Hey reader,

Last time we talked about Implanon and its effectiveness. Check out if you missed. Today we focus on IUD contraceptive. 

Introduction to IUD

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small contraceptive device that is put into the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy. The two types available in Kenya are the Copper IUD AND Hormonal IUD.  

The hormonal IUD contains progestogen, which is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone that women make naturally. Both types are among the most effective methods of contraception and can stay in place for at least five year.  Today I want us to focus on Coper IUD contraceptive.

What is Copper IUD

The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is a small ‘T-shaped’ plastic and copper device inserted into the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy. The copper IUD constantly releases a small amount of copper into the uterus (womb).

How effective is Copper IUD?

It is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and can last for up to 5-10 years.

How does it work?

The copper IUD starts to work immediately after it has been fitted. Once fitted in the uterus the IUD slowly releases copper which prevents sperm from surviving in the cervix. This means that the sperm is unable to travel up into the fallopian tubes and fertilized an egg. Rarely sperm can survive the presence of copper and reach the egg. If this happens, the presence of the IUD in the womb may also stop a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.

How is it inserted?

An IUD must be fitted by a trained nurse or doctor – who will give you an internal examination to find the position and size of your uterus before they put in an IUD. An appointment to have an IUD fitted inserted usually take around 20-30 minutes). The actually insertion of the IUD takes five minutes, this may be uncomfortable and cause some pain. Factors such as size/shape of your womb, how relaxed you are, and whether you’ve had children before, can impact your levels of discomfort. You may be offered a local anaesthetic – talk to your doctor or nurse about this beforehand. Taking a painkiller, such as paracetamol before the procedure may help with managing the pain. After the IUD has been fitted you may experience some period-type pain and some light bleeding for a few days. Taking simple painkillers can help with this. You can check that the IUD is in place by feeling for one or two threads that are attached to the end of the IUD and hang a little way down from your uterus. You should check for the threads a regularly to ensure that the IUD is in place.

Benefits of using IUD Copper

  • It is more than 99 per cent effective
  • It is hormone free
  • It works for 5 to 10 years, depending on type, so once you’ve had it fitted you don’t have to worry about it.
  • It’s not affected by other medicines and can be used if you’re breastfeeding
  • If you decide to get pregnant, it can be removed, and your fertility returns to normal as soon as the IUD is taken out.

Side effects associated with Copper IUD Coil

Side effects associated with IUDs include:

  • After the fitting you may experience period-type pain and some light bleeding for a few days.
  • Heavy and prolonged periods
  • Painful periods
  • Stomach cramps
  • Small risk of infection after insertion
  • Very small risk of the IUD pricking the uterus or cervix
  • Sometimes the IUD can fall out especially in the first three months.

What are some of health problems associated with IUD?

  • In about 1 in 500 users, the doctor or nurse makes a small hole in the wall of the uterus (womb) while inserting the IUD. The IUD can move through the hole and sit in the wrong place. You would then need keyhole surgery to have it removed.
  • Around 1 in 300 users get an infection when the IUD is first inserted. This is usually successfully treated with antibiotics.
  • It is very unlikely to get pregnant when using copper IUD. If you do get pregnant with a copper IUD, there is a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy. This means that the pregnancy may settle in the fallopian tubes (pathway of the egg to uterus).If the copper is removed, then, there is no harm to the pregnancy.

Reason why IUD is not the best option for you.

  • If you normally have heavy periods
  • You have low iron levels or anemic
  • Your uterus is not in the usual shape

What if I can’t feel the strings?

If you can’t feel the IUD string, use condoms until a doctor or nurse confirms the IUD is in the right place. If you have had unprotected sex in the five days before you notice the string missing, you might need emergency contraception.

Can I use the copper IUD after I’ve had a baby?

The copper IUD can be inserted straight after you give birth. If not inserted straight after you give birth then you need to wait at least four weeks later. The copper IUD is safe to use if you are breastfeeding.

What else should I know about the copper IUD?

  • The copper IUD does not protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS
  • Note the expiry date and have it removed before it expires
  • Your partner might be able to feel the IUD string during sex, but it rarely causes them discomfort.
  • IUDs can also be used for emergency contraceptive if inserted up to five days after unprotected sex. If used for this purpose it can be removed once it has had its effect (at least seven days after unprotected sex happened).Use of copper IUD for emergency contraception.

See also: http://wowmom.co.ke/how-does-implant-contraceptive-work/

I hope I have addressed almost everything. If you have a question or need clarification, always feel free to ask. See you next Thursday for Hormonal IUD coil. You don’t want to miss out. Like and follow my page of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay updated.

Ciao