10 frequently asked questions about IUD
I’ve never used an IUD before, but I’ve always loved how it looked. Before using any contraceptive, I like to learn all about it. It’s not like I expect anything to go wrong, but girl it’s better to be safe than sorry. I know many people feel the same way, so I have compiled this list of all the things that I figured out about IUDs. If you want to learn more, just scroll down xo.
It’s actually an abbreviation for Intrauterine Device. An IUD is used to stop pregnancy by preventing the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg. Y’all know that the sperm has to get to the egg before a woman gets pregnant. The IUD is a soldier recruited to protect the egg, ensuring that the sperm rebel never gets in. Interesting right?
An IUD is a bit bigger than a quarter and shaped like a ‘T’. It is inserted into the uterus to serve as a long term reversible contraceptive method used to prevent unintended pregnancy. It is 99% effective with less than 1% chance of getting pregnant.
You have the copper IUD made up of copper and plastic and you have the hormonal IUD. The former has no hormones and it is known to ward off pregnancy immediately, serving as a spermicide. The latter has progestin levonorgestrel and it is known to be effective in at least 1 week after inserting it to ward off pregnancy.
Brands such as Liletta , Kyleena , Mirena , and Skyla, release small amounts of the hormone progestin into the body. Paragard (Copper T) is an option that is hormone free and triggers our immune system to prevent pregnancy.
When deciding which brand would be suitable for me I look at how long each brand lasts for. Liletta lasts for 6 years, Kyleena can take up to 5 years, Mirena 5 years, Skyla 3 years, and Paragard up to 10 years. Since I’m below 25 and I have plans of having a baby before I turn 30, I guess Kyleena or Mirena would seem to be the best options for me. Though I’d probably change my mind and have a baby earlier. It’s up to me to choose when I want to remove my IUD, and I don’t have to wait till it expires.
With different contraceptives out there, questions pop up in our heads, on ‘why this and not that?’ Why an IUD and not other contraceptives? After learning about it, I’d prefer it because it lasts a long time, not as stressful, inexpensive, safe to use when breastfeeding and copper-T can be used as an emergency contraception.
An IUD is open to a wide range of females. Almost every woman can use an IUD, both young and over 40; married and unmarried; with or without children etc. However, women with cancer of the cervix/uterus, who are allergic to Copper (for Copper-T), with unexplained vaginal bleeding , pelvic infection are not advised to use it.
An IUD is placed in a tube and inserted in the vagina; moving through the cervix into the uterus. The string attached to it is said to hang 1-2 inches into the vagina.
If that happens then your IUD may be out of place. It should not cause you or your partner any discomfort and both of you should not feel it. If your partner complains, then you have to visit your health care provider to at least figure out what’s up. It is quite relieving to know that my boo can’t feel it under normal circumstances, as it might be really awkward.
The cervix usually holds it in place, but there are certain cases when the IUD might fall out. This includes situations when a woman recently had a medical abortion, in younger women (14-19 years) and when a woman is healing from vaginal birth. According to Women News Today, ‘A 2018 study of 162 women who had an IUD insertion straight after vaginal delivery found that 8 percent experienced complete IUD expulsion within 6 months, and 16 percent had a partial expulsion.’
How I wish things didn’t really have side effects. If wishes were horses? With an IUD, everything is not sparkling neither dull. Side effects include bleeding, cramps, irregular and heavy periods, ovarian cysts, severe menstrual pain etc. Whilst one’s chances of getting pregnant are slim, WebMD stated that if it happens, there’ll be risk of miscarriage, infection, early labor and ectopic pregnancy.
Yes, it can be removed at any time during your menstrual cycle and the most optimal time is when you are on your period.
Even though an IUD does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, studies have shown that in the US there has been an increase in usage from 0.8% in 1995 to 72% from 2006-2014. Google searches for IUDs have increased by 800%. Most women love IUDs because they are 99% effective, last long, are less expensive and so much more.
There’s so much to know about IUDs and I’d keep exploring. Looking at all that an IUD has to offer; will you consider using it?
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About the author: 23-year-old Naffie Mustapha is a Sierra Leonean youth advocate who believes in access to information about sexual reproductive health and right. She is the author of the book Girlz Planete: Teenage Pregnancy and the editor of Nafisa Magazine.