IUD - IntraUterine Devices
A contraception method that can be used in women who have and have not given birth. IUDs are a nifty compact T- shape device that is placed into a woman's uterus. This insertion does not involve any sedation or anaesthesia. It can be done easily in a trained doctors clinic, right at the bed side.
I have been asked many times if this procedure is painful. I tell my patients blankly that it’s a very well tolerated procedure that involves 2 points of discomfort (not pain just discomfort). Even the faintest of hearts tolerate this procedure well if done by an experienced doctor.
The major perk of IUDs as a contraception is, Convenience! It can stay in the uterus for up to 5 years. No need to remember daily pill taking.
There are of course many types of IUDs available and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. We will outline this here.
2 main groups of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal.
Non-Hormonal - Copper IUDs
Can be used as an emergency contraception. Can be inserted up to 1 week after an unprotected sexual intercourse
Immediately effective. ie. you can have sex without a condom immediately after insertion
Not hormone based, so no hormonal side effects to deal with
Makes periods heavier and more cramping involved - so this device is not for you if you have heavy painful periods to start with
Increased risk of PID, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (which is a more complicated version of a simple Sexually Transmitted Disease(STD) like chlamydia and gonnorhea) - so if you have multiple sex partners and you engage in unprotected sex then that's risky, the copper IUD will increase your chances of PID
Hormonal - Mirena IUDs
70% chance of NO PERIODS - This hormonal IUD reduces menstrual bleeding to an extent that up to 70 % of women with this device no longer experience periods. The remaining 30% have very light bleeding - simply spotting. Wouldn’t that be awesome!!
Less bleeding also means more conservation of iron in the body, no low blood counts and hence less fatigue and more energy.
Hormonal side effects - like bloatedness, mild acne, slight weight gain. Compared to all the other hormonal contraception like pills, patches, injection or arm implants, the hormonal IUDs carry the least hormonal side effects
Commonly Asked Questions:
1. Will I feel the device or the IUD strings?
No , you will not feel the device. You will not be aware of the presence of the device. You will also not feel the IUD dangling out of the vagina like a tampon string. A tampon is inserted into the vagina. An IUD is inserted into a structure located higher than the vagina. It is inserted into the uterus.
2. Will my sex partner feel the IUD or get injured by it during sex?
No, your partner will not get injured by the IUD and if placed properly in the uterus your partner should not feel the IUD or the strings. If your partner feels something poking his penis then please do consult your doctor to have the IUD device checked.
3. I heard that in the 1st 3-6 months of hormonal IUD inserted bleeding can be unscheduled and erratic.
Yes, this is the normalisation phase. Commonly after 6 months frequent or prolonged bleeding should stop. Infact, in many women who have the Mirena device, they often experience no more periods by the 3rd month of insertion. This unscheduled bleeding in the first 3-6 months does not only occur with hormonal IUDs but also with any progesterone only contraception.
Progesterone only contraception refer to Hormonal IUDs, Depo Injection, Arm Implants eg Implanon and progesterone only pills.
4. Once the IUD is placed, can it move?
The first month after placement is the time during which the IUD device is more likely to move. It can ascend moving closer to the tubes or descend and spontaneously expel. This is not very common but it is a known complication of IUDs. I commonly like to perform an Ultrasound scan on my patients 1 month after IUD insertion. If at that time, the IUD is still in place in the uterus, then it is unlikely to move for the remainder of its duration.
5. Can I remove the IUD at any time if i don't like it?
Yes you can.
6. When is the best time for IUD insertion?
IUDs are best inserted in the 1st 7 days of your menstrual cycle. Day 1 being the 1st day of menstrual blood flow. That way, doctors know for certain that you are not pregnant and during your period, your cervix is slightly more dilated making the insertion procedure easier.
Our Female Doctors are ready to listen to your issues. Visit us at InSync Medical Located along East Coast Road in the heart of Katong, Singapore. We also open on Sundays to Serve you.