An intrauterine device, mostly known as an IUD, is a flexible device that protects from unexpected pregnancy when inserted into a woman’s uterus through the vagina. An IUD is one of the most popular methods of birth control among fertile women worldwide. Some statistics claim that approximately 15% of all fertile women in the world choose an intrauterine device to protect from pregnancy. This is an effective, comfortable and long-term method of contraception for fertile women.
An intrauterine device is an old method for birth control. It has proved its efficiency and relevancy throughout many years. These new intrauterine devices have a high safety in usage. They give fewer complications and side effects . High efficiency, comfort and safety have made an intrauterine device one of the most common methods for birth control. Since it can be used for many years, an intrauterine device is a much cheaper method of contraception compared to other available ones.
There are two major types of an IUD. An intrauterine device can be a non-hormonal or hormonal type of contraception. The first one is a t-shaped device made out of flexible plastic and holds copper in it. The second type contains hormones, such as levonorgestrel or progesterone, which are constantly released by a device. A copper containing IUD is an older and more popular form than the one containing progestins. Another part of both types of an intrauterine device is two threads hanging down into the vagina. These threads are easy for a woman to feel and check whether an IUD is in the right place.
How to use Intrauterine device?
Women should be aware that an intrauterine device can be inserted only by a gynecologist who also should decide whether this particular method of contraception is relevant in each individual case. Although an IUD is possible for use for any woman who is older than 20 years, there are still some gynecological or obstetrical restrictions that women should be aware of. Women who have multiple sexual partners or an increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases are not suitable for the use of an intrauterine device. Also women who have HIV or AIDS are not to use an IUD. Also women who are pregnant or trying to conceive are not suited for an IUD. Other gynecological conditions during which women should choose another method for birth control are abnormal positions of the uterus. The uterus could be too far back or forward in the pelvis or it could be deformed making it impossible for insertion of an intrauterine device. If a woman had certain uterine or vaginal infection she could also be not suitable for the use of an IUD. Since an intrauterine device causes a more immense bleeding during menstrual bleeding it is not recommended to women who have anemia.
Women who had never been pregnant or given birth to a baby have usually a smaller uterus. This makes it difficult to insert an intrauterine device; therefore such women might have to choose another method of birth control. In addition, a smaller uterus might cause a higher risk for the expulsion of an IUD. Therefore gynecologists tend not to recommend intrauterine device for birth control to women who had never been pregnant. However, since it is very individual a woman should ask for medical advice in such case.
IUD – the efficient birth control method
An intrauterine device is efficient in protecting against pregnancy right from the beginning of its insertion into the uterus. Depending on the type of an IUD it can be used for constant contraception for up to twelve years. A copper containing IUD can provide with continuous birth control for twelve years, whilst a hormone releasing device is usually effective for up to five years. Most women are able to use this method of contraception during all of their reproductive years, if there are no gynecological or obstetrical restrictions.
The effectiveness of an intrauterine device is provided with a combination of different actions. Scientists say that an IUD inhibits sperm migration in the female genital tract and alters the movement of an egg. Due to these two mechanisms conception is made impossible, since an egg and sperm cannot meet each other in the upper female genital tract. Both types of IUD use these mechanisms. In addition, a hormone releasing IUD alters cervical mucus thickening it and making it a natural barrier for sperm. Both copper containing and hormone releasing intrauterine devices change the endometrial lining of the uterus in such a way that it is difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.
It is important to know that an intrauterine device does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases, although it is very efficient in birth control. Most doctors do not recommend using an IUD as a method for birth control for women, who have multiple sexual partners. Such women should choose another type of contraception.