• Alex Bovell

Hormonal vs. Copper IUD

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

It’s increasingly important for women to talk to each other and openly communicate about their personal experiences with birth control and contraception due to the medical industry not taking women’s health concerns seriously. Many medical professionals aren’t staying up to date with birth control research and therefore provide women with outdated and incorrect information about their bodies and options for birth control. Not every female body is the same, and it shouldn’t be treated or spoken about that way.

I previously discussed my experiences with the implant and the OCP, but there are many others such as an IUD.

What is an IUD?

An IUD means Intrauterine device. It’s an object that’s inserted into your uterus (womb) by a doctor to prevention conception/pregnancy. It’s a long-term method of birth control/contraception that’s growing in popularity due to it’s low cost and worry free contraception. I’m guessing it’s because women can have it inserted and not be concerned for another few years. I personally have never used this form of contraception so the information I’m providing is purely from my own research 🙂 Two types of an IUD exist, the hormonal IUD & the copper IUD.

Hormonal IUD

The hormonal IUD contains a small amount of progestin, levonorgestrel, that’s released directly into your reproductive system. As a result, the cervix mucus thickens which prevents/blocks the sperm from entering the uterus to fertilise an egg. It also prevents the uterus lining becoming thick enough for you to become pregnant. The amount of progestogen released by the hormonal IUD is smaller than the amount from the OCP or ‘mini’ pill. However, remember this progestin isn’t the same as the natural progesterone we produce in our bodies.

Research has found the hormonal IUD has an efficacy rate of 99.8% in both typical and perfect use, which means it will only fail 2 people in every 1000. Once inserted it can remain there for around 5 years depending on the brand you have chosen.

Hormonal contraception is worrying, because it’s scary not knowing what exactly is being put into your body. Furthermore, the same hormone can affect each person differently making it hard to pinpoint the side effects.

Currently 4 brands of the hormonal IUD exist including Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta & Skyla.

Copper IUD

Unlike the hormonal IUD, the copper IUD doesn’t contain any hormones at all. Instead this form works by using the properties of copper to affect and impair sperm motility wiggling it’s way into your womb. Additionally, it affects the transport of the egg in the fallopian tubes. Basically the copper is used as a spermicide. Think of it as a uterus wall? or maybe a uterus fort?

With no hormones, it promotes normal, healthy ovulation because it doesn’t suppress ovulation and you’ll experience a REAL period.

The copper IUD has an efficacy rate of 99.2% with typical use. This means that for every 1000 people, there will be 8 that have an unintended pregnancy. The copper IUD lasts 10 years.

Currently only 1 type of copper IUD exists, ParaGard.

Side Effects

Hormonal IUD

The hormonal IUD, like any form of contraception does have side effects including:

- Sporadic & Irregular spotting & bleeding

- Some women get regular yeast infections

- Light/non-existent periods

- Ovarian cystsHormonal contraception runs the risk of messing with your mood

- Bacterial vaginosis, an infectionIntense cramps

- Acne

- Headaches

Copper IUD

The copper IUD doesn’t contain hormones, and therefore doesn’t run the risk of acne or other hormonal side effects. However it’s known to sometimes increase bleeding and discomfort with your periods. The following have been identified as possible side effects:

- Heavier periods

- Longer periodsIncreased pain & cramping during periods

- Risk of pelvic infection (PID)

- Dangerous for women with copper sensitivity/allergy

Bottom Line

Both of these IUD’s do have side effects I have only listed some of them and they could both run the risk of falling out. I cannot tell you which one is better for your body, and I’m certainly NOT a qualified practitioner. However, I can outline and simplify the information out there and leave you to make an informed decision about what’s best for your body. If you’re interested in these options it’s best to talk to your regular practitioner and talk about the pros & cons, and what’s the best option for you xxx