INTRAUTERINE METHODS FOR WOMEN: IUDS AND IUSS
As of 2004, there was only one intrauterine device (IUD) available in the United States, the ParaGard Copper T (the Progestasert IUD was discontinued in 2001). The ParaGard Copper T can be left in place for 12 years. In 2000, the FDA approved the Mirena, an intrauterine system (IUS). This IUS is different from traditional IUDs because it contains a synthetic female hormone, progestin, which is time-released into the uterus. It can be kept in place for up to 5 years.
GyneFix, the newest IUD, contains a flexible row of copper beads instead of a rigid plastic frame like other IUDs (see photo). It is attached to the uterine wall by a nylon thread, which makes it less likely to be expelled. The GyneFix is awaiting FDA approval in the United States, although it has been used in China, Latin America, Asia, and Africa for many years.
The majority of IUD and IUS users today are women aged 35 or older. In the 1970s, approximately 10% of women using contraceptives in the United States used an intrauterine device (Hatcher et al., 1988). However, after that time, an increase in the number of problems associated with IUDs led to fewer types on the market, negative attitudes toward them, and a decrease in the number of IUD users. The Dalkon Shield was a popular type of IUD up until 1975, when the A. H. Robins Company recommended that it be removed from all women who were using them. At that time, women who had IUDs experienced many problems, including severe pain, bleeding, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which even led to sterility in some cases. The problems with the Dalkon Shield were primarily caused by the multifilament string that allowed bacteria to enter into the uterus through the cervix. In the United States, the cost for an IUD can range from $150 to $300, plus physician fees.