In this weeks healthtalks segment, Nat outlined the IUD and as she said, it’s a topic that’s not all that often discussed. Today Nat follows up with a few additional points to ponder on -
The Mirena IUD is an apparatus that is inserted into the womb. It’s a T shaped instrument made of plastic where the stem acts as a storage compartment containing a hormone which is slowly released. It’s the same hormone you will find in the oral contraceptive pill, however a Mirena has been suggested as being much better as it is a lower dose compared with that which you will find in the pill.
This direct release of the hormone into your womb has several actions in preventing pregnancy – it increases the thickness of the cervical mucus making implantation far more difficult. It thins your uterine lining, making implantation near impossible and for some women it stops ovulation.
The Copper IUD is one many women turn to because it doesn’t contain ‘synthetic’ hormones. The principle behind this type of IUD is that a copper coil, which is wrapped around the IUD itself, releases ions into the surrounding fluids. This impairs the mobility of sperm like some kind of Super-hero Force. It is believed that this is an effective form of contraception. The Copper IUD also changes the thickness of the uterine lining, affecting implantation. There are several theories around this type of contraception – none of which have been 100% proven.
In my professional opinion, any object imbedded into the uterine lining has its’ ramifications, similar to having endometriosis or a fibroid present. It’s worth considering that these types of disruptions can of course affect long-term fertility. Sounds harmless – but lets dig deeper.
So is an IUD better that the pill? It’s like asking if tea (not herbal obviously) is better than coffee? They both contain the same chemicals and toxins, they are just different products and work slightly differently on the body (and black tea in its dry form does have a higher caffeine content compared to coffee you know?)
We should consider that hormone contraceptives are all the same. Unfortunately one is not better than the other because they all contain synthetic hormones and what worries me most about the Mirena is the location of the device, it being in the actual womb where it’s directly acting on your uterus. Weekly in the clinic I’m confronted with numerous side effects that I can attribute to IUD use. Many women report to me they bleed the entire month round with the Mirena which kinda leaves me scratching my head. If you’re using it for contraceptive purposes but can never have sex because you’re always bleeding … what’s the point?
With a copper IUD, women report heavier and more painful periods whilst it’s in place. The presence of a foreign object wedged in the vaginal wall is, in my opinion, confusing for the body. A heavier period is simply the body trying to get rid of the obstruction each and every month. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, anything disrupting the normal menstrual flow will cause pain – be it a fibroid, endometrial tissue or cysts – and that’s no doubt why many women experience painful periods with an IUD.
An important issue with these devices is the vulnerability they expose the body to by way of infection. There is a really high chance of infection developing in the first 20 or so days after insertion especially with the copper IUD. Infection can lead to long-term damage to health and especially fertility. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease ( be it from the IUD, from a sexually transmitted illness, or from scaring ) is a serious issue and must be addressed and treated accordingly. Scaring from PID can lead to damage of the uterus, has been linked to ectopic pregnancies (which are an increased risk with those who have an IUD) as well as miscarriages. In many instances where there is damage, patients are then left with little option other than IVF. And, whilst it probably goes without saying, I’m still going to make mention of the fact that IUD’s do not offer protection from STI’s which in the end have the same ramifications as I’ve just mentioned regarding PID.
I guess the real question is, are you prepared to take the risk? My mission is and always has been to help people listen to their bodies and interpret what is being presented. Through this my hope is to educate women that there are natural contraception methods out there and you truly do have options. When all is said and done, just how much are you dying not to be pregnant? And how much are you willing to put your body through, long term?
For more information and guidance on natural contraception you can read some of my previous posts:
Many more can be found by searching ‘the pill’ in the sidebar of my site as well.
Of course there are some women completely happy using the Mirena or with their Copper IUD. I’m not here say ‘rip it out faster than you can say fallopian tubes, I’m simply here to help women get educated and make informed decisions.
You know I’ve written on synthetic hormone contraceptives on my site many, many times – you can check back on a few of those posts here, here, here and here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on IUD’s of all kinds – open up the comments section below and get some discussion going around the subject. Women really need to get savy with their fertility – it’s up to each of us to make sure the word is spread far and wide!