The idea of putting any sort of ‘device’ inside your body can be daunting. It is a temple, after all! So when it comes to birth control, it’s normal to want to know the ins and outs of all the different IUD options there are. Here, we’re pitting the copper and the hormonal IUD against each other, and looking at the pros and cons of each. Let’s get into it...
IUD stands for ‘intrauterine device’, and it’s a small T-shaped instrument that can be inserted into your uterus by a medical professional to help prevent pregnancy. They are typically made of plastic, and release either hormones or copper to protect you against pregnancy for between 3 and 10 years, depending on the type of device. IUDs work by stopping any sperm in their tracks so they can’t reach and fertilise eggs.
While all birth control methods have their up and down sides, the benefits of the IUD make it a very popular choice for people who wish to avoid pregnancy.
The main advantages are:
Hormonal IUDs work by releasing progestin (a synthetic version of progesterone) which thickens cervical mucus in order to stop sperm from reaching and fertilising an egg. As a backup, it also thins the lining of the uterus, so even if any sperm make it to the egg, the thin lining makes implantation extremely difficult.
In some cases, hormonal IUDs may also stop ovulation, thus effectively preventing pregnancy. There are several brands of hormonal IUD available, lasting anywhere from 3 to 6 years.
Pros of hormonal IUDs
Cons of hormonal IUDs
While some people shiver at the thought of having metal inside their body, copper IUDs are actually very safe. They work exactly the same as the hormonal kind, except instead of releasing hormones, they release copper.
Copper works as a spermicide to damage any sperm, preventing them from reaching the egg. It also generates an immune response to stop eggs developing, and destroy eggs that do develop.
Pros of copper IUDs:
Cons of copper IUDs:
There is no right answer when it comes to choosing birth control - everyone has different needs and body types, and so both the hormonal and copper IUD will create a unique experience for each person.
What’s good to know is that in both hormonal and copper IUDs, their safety and effectiveness are pretty much the same. Studies have shown that they are both more effective at preventing pregnancy than almost all other forms of birth control, and are more than 99% effective when used properly.
As an overview, if you’re looking for an IUD that could lessen period pain then hormonal could be the answer. Alternatively, if you aren’t a fan of adding extra hormones to your body, or you want something super long-lasting, a copper IUD could be the one for you.
Speaking to your GP is always the best way to gather information and find out what might be right for your body. If you have underlying health conditions or already suffer with period problems, your doctor can recommend the kind of IUD that is safest for you, and likely to be most effective for what you’re looking for from your birth control.
Are you still unsure about which IUD to choose? Pop into our Instagram DMs at @itsyoppie or reach out to our private FB group where no topic is off-limits. Don't forget that our personalised period box can get organic tampons, hormonal supplements and much more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, so that's one less thing to worry about each month.
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