What is LARC?
The name says it all! Long- acting reversible contraception.
A LARC provides protection against pregnancy for 3 months or up to 3,5 or 10 years.
These methods may be removed or stopped at any time if you would like to get pregnant or would like to change the type of contraceptive you are using.
LARCS are widely recommended by professional bodies and World Health Organisation (WHO) as first-line contraception as they are safe, highly effective, and reversible.
4 TYPES of LARC
LARC methods include: -
1) Hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) e.g. Mirena; Kyleena
2) Copper intrauterine device (IUD)
3) Implant (Implanon): - a small rod containing the hormone progestogen which is inserted under the skin in the arm. Stay in place for 3 years.
4) Injection (e.g. Depo Provera): - Progestogen injection every 12 weeks
This Blog is going to focus on the two different types of Intra-uterine devices
INTRAUTERINE DEVICE CONTRACEPTION (IUDs)
· IUDs are small contraceptive devices that are put into the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy
· Both types (hormonal IUD and copper IUD) are highly effective forms of contraception and can stay in place for 5-10 years.
· Both types do NOT give protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For this reason, many choose to use (and health professionals recommend) condoms in addition to LARCS method.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HORMONAL IUD AND COPPER IUD
Differences in menstruation include: -
· After a hormonal IUD has been inserted, you may have 3-5 months of frequent and irregular bleeding between periods. After this time, your periods will usually be shorter, lighter, and less painful. About 1/5 of women stop bleeding altogether
· After a Copper IUD has been inserted, you may have a few weeks of irregular bleeding between periods. After this time, your periods will usually be heavier and more painful.
Differences in cost include: -
· The hormonal IUD is covered by Medicare in Australia. It costs around $6.60 if you are a concession card holder and around $41 if you do not have a card
· The copper IUD in NOT covered by Medicare and costs around $120
Differences in side-effects include: -
· The hormonal IUD may rarely cause headaches, acne, breast tenderness and increase in appetite in the first 6 weeks.
· The copper IUD has no hormonal side-effects, but women need to be aware of the increase in heaviness and pain with periods.
ADVANTAGES OF IUDs
· More than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
· Last between 5-10 years
· Can be taken out at any time by a trained Dr
· Chance of getting pregnant return to normal as soon as the IUD is taken out
· The hormonal IUD reduces heavy menstrual bleeding and menstrual pain
DISADVANTAGES OF IUDs
· Small risk of infection at the time the IUD is put in and for the first 3 weeks (less 1/300)
· Small risk of perforation, which is when the IUD makes a hole in the wall of the uterus when it is put in (0.2%)
· The IUD can fall out (5% - mostly in those women who have delivered a baby within the last 6 months or are lactating)
· Do not give protection from STIs
· Insertion can be uncomfortable, but the procedure is usually brief.
· If you are interested in having an IUD you will need to attend a pre-IUD consultation to discuss the procedure , perform vaginal swabs, ensure no contraindications, discuss preparation for IUD insertion and to determine the best timing for your insertion appointment.
· Your IUD insertion appointment will be made following the pre-IUD consultation appointment.
At Milton Village Medical we offer IUD insertions five days per week.
Dr Karyn Huntley, Dr Karen Shaw and Dr Stephen Lawson are trained in Copper and hormonal IUD insertions.