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Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
Introduction Contents Post-Test References Go To Presenter Info


Section 1

- Introduction
- Objectives
- Safety
- Overview
- Early IUDs
- Copper IUDs
- Mechanisms
- Failure Rates
- Comparison
- Method Costs
- Characteristics
> Characteristics
- Incidence Rate
- Reducing Risk
- Perforations
- Ectopic
- Expulsions
- Rates

Section 2
Section 3


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Section 1 - Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

Characteristics of Copper IUDs (continued)

Possible side effects include:Copper IUD

  • Pain and cramping
  • Heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Menstrual irregularities

Possible complications include:

  • Perforation
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

Low risk of method failure:

  • Uterine or ectopic pregnancy

Slide 12

Although current IUDs are very safe and effective, they are not suitable for all women. IUDs may cause side effects that some women find unacceptable, including pain and cramping, heavier menstrual bleeding and menstrual irregularities. Spotting and cramping between menstrual periods often last two to three months after an IUD is inserted. Also, some women who use IUDs report that their menstrual periods last longer or are heavier. Menstrual blood loss may be 50 percent greater during the first months after insertion of a copper IUD, but usually decreases within 12 to 24 months.

Heavier menstrual bleeding could be a problem for women with anemia. It is estimated that as many as 40 percent of women in developing countries may be anemic. According to WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria, IUDs can generally be used in women with anemia, but more careful follow-up may be required. Menstrual bleeding irregularities can pose social or religious restrictions on women in some cultures. This side effect may be unacceptable to some women even if pain is absent.
Pain and excessive bleeding are the main reasons that women discontinue using an IUD. However, studies have shown that many women who complain about pain and bleeding choose to tolerate these side effects and do not have their IUD removed. Counseling can help women decide if the IUD is an appropriate choice for them given the risk of side effects. Also, for women who choose the IUD, effective counseling can help lessen concerns during the initial postinsertion period. However, if a woman does find the side effects unacceptable, or requests to have an IUD removed for any reason, she should have that request honored.

A very small number of IUD users may experience more serious complications, such as perforation or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Like any method of contraception, there is a risk of method failure. Some clients expel their devices and fail to notice until they become pregnant. A method failure may result in a uterine pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus.



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