An intrauterine device with a T-shaped plastic body with copper wrapped around its stem is called copper T or intrauterine coil. It is used as a birth control method, and it can also be used as an emergency contraceptive if it is inserted within five days after unprotected intercourse.
Intrauterine device (IUD) is a birth control device that is placed inside a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. It lasts for up to 3 to 12 years, is one of the most effective methods of birth control, and depending on the type have a failure rate of about 0.1 and 2.2 % after one year of use. There are two types of IUD:
Hormonal IUD - Contains copper.
Copper IUD - Contains hormone progestogen.
An intrauterine device with a T-shaped plastic body with copper wrapped around its stem is called copper T or intrauterine coil. It is used as a birth control method, and it can also be used as an emergency contraceptive if it is inserted within five days after unprotected intercourse. It can be used by women of all ages, irrespective of any previous pregnancies. If the individual decides to get pregnant, then fertility returns quickly after the device is removed.
Copper IUD works by affecting the sperm and preventing them from fertilizing the egg. It is believed that copper increases the levels of copper ions, prostaglandins, and white blood cells in the uterine and tubal fluids, thus acting as a spermicide.
It also affects the transportation of egg in the fallopian tube and also changes the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for an embryo to attach and grow.
Copper T is one of the best birth control method available because there is no chance of making any mistake. It is not a pill, so you do not have to remember to take it every day. Once you get a copper IUD, depending on the type, you will have 24 hours of protection every day for 3 to 12 years, which is 99 % effective.
Copper T if placed within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex, it is almost 99.9 % effective in preventing pregnancy.
The advantages are:
It can be inserted at any time during the menstrual period, but the best time is right after the periods. The cervix is softest during this period and the chances of the lady being pregnant are less. The doctor will take a thorough history to know if you have any risk factors for infections, and he or she will conduct a physical examination.
During the day of insertion, the doctor will determine the position of the uterus and will hold the vagina open with an instrument called speculum. Then the cervix and uterus are stabilized, and the IUD is placed using a narrow tube. Short strings attached to the device hang down from the uterus to the vagina. This string is used to ensure if the device is in place later and to allow easy removal by the doctor.
Some of the side effects are:
Copper IUDs are not recommended for the following women:
A frameless IUD does not have the conventional T-shaped plastic frame, which makes up the body of the IUD. This change was made to reduce the side effects like expulsion and discomfort after insertion.
No, copper IUD is only a birth control method and it does nothing to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). So it is advisable to use condoms and avoid multiple sexual partners to prevent getting infected.
Always talk to your gynecologist while choosing a birth control method. Depending on your condition and other factors, the doctor can help you choose the best birth control method. To consult a doctor, you can post queries and book real-time video consultations online.
Last reviewed at:
10 Apr 2019 - 4 min read
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