Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
An IUCD (Intrauterine Contraceptive Device) or IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small, usually plastic, device that is inserted into a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy.
The concept of intrauterine devices started in the middle ages when Arabs used to insert small pebbles or stones in the uterus of female camels to prevent pregnancy.
IUD's for human use came to be scientifically designed in the early part of this century.
The failure rate of IUDs almost similar to that of tubal sterilization. IUDs are more effective than birth control methods like condoms and the rhythm method but less effective than the oral contraceptive pill and centchroman.
IUCDs prevent pregnancy by making the endometrium unreceptive to the fertilized ovum. It stimulates the endometrium to release leukocytes (WBCs) and prostaglandins making it hostile to the sperm. It also causes bizarre and irregular growth of the endometrium. This prevents implantation of a fertilized ovum.
IUDs like Copper-Ts also come wrapped in copper. The copper is toxic to sperms and is a method of enhancing the contraceptive effect of the IUDs.
Other IUDs like the Mirena are hormone based IUDs which release a hormone affecting the growth of the endometrium.
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IUCDs can come in various shapes and sizes.
Copper-Ts contain a copper wire or copper bars of different strengths wrapped around the arms or the stem.
A Copper T 250 has 250 sq mm of copper wire wrapped around it and is effective for 3 years. The most commonly used IUCD is the Copper T 380 (known as Paragard) which contains 380 sq mm of copper wire and is effective for 10 years.
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