The information below is based on my experience and recommendations as a GP practicing in women’s health for nearly a decade. I am not endorsed by any particular device or brand. Please consider all of the advice below and select the device which is best suited for your needs.
What is the best contraceptive option?
I consider the Hormonal IUD (Mirena or the Kyleena) as the most reliable and convenient contraceptive option for women both before and after having children. The IUD is a long active reversible contraceptive (LARC) which are the contraceptive type recommended by many peak health bodies including the RACGP as first line contraception for women as they are safe, effective and reversible. (https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2017/october/larcs-as-first-line-contraception)
Compared with the oral contraceptive pill, the IUD is set and forget method that lasts up to 5 years. And because they are inserted directly where they are needed to work (in the uterus), they have the least side effects in terms of mood, weight and skin changes compared with the other hormonal contraceptive options.
One particular benefit of hormonal IUDs in addition to contraception are that they also often make periods lighter and less crampy. The Mirena IUD is considered first line management for women with troublesome heavy or painful periods due to conditions such as endometriosis.
What do you think of the Copper IUD?
The copper IUD is also a very reliable form of contraception, but as it increases menstrual blood loss and period cramping in most women. I usually recommend the hormonal IUDs first.
Do IUD’s have a negative impact on your fertility?
IUDs have been used for over 30 years and have not shown to have a negative impact on fertility. (reference link: https://contraceptionmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40834-018-0064-y )
Why haven’t I heard of the IUD before?
Traditionally IUDs have only been inserted by specialists and thus less commonly known about. Thankfully access has improved now that specialist GPs are upskilling in insertion. We are still trying to improve public education around this contraceptive option. The fact that there is a small procedure involved in getting the device also serves as a bit of a barrier. Thankfully due to the increasing number of women looking for alternative contraception to the oral contraceptive pill, it has become a lot more popular in the last decade.
I haven’t had children, is the IUD still suitable for me?
Yes yes yes! There is a frequent misconception that IUDs are more suitable for women post birth, but that is simply not true. https://societyfp.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PIIS0010782416303857.pdf
What is the procedure like?
For most women, insertion is a short 10-15 minute procedure, but insertion appointments are made for 30-45 minutes to allow for discussion, set up and recovery time. It can be crampy during the procedure and also for 1-2 days after. We advise women to take oral analgesia such as Panadol and Nurofen 1 hour prior to the procedure, and we can discuss further analgesic options that we offer at the clinic at your booking appointment.
What is the best time to do the IUD insertion?
If possible, IUD insertions should be timed for during your period.
How do I arrange getting an IUD device?
While IUDs are suitable for most women, it is still crucial to have a consultation to discuss your personal medical history and your individual benefits and risks of choosing the IUD as contraception. We often also arrange tests prior to doing the insertion, such as an STI screen and cervical screening test (if due). We usually advise a 15-30 minute planning consultation to answer any questions about the insertion and after care as well as arrange any investigations that may be required beforehand.
How do I obtain more information about IUD insertion?
You can request general information about the procedure and costs involved before booking in for your initial consultation by discussing with our reception.