IUDs Can Be Safe, Even in High-Risk Women

A new study has reported that intrauterine devices (IUDs) can be safe and effective contraceptives even for women who typically might not be considered for the device, because of factors ranging from multiple partners to a history of sexually transmitted diseases or pelvic inflammatory disease.

IUDs are implanted by a doctor or other practitioner, then remain in place, so there are no problems with forgetting to use them, as there are with condoms, sponges, etc. IUDs do not protect from STDs, however.

There are two main types of IUDS, which are typically T-shaped plastic devices. One type is wrapped with coils of copper wire; copper ions are deadly to sperm cells. The other type is coated with contraceptive hormones or drugs that prevent conception. Typically the drugs used are estrogens and progestogens.

The study, reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, notes that the IUD not used as commonly in the U.S. as in other countries, perhaps owing to concerns about health risks once associated with the IUD.

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