Effective Birth Control for up to 5 years


Have you heard the term IUD? What does it mean and what IUD’s are available?

IUD stands for Intrauterine Device and is a form of contraception. An IUD is a medically approved birth control device that is inserted into the uterus where it can stay for a number of years. IUDs work by either slowly releasing progesterone (a type of hormone) into the body or by tricking the body into thinking that it cannot get pregnant.
There are two types of IUDs:
  1. The Copper IUD: This is a small plastic device with copper wrapped around the stem.
  2. The Progestogen IUD – This is a T shaped device with a cylinder containing Progestogen around its stem.
IUDs have been used for more than 30 years to prevent pregnancy. They work by affecting sperm survival in the uterus and they change the lining of the uterus wall (the endometrium) so that the fertilized egg cannot embed itself in the uterine wall thereby preventing pregnancy. IUDs are typically considered 99.8% effective at preventing pregnancy.
The Advantages of IUDs
  • Long Term contraception – usually up to 5 years.
  • Ease of use – you do not have to remember to take a pill every day!
  • It works out cheaper than the oral contraceptive pill. While the initial cost might be high, it will save you money over time (for example Mirena costs $265.00 while the pill Yaz will cost you $1,300.00 for the same 5 years of contraception.)
  • It can be removed if you do wish to become pregnant.
  • Mirena has the added advantage of reducing or inhibiting the menstrual cycle. This is particularly beneficial if you have prolonged or irregular bleeding.
The Disadvantages of IUDs
  • The IUD can dislodge itself from the uterus.
  • On the rare occasion that an IUD fails it must be removed immediately as it can increase the chance of a miscarriage.
  • There is a small risk of infection following the insertion of an IUD. Usually during the first 3 weeks after insertion.
  • You must ensure that you are protected from STD's and HIV.
  • Mirena and other Progestogen IUDs can cause vaginal dryness, flushing, headaches and acne – but these typically exist with the oral contraceptive pill as well.
Not everyone is suited for an IUD, women with undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, women who are high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and women with PID (pelvic Inflammatory Disease) are not good candidates for IUD use. Before having the device fitted, every woman should do a PAP smear test and rule out any existing infections. It is also very important to rule out pregnancy before an IUD is inserted by your physician.
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