Birth control- intrauterine device (IUD)

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The intrauterine device (IUD) or coil is a small plastic and / or metal device, which is T-shaped, placed into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUD is a reversible method of birth control.


1. Overview
2. What types of IUDs are available?
3. Insertion of intrauterine devices
4. How well it works
5. Risks
6. Removing IUD

What types of IUDs are available?

There are two types of intrauterine devices:

- Copper intrauterine device, which release a small amount of copper reaching the uterus and prevents eggs and their fertilization by sperm. During ovulation IUD prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uterus.

This type of IUD prevents fertilization by damaging and killing sperm and by thickening the cervical mucus so sperm can’t reach the uterus. This type of coil will be installed only by a gynecologist and may be retained in the uterus between 5-10 years.

- Hormonal IUD is an intrauterine system that releases progestin into the uterus, which prevents ovulation and thicken cervical mucus but not to be held fertilization. This type of IUD stops the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. This intrauterine device can be fitted only by a doctor and can remain in the uterus up to five years.

Insertion of intrauterine devices

Before an IUD to be placed, the doctor will make the patient a physical examination to ensure that reproductive organs are normal and no infections are present. Before the coil to be placed, the patient should ask the doctor any question related to the problem. IUDs can be placed during an examination at the doctor’s office and must be removed also by physician.

It can be plugged into any phase of the menstrual cycle, but the best would be immediately after your period, because at that time the cervix is softer and women are more likely to become pregnant. The doctor will give the patient a painkiller an hour before insertion to prevent cramping. To prevent possible infection associated with IDU’s insertion, might recommend an antibiotic, although some studies do not confirm the beneficial effect of antibiotic.

To place IUDs, the doctor will use a speculum to keep the vagina open. A tool is used to support the cervix and uterus and a tube is used to insert IUD.

T-shaped arms of the IUD will be directed and will open once the IUD is in the womb. After the IUD is fitted, instruments are withdrawn. The wire that help remove coil is left in the cervix, but will not hang outside the vagina.

How well it works

The IUD is a very effective method for birth control. When using hormone-releasing IUD was found that about 2/1000 women became pregnant in the first year. When using copper IUD was observed that about 6/1000 women achieved a pregnancy within the first year.

Most of the tasks that occur with IUD use is materialized, most likely because the IUD is pushed out (expelled from the uterus), without this being noticed. Is possible that the coil to modify its position in the first months after the insertion if it was mounted immediately after birth or if it was mounted on a women who never had children.

Advantages of IUDs include cost-effectiveness over the type, ease of use, lower risk of ectopic pregnancy, absence of risk to interrupt foreplay or intercourse.

Other advantages of using hormone-releasing IUD are:

- menstrual bleeding’s volume decreases, reduces menstrual cramps and even stops (the latter case there is no danger)
- prevent endometrial hyperplasia or endometrial cancer
- effectively relieve endometriosis and there is less probability for its use, than when using higher doses of progestin, which have side effects
- reduce the risk of ectopic


Risks of using intrauterine devices include:

- menstrual problems – copper IUD may increase menstrual bleeding or cramping. Women may experience spotting (presence of blood spots) between periods. On the other hand, hormonal IUD can reduce menstrual cramps and bleeding
- perforation – 1 in 1,000 women will be locked coil or pierce the womb. Although perforation is rare, it could occur when inserting. If the uterus was perforated IUD should be removed.
- expulsion – to roughly 20/1000 women IUD is expelled from the uterus into the vagina during the first year. Expulsion is more likely when the IUD is inserted immediately after birth or the woman had no pregnancy. When the IUD was expelled, women are not protected against pregnancy. Does not cause weight gain.

IUD’s disadvantages include high cost of insertion and lack of protection against STDs, but also the introduction and its removal by a physician.

Other disadvantages of using hormonal intrauterine devices are:

- possibility of ovarian cysts (benign) that usually disappear without treatment
- hormonal side effects similar to those caused by oral contraceptives, such as breast tenderness, mood changes, headaches, acne. These are rare events which usually disappear after the first month.

Removing IUD

Women should not try to eliminate by themselves the intrauterine device. Serious damage can occur if the coil is not extracted correctly. The doctor will remove it pretty simple, carefully pulling the coil wire in a certain angle, for the device to bend at the top and slip out of the cervix.

If the IUD is replaced, new coil will be inserted immediately. Rarely cervical dilation may be necessary, in which they could use tools to release IUD. In this case there is a local anesthetic. In very rare situations, you may need surgery and hospitalization. It will make an incision to remove the IUD.



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