What is the IUD for?

With more than 150 million users worldwide, intrauterine devices (IUDs) are the first-choice method of reversible contraception, followed by the male pill and condom. It is Richard Richter who describes for the first time in 1909 in Wadelburg, with this health page, inform yourself about everything you need to do with health and contraceptive methods north-Cornwall.

Poland, an intrauterine device for contraceptive purposes: a ring of horsehair from Florence or hair from Messina. For the year 1928, the German Ernst Grafënberg created the first IUD, made known in 1929 in London in the International Congress of Sexual Reform. It was a 1.5 cm diameter ring made with a silver thread-shaped spiral.


Later, in 1960 there was an important advance in the improvement of IUD manufacturing technology with the discovery of polyethylene, a biologically inert and temporarily deformable plastic. Two years later, the copper wire IUD is created. The incorporation of copper made it possible to increase the effectiveness of intrauterine devices at the same time that their size was reduced, facilitating their placement and improving their tolerance. Shortly thereafter, a large variety of inert or bioactive IUD models in copper, progesterone or levonorgestrel made their appearance.


Nowadays inert intrauterine devices are used only in exceptional cases when there is an uncommon adverse reaction to copper, which reduces market alternatives to two varieties mainly: the intrauterine copper device and the hormonal intrauterine system.

Copper intrauterine device

It is a small device with a band of copper around it that is inserted into the uterus, located between the endometrium and the cervical mucus, where it progressively releases an active compound in order to avoid pregnancy. It is easy to insert and remove. The copper compound is radiopaque, which allows the visualization of the IUD both by ultrasound and by radiography, guaranteeing rapid localization. Its contraceptive efficacy varies from 5 to 10 years depending on the model.


The copper IUD can have different shapes, the most common being the T shape. It usually contains a copper thread wound around the main branch. Thanks to medical-technological advances in recent times have developed different models of this method of contraception:


First generation IUD: the body of plastic material (polyethylene) in the form of 7 or T surrounded on its main stem by a copper wire of 200 mm2.


Second-generation IUD: this is a T-shaped body with a larger copper surface and a silver center inside. With its different innovations, the efficiency and durability of this device were increased.


Third generation IUD: it has an even wider copper surface (320 mm2), with the addition of additional copper patches on the arms. In some models, the plastic body has been removed or additional arms have been added. The latter is known as copper multicargue IUD, very advantageous given its ease of insertion. At present, varieties with flexible and curved arms can be found.

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