iuds

IUD, Coil, or Loop

Over the years IUDs evolved and improved.
Currently, in South Africa, we have the following types of IUDs:
– Non-hormonal Copper T and Pearls balls
– Hormonal Mirena and Kyleena IUDs

Hormonal IUDs are the only reliable effective contraceptive without hormones, and are suitable for women with light to moderate and not painful periods because it often makes menstrual bleeding heavier and more painful.

Copper IUDs have been around for decades and millions of women around the world have enjoyed their effects. Click here for more information on the Copper IUD.

Pearls balls have come out recently claiming that insertion is easier and less painful because of its size and it’s better suited as balls placed into the uterus spread according to particular uterine shape. Click here to download more information on Pearl Balls. Pearls balls are about 4 times more expensive than traditional Copper T IUD.

The Mirena IUD is hormonal containing progesterone levonorgestrel. If you have heavy painful periods and you are not planning to have a baby any time soon the Mirena IUD (intrauterine device) is an excellent contraceptive option. It’s a small loop inserted into your uterus by a gynaecologist or a skilled GP in the office (or under anaesthesia if you wish so). It will last you for 5 years.

You are likely to stop having periods altogether a few months after having a Mirena IUD inserted. The Mirena IUD contains a small amount of levonorgestrel (progesterone type of hormone). Only a very small amount is absorbed into circulation so systemic side-effects are very uncommon. It is a very safe and effective contraceptive and has the advantages of controlling period pain and decreasing blood loss during periods. Women with endometriosis and fibroids find the Mirena effective in managing their condition. The procedure to insert it is not painful, but may be uncomfortable. The main side-effect in about 10% of women is irregular bleeding or spotting. Click here to download more information on the Mirena IUD.

The Kyleena IUD is smaller in size than the Mirena and contains a smaller amount of levonorgestrel and claims to have a similar side-effects profile to Mirena. Click here to download more information on the Kyleena IUD.

The insertion procedure of an IUD is quick. A speculum (just like for a Pap smear) is inserted into the vagina. The Cervix is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. I usually inject a local anaesthetic into the cervix to make the process less painful. I then measure the length of the uterine cavity with a special instrument and insert the IUD. I would then cut the strings and confirm with an ultrasound the correct location of the device. Pain is usually felt for a few seconds when the IUD passes through the cervix. Women often have mild period-like cramps after the insertion which subside within a few minutes, but sometimes last for a few days.

Risks of IUD insertion such as infection, or uterine perforation (making a hole in the uterus during the insertion or placing the device outside the uterus) are extremely rare. I believe it is an excellent contraceptive choice because it is long-term, easily reversible at any time a woman decides to have a baby, reliable, effective with minimal side effects. I personally am on my second Mirena IUD. IUDs can be easily removed by a doctor in an office.

About 10% of women will not like the Mirena or Kyleena because of irregular bleeding or because of other very rare side effects.

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