The Risks Of IUDs

Birth control has evolved over the years to the point where women can choose, from any number of methods, the type of birth control that will work best for her lifestyle. It seems that women who are young, not quite ready to have a family and women who are past the point of wanting more children but not menopausal, choose intra uterine devices (IUDs) as a preferred method of contraception.

Preparing For An IUD

The IUD is a small object inserted into the uterus through the vagina to prevent pregnancy. An IUD is inserted by a medical professional, usually at a clinic. Since infection is a big issue, women are required to have a check-up prior to insertion of the IUD. The exam may be a full medical, pelvic and breast exam including a Pap smear and STI (sexually transmitted infection) screening and pregnancy testing. Anything abnormal or questionable finding should be treated before insertion of an intrauterine device.

Opening The Door To Infection

Serious pelvic inflammation can be the result of a vaginal infection contracted while using an IUD. Some women experience the loss of fertility. The chance of infection increases in women who have multiple partners, especially since an IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. A pelvic infection can cause damage to the uterus or fallopian tubes, thus reducing the chance of pregnancy.

An IUD is not recommended as a method of birth control for women who are at risk for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or have a lower immune response, such as women with HIV/AIDS. Other health risks that may prevent a woman from using an IUD are any type of malignancies in the genital tract, history of ectopic pregnancy or TSS (toxic shock syndrome), Salpingitis, anemia, or prior problems with an IUD. Of course, pregnancy rules out the use of an IUD.

If a woman with an IUD becomes pregnant, the recommendation is that the IUD be removed, regardless whether she intends to go to term or not. The IUD can cause a miscarriage or premature birth. Women who do conceive with an IUD in place have higher incidents of ectopic pregnancy, a dangerous situation that requires immediate medical attention.

Choosing To Become Pregnant

Most women who have an IUD and decide to become pregnant are able to do so after the removal of the IUD. However, IUDs can have a negative effect upon a woman's body that may affect her fertility or have an effect upon her ability to carry a pregnancy. The risk of damage to the fallopian tubes is increased should the IUD perforate the uterine wall, or become imbedded in the uterus, causing damage or blockage to the tubes or uterus. In some cases a hysterectomy may be required which, of course, results in permanent sterilization.

While an IUD is effective in preventing pregnancy, as with all forms of birth control, a woman's responsibility to herself is to check the method out well and make an informed decision about its usage.


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