Controversy Corner: Are IUD’s Incredibly Useless?

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I’m sure you all remember either being taught the different methods of contraception in school or at the very least been walked through the different methods at your local doctors. Today I’m going to be talking about the Intrauterine Device and the potential risks and why people may regard this particular method of contraception an Incredibly Useless Device.
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There are different types of IUD Treatments which work towards the needs of the individual. IUD’s are currently the number one most used birth control despite having potential dangerous side effects. Before I get started though it is important to explain what the IUD treatment actually is and how it works.

The IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small T shaped device that is inserted into the uterus and there are different types available. The hormonal IUD’s such as the Mirena Coil or the Skyla have proved to be slightly more effective than copper IUD’s. These hormonal devices last for three and five years depending on which one you get and they work by releasing levonorgestral which is a form of the hormone progestin. In a nutshell the hormonal IUD damages and kills sperm in addition to making the mucus of the cervix thick and sticky to prevent sperm getting through, this also reduces menstrual bleeding and cramping and prevents the lining of the uterus from becoming thick, thus making it a poor place for an egg to implant.

The Copper IUD is more suitable for those who do not wish to have hormones added or changed in their bodies. This lasts for ten years and includes devices such as the Paragard. Copper wire is wound around the stem of the IUD and is toxic to sperm. It makes the uterus and fallopian tubes produce a fluid that contains white blood cells, copper ions, enzymes and prostaglandins which combined kill sperm.

In theory the IUD sounds brilliant, no longer having to worry about unplanned pregnancies, plus you don’t need to set a reminder on your phone to take the pill. Best of all, you don’t have to wake up from a one night stand in a panic induced frenzy of how you are going to acquire the morning after pill and if your condom had a hole in it. The IUD claims to be 99% effective but is the failure rate as accurate as we may think?

Although certain websites claim that it is suitable for anyone, the IUD mainly seems to be targeted towards women who have already have had children and wish to avoid pregnancy. I could give you a lecture on condoms and sexually transmitted infections but I don’t feel the need, chances are if you’ve had children and have been with your partner for many years, you probably won’t be catching Chlamydia.

Although these side effects can be unlikely it’s impossible to ignore the potential dangers of the IUD and the side effects it can lead to. Although these side effects are limited to 0.1% health websites such as webmd.com  warn of potential pelvic infections, other side effects being reported have been Ectopic Pregnancies (where the egg fertilizes outside the womb) which can lead to miscarriages, one woman even suffered from sepsis after the procedure.

In an article on xojane.com, Brenda Leifso, spoke of her terrible experience in which she suffered an Ectopic Pregnancy after her IUD migrated, the scariest thing is that many doctors disreagrded her, stating that it was probably ‘just higher up’ than they thought.

She said: ” For a long time, the grief was heavy. An ectopic pregnancy is an incredibly confusing thing. There is no choice in the matter: baby must be removed. It’s just piss-poor luck the egg attached where it did, and I felt — still feel — I’d lost a little soul.

“I’ve had four more pregnancies since then. Two have turned into full-term, healthy babies, two were miscarriages. For all of them, the possibility of them each being ectopic threw a long shadow — each required close monitoring of HCG levels and early ultrasounds.”
iud types
Another story from the website  written by Alice Myerhoff describes how her IUD caused her to go into toxic shock she describes her experiences in hospital:

“Within an hour the emergency room docs were removing the IUD and shortly thereafter a cocktail of antibiotics was being pumped into me intravenously. I had sepsis, better known as Toxic Shock…

I kept asking the doctors what I could do to get out. The results of my blood tests were improving but I still needed copious amounts of antibiotics. Finally the doctor agreed that if they could put a port in my arm, just like chemo-therapy patients get, so that I could give myself intravenous antibiotics they’d let me go home.”

Thankfully Alice did recover well and the story does have a happy ending but this could serve as a potential warning for those considering the IUD, this video (click here) reveals how one woman has suffered with a potentially harmful pregnancy after she got pregnant despite using the Copper IUD as a contraceptive.

This is very unlikely, statistics show that one in a thousand women may suffer from one of these side effects but I think the concern lies in the type of pregnancy. We all know that no contraceptive can promise you 100% guarantee but a pregnancy that can cause harm to both mother and child is something that is somewhat concerning. Should a device that can potentially cause more harm than good be recommended?

For all those considering this I would recommend speaking to your doctors, thinking it over and researching.  The chances of these side effects are not as high as media may make you think, but I think for me personally, I’ll be sticking with the Contraceptive Implant thanks.

Would you consider the IUD or would you rather play it safe?

Image Credit:  USnews,shinesa.org

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Lucia Widdop

Editorial Assistant Intern: Writer and self professed beauty obsessive, divides her time between writing, reading and testing beauty products. FOLLOW MY BLOG

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