Mirena IUD, copper or silver: advantages of each type and how they work

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The Intrauterine Device, popularly known as IUD, is a contraceptive method made of flexible plastic molded in the shape of a T that is introduced into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. This device can only be placed and removed by the gynecologist, and although it can start using at any time during the menstrual cycle, it should be placed, preferably, in the first 12 days of the cycle.

The IUD has an efficacy equal to or greater than 99% and can remain in the uterus for 5 to 10 years, and must be removed up to one year after the last menstruation, at menopause. There are three main types of IUDs:

  • Copper IUD: is made of plastic, but covered with copper;
  • Silver IUD: is made of plastic and coated with silver and copper;
  • Hormonal IUD or Mirena IUD: contains a hormone, levonorgestrel, which is released into the uterus after insertion. Since the copper and silver IUDs do not release hormones, they usually have fewer side effects on the rest of the body, such as changes in mood, weight or decreased libido and can be used at any age, without interfering with breastfeeding.However, the hormonal IUD or Mirena also has several advantages, contributing to the reduction of the risk of endometrial cancer, reduction of menstruation flow and relief of menstrual cramps. Thus, this type is also widely used in women who do not need contraception, but who are undergoing treatment for endometriosis or fibroids, for example.

    Advantages and disadvantages of the IUD

    Benefits Disadvantages
    It is a practical and long-lasting method Onset of anemia due to the longer and more abundant periods that the copper IUD can cause
    There is no forgetting Risk of infection of the uterus
    Does not interfere with intimate contact If a sexually transmitted infection occurs, it is more likely to develop into a more serious disease, pelvic inflammatory disease.
    Fertility returns to normal after withdrawal Higher risk of ectopic pregnancy

    Depending on the type, the IUD may have other advantages and disadvantages for each woman, and it is recommended to discuss this information with the gynecologist when choosing the best contraceptive method.

    How it works

    The copper IUD releases small amounts of copper in the uterus, which causes changes in the endometrium, preventing the implantation of the egg in the uterus, in addition to also interfering with the survival time of the sperm. This type of IUD provides protection for a period of approximately 10 years.

    The silver IUD works in the same way as the copper IUD, however there is also the release of silver in the uterus, which acts by decreasing the risk of oxidation of the copper part of the IUD and increasing the contraceptive effect. In addition, silver helps to decrease menstrual flow, being less intense than the flow that occurs when you have a copper IUD.

    The hormonal IUD, due to the action of the hormone, hinders ovulations and prevents the egg from fixing in the uterus, thickening the mucus in the cervix in order to form a kind of plug that prevents the sperm from getting there, thus preventing fertilization. . This type of IUD provides protection for up to 5 years.

    Mirena IUD, copper or silver: advantages of each type and how they work

    How it is placed

    The procedure to insert the IUD is simple, lasts between 15 and 20 minutes and can be done in the gynecological office. The placement of the IUD can be done at any period of the menstrual cycle, however it is more recommended that it be placed during menstruation, which is when the uterus is most dilated.

    For the placement of the IUD, the woman must be placed in a gynecological position, with her legs slightly apart, and the doctor inserts the IUD into the uterus. Once placed, the doctor leaves a small thread inside the vagina that serves as an indication that the IUD is placed correctly. This thread can be felt with the finger, however it is not felt during intimate contact.

    As it is a procedure that is not performed under anesthesia, the woman may experience discomfort during the procedure.

    Possible side effects

    Some of the side effects of this contraceptive method include:

    • Pain or uterine contractions, more frequent in women who have never had children;
    • Small bleeding right after IUD insertion;
    • Vaginal discharge;

    The copper IUD can also cause longer menstrual periods, with greater bleeding and more painful, only in some women, especially in the first months after the insertion of the IUD.

    The hormonal IUD, in addition to these side effects, can also cause a reduction in menstrual flow or the absence of menstruation or small outflows of menstrual blood, called spotting, in addition to pimples, headaches, breast pain and tension, fluid retention, ovarian cysts and weight gain.

    When to go to the doctor

    It is important that the woman be attentive and go to the doctor if she does not feel or see the IUD guidewires, symptoms such as fever or chills, swelling in the genital area or the woman experiencing severe abdominal cramps. In addition, it is recommended to go to the doctor if there is an increase in vaginal flow, bleeding outside the menstrual period or you experience pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse.

    If any of these signs appear, it is important to consult the gynecologist to assess the position of the IUD and take the necessary measures.

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