At A Glance:
- Small plastic and copper device inserted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy.
- Lasts up to 10 years.
- Visit to healthcare provider required.
- Very cost-effective.
- 99% effective
What Is It
A copper IUD (intrauterine device) is a small piece of flexible plastic wrapped in copper that offers up to ten years of protection. It’s inserted into the uterus by a doctor or healthcare provider, and is only made of high-quality materials which makes it safe to stay inside the body for years. If you want to get pregnant, you can have the IUD removed at any time, and your fertility returns immediately once it’s out.
In the Philippines, there is one type of IUD available.
Copper IUDs are T-shaped plastics with copper wrapped around on both the arms and body of the device. A single device can protect women from pregnancy for as long as ten years, and is generally the most economical IUD available.
Once the IUD is inserted, it’s effective immediately. They’re comfortable, and will not affect your daily activities. IUDs shouldn’t be felt once inserted, but if you do, that may be a sign that it’s not in place. It rarely happens, but it is possible. In case you are faced with this situation, do not attempt to adjust it on your own. Set an appointment with your doctor immediately, and do not rely on the IUD for protection against pregnancy while you have not yet seen your doctor. Use a back-up method such as condoms for protection.
How It Works
Copper is a highly effective spermicide. Its role in IUDs is to change the way sperm move to prevent them from fertilizing an egg cell. Sounds strange, but it works really well!
How To Use It
You can get the IUD inserted at any time as long as you’re sure you’re not pregnant. Most healthcare providers prefer to insert the IUD during your period because that’s when your cervix (the opening to your uterus) is open the most. It may also be more comfortable for you.
After the IUD is properly inserted, your healthcare provider will snip off the strings, but will leave enough length to be able to remove the device later on, and for you to be able to check if the IUD is in place. Don’t worry, the strings will not hang out of your vagina.
It’s normal to feel some cramps after having the IUD inserted, but it will subside after resting or taking pain medication. Some women may feel dizzy after the insertion, but again, it will subside too. For a few weeks after the insertion, some women may experience spotting or cramping, but will also eventually go away.
After having the IUD inserted, you’ll have to check it once a month to make sure it’s in place. The best time to check it is right after your period because your cervix opens slightly during menstruation, which is when the possibility of your IUD getting displaced is higher, although it rarely happens. To check your IUD, do the following directions:
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap.
- Get into a squat position (like when you are sitting on the toilet).
- Insert one clean finger into your vagina until you feel your cervix. Your cervix will feel a little firmer, like the tip of your nose.
- Feel for your IUD strings. If you feel them, then your IUD is in place. If you cannot feel your strings or you can feel the bottom of the IUD at your cervix, your IUD is not in place. If your IUD is not in place, do not attempt to adjust it by yourself. Make an appointment with your doctor, and in the meantime, use a backup method of contraception.
- Fast and easy process to get inserted.
- Fertility is restored immediately after removal.
- Highly effective.
- Does not contain hormones or interact with medicines.
- Don’t have to think about birth control every day or every time you have sex.
- You can have the IUD easily removed at any time.
- Requires not much effort.
- Safe for smokers and those with hypertension and diabetes.
It’s normal to be worried about the possible effects, but most women did not have a problem with the copper IUD. In case you do experience any effect, that may be a sign that your body is adjusting to the hormones you’re introducing to it. These will go away in time once your body has adjusted.
The most common complaints:
- Heavier periods
- Spotting between periods (especially during the first few months after insertion)
- Cramps and backaches
Less common problems:
- IUD slipping out or moving out of place
- IUD pushing through the walls of the uterus
- Infection (usually due to unsanitary insertion procedure)
Answers to Common Myths & Misconceptions
- Does not cause cancer, ulcers and birth defects.
- Does not cause discomfort or pain for the women during sex.
- Does not move to the heart or brain.
- Women who have not (yet) given birth can use IUD.
- Does not increase risk of miscarriage when a woman gets pregnant after IUD is removed.
Remember, IUDs are to be inserted by a trained healthcare professional only.