Contraception is an important topic for many women. With tons of different contraception options available on the market including pills, condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps and so much more, choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. One fairly new contraceptive method is the copper IUD. Copper IUDs under the brand name ParaGard can be a tremendously effective birth control method for many women. The ParaGard birth control solution can provide women with long-lasting birth control that proves fairly safe. And unlike traditional birth control, IUDs are semi-permanent, meaning women who use them can’t forget their dosages. If you are in need of a new contraceptive solution, it may be time to talk to your doctor about the copper IUD. Read on to learn more about it.
What is the Copper IUD?
The copper IUD is a small device that is inserted into the uterus to provide long-term birth control for up to 10 years. The device features a T-shaped plastic frame with a piece of copper wire wrapped around the stem and copper sleeves on the upper arms. It is smaller than the size of a sugar packet, so you’ll barely know it’s there. The ParaGard is the only copper IUD device currently available in America. Unlike other IUDs, the copper IUD contains no hormones.
- T-shaped device wrapped with copper
- Placed in uterus
- Lasts 10 years
How Do Copper IUDs Work?
As the device remains in the uterus, copper begins to spread in the lining of the uterus to help kill sperm. The copper IUD device works by producing an immune system reaction that kills sperm. As the uterus becomes inflamed, toxins are released that kill sperm before they can fertilize an egg. The copper IUD is one of the most effective contraceptive methods (99% effective) and is more effective than the pill. It should be noted that the IUD does not protect against HIV or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Copper lines the uterus
- Inflammation kills sperm
- Prevents fertilization
Who Uses IUDs?
One of the best things about the copper IUD is that it can be used by nearly any woman. It is suitable for premenopausal women of all ages, even teenagers. Women do not need to seek partner compliance either for this method of birth control. It can also be used while breastfeeding. However, certain women with uterine abnormalities should not use ParaGard. Pelvic inflammatory conditions, uterine cancer, and unexplained vaginal bleeding may also disqualify you from using a copper IUD.
- Suitable for women of all ages
- Can be used when breastfeeding
- Not for women with uterine problems
Advantages of IUDs
One of the biggest advantages, as mentioned earlier, is that fact that the IUD will remain in place for 10 years. However, the IUD can be easily and quickly removed at any time by a doctor. As soon as the IUD is removed, you can begin conceiving not long after. Additionally, it can be used as emergency contraception if used within 5 days of unprotected sex. As an added bonus it may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer and even cervical cancer.
One percent of those using a copper IUD will become pregnant. Common side effects associated with the copper IUD include anemia, cramps, backache, and inflammation of the vagina, as well as vaginal discharge. Additionally, women may feel pain during sex. Some women may experience severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding. Bleeding can also occur between periods. Pelvic inflammatory disease may occur within the first 20 days of placement. There is an increased risk of pelvic inflammatory if you have multiple sexual partners.
- Possible anemia
- Possible backache, cramps, and severe menstrual pain
- Possible inflammation and vaginal discharge
Over 99 percent effective, the copper IUD can be used by women of nearly any child-bearing age. With minimal side effects and a fair share of advantages, the copper IUD proves a solid method for birth control though it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.