantages of the IUD
- The IUD is a device that cannot be used by all women, as it is contraindicated in some cases.
- During the first months of IUD use, it is common for women to have bleeding between periods due to the IUD.
- Both IUD implantation and removal are painful.
- the woman should attend the gynecologist at least every 6 months to be advised that the IUD is properly inserted.
- Depending on the woman, there are cases in which the period no longer comes after inserting the IUD and there are cases in which, on the contrary, menstrual bleeding is more abundant.
- Any very rough movement or very violent sexual intercourse during the 20 days after implantation can move the IUD out of place and even cause it to be expelled.
- The IUD is associated with a greater predisposition to menstrual cramps.
- IUDs can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy .
- Some devices can increase the risk of ovarian cyst formation.
- Women with IUDs may experience bleeding after sexual intercourse.
- The IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
Who cannot use the IUD?
There are cases in which the IUD is not considered the ideal contraceptive for certain women. Therefore, before deciding to use this method, it is important that you go to your gynecologist for a complete check-up of your health and your reproductive system and thus be able to determine if you are a candidate to use an intrauterine contraceptive. Among the cases where the IUD should not be used we find:
- Women suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease.
- History of infection in the pelvis.
- Presence of bleeding fibroids in the uterus.
- sexually transmitted disease.
- Vaginal bleeding with no apparent cause.
- Whore or cervical cancer.
- Women with a very large or very small uterus.
- Allergy to copper.
- Suspicion of pregnancy.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.