Medical Conditions and the IUD – Which Conditions Make IUD’s Unsafe for Women?

Medical Conditions and the IUD – Which Conditions Make IUD’s Unsafe for Women?

Medical Conditions and the IUD – Which Conditions Make IUD’s Unsafe for Women?


An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a T-shaped plastic or spherical copper contraception device that a healthcare provider places inside a woman’s uterus. IUDs have become one of the most popular birth control methods worldwide.


IUDs have numerous advantages: They’re amongst the most effective at preventing pregnancy, with less than a 1 percent chance of becoming pregnant; they are long acting; they don’t require daily action like taking a pill; and IUDs can be easily inserted and removed in a short office visit.


While IUDs are becoming more popular, there remains some public scepticism due to problems with the devices in the 1970s and ’80s. The Dalkon Shield IUD was found to cause high rates of infection, failure to prevent pregnancy and other problems, resulting in lawsuits and considerable negative media attention about IUDs.


But IUDs have long since been improved. Gynaecologists have become more knowledgeable about them, while helping patients better understand their proper use. The Comprehensive Women’s Health Center endorses IUD use as safe and effective for most women when prescribed and inserted by a well-trained and experienced provider. All of our physicians are highly qualified in IUD application.

But what if you have a pre-existing medical condition that might interfere with the efficiency or comfort of using an IUD?


Considerations and Contra-Indications for IUD and IUB Devices


A woman’s medical history and goals can help her provider determine whether an IUD or an alternate form of birth control is more suitable.

Before placing your IUD, your provider will confirm that you are not pregnant and that you do not have any medical conditions that make it unsafe for you to use an IUD. IUD users should also consider that while an IUD will protect them from becoming pregnant when in proper position, it will not prevent a sexually transmitted disease.


Some patients who are considering an IUD express concern over complications associated with their use. As with many medical procedures and devices, there can be side effects and complications from IUD use.


It is advised that women seek medical advice if they experience the following symptoms:

1.       Pain on insertion, and possible back pain for a few days following the procedure

2.       Spotting of blood between periods for 3 to 6 months

3.       Irregular menses for 3 to 6 months with a hormonal IUD

4.       Heavy periods with worsened cramps with a copper IUD

5.       The IUD can partially or fully fall out, so at the end of each period a woman should insert a finger and feel for the string, to ensure the IUD has not been passed with the period

6.       Use of a copper IUD can lead to anemia, because of heavier periods

7.       IUD’s can increase the chance of an ectopic pregnancy

8.       IUD’s do not protect from sexually transmitted infections (STI), and condoms should also be used when needed for protection

9.       IUD’s are a foreign object in the uterus, and this can increase the risk of getting an STI or other infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease


Women who may not be able to use an IUD include those who:

1.       Have had a pelvic infection after childbirth

2.       Have had an abortion within the last 3 months

3.       Have or may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or pelvic infection

4.       May be pregnant

5.       Have untreated cervical cancer or uterine cancer

6.       Are experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding

7.       Have multiple different partners, due to a high risk of infection

8.       Have a history of pelvic tuberculosis or uterine perforation at the time of an IUD insertion


They also say that it safe for use by:

1.       Teens

2.       Women who have never given birth

3.       Women with a history of ectopic pregnancy

A copper IUD is not suitable for a woman who has an allergy to copper or a history of Wilson's disease.

Hormonal IUDs should not be used with severe liver disease or if a woman has or could have breast cancer.

Each woman should discuss their medical history with a health care provider to determine if an IUD is suitable, and, if so, which type.


Need some advice on the CopperPearls IUB system, a non-hormonal variant of the IUD device? Click here to get in touch today!


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