ParaGard (copper IUD)
ParaGard (copper IUD)
ParaGard is an intrauterine device (IUD) that's inserted into the uterus for long-term contraception. A T-shaped plastic frame that continuously releases copper, ParaGard prevents sperm from entering the fallopian tubes. If fertilization occurs, ParaGard keeps the fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus. After insertion, ParaGard's plastic strings protrude from the cervix.
ParaGard is the only copper IUD that has Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S.
ParaGard prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after insertion. ParaGard doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
ParaGard (copper IUD)
ParaGard is an intrauterine device (IUD) that's inserted into the uterus for long-term contraception. A T-shaped plastic frame that continuously releases copper, ParaGard prevents sperm from entering ...
Why it's done
ParaGard offers effective, long-term contraception. Among various benefits, ParaGard:
ParaGard isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may discourage use of ParaGard if you:
Side effects associated with ParaGard include:
It's also possible to expel ParaGuard from your uterus. You may be more likely to expel ParaGard if you:
ParaGard doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
An estimated 1 out of 100 women who use ParaGard for one year will get pregnant. If you do conceive while using ParaGard, you're at higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy — when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. Removing ParaGard during pregnancy poses a risk of miscarriage. However, the risks of leaving ParaGard in place during pregnancy are greater, including miscarriage, premature delivery, infection and septic shock.
How you prepare
Your health care provider will evaluate your overall health and do a pelvic exam before inserting ParaGard. You can have ParaGard inserted anytime during a normal menstrual cycle if you've been consistently using another birth control method or you haven't had sex since your last period. If you're breast-feeding, have irregular periods or haven't been consistently using birth control, you may need to take a pregnancy test before ParaGard is inserted.
Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug — such as aspirin or ibuprofen — one to two hours before the procedure can help reduce cramping.
What you can expect
ParaGard is typically inserted in a health care provider's office.
During the procedure
During ParaGard insertion, you may experience dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure or a slower than normal heart rate (bradycardia). It's also possible for the IUD to perforate the uterine wall or cervix.
After the procedure
ParaGard can remain in place for up to 10 years. To remove ParaGard, your health care provider will use forceps to grasp the device's strings and gently pull. The device's arms will fold upward as it's withdrawn from the uterus. Light bleeding and cramping is common during removal. If ParaGard becomes embedded in your uterine wall, you may need local anesthesia and cervical dilation to have the device removed.
While you're using ParaGard, contact your health care provider immediately if you have:
It's also important to contact your health care provider immediately if you think ParaGard is no longer in place. Signs and symptoms that you've partially or completely expelled ParaGard include:
Your health care provider will check the location of ParaGard and remove it if necessary — either by hand or with the help of a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light (hysteroscope). If ParaGard or its strings aren't visible, you may need an ultrasound and X-ray to confirm that ParaGard isn't in your abdomen or pelvis. If you want to have a new IUD inserted, you may need to take a pregnancy test first.
Insertion of ParaGard
ParaGard is an intrauterine device (IUD) that's inserted into the uterus by a health care provider. ParaGard prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years. ...
Last Updated: 2010-01-23
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