An IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small, flexible, and plastic made, T-shaped contraceptive coil that is wrapped in copper or contains hormones and that is inserted or implanted in the uterus to kill sperms thus preventing conception. IUDs are of two types namely;
Hormonal IUD - this prevents conception by damaging and killing sperm cells. It also thickens the mucus in the cervix making it sticky which prevents the passage of sperms into the uterus. In addition, it prevents the thickening of the endometrium which makes it an unconducive place for fertilization. Hormonal IUDs can also lower menstrual bleeding as well as cramping.
Copper-based IUD - This contain copper which is toxic to sperm cells. This type of IUD makes the uterus and fallopian tubes produce toxic fluids that contain copper ions, white blood cells, enzymes and prostaglandins that kill sperm cells thus preventing conception.
It’s important to note that both types of IUDs if implanted within 5 days after sex, will work like any other emergency contraceptive. However, they don't protect you against STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).
Disadvantages of using IUDs
Despite the fact they give you the freedom to have sex without the thought of taking contraceptives every time to prevent fertilization, IUDS have several disadvantages. These includes:
Regular follow-ups: after implanting an IUD, you need to regularly visit your doctor for check-ups to ensure it is correctly placed.
They are costly: from insertion and making regular follow-ups to dealing with side effects and removing them, you have to part with reasonable cash.
No protection against STIs: despite their costly nature, IUDs cannot prevent you from getting infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Side effects of IUDs
Intrauterine Devices have many side effects, some of which may be severe to your health. Let’s check them out.
Menstrual problems: in addition to increasing or reducing menstrual bleeding and cramping to abnormal levels, the copper-based IUDs can lead to spotting in between periods.
Perforation: statistics show that in every 1,000 women using IUDs, 1 experiences perforation issues. The coil may get stuck in or perforate the uterus during insertion which means it has to be removed and re-inserted.
Expulsion: in every 100 women, 2-10 IUDs are expelled into the vagina from the uterus in the first year especially within the first 3 months of use. This usually happens if the IUD is implanted after giving birth or when one is pregnant. Once expelled, you cease to be protected.
Miscarriage: once pregnant, the coil should be removed by your doctor. If not, the IUD may lead to miscarriage or premature birth or even birth defects.
Other side effects are:
-Headaches and Backache
-Inflammation of the vagina
-Worsening of pre-existing acne if you have any.
Precautions while using IUDs
-You should not insert an IUD if:
-You have had or you have uterus, breast, liver and cervical cancer
-You have had inflammation of the vagina or pelvic infection
-You have fibroids
-You have an STI