The ParaGard is an Intrauterine Copper Contraceptive (ICC). It is made of soft flexible plastic. It is T shaped with thin copper bands wrapped around the arms and a copper thread wound around the stem. Overall, ParaGard is just slightly larger than a quarter. This device has been used since 1988.
The ParaGard is 99% effective which is as good as sterilization, but it is not permanent. If you should choose to become pregnant, you can have your ParaGard removed. Within a few months you should return to your normal fertility.
The ParaGard is a convenient method that requires no daily attention. The ParaGard should be checked monthly by feeling for the two small strings in the vagina. The IUD does not interfere with intercourse in any way and cannot be felt by your partner during intercourse.
While it is initially costly, over time, it is far less expensive than birth control pills that you must pay for each month.
The ParaGard is the only hormone free IUD on the market. Women who do not want to use hormonal birth control, or who should not use hormonal birth control will find the ParaGard to be a very good choice. Therefore there will be no hormone related risks nor side effects with the ParaGard.
Some women will experience a heavier period for the first few months after they get their IUD. This usually levels off as your body adjusts to the new device. Some doctors recommend that women not use an IUD until they have given birth at least once. Once you have a child, the uterus is a little bigger and may be more accepting of the IUD. Each doctor has their own protocol to determine when an IUD is a good choice for a patient and when they would recommend an alternative.
IUDs do NOT cause infection. However, they do pose an increase risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease for women with multiple sexual partners and for women who may contract STDs. In the unlikely event that you get pregnant on the IUD, you would need to have the device removed as soon as possible. Becoming pregnant while using an IUD increases the likely hood of ectopic pregnancy, infections, and premature labor and delivery.
The ParaGard is good for 10 years. 96% of women who use the ParaGard report that they are well satisfied with this IUD.
It takes only a few minutes to get your IUD inserted. You may experience a few cramps and “pinches” as it is installed. Most women do not report it to be a painful experience. Your doctor may request you return approximately 3 months after the insertion of your IUD for a brief check up. Thereafter, you only need to have your regular pelvic exams as you have in the past. Having an IUD does not require more frequent checkups.