I shall assume you live in the States. That is simply because that is where the epicenter of problems were in the 1980s with the Dalkon Shield. There were many styles and shapes and constituent additive IUDs about thirty years ago and one, the Shield, turned out to cause many problems. It seems that the U.S. market has yet to recover. In the U.S., there are two manufacturers; in Europe, over a dozen; in China, the IUD is the leading contraceptive for women in their twenties.
Both U.S. IUDs are the traditional T shape whilst in Europe they are available in a number of different shapes. The "one-size-fits-all" approach to IUDs is being seriously questioned. Some of our uterus are not a standard shape; some of us are tilted a bit. This makes the IUD more difficult to adjust to because the crossbar may irritate the side walls of the uterus. Alternative shapes compensate for this. A Belgian doctor has recently developed an IUD that attaches to the uterine wall and eliminates this problem completely. It is simply an attachment "hook" with a short string with a few copper balls on this string. It adjusts to any uterus shape. It is now available in most European countries and Canada. I do not know where else but have heard reports of American women going to a clinic in Vancouver for the GyneFix.
In the U.S., one of the products is coated with copper and the other with hormone (progestins, mostly). In the rest of the world, these two alternatives are available but women can also get uncoated IUDs. The advantage is that the uncoated ones last "forever." Hormone coated are recommended, usually, for five years and copper, seven years.
The IUD is as old as most techniques and it was common on the island of Taiwan for mid-wives to place pebbles in the uterus 1000 years ago. There reasons to believe that this practice spread Westward from there. The modern iteration arrived in 1960, the same as the pill, and initially had about the same acceptance. The effectiveness is the same as the pill and the side effects much less than the original pills. Over 95% of women acclimate to the IUD within three months and the incidence of perforation and/or infection is less than 2%.
I understand there are many horror stories "on the street" but few have any basis in fact. The Dalkon Shield was limited in distribution to the U.S., so the marketing effects were greater there. The rest is urban myth and a really good contraception system is being ignored by many who would find it acceptable.
IUDs suffer a bad rap.
Posted: 30 Sep 03:58