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Are You a Menstruator With Heavy Periods? This Is For You!

The most common solution to heavy periods is hysterectomy, as suggested by people around you. Undergoing this procedure is quite a big deal and involves many physical as well as emotional side effects. But there is something called Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs), which, besides being effective as a method of contraception, can also help in reducing the flow of blood during menstruation. This article solves all your queries with regards to IUDs, with particular reference to hormonal IUDs. Please consult your gynaec to see if you can undergo the procedure.

heavy periods, menstruation, uterus, blood

What are IUDs even?

IUDs are T-shaped devices that can be placed in the uterus. They are used as a method of contraception as they block the sperm from fertilizing the eggs. The efficacy of IUDs is 99% if used correctly. Besides this, hormonal IUDs are used to control the flow of blood during menstruation. In the latter case, the IUD regularly releases small amounts of progestin, the hormone that is used in many contraceptive pills, which also helps in making the periods lighter. The best part about IUDs is that they don’t have any severe side effects. Also, they are reversible procedures, unlike hysterectomy.

Can I still get pregnant after getting a hormonal IUD inserted?

After a hormonal IUD is placed, there is a chance that one has irregular periods for a while. Later, they either witness lighter periods or get no periods at all. But, as has been mentioned above, IUDs are 99% effective and it is most probable that you don’t get your period. In case you are worried about the slight chance of getting pregnant, a hysterectomy is more assuring. The good thing about IUDs, though, is that one can get pregnant as soon as the IUD has been removed, just like someone that has never had an IUD inserted at all.

iud, hand

For how long can I have an IUD intact?

An IUD can be left as it is for an average of 3-5 years. It needs to be replaced with a new one after this period. It is recommended that sanitary pads be used during menstruation. This is because usage of tampons could lead to the displacement of the IUD by tampering with its threads. In the case of IUDs that don’t contain hormones, they can be left inserted for up to 10 years.

Can anyone get a hormonal IUD inserted?

Hormonal IUDs are not suitable for menstruators who have liver disease, STIs, or breast cancer. Those that are prone to breast cancer are also advised not to opt for this. Also, in exceptional cases, inserting an IUD can be hard based on the shape and size of one’s uterus. In the case of menstruators that have never had a baby, it is hard to get an IUD inserted since their uterus is too small to make space for the device.

uterus, iud

How does having sex with an IUD inserted like?

Having sex isn’t any different after one gets an IUD inserted. Neither of the partners can feel its presence while having sex. But if this is not the case, consult your gynaec and don’t have sex unless there has been a check on whether the IUD is in place or not.

What are the risks associated with hormonal IUDs?

IUDs cause irregular periods in the first few months after insertion. Symptoms of PMS (acne breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings, and nausea) can be witnessed. In rare cases, there could be a dislocation of the device. Also, in the first 3 weeks after insertion, there is a risk of bacterial infection. IUDs can also cause cysts which will most probably disappear by themselves.

How is the procedure performed?

The device is inserted into the uterus. The procedure can be a bit painful and local anesthesia may be administered in the cervical area. An IUD is ideally to be inserted while one is menstruating since it is most probable that they are not pregnant then. Also, insertion is easier during that time of the month since the cervix is open. It is recommended that one stays in bed (and uses a heating pad) for a day after undergoing the procedure, though not mandatory. For a few days, there could be cramps- those that resemble period cramps.

iud, no kidding

Do I have to bother about the IUD after it has been inserted?

Hormonal IUDs, if placed while menstruating, start functioning immediately. If not, they typically take 5-7 days. The IUD cannot travel to other parts of your body when inserted by a trained gynaec. But in case you feel any kind of discomfort, visit the doctor at the earliest. If there are no symptoms of pain or strange bleeding in the first 2 months of insertion, there shall ideally be no complications further. In some cases, the IUD might come out by accident. So, it is important to learn from the medical practitioner about how to check if it is in place. Also, it is easy to remove IUDs whenever you wish to. So, no worries!

What are Copper IUDs? Are they the same as hormonal IUDs?

Copper IUDs are different from hormonal IUDs. They don’t contain hormones and are only helpful in avoiding pregnancies. Also, they don’t protect one from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Initially, Copper IUDs can cause an increase in flow during periods. They can be used as emergency contraception as well- need to be inserted within 5 days after the intercourse.

Anecdote

My mother, 41, got a hormonal IUD inserted around 6 months ago. She had very heavy periods (around 7-8 pads a day) and she had to stay in bed. This isn’t easy for anyone, is it? After the insertion, she had spotting once every 15 days for a couple of months. She now has very light flow – so light that she uses only 1 pad a day. Sometimes, she doesn’t even get a period. Hormonal IUDs are such a boon! In case you think they can be of help to you, talk to your gynaec and get the procedure done (and thank me later).

Sources:

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud
https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/iud-intrauterine-device
https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control-iud
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mirena/about/pac-20391354
https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/contraception-iud.html

Graphic design by: Vaibhavi

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