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The I.U.D. (or Intra Uterine Device)

An I.U.D. is a small plastic or copper device which can be inserted into the uterus where it produces a mechanical form of contraception.

It comes in various shapes and sizes and can be compressed to narrow cylindrical shape for insertion into the uterus.

The exact mechanism by which it prevents pregnancy is not known. It seems that the presence of the I.U.D. acts as a foreign body and produces an environmental imbalance on the inner surface of the womb or uterus.

Copper I.U.D.ís and the copper wire which is usually wound around the stem of the I.U.D. appear to act as a mild spermicide.

With I.U.D.ís there is an increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, so young women, particularly those who have not had children should consider this risk before having one inserted.

The I.U.D. almost matches the pill in regard to reliabilty but has lost its popularity over the past few years because of adverse publicity and law suits.

An I.U.D should not be used if there is a confirmed or suspected pregnancy present or if there is a present or past history of acute or sub-acute pelvic inflammatory disease.

Other conditions which render I.U.D. unsuitable include a present or past history of inflammatory disease of the uterus or cervix, congenital malformation of the uterus, a past history of a tubal pregnancy and fibroids of the uterus.

After a recent pregnancy or abortion an I.U.D. should not be inserted until the uterus has returne to its norrmal condition.

Cancer of the cervix or uterus or suspected cancer would certianly rule out the insertion of an I.U.D.

Copper I.U.D.ís should not be inserted if there is a proven allergy to copper or any disorder of copper metabolism such as Wilsonís Disease. Your doctor will explain the significance of this and other conditions which may involve copper.

Common reactions which can occur with the use of an I.U.D. include post insertion pain and cramping, complete or partial expulsion of the I.U.D., breakthrough bleeding which occurs in between periods, heavy or prolonged periods, pelvic inflammatory disease and pregnancy. Fainting attacks associated with low heat rate.

Less common reactions can include perforation of the uterus or cervix, inflammatory conditions of the uterus, the cervix or vagina, loss of periods, painful periods and pain on intercourse.

Anaemia can occur due to a heavy loss of blood during period time.

You should have regularly yearly check ups with your doctor when using an I.U.D. and be on the lookout for the presence of persistent, unusual and uncomfortable pelvic symptoms and signs.

Remember that a light or missed period associated with pain may indicate that the I.U.D. has failed and that you are pregnant.

- Ageing - AIDS
- Anorgasmia - Barrier Methods of Contraception
- Frigidity - Genital Herpes
- Impotence - Loss of Libido
- Masturbation - Miscarriage
- Post Natal Depression - Pregnancy
- Premature Ejaculation - Retarded Ejaculation
- Sex and Disability - Sexual Activity during and after Pregnancy
- Smoking and Pregnancy - Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
- Syphilis and Gonorrhoea - Termination (Abortion)
- The I.U.D. (or Intra Uterine Device) - The Pill (Oral Contraceptive Pill or OCP)
- The Rhythm Method of Birth Control
or Natural Family Planning
- Tubal Ligation
- Vasectomy - What is Normal??

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