ParaGard Copper IUD

ParaGard, a type of IUD is considered one of the most effective types of birth control around, shown to be even more effective than the Pill, and it's hormone free. ParaGard is also virtually hassle free, requiring only a simple monthly check and can be left in place for up to ten years, costing between $400 and $500. Sounds great, right? On the surface ParaGard may sound like a dream form of contraceptive, however it's important that you get all the fact prior to deciding to use ParaGard as your birth control method.

When ParaGard Should Definitely Not Be Used

If you have any idea that you may be pregnant, you should definitely not have a ParaGard IUD inserted. If you have a tipped uterus or any other distortion or malformation of the uterine cavity, ParaGard should not be used, and if you are at a high risk for PID, you should not use ParaGard. Women who have suffered endometritis following a live birth or an abortion should choose a different form of birth control as should those women who have suffered a uterine or cervical malignancy. Any type of genital bleeding which has an unknown cause prohibits the use of ParaGard as does an allergy to any part of the device, a previous IUD which was not properly removed, or the presence of Wilson's disease.

Potential Health Risks from Using ParaGard

First and foremost, if a woman should become pregnant while ParaGard is in place, it should be removed immediately, however such removal can cause the loss of the pregnancy. If the ParaGard is not removed, spontaneous abortion, septic shock or death can occur. While there is little data regarding the risk of fetal abnormalities in a woman who becomes pregnant while using ParaGard, there are some indications that the risk could be slightly increased due to the copper in ParaGard. Ectopic pregnancy is also a possibility when a woman becomes pregnant while using ParaGard.

IUDs have been associated with an increased risk of pelvic infections, with the highest incidence occurring within 20 days of insertion. Pelvic infections tend to be associated with sexually transmitted organisms, therefore women who have a higher risk of sexual infection. Pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to ectopic pregnancy or even infertility, the necessity of a hysterectomy and in rare cases, death. ParaGard IUDs may become embedded into the uterine wall, or can partially or totally perforate the uterus or cervix. Should perforation occur, ParaGard should be immediately removed as copper can cause adhesions to form. The ParaGard device can be expelled, usually in the first several months following insertion; this expulsion generally occurs during a woman's period. Wilson's disease is a rare genetic disease which affects the excretion of copper, therefore ParaGard can cause Wilson's disease to worsen.

Less Serious Side Effects of ParaGard

The most common reason women choose to have ParaGard removed is due to excessive bleeding and pain, which appears to be the worst during the first year of use, and diminishes somewhat thereafter. Some women may also experience fainting immediately following the insertion of ParaGard. Following birth or abortion, at least two months should pass before ParaGard is inserted to lessen the possibility of perforation. Anemia, backaches, cramping, allergic reactions and spotting are all common side effects of ParaGard.

It's extremely important that you thoroughly research ParaGard--or any other form of birth control you are considering--as in many cases the risks may far outweigh the benefits. While ParaGard can be a good birth control choice for some due to the lack of hormones, it definitely also has several downsides to consider.

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