The intrauterine device, popularly known as the IUD, is a contraceptive method More effective than the postcoital pill, according to data obtained in a study conducted by scientists at Princeton University in the United States, which has reviewed 42 studies that evaluated the effectiveness of the IUD as an emergency contraception system.

The Spanish Society of Contraception estimates that in our country, each year, about 240,000 women become pregnant without wishing to, and some 100,000 resort to an abortion scheduled to interrupt pregnancy. Since the distribution of the emergency contraceptive pill began -which must be taken in the first 72 hours after intercourse- many women have resorted to this drug to avoid a possible pregnancy.

The study shows that the IUD is 10 to 20 times more effective than the morning after pill, because it only fails in 0.09% of cases

And it is, that in Spain, the use of the IUD is not very widespread. However, the authors of the study note that while the emergency pill has a failure rate of 1.4% in the case of ulipristal acetate or mifepristone, and reaches 2-3% for the levonorgestrel -Which is the substance that is marketed in Spain-, the IUD is between 10 and 20 times more effective because it only fails in 0.09% of cases.

The research, published in 'Human Reproduction', analyzed the cases of more than seven thousand women who had had a copper IUD between 1979 and 2011. There were ten pregnancies in total, but the researchers only considered six. -Which occurred among 5,629 women-, because the other four pregnant women belonged to a sample of only 200 women who participated in an Egyptian study, and considered that these results were abnormal and reduced the reliability of the study.

A safe method of contraception

The IUD is a copper or hormonal device (the latter releases levonorgestrel), which has to be placed by the gynecologist, and whose effects last between five and ten years depending on the case, so it can be used as a long-term contraceptive. Its price ranges between 35 and 50 euros for copper, and 150-180 euros for hormonal, but taking into account its duration does not involve a large outlay.

This contraceptive method is especially indicated for women who do not intend to become pregnant in the short term, and also for those who have already had children, because the nulliparous, and those who have a small uterus, may have discomfort. It is also not recommended for those who frequently change sex partners because if they contract a sexually transmitted infection, the use of a copper IUD could increase the risk of developing a sexually transmitted infection. pelvic inflammatory disease.

Although in Spain only 6-7% of women of childbearing age resort to this device to avoid pregnancy, specialists consider that it is an effective and safe system, either as an emergency contraceptive option or as a regular system.

Patient Education Video: Intrauterine Device (IUD) (November 2019).