IUD: Most Common Myth’s: Breaking the Misconceptions

 

IUD: Most Common Myth’s: Breaking the Misconceptions

An Intrauterine Device or IUD is among the most effective birth control methods that you can use, especially when there are chances of human error with other methods such as the breaking of a condom while having sex or forgetting to ingest an oral contraceptive pill. 

An IUD is found to be 90 times more successful as a birth control method in comparison to male condoms and 45 times more successful in comparison to the contraceptive pill.  The T-shaped, tiny device is also easily reversible and long-lasting. After a physician inserts or places an IUD in your uterus, it may prevent the occurrence of pregnancy for about three to 10 years depending on the model you choose. Currently, there are four models available; three of them release a low amount of hormones gradually. The fourth model is hormone-free and it has a copper coil curled around, which creates a reaction in your body. Due to this reaction the uterus becomes toxic to sperm and fertilization doesn’t occur. 

Using an IUD can return your fertility faster after its removal. This is especially helpful if you want to conceive in the future. 

Despite all the benefits, there are lots of myths that surround the use of an IUDs. Some females believe that an IUD is approved only for older females who already had kids. Others are scared to use it as they have heard many horror stories regarding the insertion of an IUD and the pain it causes. 

Each birth control method can’t fit every woman and each one of them prefers to have a different type of contraception. However, by having enough information regarding your options for birth control and by recognizing the myths surrounding them you can choose the best birth control method. 

The following are the most common myths regarding IUDs

Myth 1: Having an IUD before having kids can put you at risk

This is far from the truth; instead, the opposite of this is true. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend an IUD as the first choice of birth control for sexually active adolescents, as they are very effective and safe. According to them any woman who has undergone puberty and has matured sexually can use an IUD. 

Myth 2: IUD insertion is very painful

Another common myth is that an IUD insertion can be very painful. Some women believe that placing an IUD can be the most painful event of their lives. However, the ability to tolerate pain is different for every woman. Hence, an IUD insertion may be painful for some but not a big deal for others. 

Though an IUD placement is indeed unpleasant, for the majority of the women, this pain remains for a short duration. The pain may feel like a few menstrual cramps ranging from mild to severe. 

If you have any such apprehension you should discuss with your physician your tolerance to pain before getting an IUD. Most women get them inserted without any kind of problem. Moreover, you should consider the fact that a couple of minutes of pain and discomfort can give you five or more years of efficient and worry-free contraception. 

Myth 3: The IUD may fall out

Another common myth that many women believe is that their bodies can expel or throw out the IUD from their uterus. This may happen; however, it is very unlikely. It occurs in about three to five percent of the females and if it happens it will most likely happen within two to three months of getting the device placed. The expulsion of an IUD increases your risk of having an unintended pregnancy. Due to this reason physicians recommend that females use another birth control method as a backup for the initial several weeks after they get the device. 

You must be aware of what happens when in case an IUD does fall out. Sometimes, you may have a severe cramp or pass a large blood clot and the device will also come out of the uterus with it. 

In case you think that your device is no longer in its place, ask your physician to teach you the method to check the string of the device (it is a thin thread made of nylon, which hangs out of your cervix in the vagina and makes the removal of the an IUD easy). You may also ask your doctor to check the IUD for you. 

Myth 4: An IUD can cause infertility and infection

There is a history behind this rumor. In the 60s and 70s, there was an IUD on the market that was bad. It led to infertility in women. Some women lost their wombs and others were left dead. Though this IUD was removed from the market, its nightmarish legacy continues to affect the modern-day IUD. 

IUD: Most Common Myth’s: Breaking the Misconceptions

Holding an IUD birth control copper coil device in hand, used for contraception – front view

Furthermore, some physicians form part of this problem. Although data from 40 years demonstrate that current IUDs don’t increase the risk of infection in a woman and are safe to use, some physicians misinform their patients. According to a survey published in the Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, 30 percent of the gynecologists, obstetricians, nurses, physician assistants, and family doctors believe that IUDs are unsafe for females who have never delivered a baby. 

The IUDs used presently are safe and effective and don’t lead to infections or infertility. Infection associated with the insertion of an IUD may occur probably because the IUD or instruments carry with them germs from your lower genital area. If the bacteria are normally present in your genital tract, then some mechanism eliminates or removes this contamination automatically from your uterus shortly after the device is inserted and the infection doesn’t occur. Your doctor can further reduce your risk of getting an infection by following the routine procedures to prevent infection such as the “no-touch” technique of insertion (in this technique the doctor doesn’t let the uterine sounds (instruments) or IUD touch any surface that is unsterile such as speculum, hands, tabletop or vaginal walls). 

