The Effectiveness of IUD’s as Contraception

IUDs are a long-term, reversible, and highly effective form of contraception.

They can be inserted by a healthcare professional and can last for 5-10 years, depending on the type. An IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small, T-shaped birth control device inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two main types:

  1. Hormonal IUD (5 years) – releases a small amount of progesterone to prevent pregnancy by changing the lining of the uterus. It also thickens cervical mucous and prevents sperm penetration. It can also help with heavy menstrual bleeding and prevent iron deficiency.
  2. Copper IUD/Non hormonal IUD (5 to 10 years) – is toxic to the egg and sperm which stops sperm from fertilising the egg. It slows the transport of the egg to delay chance of sperm and egg meeting. It also changes the lining of the uterus to make it unable to support a fertilised egg. Copper IUDs can also be used as an emergency method of contraception within 5 days of unprotected sex.

The benefits of IUDs are numerous:

  1. Highly effective- IUDs are over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, making them one of the most reliable forms of contraception.
  2. Long-acting- IUDs can prevent pregnancy for 5 to 10 years, depending on the type, eliminating the need for daily or weekly contraception.
  3. Reversible- IUDs can be removed at any time, and fertility returns quickly.
  4. Low maintenance- Once inserted, IUDs require no daily maintenance or reminders.
  5. Cost-effective- Although the initial cost of an IUD may be higher than other forms of contraception, it can be more cost-effective in the long run.
  6. Reduced menstrual cramps and bleeding- Hormonal IUDs can reduce menstrual cramps and bleeding, making them a good option for women with heavy or painful periods.
  7. Safe for breastfeeding- IUDs are safe to use while breastfeeding.
  8. Reduced risk of ectopic pregnancy: IUDs can overall reduce the risk of ectopic pregnancy . However, if a person does become pregnant when using a hormonal IUD there is around a 50% chance the pregnancy will be ectopic.
  9. Safer alternative for women with increased risk for venous thromboembolic episodes (PE or DVT)
  10. No risk of STIs- IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but they can be used in conjunction with condoms to prevent STIs.

In conclusion, IUDs are a highly effective, long-acting, and low-maintenance form of contraception that offers numerous benefits. If you are considering contraception options, consult with a healthcare professional to determine if an IUD is right for you.

IUD Insertion is available at a number of our practice locations and most recently available at Hope Valley and Salisbury.

Pro Medical SA
Dr Neelam Khanna, General Practitioner

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