What Is A Copper Iud
The copper IUD is a long lasting, nonhormonal birth control placed into the uterus by a doctor, explains Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board certified in OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine and the director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.
ParaGard which is the only brand that currently manufactures copper IUDS is a plastic T-shaped device thats about the size of a quarter.
Unlike hormonal IUDs, ParaGard is wrapped with a coil of copper which prevents pregnancy.
What Its Like To Have A Copper Iud
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Every body is different, and people have a huge variety of experiences with the copper IUD. We reached out for personal stories, and hereÃ¢s what you had to say.
There are many different brands of copper IUD worldwide, and many of these stories mention the specific brand. Some brands may only be available in certain countries, and may vary slightly in size and how many years they are approved for use.
What Are The Possible Side Effects
The copper IUD may have 3 side effects:
- It can already cause heavier periods in some women. 15% of women who have a copper IUD see their periods increase in volume and/or duration, informs the obstetrician-gynecologist. This creates a significant social handicap and is the cause in the medium term of anemia due to iron loss. For these women, I recommend the removal of the copper IUD and the installation of a hormonal progesterone IUD, indicates the doctor who reassures women about the hormone level of this hormonal IUD: The progesterone diffuses locally and the dose delivered is extremely low, 10mg of progesterone per year, which means that the total hormone level of the hormonal IUD over 5 years is 20 times lower than a single contraceptive pill .
- In the event of an unintended pregnancy, there is a more frequent risk of ectopic pregnancy with an IUD than with a pill.
- Finally, the IUD being a foreign body inside the uterus, if you are infected with a sexually transmitted infection , STD bacteria attach themselves to the IUD and this can cause more serious infections, says Dr. Yamgnane.The IUD is for this reason the contraception of choice for stable couples. If you have many sexual partners, you must protect yourself with a condom every time you have sex, even if you already have a contraceptive method.
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You May Not Be Able To Get The Copper Iud If You Have Certain Health Issues
Some people arent the best candidates for the copper IUD. Those include people who have uterine issues, like large fibroids, that might affect the IUDs placement. Having an infection like pelvic inflammatory disease is also a contraindication, as is abnormal vaginal bleeding that hasnt been diagnosed, along with a few other issues. If you have concerns about how the copper IUD might work with your existing medical condition, be honest about it with your doctor. Theyll either be able to reassure you that it should be just fine or help you find a different birth control method that makes more sense for your situation.
What Are The Risks Of Iud Birth Control
Overall, IUDs are a safe, effective form of birth control. Certain health conditions may increase the risk of IUD complications, including:
- Pelvic or other infections
- Uterine fibroids or tumors
Getting pregnant with an IUD is rare, but it can happen. You should call your doctor if you believe you may be pregnant at any time while you have an IUD.
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What Are The Chances Of An Iud Failing
IUDs are known to be one of the safest and most effective forms of birth control. However, rare failures can still happen. For instance, the IUD can move out of place or get partially or completely expelled from the uterus.
These cirucmstances are more likely to happen soon after IUD insertion, which puts the woman at risk of unintended pregnancy.
And women who do get pregnant with an IUD may face an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tubes.
And although ectopic pregnancy is considered rare, it could be serious. It can cause life-threatening bleeding which warrants a visit to the doctor right away.
Fortunately, having an intrauterine device implanted means that your risk of getting pregnant in the first place is low, as well as your overall risk of suffering from ectopic or extrauterine pregnancy.
In fact, according to the International Journal of Womens Health, ectopic pregnancies affect 2 out of 10,000 women with hormonal IUDs per year. Meanwhile, an estimated 5 out of 10,000 women with copper IUDs get affected by this type of pregnancy each year.
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Can The Iud Cause Any Serious Health Problems
In about 1 in 500 users, a small hole in the wall of the uterus may be created while the IUD is being inserted. The IUD can move through the hole and sit in the wrong place. If this happens, keyhole surgery is required to have the IUD removed.
Around 1 in 300 users get an infection when the IUD is first inserted. This can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
It is very unlikely to get pregnant when using an IUD. If you do get pregnant with an IUD in place, there is a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy. This means that the pregnancy may settle in the fallopian tubes . This should be medically assessed urgently and treated as required.
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What Hormonal Iud Side Effects Should I Expect
Hormonal IUDs can cause side effects. But for most people, thats actually a good thing the most common hormonal IUD side effects usually help make your periods better.
Hormonal IUDs can cut down on cramps and PMS, and they usually make your periods much lighter. Some people stop getting their periods at all while they have their IUD . In fact, many people get hormonal IUDs to help with heavy or painful periods, to treat symptoms of endometriosis or PCOS, or because they just dont want to bleed every month.
