The following are some facts about IUDs:
1. Copper IUDs prevent pregnancy up to 99% of the time.
2. Copper IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
3. The average woman will need 2-4 years after she stops using her copper IUD before she ovulates again and becomes pregnant naturally again.
4. Women who have had children may experience an increase in their risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to infertility.
5. Copper IUDs are less effective than other forms of birth control if they fail to prevent pregnancy or if they become ineffective due to failure during use.
6. If a woman uses another form of contraception such as condoms, she must continue taking it for at least 6 months after stopping the copper IUD before becoming pregnant again.
7. Copper IUDs are not recommended for women with certain medical conditions including those related to the uterus, cervical mucus, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or polyps.
8. Most women who have had children will not notice any changes in their menstrual cycle while using a copper IUD.
However, there is no way to predict when menstruation will start in all cases and it varies from woman to woman.
9. If a woman using a copper IUD has severe pain or excessive bleeding, she should see her doctor immediately as this could be an indication of infection.
How do you use a copper IUD?
1. Your physician will check for certain STDs and perform a pelvic exam.
2. He or she will provide you with instructions on how to check that the IUD is in place.
3. You will be given a prescription for pain and follow-up care.
4. For the next 6 weeks you will experience some spotting or bleeding during your periods, but this should become lighter until it stops altogether after 6 weeks.
Who can use my copper IUD?
1. You are not pregnant.
2. You are older than 16 years of age.
3. Your BMI is less than 30.
4. Your physician believes the IUD is a suitable form of birth control for you.
5. You do not have certain medical conditions, including a history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine fibroids or any medical condition that would make the IUD uncomfortable for you.
6. You do not have any current STDs.
7. You are not allergic to copper or silicone.
8. You do not have a history of infertility.
9. You can easily locate your uterus.
10. You are not past menopause.
11. You are not breastfeeding.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
1. You can ask questions about the IUD or birth control in general such as how it works, how effective it is and what kind of side effects to look out for.
2. You can set aside time between now and your appointment to write down any questions you have for your physician.
3. You can gather information about your medical history, including any past pregnancies or miscarriages, infertility, genital or urinary infections, illegal drug use and other health conditions.
4. You can take someone with you to help you remember the information you are given and to help you make decisions during the appointment.
5. You can take a personal notebook, tablet or phone to write down notes about your appointment.
What can I expect during my appointment?
1. You will be asked about your medical history and past pregnancies or miscarriages.
2. You will have a pelvic exam during which your physician will check the position of your uterus, your ovaries and the size and shape of your pelvis.
3. Your physician may use an instrument called a speculum to examine your cervix, which separates the vaginal and cervical openings.
This is typically done after you are given a dose of medicine to help widen the vaginal opening.
4. You may have your blood pressure taken and potentially other vitals.
5. You will most likely have to give a urine sample, which your physician may check for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections and to make sure you do not have any problems with your kidneys or urinary tract.
6. You may have a test that checks how long it takes your uterus to contract in response to a hormone (uterine latancy or responsiveness).
Sources & references used in this article:
Menstrual blood-loss with intrauterine devices by J Guillebaud, J Bonnar, J Morehead, A Matthews – The Lancet, 1976 – Elsevier
Intrauterine devices by X Bilian – Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & …, 2002 – Elsevier
Comparison of weight increase in users of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate and copper IUD up to 5 years by L Bahamondes, S Del Castillo, G Tabares, XE Arce… – Contraception, 2001 – Elsevier
… : a population survey of physical and psychological effects of oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, condoms, natural family planning, and sterilization among 1466 … by BJ Oddens – Contraception, 1999 – Elsevier
Contraceptive use and attitudes in Great Britain by BJ Oddens, AP Visser, HM Vemer, WTAM Everaerd… – Contraception, 1994 – Elsevier
Six-month expulsion of postplacental copper intrauterine devices placed after vaginal delivery by EP Gurney, S Sonalkar, A McAllister… – … journal of obstetrics and …, 2018 – Elsevier
Cigarette smoking in pregnancy: Associations with maternal weight gain and fetal growth by DP Davies, OP Gray, PC Ellwood, M Abernethy – The Lancet, 1976 – Elsevier
Young pregnant women’s knowledge of modern intrauterine devices by NL Stanwood, KA Bradley – Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2006 – cdn.journals.lww.com