Intrauterine System

1.        What is the intrauterine system (IUS)?
This is a method of contraception consisting of a small T-shaped plastic device which slowly releases the progestogen hormone. This hormone is similar to the natural progesterone. In addition, it is used for women with painful or heavy menses and endometriosis.
2.          How does the IUS prevent pregnancy?
  • Thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for the sperm to enter the uterus (womb) and fertilization the egg.
  • Thins out the lining of the uterus preventing implantation.
  • Affects the movement of the sperm inside the womb preventing fertilization.
3.         What is the effectiveness of the IUS?
It is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
4.         Can all women use the IUS?
            Women with the condition listed below may not be suitable for the IUS:
  • Current breast cancer or previous breast cancer within the last 5 years.
  • Current cervical cancer.
  • Active liver disease
  • Unexplained bleeding from the vagina
  • Current blood clots or history of blood clots.
  • Migraines with aura
  • Untreated sexually transmitted infection or pelvic infection.
  • Abnormalities with your uterus or cervix.
  • Multiple uterine fibroid which distorts the inner lining of the uterus.
5.          What are the advantages of the IUS?
  • It lasts for 5 years.
  • Does not require compliance. You do not need to take daily or monthly pills or injections.
  • Keeps your hormone levels steadier and lower compared to the birth control pills.
  • Improves your period making it lighter, shorter and less painful.
  • Your fertility will return promptly as soon as the IUS is removed.
  • Women due to underlying medical contraindications that could not take the estrogen hormone contained in the combined oral contraceptive pill, could use this type of contraception.
  • It is not affected by medication, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • IUS could be used safely during breast feeding and does not affect your supply.
6.          What are the disadvantages of the IUS?
  • Your period may change: Irregular, minimal spotting and in some women no menses at all.
  • Side effects: Headache, breast tenderness or acne.
  • Some women develop small little cysts in the ovaries. Majority of these cysts do not need any treatment and resolve on its own.
  • It does not protect you against sexually transmitted disease
7.          Will an IUS affect my period?
  • In the first 6 months, your period may become irregular and lighter or prolonged and heavier. In some women, their menses may stop all together. Do not be alarmed if this happens.
8.          Where can I get an IUS?
You could contact your nearest gynaecologist.  You could the IUS inserted within the seven days from the onset of your menstrual bleeding. If you have the IUS inserted any other time, you need to use other reliable contraception 7 days prior to insertion of the IUS to avoid any unexpected pregnancy.
9.          How is an IUS put in?
Your doctor will examine you internally the find the position and size of your uterus. The procedure takes about 10 – 15 minutes and some women may find it slightly uncomfortable or painful. Pain killer could be given to you to reduce the pain. You will be asked to come again about 3 – 6 weeks time to make sure there are no problems.
10.       When will the IUS starts to work after insertion?
It works immediately after insertion to prevent pregnancy. However it is better to wait about 24 hours after insertion of the IUS to give your body a rest prior to having sexual intercourse.
11.        How will I know whether the IUS is still inside the womb?
Your doctor will teach you how to feel the thread attached to the IUD to make sure the IUD is still in place. You should check for the thread every month after each period. See your doctor if you could not feel the thread.

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