Other hormonal IUD side effects can include:
Pain when the IUD is put in, and cramping or back aches for a few days after
spotting between periods
These usually go away within 36 months, once your body gets used to the new visitor in your uterus. And they dont happen to everyone many people use hormonal IUDs with no problems at all.
Over-the-counter pain medicine can usually help with IUD cramps. If you have cramping that doesnt get better or is really painful, talk with your nurse or doctor. They may need to check to make sure that your IUD is in the right place.
The changes in your periods while you have your IUD can make some people worry about how theyll know theyre not pregnant. But you dont really need to worry about being pregnant even if you dont get a period, because the IUD is really good at what it does its more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
I Think You Really Have To Know Your Body Before Considering It
I got my copper IUD during the summer of 2016, so Iâve had it for just over 2 years. I have the non-hormonal copper IUD.
I have anxiety and the idea of not having to remember to take a pill or check in on anything really appealed to me. Also, the pill had been really hard on my bodyâfrom weight gain to potentially suicidal thoughts at times. I wanted something without hormones and that could simplify the overall process, and my doctor recommended this!
Not going to lie, the insertion was unpleasant. My Gyno gave me a pill to soften my cervix but it just didnât work on me at all. I guess I have a strong cervix! It was a pinching sensation and honestly I felt like it took an hour when it really only took a few minutes. However, after that I had pretty minimal cramping for about a day or so. Since then Iâve had zero problems physically, although it definitely made my flow dramatically heavier during my periods. Iâve only just mellowed out this year. BUT I credit it with regulating my cycleânot sure if thatâs scientifically true but Iâm incredibly regular, down to the day. I love that!
I would wholeheartedly recommend it, but I think you really have to know your body before considering it. Because I was so in touch with the intimate details of my own cycle, I could spot abnormalities or shifts immediately after the insertion. Overall itâs been life changing for me in a good way, so I think it should be embraced!
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Effectiveness Of Copper Iud
Copper IUDs are higher than 99% effective. This means that only five women per 1000 can get pregnant. This is a very good percentage. Compared to copper IUDs, shots are 94% effective, and condoms are 85%, and vaginal rings, pills, and patches are 91% effective.
IUDs work this well is because there is very little room for error. In pills, women can forget taking them. While using condoms, couples have to be prepared. But with an IUD, nothing like this needed. Once you insert the IUD, it will work without any action needed from the woman.
This is a good option for an emergency contraceptive if a wants protection from pregnancy in the future. If the IUD is inserted within five days from unprotected sex, then the women have a lesser than 0.1 per cent chance of becoming pregnant. However, IUDs cannot prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
What To Expect After Having A Non
Some women experience side effects for three to six months after getting their IUD inserted. Some of these side effects include pain before your period, heavier bleeding, and cramps. As mentioned before, over-the-counter pain medication can help you manage your discomfort.
For most women, these side effects dont last forever. As your body gets used to the copper IUD, you are likely to notice fewer negative side effects.
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What Is Good About The Copper Iud
- It is an extremely effective method of contraception.
- Once inserted you will only need to check the string each month.
- It can last up to 10 years.
- You can use it while breastfeeding.
- No medications stop it from working.
- The device can be taken out at any time by a doctor or nurse.
- Once removed your fertility quickly returns to what is normal for you.
- It is a choice for those who do not want to use hormonal contraception.
Treating Fibroids Before Getting A Copper Iud
Unfortunately, you may go to your doctor expecting to get an IUD placed, but leave without one. This can happen if you have a uterine fibroid or other abnormality. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if you were planning to opt for non-hormonal birth control. Thankfully, uterine fibroids can easily be treated with an outpatient, nonsurgical method known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization . UFE works by targeting the fibroids blood source and blocking it with tiny embolic material that stays within the artery. Over time, your fibroid will continue to shrink until it is absorbed by your body. Once your fibroid has shrunk, you can revisit getting copper IUD.
At the Fibroid Fighters Foundation, we help connect you with top-rated interventional radiologists who can diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment process that fits your individual needs. Give us a call at 855.455.5262 or contact us conveniently online.
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Where Can I Get The Copper Iud
The Paragard IUD is the only copper IUD available in the United States. You can have it inserted at most family planning clinics, planned parenthood centers, clinics, and hospitals.
Not only will your health care provider advise you on the suitability of a copper IUD for contraception, but they will likely also be the ones to insert the device.
If you need more information on how to get birth control, take a look at our detailed article on the subject.
