Copper for birth control

It was first discovered in 1976 that the copper IUD could be used as a form of emergency contraception (EC). The Copper T IUD is one of two types of intrauterine devices available in the United States. The Copper T IUD is a small, flexible device made of soft plastic and copper. It is easily and quickly inserted into the uterus by a health care provider to prevent pregnancy. The copper a form of long-acting reversible contraception and are considered to be one of the most effective forms of birth control available. It is more effective than the hormonal emergency contraception (EC) pills currently available.

The type of frame and amount of copper can affect the effectiveness of different copper IUD models. The failure rates for different models vary between 0.1 and 2.2% after 1 year of use. The T-shaped models with a surface area of 380mm² of copper have the lowest failure rates. The TCu 380A (ParaGard) has a one year failure rate of 0.8% and a cumulative 12-year failure rate of 2.2%. Over 12 years of use, the models with less surface area of copper have higher failure rates. The TCu 220A has a 12 year failure rate of 5.8%, whereas the TCu 380A has a 12 year failure rate of 2.2%. The frameless GyneFix also has a failure rate of less than 1% per year. Worldwide, older IUD models with lower effectiveness rates are no longer produced. Unlike other forms of reversible contraception, the typical use failure rate and the perfect use failure rate for the copper IUDs are the same because the IUD does not depend on user action. It can be used for EC up to 5 days after the act of unprotected sex and does not decrease in effectiveness during the 5 days. An additional advantage of using the copper IUD for emergency contraception is that it can be used as a form of birth control for 10–12 years after insertion.

Sometimes the copper IUD can be spontaneously expelled from the uterus. Very rarely, the IUD can move through the wall of the uterus, damaging the internal organs, and in some cases surgery is needed to remove the IUD. Another adverse effect of insertion of a copper IUD is a transient risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in the first 21 days after insertion. However, it is a small risk and is attributable to preexisting gonorrhea or chlamydia infection at the time of insertion, and not to the IUD itself. Many women feel cramping or pain during the IUD insertion process and immediately after as a result of cervix dilation during insertion. Some women also experiences increased amount of blood flow during a woman’s menstrual periods. A full list of contraindications can be found in the WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use and the CDC United States Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use.

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Source: Wikipedia,

Camilla G.//SMC Editor

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