Sex is a pleasurable act that many women cannot enjoy because of the fear of getting pregnant. However, contraceptives offer them the ease to enjoy the moment without any worries. One such option they have is a hormonal intrauterine device.
It is a T-shaped device that is inserted inside the uterus via the vaginal canal. The hormone released can affect our bodies in different ways. We talked to Dr Naseem Pervin, Senior Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai. She works with the Cloudnine group of Hospitals.
Along with benefits and side effects, let’s see how it works to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
How Does An IUD Work?
It releases progesterone hormone that has a different effect on ovaries, endometriosis lining and cervical secretion. There are two types of hormonal IUDs available in the market - a plastic one with a flexible frame and a copper IUD that releases levonorgestrel. The latter combines the effects of hormonal and intrauterine contraception.
The copper IUD was introduced in the 1970s. However, it gained popularity only in 1990. The device can prevent pregnancies for five years. Therefore, many women opt for it as a contraception method over OCPs.
How Does An IUD Prevent Pregnancy?
When inserted in the uterus, the IUD releases the hormone, which can increase the thickness of the cervical secretion. This allows the sperms to get lost in the mix and prevent them from reaching the fallopian tube to fertilise an egg.
The hormone has an effect on the endometrial lining. It makes the lining quite thin, creating a hostile environment for conception. Thus, even if an egg gets fertilised, conception will not be possible.
An IUD also has an effect on ovaries. It partially suppresses ovulation. Therefore, if an egg is not released, there is no chance of pregnancy.
Benefits Of Using An IUD
An IUD does not only prevent pregnancies, it has other health benefits too. Much like other contraception methods, many women can use an IUD for other purposes too.
Reduces Period Pain
An IUD can help women find relief from period pain and cramps. This is only the case if a person does not have underlying gynaecological problems in the uterus or ovaries.
For women who suffer from heavy bleeding during periods, an IUD can help them find some relief. Since it diminishes the thickness of the endometrial lining, the amount of bloodshed during periods gets significantly reduced.
Lowers Risks Of Thrombosis
In rare cases, oral contraceptives have been found to cause thrombosis. It is a condition in which blood clots are formed in the veins. On the other hand, an IUD possesses very low risks for this condition.
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Side Effects Of An IUD
Much like anything in the world that is supposed to intervene with the natural functioning of the body, an IUD also has a few side effects. Since progesterone can get absorbed in the body locally, it can lead to acne, breast heaviness and weight gain.
Although, in most cases, it has been found that an IUD can reduce bleeding and ca
n result in women not experiencing periods at all, it can cause some issues before the body adapts to it.
When it is installed, the body can take between three to six months to get used to the progesterone being released into the body. During this time, they can experience heavy, prolonged and frequent bleeding.
In rare cases, an IUD has been found to cause perforation in the uterus within one year of installation.
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