a reliable method of contraception
up to the menopause
An IUD is a small device, usually T-shaped, made of flexible plastic and extended by one or two withdrawal threads. It can be fitted with a copper wire (copper IUD) or a kind of small reservoir (hormonal IUD) in the central part. It is available in different sizes to best fit each woman’s anatomy. To be effective, the IUD must be positioned at the bottom of the uterus.
Are there different types of IUDs?
Hormonal or progestin-only IUDs, on the other hand, have a reservoir located on the longitudinal side. The progestogen hormone (levonorgestrel) it contains is delivered slowly and in very small quantities throughout the duration of insertion (from 3 to 5 years depending on the model).
Les stérilets hormonaux ou progestatifs, disposent quant à eux, d’un réservoir situé sur la partie longitudinale. L’hormone progestative (lévonorgestrel) qu’il contient est délivrée lentement et en toute petite quantité durant toute la durée de pose (de 3 à 5 ans selon les modèles).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the IUD?
- It makes it possible to avoid daily oral contraception and does not require regular gynaecological monitoring as with the pill
- Copper IUDs allow a more natural contraception, i.e. without progestin hormone. This is an undeniable advantage for all women who do not want or tolerate estro-progestogen contraception
As for the hormonal IUD, it allows:
- Soothe and regulate painful and intense menstruation
- As the dose of hormones released is low, they do not cause the main side effects of the same nature as the pill; such as migraines, lumbago etc
Finally, an IUD, whether copper or hormonal, is completely reversible. It is very easy to insert and remove, painless and is mostly well supported.
On the inconvenience side, the insertion of an IUD can sometimes cause temporary abdominal pain in the hours following the insertion. Copper devices can sometimes make menstruation longer and more abundant.
After the age of 40, can a woman who has never worn an IUD have one inserted?
Until what age can an IUD be used?
An IUD can be worn until the menopause, i.e. until the hormonal functioning of the ovary stops. It is customary to wait a year after the end of menstruation before talking about menopause.
How long does an IUD last?
Copper IUDs offer the longest lifespan: between 5 and 10 years depending on the model.
Progestin-only IUDs can remain in place for between 3 and 5 years, depending on the model. It is important not to exceed the date indicated because the hormone in the reservoir is intended to be released over a given period of time and not beyond.
Can an IUD be inserted and removed easily?
The IUD can be removed at any time by a doctor or midwife. All they have to do is pull on the thread to retrieve the device.
Does the copper IUD have an effect on the libido?
Who should I contact to have an IUD inserted?
Only health professionals: gynaecologists, general practitioners and midwives are authorised to prescribe, insert and remove an IUD.