Intrauterine devices, popularly called IUDs, are small T-shaped devices for medical insertion into the uterus by doctors. These devices either come wrapped in copper or contain hormones. This categorizes them into two types of IUDs — hormonal and copper-wrapped devices. These devices are effective in birth control. Copper-wrapped devices are effective up to 10 years while hormonal IUDs can be used for up to five years.
Insertion is possible at any time until pregnancy. The procedure of insertion of IUDs takes only a few minutes. Mirena is among IUDs found to be 99 percent effective in preventing a pregnancy. Mirena releases hormones directly into the uterus. Due to some side effects, Mirena is recommended mainly for women who have already given birth.
Process of Insertion
A local anesthetic is injected in the area around the cervix, so the insertion of IUDs is virtually painless. Again, insertion of IUDs is easiest for women who have had vaginal childbirth. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection after the insertion of any IUDs. A follow-up visit to the doctor is required four to six weeks after the insertion.
Are they Effective?
Effectiveness is an important consideration while choosing a birth control measure. Insertion of IUDs is a highly effective method for birth control because of the following reasons:
• It is safe, effective, and long lasting.
• It is cost effective.
• It can be used during breastfeeding.
• It is considered effective in improving sexual life.
• It is considered effective in providing satisfaction for women.
• It prevents worries about accidental pregnancy.
• It is effective in reducing the risk of infection.
Risks and Side Effects
These are some concerns and side effects associated with their insertion.
• Menstrual Bleeding: Insertion of copper IUDs may increase menstrual bleeding while the hormonal type may reduce menstrual bleeding and cause cramps.
• Expelled device: In the first year, 2 to 10 out of every 100 devices are expelled from the uterus into the vagina. This is likely to occur in women who did not carry a full-term pregnancy or if the insertion of IUDs is immediately after childbirth.
• Perforation of the Uterus: A perforation of the uterus may occur during the insertion of IUDs. It is known to occur in 1 out of 1,000 women and is therefore rare. If there is a perforation, the device should be removed.
• High Cost: The comparative high cost of IUDs is a common concern.
• Other Side Effects: They may increase the risk of STDs.
• Ovarian Cysts: Ovarian cysts are among other side effects that may be caused due to hormonal IUDs such as Mirena.
• Hormonal Side Effects: Side effects of hormonal IUDs such as Mirena may include breast tenderness and mood swings. Other side effects include acne or headaches. However, such side effects are rare. Nonetheless, it may take a few months to get rid of these side effects.
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