The copper IUD, such as ParaGard, is an effective form of emergency contraception when inserted within five days after unprotected sex. It is also one of the most effective types of emergency contraception available, reducing the chance of pregnancy by more than 99.9% in this context. This high level of effectiveness remains consistent regardless of the user's weight, making it a reliable choice for many.
The way the copper IUD works as an emergency contraceptive is by preventing fertilization. The copper wire coiled around the device produces an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that is toxic to sperm and eggs (ova), thereby preventing the possibility of fertilization and implantation of a fertilized egg.
When considering a copper IUD for emergency contraception, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects and risks. Common side effects include bleeding between periods, cramps, and more severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding. There are also certain conditions, such as uterine abnormalities, pelvic infections, or allergies to any component of ParaGard, that might discourage its use.
The insertion process of a copper IUD involves a healthcare provider placing the device into your uterus. Some people may experience discomfort, such as dizziness or nausea, during the procedure. It's also important to follow up with your healthcare provider after insertion to ensure that the IUD is in place and to check for any signs of infection.
If you're considering a copper IUD for emergency contraception, it's recommended to consult with your healthcare provider as soon as possible after unprotected sex, as timely insertion is crucial for its effectiveness as an emergency contraceptive.