Feel like you are having a bad reaction to oral contraceptives? Or want more protection than just condoms? A hormone-releasing IUD could be for you.
Many women are now moving away from oral contraceptives to Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Devices (IUD). The IUD we use at Azure Medical is the only one available in Australia that is hormone-releasing. Dr Aparna Hegde can assist you with your IUD and any contraceptive queries.
What is an IUD?
An Intra-Uterine Contraceptive device, commonly referred to as an IUD or ‘the coil’, is a small plastic and copper based device that is inserted inside your womb to prevent pregnancy. The device is often ‘T’ shaped and has a nylon string attached, making the removal process easy for your doctor. The basic concept of an IUD is that it makes your uterus inhospitable for pregnancy. However, once the IUD is removed, you immediately return to your natural level of fertility.
What does ‘hormone-releasing’ mean?
The hormone-releasing factor means that the mucus in your cervix becomes thicker, making it so that sperm cannot get into your uterus. With a thicker mucus, it also affects the ability for the sperm and egg to travel through the uterus and fallopian tubes. Thus, reducing chances of fertilisation.
While hormone-releasing IUDs are very common, some women do prefer to have a non-hormonal based contraceptive. This would mean a copper based IUD would be more suited. This will all be discussed at your consult with your Doctor prior to your IUD fitting.
Is it as effective as the pill?
Yes – the IUD we use is 99% effective. A core benefit of having an IUD instead of taking the pill is that it can stay in place for up to 5 years. This means that for 5 years, if you choose, you shouldn’t need to worry about needing to take a daily contraceptive. It also begins working immediately after insertion. However, usually within the first 24-48 hours there is a very small chance that your body will dislodge the device from your body. This can easily be fixed by your doctor.
Can anyone have a hormone-releasing IUD?
There are some women who are more suitable for having an IUD than others. To be eligible for an IUD you might:
- Have had your children and want a hassle free contraceptive.
- Spacing out your pregnancies and want a contraceptive that once removed won’t affect your fertility levels.
- Suffer with heavy periods and want your menstrual bleeding to be reduced.
- Be breastfeeding but want to be on a contraceptive.
- Want a contraceptive that doesn’t affect your weight, mood or libido.
Circumstances where you would not be eligible for an IUD:
- You are already pregnant.
- You currently have a pelvic infection.
- Have abnormal vaginal bleeding that is undiagnosed.
- You are awaiting treatment for cervical cancer.
- You have had a recent sexually transmitted disease (STI) or still do.
- You have fibroids or any other condition that alters the shape of your uterus/cervix.
How long does it take to be fitted and will it hurt?
Before you have your IUD inserted and fitted, you must have a consult with your doctor to ensure you are given all appropriate information and instructions. The doctor will also need to perform a vaginal examination, to check the size and positioning for your IUD in your uterus. This process and the fitting should take around 30 minutes, but it does vary on a per case basis. Your doctor will also show you how to conduct a thread test to ensure know how to maintain and locate your IUD at all times.
Optimal time for your IUD to be fitted is towards the end of your menstrual cycle or shortly after your period ends. This tends to be when the process is most comfortable for you. The fitting process can be uncomfortable. Some women afterwards have been known to experience some mild cramping or light vaginal bleeding/spotting for up to 48 hours while everything is adjusting. It is also best to avoid vaginal intercourse or swimming/baths for the initial couple of days to avoid possible infection.
You will also be required to see your doctor for a check-up between 4-6 weeks after your IUD has been fitted. After that, your check-ups will just be at the same time as your regular pap-smear test. It is normal for women to also have irregular periods in the initial months of their IUD fitting. This should settle down by 3 months and if problems persist be sure to book in an appointment with your doctor.
A Hormone-Releasing IUD and Azure Medical
At Azure Medical, we offer this IUD at a reasonable cost and Dr Aparna Hegde is qualified to insert, fit, remove and replace your IUD. She also has a special interest in women’s health and contraception as a whole, therefore be sure to book an appointment with her today.