A hormonal IUD, also known as an intrauterine device, is a hormonal contraceptive method.
What is it?
A hormonal IUD is a small T-shaped device. It has two strings that descend into the vagina to make it easier to remove. The vertical bar of the T is a cylindrical reservoir. Once it is inserted into the uterus, it slowly releases a hormone called progesterone from the reservoir. This hormone thickens the cervical mucus at the entrance to the uterus, which prevents sperm cells from entering. It also thins the uterine lining, so even if an egg is fertilized, it cannot attach to the wall to develop.
How do I use a hormonal IUD?
An IUD needs to be inserted by a doctor or a gynecologist. You can then leave it in place for the duration of its effective life (three or five years, depending on the model). However, it can be removed by a doctor or a gynecologist at any time. You may be asked to regularly check the two strings in your vagina to ensure that the IUD is still in place. You can use tampons or a menstrual cup with a hormonal IUD without any problems. However, if you’re using a menstrual cup, make sure that the suction effect that happens when you remove it does not pull on the strings of your IUD.
- It’s a good option for people who can’t use a contraceptive method that contains estrogen.
- It can make your periods shorter, lighter, and less painful.
- It’s an effective, long-term birth control method, so you don’t have to worry about it every day.
- You may have irregular bleeding in the first months after insertion.
- Insertion can be painful.
- Hormonal IUDs are expensive. Even with the Québec Health Insurance Plan coverage, you’ll have to pay about $80. Without insurance, it costs around $300 to $400.
- It does not protect you against sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs).
To learn more about this contraceptive method and its benefits and drawbacks, talk to your doctor or a gynecologist.