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Hormone-Releasing Intrauterine Device (IUD)

What is a hormone-releasing IUD?

A hormone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) provides long-term birth control (contraception).  One particular type of hormone releasing IUD is made of a small plastic frame that is shaped like a T and contains a hormone cylinder. It is fitted in the uterus by a trained doctor or nurse and slowly releases a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy.

How the hormone-releasing IUD prevents pregnancy:

The hormone levonorgestrel (often used in birth control pills) prevents pregnancy by:

  • Thickening the normal mucus in the cervical canal (opening of the womb) so that the sperm cannot enter the uterus to fertilise the egg
  • Controlling the monthly development of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) so that the lining is not thick enough for you to become pregnant
  • Inhibiting the normal sperm movement inside the uterus and the tubes preventing fertilisation

 

Hormone-releasing IUD Insertion

Only trained doctors can fit or insert a hormone-releasing IUD. After a gynecological examination, the device is fitted into the uterus using a thin, flexible plastic tube that is passed through your cervix. Once the insertion tube is removed, the threads from the base of IUD will pass through the cervix and into the vagina and are cut to about 2 to 3 cm in length outside the cervix.  Some women may find the procedure uncomfortable or painful. It is advisable to allow time for a short rest before you leave the clinic.

Key Points

  • Once the IUD is fitted, it helps to prevents pregnancy
  • It can be removed at any time if you wish to stop using the method for any reason
  • It may reduce your period pain
  • After a few months, it may reduce menstrual flow
  • It is advisable to check the threads once a month

If you wish to discuss your suitability for a hormone-releasing IUD or have any questions regarding this contraception treatment, our women’s health team are more than happy to help.  

How does a hormone-releasing IUD prevent pregnancy?

A hormone-releasing IUD contains a hormone that prevents pregnancy by:

  • Thickening the normal mucus in the cervical canal (opening of the womb) so that the sperm cannot enter the uterus to fertilise the egg
  • Controlling the monthly development of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) so that the lining is not thick enough for you to become pregnant
  • Inhibiting the normal sperm movement inside the uterus and the tubes preventing fertilisation
What side effects can I expect?

All medicines can have side effects and some patients may experience them while using a hormone-releasing IUD. You should expect a change in your menstrual patterns and this is the most commonly reported side effect. The changes may initially include spotting, shorter or longer menstrual periods, irregular bleeding, heavy periods, menstrual pain, oligomenorrhea (infrequent or lighter periods) and amenorrhoea (no periods)

Some other side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Vulvovaginitis
  • Genital discharge

The Consumer Medicine Information leaflet from inside the packaging of your device contains more information on possible side effects but always speak to your doctor as soon as possible if you do not feel well. 

Is it painful to fit?

You can feel the insertion but it should not cause too much or excessive pain. Most women find that fitting causes only a little discomfort. Women who have delivered a baby only via caesarean section or those who have not yet had children may find it more uncomfortable and may wish to discuss options for pain relief before the procedure.

Afterwards, you might feel some cramping, a little like period pain, and occasionally some dizziness may also occur. These symptoms usually disappear after a few hours, but if they persist, or you are worried, please contact your doctor or their practice nurse.

Doctors who are trained to fit hormone-releasing IUD’s – Easy T Centre Practice

Doctors trained to fit hormone-release IUD’s – Robina Town Centre Practice

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.