An intrauterine device, also known as IUD is placed inside the uterus (womb) of a woman to prevent pregnancy. It is one of the most effective and long-lasting ways of birth control.
The device is T-shaped. It works to prevent fertilization and implantation. You will find it most effective in teens and young adults that have not given birth before.
It is also good for you if you have given birth.
You can remove the device at any time. This is the reason it is part of long-acting reversible birth control.
What are the Types of Intrauterine devices?
Do you know that there are 2 types of intrauterine devices?
- Hormonal Intrauterine Device
- Copper Intrauterine Device
Hormonal Intrauterine Device
This type releases progestogen, a hormone that prevents the fertilization of eggs. Examples are Morena, Skyla, and others.
The duration at which this lasts in your uterus depends on the kind of hormonal intrauterine device.
One of the benefits is that it reduces heavy blood flow during menstruation.
Copper Intrauterine Device
This type blocks the sperm cells from fertilizing eggs by releasing copper ions. How does it work? Copper damages the sperm cells and destroys their motility.
After 5 days of unprotected sex, it is still effective to prevent pregnancy. The device also prevents the implantation of fertilized eggs.
It can be used for a longer time, but it can cause heavy menstrual flow at first. An example is Paragard.
Mechanism of Action
Intrauterine devices prevent pregnancy through various mechanisms.
They majorly work to prevent fertilization of eggs. How?
Progestogen released by hormonal uterine devices thickens the mucus in the cervix. Sperm cells are then prevented from entering the fallopian tube, where they can fertilize the eggs.
Hormonal uterine devices also work to prevent ovulation.
Copper ions released by copper uterine devices are toxic to sperm cells. Also, the devices make the uterus secrete fluid, which contains enzymes and leukocytes that are toxic to sperm cells.
Are you considering having an intrauterine device? Don’t worry, all your questions will be answered.
Benefits of Intrauterine Device
- It is safe to use.
- 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
- A long period of usage, although this depends on the type you used.
- Smooth sexual intercourse
- No hormonal imbalances can cause breast tenderness.
- Intact fertility after removal
- Reversibility in action, as you can remove it anytime.
- It is cost-effective as you will only pay once.
- Menstrual blood flow is heavier with copper Intrauterine devices.
- There can be cases of pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Ovarian cyst
- In rare cases, there can be ectopic pregnancy.
- Exposure to sexually transmitted infections. It is not like condoms.
Does Intrauterine Device Cause Infertility?
No. Once you remove the device, you can become pregnant without issues.
Does It Cause Abortion?
No, it works by preventing fertilization and implantation, as explained above.
Is The Insertion Painful?
It isn’t, once it is done by a highly qualified medical practitioner.
Can a Breastfeeding Woman Have the Device?
Yes, it works well and doesn’t affect a woman breastfeeding.