The intra uterine device, common called an IUD, is a contraceptive device that must be inserted into the uterus by the womans health care provider. The first thing that needs to be cleared up about this device is its name.
It can be confusing to many women when one contraceptive method goes by many names. The IUD has also been called the Coil. This name comes from the days, back as far as the 1960s, when this device was shaped like a coil.
They were also known as the Loop around the same time; again for the shape. Another name that this has been called is the Copper T. This time it reflects its shape and what it is made of.
With all this confusion a woman needs to know what the device she is going to use is called. She must avoid the confusion of thinking it is an IUS which is a device that uses hormones in its method of birth control.
Small but Effective
One of the first questions a woman often asks about the IUD is how big it is. They are afraid of this contraceptive device that they know must be put inside of them. The answer frequently surprises and pleases them. It is quite tiny. If you thought of the size of a match then you would be able to picture it.
Think of your uterus being the size of the average womans fist and this makes even more sense. The device is in a shape like a T.
It must be implanted by your health care provider. It is placed into a thin tube like device which is gently slipped into the vagina and expelled into the uterus. It has two strings that hang from it. These serve two purposes. One is to allow the opportunity for the woman, and sometimes her physician, to check to confirm it is still properly in place.
They are also necessary when the device is to be removed. Using a special instrument the health care provider extracts the device by grabbing onto the threads.
How it Works
The IUD works in three distinct ways. It blocks the sperm from being able to travel into the uterus and along the fallopian tubes.
It also affects the cervical discharges, increasing and thickening them and this too helps to block the sperm.
Lastly the IUD helps to stop the uterus from being a welcoming host to the egg and so there is less of a chance that a fertilized egg would be able to attach.
This contraceptive device has a good record of protection. It is rated at ninety eight percent effective. Currently it is estimated that five percent of all women who are currently involved in a sexual relationship are using the IUD as their main method of contraception.
The main concern for women who use this method is that it is likely to affect their menstrual cycles. It may make them longer, heavier and potentially more painful. But when choosing a contraceptive sometimes it is a trade off; convenience for a little discomfort.
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