What is an Intra-Uterine Device?
An intra-uterine device (IUD) is a small, ‘T’ shaped device that is inserted into the womb of a fertile woman to prevent her from becoming pregnant.
How does an IUD work?
To understand how an IUD works, it is imperative to know the two kinds of IUDS. The first type is one that releases the hormone progestin which causes thickening in the lining of the uterus, making it hard for sperms to reach the egg. The lining of the cervix is also changed in such a way that no implantation can occur. The second type is one made out of copper which is slowly released into the cervix, thus preventing any sperm from fertilizing an egg.
How is an IUD used?
All it takes is for a doctor to insert the device into the cervix, after which a woman will not be required to take any other steps in order to prevent herself from becoming pregnant.
How effective is an IUD?
It is the best form of birth control currently available, with statistics showing that less than 1 woman in every 100 will fall pregnant while using this device. However, it is important to note that IUDs prevent pregnancies, and not Sexually Transmitted Infections.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Advantages of IUD’s
There are several reasons as to why this device is the most preferred method of birth control.
1. It is durable as it stays effective for up to 12 years. During this time a woman will not require any other form of birth control.
2. It can easily be reversed as a woman can fall pregnant as soon as the device is removed.
3. It can be inserted very easily, with the whole process lasting less than ten minutes. It can also be removed just as quickly by a family planning doctor or nurse.
4. It does not have any effects on sexual intercourse.
5. The IUDs that release the hormone progestin do so in small amounts that have no adverse effects on a woman’s body or moods.
6. The hormonal IUD reduces period pain as well as bleeding. Some women do not experience their periods at all while using the device.
Disadvantages of IUD’s
There some disadvantages that are associated with IUDs but they are almost negligible.
1. A copper IUD can rarely cause an allergic reaction.
2. Small risk of damage to the cervix if it is inserted incorrectly but the chances of this happening are 1 in 1000.
3. A copper IUD sometimes causes severe bleeding and cramping in some women.
4. There is a 5% chance of the IUD coming out by itself.
Side effects of an IUD
Side effects, though reportedly few, may vary amongst women. For instance, some may experience heavy bleeding or intense period cramps from the copper IUD while others will develop an adverse reaction to the copper. Furthermore, some women experience a loss in libido.
Is it Safe?
There are concerns raised over the availability of counterfeit IUDs available on the market that have dangerous side effects. However, generally, IUDs are said to be 99% safe for any women who needs to prevent a pregnancy.