A couple of days ago, I was talking about why so many people look at our ‘copper coil’ information page on SH:24 and we also noticed that the most popular forum topic is also about the IUD - Are the horror stories true? … since then we have been thinking about how we can improve the information available about the IUD.
My previous post was about the fitting process Are the horror stories true? 1. How should we describe an IUD fitting?. The post includes a poll - we want to know whether you think the information provided there about how a coil is fitted it is enough, not enough, or just right. Please check it out!
Today’s post focusses on evidence based info on health benefits and risks of the IUD.
- its a highly effective method of contraception that does not change your hormones in any way
- there is some evidence to suggest that the copper IUD is associated with a decreased risk of cancer of the womb and cervix
- it doesn’t influence your weight
- it doesn’t increase risk of any cancers
- it is not affected by any other medicines
- after removal fertility levels should return to levels similar to that before the IUD was fitted - so it should have no effects on future fertility.
- the copper IUD does not cause ectopic pregnancy, but if there an ectopic pregnancy occurs then the copper IUD is less good at preventing it. (I can talk about this a bit more if people are concerned? Reply to this post if that would be helpful)
- in the first 3-6 months after fitting some people experience irregular, prolonged or frequent bleeding - but bleeding patterns tend to improve with time.
- about 1 in 20 copper coils can fall out - usually within the first 3 months - you will be taught to check the threads to make sure that it is in the right place
- if a person has infection (most commonly chlamydia or gonorrhoea) sitting at the cervix (or entrance to the womb) then the process of coil fitting can push the infection further up into the womb and cause a worse infection - for this reason we recommend STI testing before IUD fitting
- finally - and very rarely - in about 2 per 1000 IUD fits the IUD can be pushed too far and make a small hole in the womb. I have never seen this happen in clinical practice, but it can occur. If this were to happen then a small operation (laparoscopy) would be needed to remove the coil.
I will post something on side effects in the next couple of days. If you have experienced any of these it would be good to hear from you!