Although many women use the contraceptive pill as a contraceptive method , some of them look for other methods, because they do not want to ingest a large amount of hormones, or because they have difficulty remembering to take them every day, then IUDs come as an option . But do you know what is the difference between copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs?
For many women, intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a very well accepted alternative when it comes to contraception.
What is an IUD?
IUDs are a T-shaped device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus . The IUD can be coated with copper (copper IUD) or hormones (Mirena, hormonal IUD). Where the difference between the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD already begins.
Both have the same function: to prevent the egg from being fertilized and the egg from implanting in the uterus, preventing pregnancy. However, the IUD is not a barrier method (which prevents the encounter between sperm and egg), it acts more widely, modifying uterine conditions.
Depending on the type, the IUD, you can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years , but in other countries there are devices with shorter durability, such as, for example, the duration of 3 years.
The price of hormonal devices varies between R $ 700 to R $ 1,200 , a relatively high cost in view of oral contraceptives. However, if you put on the tip of the pencil how much you spend on birth control pills for five years, that figure is not much different.
What’s more, you won’t have to worry about the IUD as long as it’s in place. This is another difference from the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD, the cost to place.
How does the Hormonal IUD work?
Once placed in the uterus, this type of IUD slowly releases small amounts of the hormone Levonorgestrel to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.
Similar to hormonal birth control pills, the hormonal IUD can also prevent ovulation or the release of an egg from the ovary.
The hormones also thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from swimming into the egg , they dilute the uterine lining to prevent implantation of the fertilized egg.
In addition to preventing pregnancy, the hormonal IUD can also decrease menstrual flow and reduce cramps . The Mirena device can cause menstruation to be absent .
Side Effects of Hormonal IUDs
During the period of 3 to 6 months after IUD insertion, menstrual cycles are likely to be unpredictable. But the hormonal IUD can also cause side effects similar to birth control pills, such as:
- Breast pain and tension (mastalgia)
- Fluid retention
- Escape between cycles (spotting)
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Ovarian cysts
How Does the Copper IUD Work?
The copper IUD is the choice of many women looking for a non-hormonal contraceptive solution. It offers an efficiency above 98% – with data that point to a percentage of only 0.6% of failure.
It is a small plastic device wrapped in copper. Its value varies between R $ 100 to R $ 300.00 . Once it is in place, it works for up to 10 years.
The woman may experience heavy bleeding and experience more cramping during menstrual cycles following the placement of the copper IUD, but it is expected that everything will return to normal within a few months after the IUD.
Side Effects of Copper IUDs
Other side effects of the copper IUD can include:
- Back pain
- Escape between cycles (spotting)
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain during sex
Similarities Between IUD Types
Both the copper and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by affecting sperm movement. They prevent the sperm from meeting the egg.
Both types of IUDs are equally effective. Less than one in 100 women who use the copper IUD, or hormonal in the right way, become pregnant.
Although each type of IUD protects against pregnancy for a different amount of time, they can be removed at any time. Removal is always an option if the woman decides she wants to get pregnant , or is unhappy with the side effects.
Main Difference of Copper IUDs and Hormonal IUDs
The main difference between the two types of IUDs is that one type releases hormones and the other does not . In addition to blocking the sperm from reaching the egg, the hormonal IUD thickens the cervical mucus, dilutes the uterine lining and prevents ovulation.
Another difference is the usage time. For copper IUDs between 5 and 10 years; for Mirena, 5 years old. The greatest effectiveness is Mirena, as it resembles tubal ligation . The copper IUD starts to work immediately after its insertion, whereas the hormonal device (Mirena), can take a few weeks to start working. Therefore, it is important to use a condom during sexual intercourse, until the doctor verifies that everything is correct with the placement.
Does Not Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Furthermore, the IUD only prevents pregnancy, not protecting the body against sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, when using an IUD, it is recommended to use barrier contraceptive methods such as condoms, which protect against diseases such as AIDS or gonorrhea , for example.
The hormonal IUD makes menstrual cycles lighter, with less colic, slowing or even zeroing menstrual flow . The copper IUD can cause an increase in menstrual flow and the woman may experience more cramps than usual.
The IUD is generally safe, but it is not always indicated for some women. Here are some cases:
- Pregnant or postpartum women
- Women taking medication (immunosuppressive, systemic corticosteroids or anticoagulants)
- Women with chronic anemia (thalassemia and sickle cell disease included)
- Women with active or recurrent pelvic inflammatory disease (in the case of a single event the situation should be assessed)
- Women with Wilson’s disease (a condition that causes copper to accumulate in the body).
- Women with bleeding or blood loss whose origin is not identified
- Women with sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Women suffering from menorrhagia (heavy menstrual flows)
- Women with uterine fibroids that deform the uterine cavity and / or morphological abnormalities of the uterus
- Women with cervical or endometrial cancer
- Women with cervicitis
- Women with breast cancer
- Women who have been in menopause for a year (the IUD must be removed after that time)
Copper IUDs can increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Because it contains copper, women with an allergy to the component should not use this type of device.
What to Expect During and After IUD Insertion
IUD placement is usually not complicated. Although many women experience some discomfort, less than 5% experience moderate or acute levels of pain.
Vagal vessel reactions – such as sweating, vomiting or brief fainting – and cervical lacerations occur in a maximum of 1% of women. These problems are usually short-lived and rarely require immediate removal of the IUD.
In addition, they do not affect the IUD’s later performance. Women who have never given birth or who have rarely given birth, or whose last birth was a long time ago, are most likely to experience these problems. A pain reliever can reduce this discomfort.
The IUD has a wire attached. This wire helps the woman to verify that the device is in the correct place . It also helps the doctor to remove it when necessary. After insertion of the IUD, the woman may experience temporary side effects, such as:
- Menstrual-like cramps
- Back pain
- Bleeding more intense than normal
- Leaks between cycles
- Irregular cycles
The most serious side effects are rare, but can include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- IUD displacement
- Expulsion of the IUD
- Perforation of the wall of the uterus
Before opting for any of the types of IUDs available, or deciding on any other contraceptive method, it is important to talk to the gynecologist to find out about the risks and benefits of each one. That is why it is so important to know more about the difference between copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs before making the decision.
It is also important to consider the cost, convenience and side effects when making the choice . If the woman tries this method and decides it was not a good choice, it is possible to do the removal at any time.
There are numerous options for birth control methods available, and your doctor can help you find out which is best for her.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.