IUD INFORMATION-Mirena/Copper IUDs
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small contraceptive devices that are put into the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy.
- The two types available are the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD (MirenaTM).
- Both types are very effective methods of contraception and can stay in place for five+ years
- IUDs, both copper and hormonal, do not give protection from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). The best way to lessen the risk of STIs is to use barrier methods such as condoms with all new sexual partners.
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small contraceptive device that is put into the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy. The two types available in Australia are the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD (MirenaTM).
The hormonal IUD contains progestogen, which is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone that women make naturally. Both types are among the most effective methods of contraception and can stay in place for at least five years.
How IUDs work
IUDs affect the way sperm move and survive in the uterus, stopping these cells from reaching and fertilising the ovum (egg). IUDs can also change the lining of the uterus to stop a fertilised ovum from sticking. The hormonal IUD can make the fluid at the opening to the uterus thicker, stopping sperm from getting through. It can also affect ovulation by changing the hormones that cause an ovum to be released each month.
When choosing the method of contraception that best suits you, it can help to talk to a doctor or nurse about your options. Different methods may suit you at different times in your life. A doctor or nurse can give you information about the benefits and risks of using the copper or hormonal IUD, as well as other methods of contraception. Other methods include the contraceptive implant or injection, the vaginal ring or the combined oral contraceptive pill.
Hormonal IUD (Mirena)
The hormonal IUD (MirenaTM) is a small plastic T-shaped device that contains progestogen. This is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone that women make naturally. The device has a coating (membrane) that controls the release of progestogen into the uterus. It has a fine nylon thread attached to the end to make checking and taking it out easier.
Advantages of Mirena IUD
- More than 99 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy.
- Lasts 5 years
- Once it has been put in, you will only need to check the thread each month.
- The device can be taken out at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse.
- Your chance of getting pregnant will go back to normal as soon as IUD has been taken out.
Disadvantages of IUDs
- Needs to be put in by a specially trained doctor or nurse.
- You may have extra costs and difficulty accessing the service.
- There is a small risk of infection at the time the IUD is put in and for the first 3 weeks.
- There is a small risk of perforation, which is when the IUD makes a hole in the wall of the uterus when it is put in.
- If the IUD does not work and you get pregnant, there may be complications with the pregnancy if you continue.
- The IUD can fall out.
- Gives no protection from STIs.
Other types of contraception
There are many contraceptive methods available in Australia. When you are choosing the method that is right for you, it is important to have access to accurate information and to talk openly about your options with your partner.
It is also important to think about how well each method works, the possible side effects, how easy it is to use and how much it costs. It is important to weigh the pros against the cons, and think about how each method meets your current and future needs. The method you choose will depend on your general health, lifestyle and relationships. It can help to talk about your options with a doctor or reproductive health nurse.
Protection from sexually transmissible infections
IUDs do not give protection from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). It is important to practise safer sex, as well as to prevent an unintended pregnancy. The best way to lessen the risk of STIs is to use barrier methods, such as condoms for oral, vaginal and anal sex with all new sexual partners. Condoms can be used with IUDs to help stop infections from spreading.
Making an appointment:
- Booking an IUD insertion requires an initial consult (15 minutes) with the doctor doing the insertion.
- If appropriate the doctor will then schedule a 30 minute IUD insertion appointment (Please note you need to use reliable contraception for 3 weeks prior to the insertion)
- Follow up appointment is required 6 weeks later with your own GP or the doctor doing the insertion, to check for presence of mirena strings
For more information, please see the Family Planning Victoria website for helpful video about insertions + general information