Myth 5: The physician has to induce a uterine contraction to place an IUD in the uterus

Though the term uterine contraction is related to labor, a cramp and uterine contraction are essentially similar or same – a squeezing sensation of your uterus, a sensation, which you must have experienced before. Women get cramping or uterine contractions during periods as their cervix opens slightly to expel the menstrual blood. 

When the doctor places an IUD, they open the cervix slightly, initially to take the measurement of your uterus and then place the device. Both these activities can stretch your cervix and cause a big cramp. However, no medication is given to produce a contraction or cramp that you feel. 

Myth 6: An IUD work by inducing abortions

Some people don’t like to use an IUD as a birth control method as they have the incorrect belief that it prevents conception by inducing abortions. This is not true. In the majority of the cases, an IUD works by preventing the fertilization of an egg. The copper-containing IUD acts as a spermicide and kills or impairs the sperms so that they are unable to fertilize the egg. Progestin containing IUD causes thickening of your cervical mucus, which prevents the sperms from entering your uterus. In very rare cases, an IUD may prevent implantation and this is also considered a birth control or contraceptive effect of the IUD. 

Myth 7: An IUD is not a very effective birth control method

Some women have the incorrect belief that an IUD is not a very effective birth control method or that its birth control effects are lost only after a couple of years from the time it is placed. On the contrary, an IUD is greater than 99 percent effective. Both the copper-containing and hormonal IUDs are very effective birth control methods. They are one of the most efficient reversible birth control methods. 

The hormonal IUD prevents pregnancy in about 998 females out of 1000 females who use it during the first year. Over five years of use, about five to eight females out of 1000 females may become pregnant. You can use this IUD for up to five years. The copper-containing IUD prevents pregnancy in about 994 females out of 1000 females who use it during the first year. During the 10 years of use, about two out of 100 females may become pregnant. This IUD remains effective for about 12 years. 

Myth 8: An IUD causes health risks and side effects

Some females desire not to use an IUD as they have the incorrect belief that an IUD may cause health risks including cancer, birth defects or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or side effects. On the contrary, an IUD is a very safe birth control method. 

An IUD never moves to the brain, heart or any other body part outside your abdomen. Proper technique of an IUD insertion can help in preventing many problems including perforation, infection, and expulsion. 

An IUD doesn’t cause cancer in a healthy female but cancer of reproductive organs contradicts the use of an IUD as it increases the risk of perforation, bleeding and infection. If you have breast cancer, then the use of a hormonal IUD is contraindicated (should not be used). 

An IUD doesn’t increase your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV. But, females who have a high risk of getting exposed to Chlamydia or Gonorrhea should not get it inserted. 

An IUD doesn’t increase your risk of having birth defects in the baby or having multiple pregnancies. 

Myth 9: An IUD can cause miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy 

Some women desire not to use an IUD as they have the incorrect belief that an IUD may cause a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. The fact is that your risk of having a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy is not increased after removing the IUD. On the contrary, the risk of getting an ectopic pregnancy in a female using an IUD is much less in comparison to the risk in a female not using any birth control method. 

An IUD doesn’t lead to miscarriage after its removal. If it is placed using the correct insertion technique, IUD use may not lead to difficulty of any sort in your future pregnancies. 

Myth 10: An IUD can cause a change in the menstrual pattern that can harm your overall health

Many women don’t desire to use an IUD as they have the incorrect belief that an IUD may either stop their monthly periods (cause amenorrhea) or cause painful, more frequent, or painful bleeding during periods and this can be harmful to the overall health. The fact is that the change in menstrual pattern is not harmful. You can experience menstrual pattern changes based on the kind of IUD you are using. 

If you are using copper-containing IUD you may experience:

  • Prolonged and heavy monthly bleeding.
  • More pain and cramps during periods.
  • Irregular bleeding.

These menstrual changes are quite normal and don’t indicate any illness. These are most commonly present during the initial three to six months after inserting the IUD and lessen gradually. 

If you are using hormonal IUD you may experience irregular, prolonged, or heavy bleeding during the initial few months. After that you may experience:

  • Predictable, lighter, and regular bleeding.
  • Light, no, or infrequent monthly bleeding.

These changes in bleeding are also normal and don’t indicate any illness. 

Myth 11: An IUD can cause inconvenience while having sex

Some couples have an incorrect belief that it can cause inconvenience while having sexual intercourse, and that it may hurt the penis of the male partner causing pain, or cause pain and discomfort in the female.  The fact is that using an IUD can make you more relaxed about not having unintended pregnancies, increasing your sexual pleasure and allow both the partners to enjoy sex better. 

 

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For additional information, please visit hersmartchoice.com. 

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You Got A STD?!? – Now What?

You Got A STD?!? – Now What?

 

The diagnosis of a STD(s) or sexually transmitted diseases can be devastating for most men and women. It may raise several questions in their minds. At the same time, it can also increase concerns about how they can overcome the infection. 

