Copper

What is the Copper IUD?

An IUD is a small device which is placed inside the uterus. The vertical stem of the Copper IUD contains copper which is slowly released into the uterine cavity. The copper IUD can also be used as an emergency contraceptive method if inserted within the first 7 days after sex.

How effective is the Copper IUD?

The copper IUD is 98% effective against pregnancy. Among typical users who use the Copper IUD, 1-2% will experience an accidental pregnancy in the first year. The Copper IUD does not provide any protection against STIs (Sexually transmitted Infections).

How does the Copper IUD work?

The copper ions in the fluids of the uterus are incompatible with sperm. The Copper IUD stops sperm from making their way up through the uterus into the tubes, and it reduces the ability of sperm to fertilize the egg. The Copper IUD works primarily by preventing fertilization. Rarely, it also prevents a fertilized egg from successfully implanting in the lining of the uterus if fertilization has occurred. An IUD does not cause an abortion.

What are the Advantages of the Copper IUD?

  • The Copper (Flexi T)IUD is highly effective
  • Copper (Flexi T) IUD is effective for up to 5 years.
  • Only 2 out of 100 women using a Copper IUD in the first year will become
    pregnant.
  • The Copper (Flexi T) is very cost effective over time. It is not covered on
    drug plans because it does not contain medication. The cost of the IUD itself is non-refundable, even in cases of failed insertion, expulsion, or unsuitability.
  • Use of an IUD is convenient, safe, and private.
  • All you have to do is check for the strings each month.
  • The Copper IUD may be used by women who cannot use estrogen–containing birth control pills, patches or vaginal rings including clients who breastfeeding.
  • The IUD may be inserted 6 weeks following the delivery of a baby or immediately after an abortion.
  • Once the Copper IUD is removed, return to baseline fertility is immediate.

What are the Disadvantages of the Copper IUD?

  • There may be cramping, pain or spotting in the first 3-6 months after insertion.
  • The number of bleeding days or flow may be higher than normal.
  • There may be in increase/change in vaginal discharge.
  • You may have somewhat increased menstrual cramping. If your bleeding pattern is bothersome to you, contact your clinician.
  • The IUD provides no protection against sexually transmitted infections. Use condoms if there is any risk.
  • It is exceedingly rare to have a true copper allergy.

What are the Risks of the Copper IUD?

  • There is a 1 in 20 risk of the IUD being expelled, usually in the first year of use.
  • There is a 1 in 1000 risk of uterine perforation at the time of insertion.
  • There is a 1 in 100 risk of pelvic infection in the 20 days following insertion but the risk is the same as a non-IUD user thereafter.
  • If you miss a period, you must get a pregnancy test and see a physician to rule out a tubal pregnancy.

How can I start using a Copper IUD?

  • The Copper IUD can be inserted by a trained physician. Island Sexual Health Society (250-592-3479) runs designated IUD clinics with trained physicians. We ask interested clients to get pre-screened for cervical or vaginal
    infections at either ISHS or their family doctor before the insertion.
  • If you use condoms only, please abstain from sex from your last period until the IUD can be inserted.
  • If the risk of pregnancy can be excluded, an IUD may be inserted at any time in the woman’s cycle.
  • You can expect some strong menstrual type cramping at the time of insertion and for about 20 minutes after. The insertion itself usually takes less than 5 minutes.
  • It is convenient if someone can drive you home from the insertion appointment.
  • Be sure you are comfortable locating your cervix prior to insertion (your vagina feels like the inside of your mouth and your cervix feels like the end of your nose)

Remember that IUDs provide no protection against sexually transmitted infections. Use condoms to protect yourself and your partner.