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What is a Progesterone IUD?

A progesterone IUD, or intrauterine device, is a small piece of plastic that is placed into the uterus to prevent conception. It works by first killing sperm, and then making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus in case any sperm survives. It is considered one of the most effective birth control devices available, though its effects are reversible, as pregnancy can be achieved shortly after the device is removed if conception is desired. This form of birth control is often preferred to the pill since there is little room for human error, as it just needs to remain inside the uterus to work. The progesterone IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and there are some health risks associated with it.

One of the main ways that a progesterone IUD can prevent pregnancy is by causing the cervical mucus to become too thick to be sperm-friendly, which results in the sperm being either trapped or killed. In case any sperm does get through, this device causes the uterus to become inhospitable to a fertilized egg, making it nearly impossible for it to implant. The risk of pregnancy is usually quite low with a progesterone IUD, since it just needs to be placed inside the uterus by a doctor, unlike a pill that needs to be taken everyday at the same time.

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Before placing this device in the uterus, the doctor will usually perform several tests, such as a Pap smear, pregnancy test, and STD screenings. Most doctors also suggest a follow-up appointment within three months of IUD placement to make sure that it is working as it should. After that, the patient can check to make sure that it is still in place by inserting a finger into the vagina and feeling for two strings. If the device is inserted seven days after the menstrual period begins, it will be effective immediately, but if it is inserted any other time, a backup method of birth control should be used for at least the first week.

For the first six months, progesterone IUD users may notice some spotting or irregular bleeding, but this should disappear once it has been in place for about a year. In fact, many users of the IUD no longer get a period after a year of use. One of the main risks of the progesterone IUD is the development of pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. This is an infection that could lead to scarring, infertility, or even death, and it most often occurs just a few weeks after the IUD is inserted. Other risks of this device include ovarian cysts, uterus perforation, and higher chances than normal of an ectopic pregnancy should conception occur.

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