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How Does an Intrauterine Device Affect Periods?

One of the effective birth control methods, Intrauterine Device (IUD) can last up to 10 years depending on the type of IUD you use. As a tiny device, it is easy to insert into the uterus and does not involve any complicated procedure.

Choosing a suitable IUD majorly depends on your period flow, and the two types of IUDs available are – hormonal IUD and copper IUD. Both IUDs have different effects on your periods. For instance, bleeding with Mirena coil is lighter while copper coil bleeding tends to be heavier.

We offer private coil insertion and removal services in London. For this read, let’s look at IUDs and periods i.e. how different IUDs affect your periods.

 

 

A] What is an IUD? How effective are they?

IUD stands for ‘intrauterine device’. Also known as IUC (Intrauterine Contraception), it is a small plastic device shaped like a T. It is placed in the uterus and its basic function is to prevent pregnancy. Almost bigger than the size of a quarter, an IUD stops the sperm from reaching the uterus and fertilising the eggs. IUDs are known to provide long term contraceptive protection for about 3 to 10 years depending on the kind of IUD used. When inserted correctly, an IUD is 99% effective in preventing pregnancies and start working as soon as it is inserted.

Note: IUDs doesn’t offer protection against sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Further reading: Routine preventative sexual healthcare check-up

 B] How is an IUD Inserted?

Most healthy women can use an IUD. However, in some cases, an IUD may not be effective such as:

  • If you are pregnant
  • In case of STIs or STDs
  • If you have cervix or uterus cancer
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding

In some cases, if you have an allergy to copper or Wilson’s disease, a copper IUD may not be suitable. Also, in rare instances, your uterus may not accept the IUD due to its size or shape.

1. Can you insert the IUD while on your period?

Yes, you can. Getting an IUD inserted when you have your periods is often recommended. Before the fitting:

  • A nurse or a GP would check the insides of your vagina to analyse the position and size of the
  • You would also get tested for any infections or STDs to make sure you are safe for the contraceptive.
  • You can have it inserted during a regular office visit has it only takes up to 20 to 30 minutes to complete the whole procedure.

2. IUD Insertion Procedure

  • The doctor will lay you down with your legs on the After conducting a pelvic exam, the doctor will clean the vaginal area with an antiseptic solution. He will then place a speculum inside the vagina to spread it and hold it open.
  • Next, the IUD will be placed in a tube, which will be inserted into the He will push the tube through the cervix into the womb. He will then carefully push the IUD out of the tube into the uterus and pull the tube out.
  • IUDs have strings attached to the bottom, which would be trimmed so that only two and a half inches of it is hanging from the uterus.

The entire procedure is quite straightforward and may cause some cramps. Some people may also feel dizzy during or after the procedure. To avoid this, the doctor might recommend taking antibiotics or painkillers before the insertion. You could also opt for numbing the area with local anaesthesia after discussing it with the doctor. You may experience periods-like cramps and spotting, for up to 3-6 months after the insertion.

C] IUD and Periods: Types of IUDs & Their Effect on Periods

  1. Hormonal IUDs (Mirena): Hormonal IUDs might contain a synthetic version of progestin, which is released in low doses daily. This prevents pregnancy in two ways:
  • By thickening the cervical fluid to prevent the sperm from travelling to the uterus.
  • By thinning the endometrium lining of the uterus, which suppresses

Hormonal IUDs protect against pregnancy for up to 5 years. Hormonal IUDs such as Mirena coil can reduce the symptoms of heavy periods, which is the reason why they are recommended to women experiencing heavy and long-lasting periods.

  • Some women may experience heavy bleeding for the first six months after Mirena coil insertion, which will gradually reduce after six months.
  • Mirena is also known to reduce menstrual cramps in women – a result of the thinner lining of the endometrium.
  • Some may experience irregular periods or spotting for 3-6 months after insertion, which is quite normal.
  • After six months, the mensuration becomes lighter but you may have unpredictable or random bleeding with Mirena compared to before.
  • In rare cases, women may stop getting their periods after one year.
  1. Copper IUDs: Copper IUDs does not cause any hormonal imbalance in women as they are free from hormones. They are also known as non-hormonal IUDs and have a copper wire around the coil that prevents the sperm from fertilizing the eggs. Copper IUDs offer protection against pregnancy for up to 10 years after its placement.
  • Unlike hormonal IUDs, you will still get your periods with copper IUDs. However, the copper coil bleeding will be heavier and you may experience light spotting in between periods. So, they may not be the best option for women with heavy menstruation.
  • If you opt for copper IUDs, you may start noticing the change within the first 3 months as the bleeding becomes heavier. This may be followed by irregular periods, random spotting and sporadic cramps. These symptoms may not last long and may become normal after 3-6 months.

But, if after 6 months your menstrual cycle is still unmanageable and you experience some symptoms, then you need to visit the doctor immediately.

Read more: Coil Fitting and Removal (IUD/IUS): Everything You Need To Know

#Side Effects of IUDs

While IUDs are safe, there might be some side effects. However, the side effects of IUDs are mostly mild, not severe.

  • Some women may feel dizzy and faint after the insertion. However, this is normal. For the first few days, they may also experience periods-like cramps which can be treated with
  • Getting pregnant is highly unlikely while using an IUD. But if you come across an accidental pregnancy it could lead to miscarriage, infections, or early labour.
  • It could also lead to ectopic pregnancy – where fertilised eggs implant themselves outside the womb usually in the fallopian tubes. These tubes connect your ovaries to the uterus, and the fertilised eggs stuck in the tubes won’t be able to develop the fetus, which can cause health risks.
  • Some may face the issue of ovarian cysts in the first year. These usually do not show any symptoms and are harmless. But some may cause bloating, swelling and severe pain in the lower belly.
  • An IUD also raises the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – an infection caused in the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Some of its symptoms are pelvic pain in the lower belly, extreme pain during sex, unpleasant odour from vaginal discharge, heavy bleeding and fever.
  • In rare cases, your IUD may poke through the walls of the uterus. If this happens, have your doctor remove it immediately.

Have a query or want further information about IUDs? Get in touch today!

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