The IUD:
a contraceptive response
adapted to young women

Did you know that the IUD – an intrauterine contraceptive device, commonly known as an IUD – is the most widely used method of contraception in the world?

Recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and acclaimed by our European neighbours, it is being used more and more in France, especially thanks to the recommendations of the French Health Authority, which places it as first-line contraception, including for childless women and very young women. Close-up on this method of contraception with multiple advantages:

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a small, flexible plastic contraceptive device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus. There are two types of IUDs: copper IUDs, with a copper wire attached around the central axis, and hormonal or progestin-only IUDs, which have a reservoir containing the hormonal active ingredient along the length.

What is the action of the IUD?

IUDs provide young women with temporary or permanent contraception that is 99% reliable and much less restrictive than the pill. Once inserted, a copper IUD can remain in place for 5 to 10 years compared to 3 to 5 years for a hormonal IUD.

The IUD works in a simple way: Copper is naturally spermicidal, preventing sperm from reaching the fallopian tubes. In addition, the intrusion of a foreign body into the uterus causes an inflammatory reaction in the uterine lining (a normal, non-infectious reaction), preventing the egg from nesting.

Hormonal IUDs combine two effects: the inflammatory reaction and the contraceptive effect. The progestin hormone in the reservoir is released regularly in small amounts to act on the lining of the uterus.

Contrary to popular belief, the IUD does not make you sterile at all. The risk of infection from the IUD is not zero, but it is rare. Informing the patient and follow-up by a professional can limit the risks. An IUD should always be inserted and removed by a healthcare professional.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the IUD?

The advantages of the IUD are numerous:

  • First of all, it is a completely reversible method of contraception that can be recommended to all women, including the youngest
  • The female cycle is completely natural with the copper IUD
  • The copper device, hormone-free, is ideal for all those who do not want or cannot tolerate estro-progestogen contraception
  • The hormonal IUD, for its part, has a beneficial effect on painful and heavy periods
  • The IUD can remain in place for several years, thus avoiding the daily use of an oral contraceptive
  • Once inserted, its action is quite comparable to that of a pill, without the potential risk of forgetting it
  • It is mostly well tolerated and does not require regular gynaecological monitoring as with hormonal contraception
  • It offers an easy and fast method of insertion and withdrawal
  • In France whether copper or hormonal, all IUDs are reimbursed at 65% by the National Health Insurance

On the downside:

  • The insertion of an IUD can sometimes cause temporary abdominal pain in the hours following the procedure
  • With a copper IUD, the duration of menstruation and its abundance may be heavier in the first few months
  • The cycle being natural, it can also be more irregular than with the contraceptive pill
  • The hormonal IUD can cause some side effects such as breast tenderness, acne, weight gain, mood swings, etc. The cycle is natural, so it can also be more irregular than on the contraceptive pill. In this case, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about changing your method of contraception.

What are the advantages of the IUD over the pill?

The pill needs to be taken every day, with the risk of forgetting to take it, which can lead to an unwanted pregnancy. The IUD frees women from this constraint by providing reliable, long-term contraception without drastic gynaecological monitoring. The IUD is also a more natural method of contraception. Copper IUDs – which are hormone-free – do not have a systemic passageway. That is to say, their action is only local and does not pass into the bloodstream.

Copper IUD or hormonal IUD, what is the difference?

The copper IUD is considered the most natural because its principle is mechanical. It is available in different sizes to adapt perfectly to the anatomy of each patient’s uterus.
The hormonal IUD contains, as its name suggests, a progestogen hormone which is released in small quantities and very gradually. It is available in two sizes. The diameter of the insertion tube is slightly larger due to the reservoir device.

How to choose your IUD?

The notions of comfort and health benefits should be taken into account when choosing an IUD.

In case of heavy, irregular and painful periods, the insertion of a hormonal IUD is recommended. This will reduce the pain felt by some women, reduce the duration and volume of menstruation, or even make it disappear without any impact on health or fertility.

The copper IUD is ideal for women with light or normal periods. It is also highly recommended for young women who cannot take hormonal contraception for health reasons and for women who smoke. Both hormonal contraception and smoking are high risk factors for health.

How to choose your IUD?

The notions of comfort and health benefits should be taken into account when choosing an IUD.

In case of heavy, irregular and painful periods, the insertion of a hormonal IUD is recommended. This will reduce the pain felt by some women, reduce the duration and volume of menstruation, or even make it disappear without any impact on health or fertility.

The copper IUD is ideal for women with light or normal periods. It is also highly recommended for young women who cannot take hormonal contraception for health reasons and for women who smoke. Both hormonal contraception and smoking are high risk factors for health.

Does the copper IUD affect libido?

As the copper IUD is completely hormone-free, it has no effect on libido or mood. This method of contraception works in a completely natural way, allowing women to feel better about their bodies and their moods.

Is the IUD suitable for nulliparous women?

IUDs, whether copper or hormonal, are ideal for women who have never had children. The most suitable devices for nulliparous women within our 7MED range are the 7MED 380 USHA and 7MED 380 NSHA IUDs, known as “short” size IUDs. They are specifically designed to fit the anatomy of the uterus of childless women.
Fully reversible, the IUD also offers the advantage of being able to be removed overnight without any impact on fertility or waiting time if you wish to have a child.
Can the IUD be used as a first contraceptive?
The IUD can be used as first-line contraception (Recommendation of the High Authority of Health). It is recommended from the age of 17/18. The choice will be a small copper IUD with a small diameter, flexible and thin insert to facilitate the passage of the cervix.

Who should I contact for the insertion of an IUD?

An IUD must be prescribed, inserted and removed by a healthcare professional: a gynaecologist, general practitioner or midwife.

How is an IUD inserted and removed?

The insertion of the IUD is very simple. After measuring the depth of the uterus with a hysterometer (present with the IUD at the time of purchase) to determine the type of intrauterine device that suits the best, the practitioner places the IUD at the bottom of the uterus using the inserter. The insertion takes only a few minutes and is usually painless.
Withdrawal should also always be carried out by a health professional. Simply pull gently on the withdrawal wires. This painless operation only takes a few seconds.

Is it possible to conceive a child immediately after removal of the IUD?

The IUD is a completely reversible method of contraception. It has no impact on fertility and there is no waiting period after its removal to conceive a child.