Thursday, October 29, 2009

Q & A: "Could you descibe any side effects that could result from using an intrauterine device (IUD)?"

Could you descibe any side effects that could result from
using an IUD?

The IUD, or intrauterine device, is a small object made
in a variety of shapes and materials, which is inserted
into a woman's uterus in order to prevent pregnancy. It is
believed to work by causing an inflammatory reaction of the
uterine lining and thereby preventing implantation of the egg.
Through the many years (well over 20) of its existence, the IUD
has been widely used and accepted as a viable method of
contraception with an efficacy of 97 - 98%, but there are a few
risks associated with its use.

At the time of insertion, there is a risk of developing pelvic
inflammatory disease (a serious infection involving the female
reproductive system). This risk remains present after insertion
but diminishes significantly after the initial procedure. Studies
are underway now to assess the possible association of IUDs with
increased risk of HIV transmission, but there are no definite
answers available yet.

A significant number of women experience increased menstrual pain
with an IUD in place. About 10 - 15% will have their IUD removed
due to symptoms associated with abnormal bleeding.

Pregnancy and IUDs do not mix well. If an accidental pregnancy
does occur with an IUD present, approximately 50% of otherwise
normal pregnancies will end in miscarriage. In addition, five
percent of women who become pregnant with an IUD in place will
have an ectopic ( tubal) pregnancy.

It is important to keep in mind that an IUD does offer effective
protection against getting pregnant, but it offers no protection
against sexually transmitted diseases.

-- C. Ebelke

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