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What you should know before choosing hormonal implant

Hormonal implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are both safe and dependable methods of birth control.

The copper IUD is good at preventing pregnancy, and is hormone-free.

It is a good option for people who prefer non-hormonal birth control or cannot use methods with hormones because of medical reasons.

What are some of the things to consider before choosing a birth control method:

--Effectiveness

--Ease of use

--Reversibility

--Hormonal or non-hormonal

--Side effects

--Cost

London gynaecology defines the contraceptive coil as a small device that sits inside the womb to prevent pregnancy.

The site quotes gynaecologist Meg Wilson who says the biggest appeal of the coil is that once it is fitted, there is no need to think about contraception for at least five years.

This is much easier than taking a pill every day or attending clinics to pick up prescriptions or make appointments for depo injections. 

Wilson adds that most women are keen to choose a contraceptive that they can rely on. 

The protection from pregnancy each year is 99.4 per cent. 

For some women, there are added benefits to the coil as one can choose one that contains the hormone progesterone. 

According to London gynaecology, the protection from pregnancy from hormonal coils is even more reliable at 99.8 per cent. 

Coils are more protective than other methods including the pill, condoms and hormonal coils are even slightly more protective than a sterilisation procedure. 

When the coil is removed, a woman's ability to fall pregnant will be restored to normal. 

Should you choose a non-hormonal or hormonal coil?

If you suffer from heavy or painful periods, it is worth thinking about having a hormonal coil fitted.

Can anyone have the coil?

There are only a few women who are not suitable for a coil, but it is not suitable for women who have previously suffered an ectopic pregnancy.

What side effects or symptoms can I expect?

There are no serious side effects with a correctly inserted coil.  With the hormonal coil, women may experience irregular bleeding which usually settles down over the first 2-3 months. 

Some women have side effects from progesterone which may affect mood, skin or bloating from fluid retention.  For women choosing the copper coil, they may find their periods are slightly heavier.

Is fitting a coil painful?

Having a coil fitted can be uncomfortable, but most people tolerate it well with the use of local anaesthetic gel and sometimes an injection.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that many elements need to be considered by women, men, or couples when choosing the most appropriate contraceptive method.

A 2017 study on Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics showed many women want to have a safe but also behavior-independent method.

The National Health Service lists some of the factors to consider when choosing contraception as age, health, lifestyle and possible side effects.

It says contraception also depends on the person’s health and circumstances.

The following questions can help you decide which method is most suitable for you:

--Can you make contraception part of your daily routine?

--Do you mind if your periods change?

--Do you smoke?

--Are you overweight?

--What if you can't use hormonal contraceptives?

--Are you taking medicines for other conditions?

--Do you want to get pregnant in the near future?

Some contraceptives can affect your periods. Some may make your periods lighter or more infrequent. Others may make your periods heavier or more irregular.

One’s weight won't affect most types of contraception, and most contraception won't make you put on weight.

A woman's fertility usually returns to normal within the first month after stopping the combined pill, vaginal ring, or contraceptive patch.

Your fertility may take longer to return to normal after stopping the contraceptive injection. Most women's fertility will return in a few months, but it can take up to a year for fertility to return to normal.

Medical news today says about 10 per cent of people on birth control use IUDs.

Copper IUDs do not use hormones. Instead, the copper damages sperm to prevent it from getting to the egg. It also creates an immune response that stops the development of healthy eggs and destroys any eggs that do develop.

Risks of hormonal and nonhormonal IUDs

As with any birth control, the IUD offers benefits but also carries risks. People may wish to talk to a doctor about their medical history and any plans regarding future pregnancy before deciding which IUD is right for them.

Some people find that the hormones in an IUD regulate their periods or even make their periods disappear.

The hormonal IUD can also be a good option for people who are unable to use contraceptives containing estrogen, including those who have migraines or a higher risk of blood clots in the legs.

However, hormonal IUDs may not be suitable for people with pelvic infections, uterine distortions, unexplained vaginal bleeding, and cervical or endometrial cancer.

A copper IUD begins working immediately, so it can function as an emergency form of birth control.

Some people experience heavier periods with a copper IUD. Therefore, these IUDs may not be a good choice for people who have painful periods or endometriosis.

The risks of IUDs include insertion pain, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in a small number of people, and the device falling out – the chance is 1/1,000.

A 2012 study found that removing an IUD as soon as someone detects a pregnancy can lower the risk of complications.

Are IUDs safe?

Symptoms of a pelvic infection include pain, cramping, and soreness in the lower part of the belly.

An IUD can pierce the wall of the uterus, although this is very unlikely.

Side effects should go away after a few months, but they can last for longer. If side effects do not improve or continue for a long time, talk to a nurse or doctor for advice.

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