Period Problemsheavy Painful Periods
The IUD with copper can lead to heavy, painful periods. One benefit of the copper IUD is that you will continue to have a period, which means you can track your cycle and are not suppressing hormone function in the way hormonal contraceptives do. But the downside is it may be very heavy and may also increase cramping.
In a study comparing copper IUD vs progestin IUDs, they looked at over 3,800 women using these and found that copper IUD users reported greater increase in blood flow, increase in the frequency of bleeding and more cramping compared to the hormonal IUD group. Some studies report these symptoms reduce or subside over time, but that is not always the case. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor.
While studies have stated that the increase in bleeding does not lead to anemia in most cases, clinically I found that it does without iron supplementation. And this makes sense, right? If you have increased blood loss that is rich in iron for a longer period of time then you can expect your iron levels to get low. This is why I monitor women for anemia in my clinic and recommend taking a prenatal for comprehensive nutrient and iron support.
If you already have heavy or painful periods then you may want to rethink this one.
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What If You Get Pregnant With A Copper Iud In
Becoming pregnant with a copper IUD is extremely rare. It happens to less than 1 percent of women. If you do conceive with the copper IUD, it means you may be at high risk for an ectopic pregnancy, which is when the egg implants itself outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. But because copper IUDs prevent most pregnancies, the chance of an ectopic pregnancy is much lower than it is for women who dont use this birth control option.
How Effective Are The Copper Iuds
The copper IUDs are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and can last for up to 5 10 years . They can be used for contraception until menopause if inserted when you are 40 years of age or older.
If you are using the copper IUD for emergency contraception, you need to use it within 5 days or 120 hours after unprotected sex.
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What Are The Advantages
- Long acting it lasts for between 3 and 10 years depending on the type of IUD
- Reversible you can choose to have it taken out at any time. After that, you will be able to get pregnant
- 99% effective it works very well
- You dont need to think about contraception every day
- Does not affect breastfeeding
- Does not get in the way of sex
- The copper IUD does not contain any hormones
- The copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception
- The hormonal IUD has a very small amount of hormones and most people have no side effects from this
- The Mirena can help with period bleeding and pain, and most people will have light bleeding or no periods at all.
Studies show that IUDs do not cause pimples, headaches, sore breasts, nausea, mood changes, loss of sex drive or weight gain. There is no evidence of an extra risk of cancer.
Expulsionyour Uterus Kicks It Out
Expulsion occurs after an IUD is placed and is your uterus basically saying, not in my house. The copper IUD is associated with a 3-10 percent risk of expulsion in the first year. The hormonal IUDs come with a 3-6% expulsion rate in the first year.
Who is at risk of IUD expulsion?
Women with a history of heavy or incredibly painful periods are at higher risk of expulsion. Postpartum women is also a risk factor for expulsion. If you’ve already had IUD expulsion then your risk is about 14%!
What are symptoms of expulsion?
More than the usual cramping, either with your period or outside of menses, can be a sign of expulsion. If you experience a significant increase in bleeding, continuous spotting, new vaginal discharge then you’ll want to see your doctor and possibly have a transvaginal ultrasound to check out where your IUD is currently residing.
While these side effects are scary, the risk of perforation is low and a chat with your doctor and screening of risk factors can help you determine if you’re in the high-risk group. Ok, the big and scary ones are done! Now onto the more common side effects of IUDs.
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Cons Of The Copper Iud:
You might have to pay. The device itself costs about $150 , but your insurance may cover it.
Insertion can be painful. To manage pain your doctor may use a local or general anesthetic, or may simply ask you to take a painkiller before your appointment. One woman described IUD-insertion this way:
Its like a PAP smear test but a little weirder and more uncomfortable.
IUD insertion is an in-office procedure that takes just a few minutesits not surgery.
It may cause cramping for a couple of weeks after insertion and more pain with your periods. More than 30 percent of IUD-users report more period pain at first, but then find that it reduces over 12 months.
Its bad for the vaginal microbiome and doubles the risk of bacterial vaginosis.
It might come out. Risk of expulsion is highest during the first month following insertion , and then decreases to 2 percent per year. Signs of expulsion include pain, spotting, and the absence or lengthening of the string. A new frameless IUD called GyneFix is easier to insert and has a lower risk of expulsion.
It might cause pelvic inflammatory disease , but only if you have a pre-existing infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia. Thats why your doctor should screen for those common conditions before inserting an IUD.
It carries a small risk of uterine perforation, which could lead to surgery. Perforation occurs in 0.1 percent of users but is more likely if you are breastfeeding.
Your partner might feel the string, but probably wont.