IUD is safe.
First of all let us do away with some misconceptions about IUD insertion. Many people believe that if you are young or have not had a baby you cannot use an IUD. That is not so. Any woman can be eligible for an IUD insertion. Even a teenager can get one inserted. Of-course, if you have just had a vaginal delivery or one in the past then the insertion is easier. It is also easier if you have just had an abortion.
The device is safe and does not by itself cause any infection or infertility. It can also be inserted at any time of your monthly cycle. If an infection is already present your doctor might advise against using it. Also if you happen to be already pregnant the device will not be inserted.
Steps for IUD insertion:
- The IUD is inserted into the uterus by your doctor. This is mostly an out patient procedure and you can go home later. The doctor will take your medical history and do a physical check up of your vagina, cervix, and uterus to rule out the presence of any infection. The actual procedure takes but a few minutes. It can cause a bit of pain so sometimes a local anesthetic is injected into the area around the cervix, but this is not always needed.
- The nurse or doctor will first insert a speculum in your vagina to keep it open. Another instrument will be used to hold the cervix steady. The IUD is then put into a special insert-er and pushed through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus.
- Sometimes before the insertion the doctor can advise a pain killer such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to be taken an hour before the IUD is inserted.This may help to minimize the pain and discomfort that may be caused during the insertion. Fortunately, the pain lasts for just a minute or two. You might also feel a little dizzy during the procedure.
- You will be perfectly okay after the insertion. There might be some cramps or backache but these are easily relieved by a hot water bag or over the counter medications. Any cramping and pains during the periods will go away after a couple of months.
Few point to be noted:
- Once the IUD is inserted a string about 1 or 2 inches will remain hanging in your vagina. There will be no discomfort on account of that. The string is there only to facilitate the removal of the IUD later. The doctor will show you how to feel for the string by putting your fingers in your vagina and reaching up toward your cervix.
- You will need to check on the string every month after your period to make sure that the IUD is in place. Never pull on the string as it could cause the IUD to slip out. If you cannot feel the strings it does not necessarily mean the the IUD has slipped out. Sometimes the threads are drawn up into the cervix or uterus. A simple ultrasound will reveal whether it is in place or not.
Copper IUD or Hormonal IUD?
- Copper IUDs can make menstrual cramps worse and the bleeding heavier but this too resolves with time. If it continues then you might like to visit your doctor. Do not try to remove the IUD on your own as you could cause damage to your tissues.
- Hormonal IUDs on the other hand make periods lighter and reduce menstrual cramps. They may cause the periods to stop altogether without any harm. Hormonal IUDs have a further advantage of preventing endometrial hyperplasia and cancer. Using them can help ease endometriosis and also reduce the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Moreover, there are none of the side effects that usually accompany high dose oral progestins, like weight gain.The IUD is a perfect birth control method for married couples or those in a monogamous relationship. It is an easy, efficient, cost-effective, reversible and long-term solution for contraception.
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