Copper IUD

Copper IUD

What is the Copper IUD?

The copper intra-uterine device (IUD) is a highly effective (>98% success rate at preventing pregnancy) form of long term, reversible contraception. It is a tiny, T-shaped device with a copper coil on it, which is inserted into the uterine cavity, where it sits and prevents pregnancy.

The copper IUD releases copper ions which have a toxic effect on sperm cells and prevents pregnancy by inhibiting the movement of sperm to the egg so that fertilisation cannot occur.

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Types of Copper IUDs

There are various different brands of copper IUDs available worldwide, with a lifespan ranging between 5-10 years.

Our clinic carries Multisafe Copper 375 (short), which protects against pregnancy for up to 5 years.

Are you a suitable candidate for the Copper IUD?

The copper IUD is suitable for women who do not wish to conceive within the next few years and are looking for a safe and convenient contraceptive option. There is no age restriction for the copper IUD and both women who have given birth before and women who have never conceived can opt for it.

However, the copper IUD may not be suitable for women who suffer from heavy or painful periods (menorrhagia or dysmenorrhea), as it may worsen their symptoms. It may also not be suitable for specific patients with pre-existing medical conditions that affect the shape of their uterine cavity like fibroids.

What are the pros and cons of using a Copper IUD?

The main benefits of the copper IUD are its convenience and non-hormonal nature. This makes it suitable for women who worry about the side effects of hormonal contraceptives or are uncomfortable with disruption to their menstrual cycles which may occur with certain other forms of hormonal contraception.

The main drawback of the copper IUD is that it results in heavier and potentially more painful menstrual periods. This makes it unsuitable for women who already suffer from heavy or painful periods. Insertion of the copper IUD is generally safe and simple but may come with some side effects like bleeding and discomfort and a low risk of more serious complications like infection or uterine perforation.

What is the difference between the Copper IUD and the Hormonal IUD?

The copper IUD does not contain any hormones while the hormonal IUD (e.g. Mirena) contains a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel, which is released in small amounts gradually and regularly into the walls of the uterus. The hormones from the hormonal IUD result in a lighter menstrual period, or in some women, their menses may stop altogether. With the copper IUD, you will still get your period regularly but it may be heavier than before.

Can I do a PAP smear if I have a Copper IUD?

The copper IUD does not interfere with PAP smears at all, as it sits within the uterine cavity. The IUD string which protrudes through the cervix into the vaginal canal will not affect a PAP smear either. Women with the copper IUD can and should continue with their regular PAP smears.

How long does the Copper IUD last?

The copper IUD is effective between 5 to 10 years, depending on the brand.

Can the Copper IUD be used as a form of emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception is a form of birth control which prevents pregnancy after sexual intercourse has occurred. The copper IUD can function as a form of emergency contraception if it is inserted within 5 days after unprotected sexual intercourse and will reduce the risk of pregnancy by 99%.

Removal of the Copper IUD and return to fertility.

The copper IUD can be removed at the end of its lifespan or anytime earlier should you wish to conceive. Removal can be done simply and quickly in the clinic. The return of fertility is immediate.

Speak to US

If you are worried about preventing an unintended pregnancy and are considering emergency contraception, you may wish to give any of our clinics a call or come down for a consultation with any of our doctors who will be glad to advise you further.

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