Sexual Health

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

An Intrauterine device, abbreviated as IUD, is a common birth control device. It is a long-term, reversible type of contraception and is considered one of the most effective. It’s a tiny piece of plastic, shaped like a T and is put inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is also called an intrauterine contraception or an IUC.

There are 2 types of IUDs: Copper IUD and Hormonal IUD. The Copper IUD is made of plastic and wrapped with a coil of copper wire, hence its name. Sperms do not like copper! Thus the IUD acts as a spermicide – killing sperms that come into the vagina and preventing them from fertilizing the egg and getting you pregnant. They can be placed for up to 12 years!

Hormonal IUDs are small cylindrical devices as big as a matchstick. They work by giving off a low amount of a hormone. The hormone makes it harder for the sperm to travel to the egg and fertilize it. It also suppresses the lining of the uterus and just in case a sperm does manage to fertilize an egg, it won’t let it implant it preventing pregnancy. They can be placed for up to 5 years!

Both devices can be purchased from a medical shop. But always get a doctor to place it. The doctor will examine to figure out what size you would need. They will also check you for STDs. The process of placing it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes. But, it is a bit painful and hence, take a mild painkiller an hour or so beforehand.

They are very safe but there is a possibility of the IUD partially or fully slipping out of the womb and this can get you pregnant. Another rare case could be that the IUD pushes through the walls of the uterus and if not corrected can damage your internal organs. Hence, once placed make sure you follow up with the doctor to see if it’s placed correctly and everything is okay. The good news is, you can have sex as soon as you feel normal after the placement!

To be on the safe side, just check for a few signs after the placement to make sure everything is fine. These signs can be getting fever, chills, pain during sex, abdominal pain, the string is missing or feels shorter or longer, abnormal vaginal discharge, or the period pain lasts longer than the first few weeks. Visit your doctor if you experience any of these signs.

IUDs are more than 99% effective and can be used for years at a time! When you decide to get pregnant just get it removed and you’re good to have a baby! They can also be used directly after giving birth or while breastfeeding.

IUDs are safe but remember, they do not protect against STDs. Hence, a condom is a must every time. Using condoms along with your IUD is the best option! Stay safe, play safe!