An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a T-shaped contraceptive device that is inserted in your uterus by your doctor. The IUD is connected to a plastic string, sort of like a tampon; this string extends into your vagina, and you can ensure your IUD is still in place by gently feeling for the string. The string can also be used by Dr. Bickman when it's time to remove the IUD.
Yes, there re two types: copper and hormonal. The copper IUD employs a copper wire wound around the base of the device, and it can remain in place for up to 10 years. The hormonal IUD releases hormones that prevent pregnancy, and they can remain in place for three to five years, depending on the brand. Some studies show the hormonal IUD is slightly more effective than the copper IUD in preventing pregnancies.
IUDs prevent fertilization of an ovum by damaging sperm. The copper IUD works by encouraging the uterus and fallopian tubes to produce a fluid that is toxic to sperm. The hormonal IUD causes the mucus inside the cervix to become thick so sperm can't make it to the uterus. At the same time, it prevents the lining of the uterus from becoming thick, which makes it difficult for an egg to become implanted. Hormonal IUDs can also help reduce menstrual cramping and bleeding.
Especially during the first year of use, there's a slight chance the IUD will be expelled from the uterus, which is why it's important to check to ensure the string is in place prior to sex. There is also a very small risk the IUD will cause a small perforation in the uterus. This most commonly occur during insertion.
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