IUD stands for intrauterine device. It is a small T-shaped plastic device and contraceptive method prevents pregnancy. It once it is inserted in the uterus. IUDs are also called long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) because of their features. A woman with an IUD is protected from pregnancy for many years, but her fertility quickly returns once the IUD is removed.
There are two kinds of intrauterine devices, but there is only one kind of IUD available in the Philippines.
What are the types of IUD available in the Philippines?
The copper IUD is the only kind of IUD available in the Philippines.
Copper IUDs do not have hormones. The copper changes how sperm cells swim to prevent them from reaching the egg cell. Cervical mucus also becomes thicker with the copper, like what the progestin can do.
Copper IUDs can last for up to 10 years.
The copper IUDs are more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancies. They are considered as one of the most effective contraceptive methods. In fact, copper IUDs are also used as emergency contraception because they are immediately effective upon insertion.
How is an IUD inserted?
Only healthcare professionals can insert an IUD. Make sure you have set an appointment with your doctor for your insertion.
You can have an IUD inserted anytime you want. Some may suggest having it inserted during your period. They say it’s more comfortable because your cervix is more open during this time.
The doctor may suggest taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen a few hours before the procedure so that you’ll not experience cramping.
If you’ve gotten a Pap smear before, the IUD insertion procedure is quite similar to that. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- The doctor will ask you to strip off your clothes from the waist down
- You’ll lie down on the bed with your feet on stirrups
- The doctor will place a speculum in the vaginal opening to keep it open
- The IUD is placed in a small tube used for insertion
- This tube will go in your vagina, through your cervix, and into the uterus
- The IUD will be pushed out of the tube, and the tube will be pulled out
The entire insertion procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes. You’re good to go after that.
You’ll also see that there are strings attached to the bottom of the IUD. These strings hang 1-2 inches in the vagina. They help you make sure that your IUD is in the proper place.
It’s important to check if your IUD is in its place during the first few months. Ideally, you check it once every month after your period.
Here’s how to check on your IUD:
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Insert a finger in your vagina until feel the cervix
- Feel for the strings
If the length of the strings seems normal and you don’t feel the end of the IUD through your cervix, then it’s in place.
In case you feel like your IUD is not in its right place, do not attempt to fix it on your own. Set an appointment with your doctor so they can check on it. Use another form of contraception to ensure that you’re still protected while you haven’t visited the doctor yet.
What are the benefits of an IUD?
IUDs are excellent contraceptives. They have a lot of benefits to offer aside from just convenience and effectiveness:
- Lower chances of failing
- Does not require constant attention or action from you
- Quickly and completely reversible
An IUD may be a great contraceptive method for you if you’re a busy woman who is always on the go.
What are the disadvantages of IUDs?
IUDs also come with a few disadvantages, just like any contraceptive method. These disadvantages are:
- They do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Some women may experience a little discomfort during the insertion
- Once they have an IUD, some may experience abdominal cramps after insertion
- Some may have heavier periods
- Some may have worse cramps during menstruation
Weigh the pros and cons first before choosing on a contraceptive method.
These disadvantages may seem scary, but not everyone will surely experience them. Most of the time, first-time users of IUDs only experience them at the start. Things go back to normal and you’ll barely notice the IUD there once your body has adjusted.
Who can use an IUD?
Most women can have an IUD. It’s best for women who have one, equally faithful partner, and at low risk of contracting an STI.
IUDs are not recommend for women who:
- Have an STD
- Had a pelvic infection recently
- Might be pregnant
- Have cervical cancer
- Have uterine cancer
- Experience abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Have multiple sexual partners
- Are allergic to copper
- Have Wilson’s disease
There are also some cases wherein the size or shape of a woman’s uterus is unusual enough to make it difficult to insert an IUD.
Don’t feel down if you fit any of the descriptions above or you think the IUD isn’t the contraceptive method for you. Talking to your healthcare provider will help you know more about your other options. They can also help you find out which one suits you best.
How much is an IUD in the Philippines?
Copper IUD available in the Philippines can cost around Php192.75 per piece (SRP). IUDs are generally more expensive upfront compared to other contraceptive methods. Consider the fact that you’ll be paying a certain amount once for a contraceptive method that can last for up to 10 years.
Philhealth’s benefit package covers the costs of an IUD and the insertion procedure. That means that Philhealth will pay for your IUD and insertion if you are a member or a dependent.
Where can I get an IUD in the Philippines?
Ob-gynes have the IUD available in the Philippines. It’s recommended to consult them first about the IUD before deciding on having one inserted.
Your local health center or women’s health centers usually have IUDs as well. Pay them a visit to see if they have it and if they can also do the insertion procedure.
It’s important to have all the information about your medical history ready prior to consultation.