Intrauterine Devices and Systems (IUDs and IUSs)

What is an intra-uterine device (IUD)?
The IUD is a method of birth control placed inside the uterus (intra-uterine). The IUD is a small T-shaped plastic device with a copper wire around it. The IUD must be inserted by a health care professional (HCP). It can stay in place for five- ten years before it should be changed. The IUD is 99.4 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy.  IUDs are inserted at the main clinic located at 179 Clarence St.  To book an appointment call 613-234-4641.
How does an IUD work?
The IUD impairs sperm function and prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg.
Who can use an IUD?
All women who are seeking a reliable long acting and reversible method of birth control can use an IUD. Also, the IUD may be a good option for women who are unable to take estrogen or women who are breastfeeding.
How do I use the IUD?
  • The IUD must be inserted by a HCP
  • A pelvic (internal) exam and health history are needed before the IUD can be inserted. This will ensure there is no infection in the vagina or the cervix. The health care practitioner will then give you a prescription for your IUD, which you can get at a pharmacy.
  • The IUD can be inserted at any time during your cycle provided pregnancy is ruled out.
  • After insertion, check the IUD strings before sex and after each period. If you feel the plastic part of the IUD or if the strings are absent, use another method of birth control until you can see your HCP.
  • A follow-up visit should be arranged four to six weeks after the IUD has been inserted. Seek care if you have any of these symptoms: late period or no period, abdominal pain, fever, chills, increased or foul smelling discharge, spotting, heavy bleeding or clots with your period.
  • Never attempt to remove an IUD yourself.
What are the advantages, possible side effects and possible complications of the IUD?
Advantages
  • Long-lasting method of birth control
  • Reliable method of birth control for women who cannot or do not want to take hormonal methods of birth control
  • Does not affect breastfeeding
  • Reduces the risk of endometrial cancer

Possible Side effects

  • Pain and bleeding after insertion
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Longer periods with heavier bleeding

Possible complications

  • If a pelvic infection is present, its progression can be more severe and lead to infertility.
  • Uterine perforation at time of insertion (tear in the uterus)
  • Risk of expulsion (IUD can come out)
What is an intra-uterine system (IUS)?

The IUS (Mirena, Jaydess or Kyleena) is a method of birth control placed inside the uterus (intra-uterine). The IUS Mirena is a small T-shaped plastic device. The IUS is similar to an intra-uterine device (IUD), but contains the hormone progestin. The IUS must be inserted by a health care provider (HCP). The Mirena & Kyleena can stay in place for five years before needing to be changed. The Jaydess works for 3 years before needing to be changed. The IUS is 99.9 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy.

How does an IUS work?
  • The IUS primarily changes the mucus in the cervix making it harder for sperm to enter the uterus.
  • The IUS thins the lining of the uterus making it difficult for an egg to attach itself. In some women, the IUS prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
Who can use an IUS?
All women who are seeking a reliable and reversible method of birth control that requires little attention can use IUS. Also, this method may be a good option for women who are unable to take estrogen or women who are breastfeeding.
How do I use the IUS?
An IUS must be inserted by a health care professional (HCP)
  • A pelvic (internal) exam and health history are needed before the IUS can be inserted to assess the uterus and make sure there is no infection in the vagina or the cervix. The health care practitioner will then give you a prescription for your IUS, which you can get at a pharmacy.
  • The IUS can be inserted at any time during your cycle provided pregnancy is ruled out.
  • After insertion, check the IUS strings before sex and after each period. If you feel the plastic part of the IUS or if the strings are absent, use another method of birth control until you can see your HCP.
  • A follow-up visit should be arranged four to six weeks after the IUS has been inserted to assess infection and bleeding. Seek care sooner if you have these symptoms: abdominal pain, fever, chills, increased cramping, increased or foul smelling discharge, spotting, heavy bleeding or clots with your period. Over time, your menstrual period may disappear. If an abrupt change to your period occurs, see your health care provider.
  • Never attempt to remove an IUS yourself
What are the advantages, possible side effects and possible complications of the IUS?
Advantages
  • Long-lasting method of birth control
  • Reliable method of birth control for women who cannot or do not want to take hormonal methods of birth control
  • Does not affect breastfeeding
  • Reduces menstrual flow
  • Less painful periods
  • Reduces the risk of endometrial cancer
  • Shorter and lighter periods

Possible side effects

  • Pain and bleeding after insertion
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Mild cramping

Hormonal side effects

  • Headaches
  • Sore breasts
  • Mood changes
  • Acne

Possible complications

  • If a pelvic infection is present, its progression can be more severe and lead to infertility
  • Uterine perforation at time of insertion (tear in the uterus)
  • Risk of expulsion (IUS can come out)

Remember

  • The IUD does not protect you against STBBIs or HIV; use condoms to lower your risk
  • For additional information or assistance contact the province wide Aids and Sexual Health Infoline at Toll free: 1 (800) 668-2437
  • For more information on IUDs, please consult the Sex and U website.

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