Intrauterine device (IUD) is a device that is placed into the womb to provide reversible long term contraception for up to 5 years. Thinking of getting an IUD?
IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control. Certain types of IUD such as the hormonal IUD can also be used for women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).
There are two types of IUD available:
1. Hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)
Hormonal IUD, (which contains the hormonal medication) is a device that is placed into the womb to provide contraception for up to 5 years. It works by releasing small amounts of hormone regularly so that the womb is not suitable for implantation.
It can also be used in women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) as it works by making the lining of the uterus very thin. In most women, bleeding becomes either very light or stops within 3-6 months after IUD insertion.
2. Copper-bearing intrauterine device (IUD)
The copper IUD provides long-term contraception from 3-5 years. It is fitted into the womb where it works by causing a chemical change that damages the sperm and egg before it is fertilised, hence disrupting fertilization.
The added advantage of the copper IUD is it can also be used as a form of emergency contraception (EC). It can be used as an EC for up to 5 days after unprotected sex and is more effective than the hormonal EC pills available.
Advantages of IUDs include:
- The fact that once they are inserted you do not need to remember to take daily contraception.
- Potency equal to (if not better than) daily oral contraceptive methods.
- Cost-effectiveness. Although the initial cost may be greater the fact that most IUDs can be used for more than 3 years makes them cheaper over the same period of time.
- Return to normal fertility almost immediately upon removal of the IUD.
How it’s done
If you have ever had a PAP smear or a vaginal swab, it’s kinda like that but just a tad more uncomfortable. Read Pap smear in Singapore
Usually, the IUD is placed on about Day 5 of your period when the cervical opening is at it’s biggest.
Your doctor will first place a speculum in your vagina (like they do when doing a PAP smear).
Your doctor will then locate the cervix then use a very thin instrument to measure how deep your womb goes.
He/She will then push the IUD through the cervix and into your womb.
When the IUD touches the top of your womb, you might feel a little cramp.
Then it’s over! It’s that easy!
What happens after?
You might get some cramps for a day or two.
Your next 2 to 3 periods might also be heavier and crampier than usual. This is more so if you use the plain copper IUDs.
For the next 2 to 3 period after insertion, you must check that the IUD is still there after your periods. This is easily done by putting 2 fingers up to the vagina and feeling for the thread that hangs out of your cervix that is attached to the IUD.
What can go wrong?
Infection – If the cramps get worse after insertion and this is accompanied by a fever and a foul-smelling discharge, please see your doctor.
Displacement – Sometimes, the period flow is so heavy that it pushes the IUD out. This is not common.
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