The mixed bag of emotions, as well as the health issues that have been diagnosed, need to be managed carefully in order to avoid worsening the condition. Men and women who are suffering from a STD(s) are advised to follow the guidelines given below in order to manage their health in a safe and effective manner and overcome the emotional turmoil caused due to the same.

You Got A STD

Doctor, patient and urine test cup. Physician giving pee container to a woman in clinic or hospital emergency room. Urinary sample for medical exam in hospital. Checkup for infection.

What are STDs?

When the doctor informs the patients that he or she suffers from a STD, there is a need to understand what it exactly means. Sometimes a diagnosis of a STD is made by patients themselves, based on the specific symptoms they develop. In either case, it is important to understand what a STD(s) means and the different forms of these conditions so that patients can seek appropriate treatment. 

A proper understanding of sexually transmitted diseases, how they spread, the various routes of transmission of these infections and the available treatment modalities can help patients recover faster.

A STD(s) or sexually transmitted diseases refer to the infective conditions that are most often, though not exclusively, transmitted through sexual intercourse. The common sexually transmitted infections include HIV, syphilis, genital herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, and gonorrhea. Hepatitis, and trichomoniasis are also common infectious disorders transmitted through sexual intercourse. 

Earlier, STDs were referred to as venereal diseases. What makes STDs a serious concern is they are some of the most common contagious diseases. Also, some forms of STDs tend to produce recurring symptoms while some forms are difficult to cure completely. 

It is estimated that more than 65 million people in America suffer from incurable STDs. More than 20 million new cases of STDs are reported every year of which nearly 50% are young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years. 

Since STDs are known to have long-term emotional and physical consequences, it is important to be aware of the best ways to manage these conditions. Regular treatment coupled with the adoption of safe sex practices can help men and women avoid future sexually transmitted infections. 

Hence, the knowledge of how to avoid STDs forms the crux of the management of these infections. Patients who are diagnosed with a STD should find out why or how they might have contracted the infection and how they can avoid such infections in the future. This forms the first step that they should follow after the diagnosis of a STD. 

How do sexually transmitted diseases spread?

STDs spread from one person to another through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. STDs such as trichomoniasis may also spread through contact with moist or damp objects such as wet clothing, towels, and toilet seats, though it is more commonly transmitted via sexual contact. 

Men and women are at a high risk of STDs if they:

  • Have multiple sex partner.
  • Have sexual intimacy with someone who has had multiple partners.
  • Practice unprotected sex or do not use condoms during intercourse.
  • Share needles while injecting intravenous drugs.
  • Have used contaminated needles. 
  • Had a transfusion of infected blood. 
  • Trade sex for drugs and money. 

These risk factors make it clear that STDs can also get transmitted through routes other than sexual intercourse. Hence, it is advisable for men and women to avoid blaming themselves or their partner when they are diagnosed with these conditions. 

It should be noted that blaming the partner when the infection has actually been contracted due to the use of an infected needle during the administration of injection or blood transfusion may only strain their relations. 

Men and women should rather focus on avoiding the factors that may increase their risk of repeated STD in the future. 

It should also be noted that the pathogens that cause STDs can reside in the blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and even saliva of the infected person. Hence, care should be taken to avoid vaginal, anal, as well as oral sex with a partner known to have a  STD. Some STDs such as hepatitis B can spread through skin contact and the sharing of personal items like toothbrushes and razors. 

Men and women diagnosed with STD should make an effort to educate themselves about the possible modes of transmission of the infection so that the spread of the pathogen to others can be prevented. 

Treatment of STDs 

The diagnosis of any STD must be followed by the proper treatment of the specific condition. It is advisable to seek advice of a healthcare practitioner for the management of a STD. The doctor would not just prescribe appropriate medications for treating the infection, but also provide advice regarding the best ways to avoid the spread of the disease. Depending on the infection, the patient will be advised the following treatments for the STD:

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics administered in a single dose are usually prescribed for patients diagnosed with STDs of bacterial and parasitic origin. Antibiotics are effective for the management of STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. 

 

Antibiotics act in a variety of ways to control the infection. They may kill the bacteria directly or create an environment that makes their survival difficult. 

 

In most cases, chlamydia and gonorrhea are treated at the same time as these two infections tend to appear together. 

 

Different antibiotics may be prescribed to patients in varying dosages and durations based on the specific infection and the age of the patients

 

Once the antibiotic treatment is started, the entire course of the medication must be completed as recommended. If patients feel they would not be able to take the medication as prescribed or complete its entire course, they should inform the physician so that she/he can prescribe a shorter and simpler course.

 

Additionally, patients should abstain from sex during treatment and for seven to ten days after they have completed the course of antibiotics as well as until the sores have healed completely. Experts suggest retesting after about three months to rule out the presence of reinfection.

