The Pain and Gain of Intra-Uterine Devices
Now that we live in a permissive world where casual sex, however unaccaptable it may be, is a commonality not only to adults but also to teenagers, an increased awareness for birth control and contraception has been raised. A lot of women are becoming more aware of their sexual health as they are at high risk of becoming pregnant, not to mention a lot of sexually transmitted diseases, if they engage in casual sex without protection.
Thanks to mass media’s campaign to inform people of different birth control methods that can be used to prevent. Among the more popular methods are the birth control pills, the withdrawal method, and the barrier methods. All these are easy to use and very accessible to the general public. But the most commonly used birth control method is the intra-uterine device or the IUD.
From the name alone, intra- meaning within or inside, and uterine meaning of the uterus, we may be able to determine where this device is placed. It is a small device that is inserted through the cervix and is placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It has a small string that hangs down from the device itself to the upper part of the vaginal canal.
There are two basic types of IUDs being used: the copper IUD, and the hormonal IUD. The copper IUD is effective due to the toxicity of copper to sperm. The copper coating of the device makes the uterus and the fallopian tubes release sperm-killing fluid that contains white blood cells, copper ions, enzymes, and prostagrandins. The hormonal IUD, also called Mirena, works by releasing levonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel is a form of progestin. Mirena has been proven to be more effective than the copper IUD, plus it also lowers the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease. Copper IUDs can be used for at least ten years while the hormonal IUD is effective for at least five years.
Sexual health professionals advise women to undergo a check-up prior to having an IUD inserted to prevent infection of the pelvic area. If anything unusual is found, for example the presence of a sexually transmitted disease, the condition is address first before the IUD is inserted.
Because of the material used for the device, a lot of women often wonder if it has an effect during sexual intercourse. The good thing is, IUDs are barely noticeable during sex. But at the same time, because is it barely noticeable, women worry that the IUD may be pushed too far in. The best way to keep track of the IUD is to feel for the string that hangs down from the device. This is done by putting a finger inside the vagina or by using a mirror, a speculum, and a flashlight. Self-checking of the IUD is usually done after every menstrual cycle. If the string had shortened, the device may have been pushed too far in. If the string is missing, it could be possible that the IUD was expelled. If that is the case, it is best to immediately consult a physician.
IUD insertion is best done during a woman’s menstrual period wherein the cervix is slightly open and chances of being pregnant is less likely. However, it may be inserted at any time. The procedure usually lasts from five to fifteen minutes. Most women complain of having abdominal muscle cramps during and after the insertion. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication may help relieve the muscle cramps.
IUD removal is much easier and faster than the insertion procedure. It may be done anytime the woman wishes to. If the device is removed near a woman’s ovulation period, there is a chance that the woman may get pregnant from the last sexual intercourse prior to the IUD removal.
Intra-uterine devices have been proven as one of the more effective birth control methods. The fact that it is the most widely used contraceptive method is proof enough that a lot of women trust it more that any pill or latex barrier to protect them from accidental pregnancies. The fact that it doesn’t shield you from sexually transmitted diseases should be warning enough to keep the number of sexual partners to a minimum, and only to those whom you know the sexual history of. Yes it may hurt a little to have the device inserted, but what’s a little pain if it will ensure that you’re not in any risk of getting pregnant?
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