What is an IUD?
The IUD is a small T-shaped device, which consists of plastic or copper stem, the edge of which is attached to two thin threads. These thin strands are extending from the cervix into the vaginal vault. The IUD is placed by your physician and the effect will last for at least five years.
How effective is the IUD?
Of the 100 women who have regular intercourse and are not using contraception, about 90% of them will become pregnant within a year. Of the 100 women using IUD, up to 2% of these women may become pregnant within a year. For some newer types of IUDs, less than one woman in 100 will become pregnant after many years of use.
How does the IUD works?
The main way by which the IUD exerts its action is by preventing the sperm to approach the egg. It can also cause the following:
- To make the egg less flexible as it passes through the tubes and
- To prevent the implantation of the fertilised egg in the endometrium.
What are the benefits of IUDs?
- It’s effect starts from the time it is placed,
- The woman does not have to worry about contraception throughout the time the IUD is in place
- It’s contraceptive effect lasts for at least five years,
- It does not disrupt sexual intercourse.
What are the disadvantages of IUDs?
- Your periods may become more severe and last longer, sometimes more painful. These symptoms usually disappear after a few months. There is a very small possibility that the coil may contribute in developing an intrauterine infection in the first 20 days after it is placed. For this reason, some doctors advise to check for the diagnosis of potential pathogens in the vagina and the cervix of the woman prior to place the IUDs. If a woman falls into the category of increased risk of the possibility of sexually transmitted infections (women who frequently change sexual partners or their sexual partner has other sexual partners in parallel) then the IUD is not the right method of contraception, as pelvic inflammatory disease can occur very easily. • It is possible that the womb ejects the IUD. This is more likely to occur in the period immediately after installation and may not come to your attention.
- For this reason, your doctor will tell you how it is possible to check the threads of the coil each month.
- The IUD can penetrate the uterine wall when is placed. This is extremely rare when the coil is placed by an experienced doctor.
- If you become pregnant while having an IUD inserted, then the pregnancy that develops can be found outside the uterus in one of the fallopian tubes. For this reason, you need to inform your doctor early.
- The IUD does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
Can any woman use the IUD?
No, the IUD is inappropriate for some categories of women. For this reason, the doctor will take the appropriate history to determine whether there are reasons why this method is contraindicated. Situations that this contraceptive method should be avoided are:
- When the woman suffers from heavy vaginal bleeding that their cause has not been investigated sufficiently,
- When the woman suffers from a Sexual Transmitted Disease,
- She had an ectopic pregnancy in the past
- Suffering from heavy and painful periods and
- Sexual partner has simultaneously other sexual partners.
How to insert an IUD?
The IUD is inserted by your doctor in the days at the end of the period or a few days after the period. The doctor will perform a pelvic exam to determine the location and size of the uterus prior to placement of IUD. You must be sure there is no chance that you are pregnant before placing the coil. Sometimes the fitting of IUDs can be uncomfortable, which is why before you start the process it is sensible to take a painkiller. You can discuss this with your doctor. After having the coil, it is possible in the early days to feel some discomfort similar to menstrual pain, as well as noticing some very slight vaginal bleeding. In such case the use of painkillers daily is sufficient.
What to do if a woman does not feel well after placing IUDs?
If the woman feels severe pain in the lower abdomen with hot and smelly vaginal fluids in the first three weeks after placement of IUD, then she should consult her doctor as soon as possible. This is necessary to exclude the possibility of a pelvic infection.
How one would know that the IUD is in place?
The IUD has two threads that are attached to one end of IUD and projecting from the cervix to the top of the vagina. Your doctor will show you how it is possible to feel these threads and to check that the IUD remains in place. You should be familiar with this process from the first month and from there onwards to make this test once every two months usually after the end of your period. It is quite unlikely that the IUD can be expelled by itself, but if you are not able to feel the threads, or if you think you can actually feel the IUD, then tell your doctor as soon as possible. Meanwhile, use an additional contraceptive method such as condom.
Can the woman use tampons if she has placed the IUD?
There is no problem with using either tampons or sanitary towel during the period in women using intrauterine device (IUD).
How often you need to visit the doctor after placing IUDs?
You need to visit your doctor about six weeks after placing the IUD and from there on, once a year during your regular gynecological check-up.
What if I change my mind?
Then the IUD can be removed easily in the office of your gynecologist. What you should have in mind is that you must use an additional contraceptive method such as condoms, for at least 7 days prior to removal the IUD. The woman’s fertility returns immediately after removal of IUD.
Does the IUD affect my periods?
Periods of women can be both prolonged and more severe especially in the first months after placing the coil. Sometimes there is also a very light vaginal bleeding between the first few cycles of your period after placing the coil.
What if in the unlikely event I become pregnant while using the IUD?
It is quite rare to happen. In such a case, however, there is a possibility for the pregnancy to lie outside the uterus, in one of the tubes. Therefore, if this happens you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. If you decide to continue with the pregnancy and it is found that this is not ectopic pregnancy, the IUD should be removed as soon as possible by your doctor. This would reduce the likelihood of spontaneous abortion. However, despite the removal of IUD, spontaneous abortion can still happen. If you do not have spontaneous abortion, the IUD is not going to harm the fetus.
Can a woman use IUD soon after her baby’s birth?
The IUD is usually placed 6 weeks postpartum. If sex begin before placing the IUD, then you need to use another contraceptive method.