intrauterine-devices-iud

Intrauterine Devices (IUD)


An IUD is a form of long-term, reversible contraception that is inserted and remains inside your uterus while preventing fertilisation.

The IUD is a small, T-shaped device about the size of a large paperclip.There are two types of IUDs currently on the market: hormonal and copper. Both must be inserted by a Professional Healthcare provider and both are highly effective at preventing pregnancy for several years.

Hormonal IUD

Slowly and over a long period of time, hormonal IUDs release levonorgestrel, a hormone related to progestin. The hormone thickens the cervical mucus, which stops sperm from entering the uterus. It also makes it difficult for a fertilised egg to implant in the endometrium.

Patients frequently experience a decrease in menstrual bleeding & ease in cramping when using a hormonal IUD.


Copper IUD

Wound around the stem of the IUD is a thin wire made of copper, a substance which makes the uterine environment toxic to sperm.Although the copper IUD is only a slightly less effective contraceptive than Hormonal IUD, it can remain in place for up to 10 years.

A copper IUD can be used as emergency contraception in some cases.

Please note if you have had unprotected sex in the past 72 hours and wish to continue using an IUD after insertion, the copper IUD can prevent a possible pregnancy.However, this option is more expensive than the oral Plan B pill.

Please do ask us if you require any more information at any time.


IUD Insertion

As long as your pelvis is generally healthy and you arenot pregnant we can arrange an appointment for you to come and visit us at London Obs & Gynae Clinic where one of our Doctors will see you and before insertion may recommend you are screened for STIs.

On the day of insertion we may prescribe medication to soften the cervix, or administer a local anaesthetic to help with the discomfort. The insertion can also be performed without drugs if you prefer – let us know.

The procedure takes less than 5 minutes &is no more invasive than a Pap smear. Some clients find the insertion painful, while others report that it feels similar to a menstrual cramp.

The process tends to be easier for clients who have given birth vaginally in the past.

When your IUD is in place, you should be able to feel a small string hanging from your cervix. Your doctor can show you how to locate it. The string will not be visible from the outside and won’t interfere with sex. If the string is too long, please let our Doctor know who will easily clip it for you.


After IUD Insertion

At London Obs & Gynae Clinic we recommend a trusted friend or family member is present with you when you return home after your procedure as it is quite common that you may experience some cramping and bleeding for a couple days. Please avoid inserting anything in your vagina during this time such as tampons and avoid penetrative sex.

For pain management during the first day we recommend you may take ibuprofen and use a heating pad as required. We also recommend you take the day off work to rest – in most cases you should be able to return to work the next day.


Follow-Up Care

Our Consultant may schedule another appointment with you 3-6 weeks after your insertion to check the IUD is still in place and to address any questions or concerns you may have.

After your next few periods, we recommend all patients to check you can feel the string with your fingers whichwill feel like a fishing line. In any case where you are unable to feel the string please call us as soon as possible at London Obs & Gynae Clinic. Sometimes the string may have wrapped itself around the cervix orbeen expelled. Until your next visit and if you are not sure the IUD is in place please use another form of contraception.

It is very uncommon for a patient’s uterus to expel the IUD spontaneously however it can happen. If you believe this has happened please contact us on 020 7224 4268


Who is a Good Candidate for an IUD?

An IUD is a safe, effective, convenient, and easily-reversible form of birth control.

This may be right for you if you:

  • Are in a low-risk category for STIs and pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Have only one sex partner who is infection-free.
  • Use another form of contraception to guard against STIs, such as condoms.
  • Cannot or do not want to use hormonal birth control methods.
  • Find it difficult to take oral contraceptives daily.
  • Are breastfeeding.
  • Have a history of irregular bleeding, painful periods, or endometriosis.

Benefits of an IUD?

IUD’s are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy.

Less than 1% of women will become pregnant in the first year after insertion. A pregnancy is most likely to occur if the IUD has been expelled from the uterus without you noticing.

Cost-effective over time.

IUDs are usually covered by insurance plans, and provide contraception for several years after insertion.

Easily reversible

If you wish to become pregnant we can arrange for our Consultant to remove your IUD at any time.

Easy to use

Aside from checking that the IUD remains in place every month most patients forget it is there and do not need to interrupt sex in order to protect against pregnancy.

Significantly reduces menstrual bleeding and cramps after 3-4 months

In some cases, periods may stop completely. This will not affect future fertility should you decide to remove the IUD to become pregnant.

May reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, and ectopic pregnancy.

May treat the symptoms of endometriosis.

Will not cause weight gain.


What are the Risks of an IUD?

May increase cramps and menstrual bleeding.

Increased risk of benign (noncancerous) ovarian cysts. These tend to resolve on their own.

Side effects such as mood swings, acne, headaches, and tenderness in the breasts. These side effects tend to disappear after 3-4 months.

No protection against STIs.

Spotting. Some patients may experience light spotting between their periods.

Expulsion from the uterus. In 2-10% of cases, the IUD may be spontaneously expelled from the uterus during the first year. It’s more common in the early months after insertion, if the woman has never been pregnant, or if the IUD was inserted immediately after giving birth. The IUD can be re-inserted, but another form of contraception must be used in the meantime.

Uterine perforation. In one out of 1,000 patients, the device may perforate (puncture) the uterine wall. This is a serious complication and will require immediate medical intervention.


Does IUD Increase the Risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

No.

This rumour began with a kernel of truth. If you have a genital infection when your IUD is inserted, there is a possibility that the infection can be carried to your uterus and fallopian tubes.To reduce this risk, our doctor will have you tested for STIs and treat any infection prior to IUD insertion.


When Should I Call My Doctor?

Always call your doctor right away if you:

  • Experience heavy vaginal bleeding, such as if you have soaked through a pad or tampon each hour for more than 2 hours.
  • Experience severe pelvic pain.
  • Have a fever or chills.
  • Notice foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Cannot locate the string of your IUD, or if the string feels longer or shorter than usual.
  • Might be pregnant.
  • Might have contracted an STI.

What if I Become Pregnant with my IUD?

If your IUD becomes dislodged from your uterus, there is a chance you could become pregnant. In this unlikely event, we recommend at London Obs & Gynae Clinic you have the IUD removed, as it may cause miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or preterm delivery.

The IUD will not increase the risk of birth defects.

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