IUD as an Effective Emergency Contraception Option

Mar 24, 2009
Intrauterine device (IUD) should be offered as an effective option for women seeking for emergency contraception and urine pregnancy testing, a new report says.

Nowadays, the most common emergency contraception method is morning after pill, a birth control method that is used to prevent pregnancy in women who had unprotected sex. The other type of emergency birth control is intrauterine device (IUD), a T-shaped plastic device that is inserted inside the uterus within five days after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Scientists say that IUDs can be used as an effective emergency contraception method and women should be informed about this birth control option.

Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, an author of the study at the University of Pittsburgh and her colleagues asked 412 girls and women aged between 15 to 44, who were interested in emergency contraception, if they knew about IUD and what attitude they had towards this birth control method.

According to the results of the survey, most of the respondents had little knowledge about IUD, being unaware of its effectiveness, costs or side effects. Only one third of all women knew someone using IUD and around 16 percent of the women were interested in IUD as emergency contraception.

Dr Schwarz said that there should be an open access to the use of IUD as emergency contraception, expanding the availability to same-day insertion services.

How does IUD works as emergency contraception?

The IUD should be inserted within five days of unprotected sex. It is estimated that IUD is 99 percent effective, which implies that only one in 100 women can get pregnant using IUD as emergency contraception. After insertion IUD prevents the sperm from meeting the egg or prevents the egg from implantation. The doctor can remove the IUD after woman's next menstruation or woman can choose to leave it up to 10 years as continuous birth control method.

Side effects of IUD may include cramping, increased bleeding during menstruation, headaches or pelvic pain. Women, who have sexually transmitted disease (STD) or pelvic inflammatory disease in the last three months, are not recommended to use IUD.