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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.



Intra-Uterine Device (I.U.D.)

This is a plastic or copper coil inserted in the uterus to set up a low-grade inflammation of the uterine lineing that kills sperm prevents implantation or it may cause the ovum to reach the uterus before it is ready to receive it. The two safest ones, Lippes Loop and Saf-T-Coil, are large and therefore, unsuitable for women who've not had children. They have a failure rate of 3% and must be checked weekly. 2-20% are expelled in the first year and most trouble occurs in the first three months e.g. painful insertion, painful intercourse, painful to sit down, heavy periods which may cause anaemia. Women have taken aminocaproic acid to lessen the extensive menstrual flow and this has side effects e.g. nausea, headache, dizziness.

The smaller, bioactive devices, Copper T and Copper 7 were produced for nulliparous (childless) women and were tested on poor, young, working class women. The long-term effects of copper on the body are not known

They cause greater in flammation than the plastic ones and alter the metabolism of the endometrium (uterine lining). Experiments show that toxicity effects sperm motility and therefore, may also be unsafe for the unterus.

Women are being exploited by the manufacturers and used in experiments for profit. Information on side effects are kept from them so that those who fear the Pill's side effects will turn to I.U.D.s. The information should be made known and weighed against the very similar effects of the Pill.

Complications and Symptoms:
1.Perforation of the Uterus - this usually occurs on insertion, therefore it should be inserted by a Family Planning Clinic doctor or gynaecologist. It may migrate into the abdominal cavity and require an operation to be removed. The symptoms are pain and loss of the string.
2.Pelvic infection - a) Pelvic Inflammatory Disease occurs in 5% of users and the I. U.D. has to be removed. Symptoms are:- Pain - long heavy periods, cramping between periods, fever, b) Progressive Endometritus symptoms are:-persistent vaginal discharge, spotting

Pregnancy a) Ectopic (outside uterus) pregnancy is more likely since intrauterine pregnancies are prevented.

b) Spontaneous abortion and miscarriage 50% of pregnancies end in septic abortion in the second trimester. 35/39 deaths in the U.S. from I.U.D.s since 1965 were caused by septic abortions.

c) The duration of pregnancy may be misleading since non-period bleeding may occur and one may be 10-14 weeks pregnant without knowing it.

Major Advantages over the Pill:
1.Hormonal levels and general metabolism undisturbed.
2.No pill-taking.
3.No danger of loss of cover through illness.
4.No headache, depression or lethargy.
5.No impairment of sexual response if working properly.