An IUD is a small T-shaped device made of plastic. As its name implies, it’s inserted into the uterus. A string is attached to the device and hangs down through the cervix into the top of the vagina. The string verifies that the IUD is in place, and can be used by the doctor to remove the device.
The IUD works two ways to help prevent pregnancy. First, it contains materials that kill or damage sperm, to help prevent the egg from being fertilized. Second, its presence affects the uterine lining, preventing any fertilized eggs from implanting.
Two common types of IUDs use either copper wrapping or hormones to kill sperm in the uterus. Copper is toxic to sperm and makes the uterus excrete a fluid that kills sperm. Hormonal IUDs damage or kill sperm, and also change conditions in the uterus to prevent pregnancy.
Almost any woman can use an IUD. There are common misconceptions that young women and those who haven’t been previously pregnant are not candidates for IUDs, but this information is false. IUDs are an ideal option for a woman seeking a reversible form of contraception that doesn’t rely on daily maintenance or time-of-intercourse actions. The success rate for IUDs is about 99%, and depending on the brand and type of device, IUDs have an effective life of between 3 and 10 years.
IUDs are inserted during an office visit to Gemini OBGYN. There may be some mild pain, including cramping. The procedure is very quick, under 10 minutes, and removal is usually even quicker. Some women opt to take an over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, prior to their insertion or removal appointments to minimize procedure pain.
There are a few. In rare cases, the IUD can perforate the uterus, usually on insertion. During the first year of insertion, IUDs are occasionally pushed out of the uterus, generally in the first few months. IUDs may also cause menstrual problems, including increased bleeding, cramping, and spotting between periods. Hormonal IUDs can also relieve these problems. IUDs offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections.