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IUDs: Hormones or Copper?

So after pondering over the decision about which contraception to use, you finally found the right one for you. If among other possible effective methods you chose IUDs than you should read further. Another decision you will have to make is which IUD to choose.

The advantages of IUDs among other contraceptives are numerous: they are not abortifacients, do not put you under increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and subsequent infertility, and of pelvic inflammatory disease. IUDs can also be used by lactating women.

Modern IUD contraception is generally represented in the intrauterine devices of two types: those containing hormones and those which do not. Para Guard, for example, is the copper-bearing device of T shape inserted into the womb to prevent pregnancy. In this kind of IUD copper enhances birth control.

Another representative of IUDs that is widely known and favored by women all over the world is Mirena. This one is the progestin-releasing devise; thank to the release of the hormone Mirena decreases menstrual bleeding and cramps in women who experience these problems. Sometimes women who do not need contraception are advised to use Mirena to relieve heavy periods. Another advantage of Mirena is that it may be used with small and moderate fibroids and has the potential to treat severe PMS.

Choosing among hormone-releasing and copper IUDs you should weight all pros and cons and consult your doctor which one is the better for you. Speaking of Mirena, its potential side effects are mostly those related to hormone action. Headache, water retention, breast tenderness or acne are the symptoms that can be experienced due to the additional release of the hormone into the blood stream. Sometimes missed periods, irregular bleeding or spotting may occur during first 3-6 months after the IUD insertion.

As in birth control pills based on hormones, progestagen in Mirena increases the risk of ovarian cysts. Though no need to make negative conclusions – they are benign and usually resolve on their own over 2-3 months.

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Unlike Mirena, the use of Para Guard puts woman into the higher risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. Heavier and longer periods for a few months after placement are the most common side effects of ParaGard. These symptoms soon go away, but if they don’t – that should be the reason to consult your doctor.

So choice of IUD is the choice (which Neo never thought about) between getting into experience of hormonal effects (both positive and negative) and avoiding them.

And finally, remember about some common health risks associated with any type of IUD - perforation of the uterus, expulsion of the device (when the IUD falls out), and difficult removal (the IUD can get stuck in the uterus and requires surgery to remove). Though, those should not stop you from choosing IUDs as birth control method. Your health care provider will help you to make the right decision.

Diana L.


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