IUD stands for intrauterine device and is a hormonal birth control method. Many people spend a long time researching the different types of birth control that are available and often have a hard time deciding which is best for them. How much influence does hormonal birth control methods have on the body, and is it possible that they produce negative side effects? Read on to learn about the IUD.
What Is the Hormonal IUD?
The IUD is a T-shaped device that is placed inside the uterus. It is usually made of flexible plastic and has two strings attached to the end of it so that the woman can feel for the device and check that it is still in place. The device contains a synthetic form of progesterone (called progestin) which prevents pregnancy. It can remain in the uterus for up to five years but can be removed any time prior.
How Does it Work?
The plastic device releases a synthetic form of progesterone into the body. The amount is very small but is released constantly. The progesterone acts as spermicide and kills the sperm as it enters the vagina, making them immobile. It does this by thickening the lining of the cervical mucus and making a barrier for the sperm.
How Effective Is it?
The IUD is a very effective form of birth control and is very popular for this very reason. It only has a 1% failure rate. A test should always be taken if you are experiencing signs of pregnancy. Protection from pregnancy begins almost immediately after insertion, but you should use a form of barrier birth control like the condom for 24-48 hours after it has been inserted.
How Does it Affect My Menstrual Cycle?
You body already produces progesterone each month and this production forms part of your monthly cycle. Therefore, introducing more will affect your body. You may experience irregular bleeding, spotting or prolonged periods. It will eventually cause your periods to become a lot lighter though, and perhaps even stop altogether. This is because of the extra progesterone hormone that is being introduced to the body.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Unfortunately, when you are introducing a synthetic form of progesterone into the body side effects are likely. These include: mood changes, acne, headaches, breast tenderness, pelvic pain, and nausea. Not all IUD users will get side effects. There are also more serious side effects for women who are told not to use the IUD (e.g. those who have had cervical cancer). Always talk to your doctor before deciding to have an IUD fitted and make sure you tell them all of your health history.
Before deciding to have the IUD fitted by your healthcare professional, make sure you weigh the pros with the cons and know that it is the most appropriate type of birth control method for you. It is important to remember that by using the IUD you may experience hormonal imbalance. Talk to your doctor for more advice. Follow this link to find out about the concept of progesterone imbalance.