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An intrauterine device (IUD) is a method of contraception that requires the placement of a small, T-shaped device inside the uterus. Contraception refers to precautionary measures to prevent vaginal intercourse from resulting in pregnancy.
Intrauterine devices are one of the most effective methods of contraception. IUDs are useful for long term contraception because they last for several years, some even up to 12 years.
How do intrauterine devices work?
Intrauterine devices primarily work by preventing the fertilization of the egg and its implantation in the uterus. The presence of the foreign object makes the uterine environment hostile for sperm and fetal implantation.
Some IUDs also release measured doses of hormones which work by:
What are the types of intrauterine devices?
Copper T380 is a T-shaped polyethylene device wrapped with fine copper wire around the vertical stem. Copper T380 contains 380 mg of copper in its stem and arms. The device elicits a foreign body reaction in the uterus, which makes it impossible for sperm to survive or fertilization to take place. A Copper T380 implant can remain effective for 12 years.
- Copper T380 is also the most effective emergency contraception method for use after unprotected vaginal intercourse or known/suspected contraceptive failure.
- Copper T380 can be inserted up to seven days after unprotected intercourse to reduce the risk of pregnancy by more than 99%.
Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS)
The levonorgestrel intrauterine system is also a polyethylene T-shaped device which releases in measured doses the hormone levonorgestrel, a form of progesterone. Levonorgestrel thickens the consistency of the cervical mucus, inhibiting sperm mobility. Levonorgestrel also suppresses the endometrial growth and prevents implantation.
There are several LNG-IUS devices available, and each device releases a different volume of hormone per day. The dosage declines over a few years.
Following are the LNG-IUS devices approved by FDA:
- Mirena: for seven years
- Liletta: for five years
- Skyla: for three years
- Kyleena: for three years.
Efficacy: The failure rate is 0.6% with Copper T380 and 0.1% with LNG-IUS.
- No adverse systemic effects
- Reduced blood loss or lack of menstruation with LNG-IUS
- Reduced menstrual cramps with LNG-IUS
- Reduced risk of
- ectopic pregnancies
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- ovarian and endometrial cancer
- Safe for use in adults as well as adolescents
- Risk of uterine perforation during insertion
- Increase in blood loss and menstrual cramps in the first few cycles with Copper T380
- No protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Cannot be used in women with
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a method of contraception that requires the placement of a small, T-shaped device inside the uterus. Contraception or birth control refers to precautionary measures to prevent vaginal intercourse from resulting in pregnancy.
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Birth Control Options (Types and Side Effects)
Birth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed prior to using any birth control method.
Birth Control Pill vs. Shot (Depo-Provera): Similarities and Differences
Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and the Depo-Provera shot are two hormonal methods of birth control. Both methods work by changing the hormone levels in your body, which prevents pregnancy, or conception. Differences between "the pill" and "the shot." Birth control pills are available as combination pills, which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, or mini-pills that only contain progestin. In comparison to the Depo-Provera injection, which prevents pregnancy for three consecutive months. Both methods of birth control are very effective in preventing pregnancy. Both the combination pill (if you take them as directed) and shot are up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. While the mini-pill is only about 95% effective in preventing pregnancy. Both methods cause weight gain, and have other similar side effects like breast pain, soreness or tenderness, headaches, and mood changes. They may lead to decreased interest in sex in some women. There are differences between the other side effects of these methods (depending upon the method) that include breakthrough bleeding or spotting, acne, depression, fatigue, and weakness. Both oral contraceptives and the Depo-Provera shot have health risks associated with them, such as, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and cervical cancer. Birth control pills appear to increase the risk of cervical cancer. Talk with your OB/GYN or other doctor or health care professional about which birth control method is right for you.
DVT and Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptives)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that has traveled deep into the veins of the arm, pelvis, or lower extremities. Oral contraceptives or birth control pills can slightly increase a woman’s risk for developing blood clots, including DVT. DVT symptoms and signs in the leg include leg or calf pain, redness, swelling, warmth, or leg cramps, and skin discoloration. If a blood clot in the leg is not treated, it can travel to the lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) or post-thrombotic syndrome, both of which can be fatal if not treated immediately. Increased risk factors for DVT and birth control pills include over 40 years of age, family history, smoking, and obesity. Other medical problems that increase the risks of blood clots, for example, lung or heart disease, or inflammatory bowel disease or IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Other options for preventing pregnancy include IUDs, birth control shots, condoms, diaphragms, and progestin-only oral contraceptives.
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