Intrauterine devices (IUDs) provide SAFE and very EFFECTIVE birth control. In Australia, the hormonal IUD is subsidised by the government as a treatment for troublesome menstruation and contraception. They last for 5 years, or 7 years if inserted over the age of 45 years. Non hormonal IUDs are not subsidized but are still cost effective, as they provide long lasting birth control for 5 or 10 years. Modern designs make IUDs a great choice for women who want a “fit and forget” form of contraception. However, if you want an IUD removed before the time they are due to be removed, this is very easy. The contraceptive effects are immediately reversed, so pregnancy could occur straight away after the IUD is no longer in place. Most GPs are happy to remove IUDs (provided the threads are visible at the cervix).
What is an IUD?
Intrauterine devices are a type of LARC (long acting reversible contraception). Whether you have had children or not, IUDs could be a great option as they are so reliable. They come in hormonal or non-hormonal (copper) designs. Hormonal IUDs can also control troublesome menstruation, as well as provide excellent birth control, by reducing blood loss substantially or contributing to a hormonal treatment regime for menopausal women. Non-hormonal IUDs provide excellent birth control but may cause menstruation to be longer or heavier than usual. Non-hormonal IUD insertion can also be an alternative to the “morning after pill” provided it’s inserted within 72 hours of the episode of unprotected sexual intercourse (emergency contraception). The choice of IUD recommended for you will depend on several factors. You will need to have a consult with your normal GP or one of our doctors prior to booking in for an IUD insertion. Insertion can be done under IV sedation or as an awake procedure. We recommend that if you’ve not had a vaginal birth for a baby in the last 5 years, then consider having IV sedation for the insertion, as it can be quite uncomfortable to have it done as an awake procedure.
Our IUD Procedures
If you are booking in for an IUD insertion, it is very important that we can confidently exclude pregnancy. This means having the insertion on days 1-7 of your menstruation, preferably when bleeding is not too heavy. Or if you are taking the combined oral contraceptive pill, we like you to be taking active pills. This may mean missing your inactive pills and “cycling” the pill packets. Please speak with one of our nurses if you are not sure about how to reliable exclude pregnancy prior to IUD insertion. We will perform an ultrasound scan after we’ve inserted the IUD to ensure it’s in the uterus. We also recommend you have a six-week check (either with us or your normal GP) to ensure the device is settling and still in the right place. For 3 days after the device gets inserted you should not put anything in the vagina. Sometimes it can take a few weeks for your body to get used to the IUD and minor cramps which come and go are common.
If you have the IUD inserted as an awake procedure, you will able to go home alone but if you have had a sedation, someone will need to accompany you.
If you are coming for an IUD removal or replacement, but the threads are missing, then you will need an ultrasound scan performed to prove that the IUD is still in the uterus, before we commence the removal or replacement procedure . If coming to the clinic for an IUD removal, please refrain from unprotected sex for one week, to be sure you don’t conceive accidentally after the device is removed.
Make an enquiry with one of our doctors, who can help you decide which IUD procedure method will suit you and any special instructions prior to the procedure.