Hormonal IUD’s: The Pros and Cons
Hormonal IUD’s are offered to women with heavy or painful cycles. This hormonal type of IUD reduces menstrual flow and can reduce pain. It is a lower dose of hormone but don’t be fooled because it is not progesterone that is released. Levonorestrol is the drug used and during the first year ovulation is suppressed. This means the benefits of estradiol and progesterone during a regular menstrual cycle are lost. The dose subsides in subsequent years so ovulation increases in frequency along with the health benefits.
Microbiome, Mood & Skin
Hormonal IUD’s disrupt the microbiome of the genitals and can increase infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. They cause stagnation resulting in ovarian cysts for some women. Even a low dose of levonorgestrel can have side effects like depression, anxiety, headaches, breast tenderness and hair loss. Acne and facial hair growth also occur in some cases.
The dose of hormone is much lower and doesn’t completely suppress ovulation. The spotting or flow that occurs is a result of a real cycle unlike pill bleeds. This form of birth control is very effective and lasts several years. Fertility returns more quickly as well.
For women suffering from endometriosis it can help manage pain before surgery or while addressing underlying causes. In terms of hormonal birth control as an intervention it is the lowest dose. Women with adenomyosis may have heavy bleeding that doesn’t respond to other therapies. Iron deficiency from chronic heavy flow is a real concern for many women.
IUD’s do not protect against STI’s and can increase chances of pelvic inflammatory disease or uterine perforation especially during breastfeeding. These are not common but are potential risks. IUD’s can come out on their own but again this is more common during breastfeeding. Levonorgestrel does enter the breast milk so for this reason alone it isn’t ideal post childbirth.
Women worldwide use the copper IUD which has no hormones. Many don’t know it can also be used as a form of emergency birth control that is hormone free. For anyone with heavy or painful cycles the copper IUD isn’t ideal. It also may exacerbate gallbladder problems and can disrupt your body’s zinc-copper balance.
Fertility Awareness Method is being used more these days by women who want to know their bodies and understand the benefits of ovulation.
The femcap.com cervical cap is an excellent innovation to the cervical cap. There are better diaphragms and condoms available now as well.