 

  • Antiviral drugs: treatment of STDs caused due to viruses are treated using antiviral drugs. For example; patients diagnosed with herpes or HIV are advised to use antiviral drugs. 

 

A daily suppressive therapy using an antiviral drug can help patients have a lower risk of recurrence of herpes. However, it is still possible for the patients to transmit the infection to their partner during sexual intercourse. Hence, the physician may also advise the partner of the infected patient to undergo antiviral therapy. 

 

While there are no medications to cure AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) caused due to HIV (Human immunodeficiency Virus) infection completely, patients may be prescribed antiviral drugs to keep the infection in check for several years. 

 

Regular treatment of patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS using antiviral drugs can help to control the multiplication of the virus thereby slowing down the progress of the infection. However, patients may still carry the virus and transmit the infection to the partner. Hence, couples need to follow appropriate precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the infection. 

 

Patients are advised to seek treatment for HIV and other STDs at the earliest once the diagnosis is made. The sooner they start the treatment, the more effective the results will be.. 

 

Taking an antiviral medication exactly as recommended would help to heal the sores, relieve the symptoms, and reduce the viral count thereby reducing the risk of serious complications.

 

Partner notification and preventive treatment

Patients suffering from a STD are required to inform their sexual partners about the diagnosis as they are likely to spread the infection during sexual intercourse.

They should inform their current sexual partners as well as other partners they have had intimate sexual contact with over the past one year. The symptoms of most STDs do not become evident for a period ranging from a few weeks to months. Hence, even if the current or past partners seem to be in good health and do not have any evident symptoms, they must be informed about the diagnosis so that they can get tested. In case, the tests show positive results, the partners should also seek appropriate treatment for the infection. 

Guidelines of partner notification 

All states have different guidelines related to the disclosure of the diagnosis of STDs. Most states require certain STDs to be reported to the concerned health departments. Public health departments usually employ expert disease intervention specialists who can provide help for notifying the partners.

Official yet confidential notification to the partner can help to limit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly syphilis and HIV. This practice can also steer the high-risk patients toward counseling and early diagnosis and treatment. 

Patients who have had a STD once are more likely to contract the same or another infection again in the future. Hence, partner notification is essential to reduce the incidence of reinfection. Patients diagnosed with STDs should follow these guidelines so that they can protect the health of others while also avoiding reinfection in the future. 

Here are some more recommendations that patients should follow when diagnosed with STDs

Recommendations for patients diagnosed with a STD

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnant women diagnosed with STDs should contact a physician to learn more about the risk of transmitting the infection to the baby. Certain types of STDs such as HIV, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, chlamydia, and genital herpes are known to spread to the fetus or infant during pregnancy and labor. 

STDs in pregnant women may also increase the risk of complications such as premature labor and infection in the uterus. Some STDs like syphilis may cross the placental barrier and infect the fetus. 

Women should also be aware of the risk of transmission of the infection to the baby during breastfeeding. Women who have HIV should refrain from breastfeeding to prevent the spread of infection to the baby. 

STDs like trichomoniasis require women to wait until the course of the antibiotic is over before they can start breastfeeding the baby. Women diagnosed with syphilis or herpes can breastfeed provided they do not have active sores on any part of the breasts. 

How to reduce the spread of STDs?

Men and women should learn effective ways to reduce the spread of STDs in the future. Here are some precautionary measures recommended to  reduce the spread of STDs:

  • Avoiding any form of sexual contact 
  • The use of barrier methods of contraception such as condoms during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.  
  • Avoiding multiple sexual partners
  • Discussing each other’s sexual history before intimate contact with a new partner
  • Avoiding the use of contaminated needles
  • Receiving vaccination for hepatitis B and HPV 

Counseling

It can be common for men and women to experience emotional challenges when they are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. In most cases, the emotional upheaval is associated with a feeling of guilt, shame, and even helplessness. Questions may also be raised about the source of the infection and the trust issues in the relationship especially when the infection is contracted through the partner. 

Hence, patients are advised to undergo individual and family counseling to prevent mental stress, strained relations, and more serious complications such as depression. 

Conclusion

Taking proper treatment can help to relieve the symptoms of STDs and ensure a faster recovery of patients. At the same time, individual and family counseling also forms an integral part of the management of sexually transmitted diseases. 

Adequate precautionary measures must be taken to prevent the recurrence of the same or of other sexually transmitted infections. Comprehensive management of STDs keeping in mind the physical and emotional symptoms can help patients and their partners to stay healthy while enjoying safe sex.

 

Click Here To Schedule an Appointment

For additional information, please visit hersmartchoice.com. 

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Your Life. Your Decision. Your Smart Ch♀ice.

 

You Got A STD You Got A STD You Got A STD You Got A STD You Got A STD You Got A STD

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