This article explains everything you need to know about IUDs here in Canada including Hormonal, Non-hormonal Copper devices and top brand options like Mirena, Kyleena, Liberté, FlexiT, Monalisa, NovaT and Paragard (not available in Canada). Reading time on this article is 5 minutes in average. Let’s get started!

IUD Meaning: What does IUD stand for and what are they?

IUD is the short form of Intrauterine device. You will often see it in its plural form as IUDs which stands for Intrauterine devices.

Now that we are clear about what these letters mean, let’s go over what IUDs are used for?

IUDs are contraceptive devices

IUDs are small devices that are inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. This means, IUDs are contraceptive devices, in other words, they are birth control alternatives to pills or surgery to prevent you from being pregnant. IUDs work by physically preventing the implantation of fertilized ova because they are fitted inside the uterus.

Hormonal and Non-hormonal Copper IUDs Are Different

IUDs are either Non-hormonal or hormonal. Let’s review how Hormonal IUDs are different from Non-hormonal Copper IUDs.

Hormonal IUDs Explained

As the name suggests, hormonal IUDs work by releasing hormones. So how do hormonal IUDs work to prevent pregnancy? Hormonal IUDs release a small amount of progestin to prevent sperm from reaching the ovary. Hormonal IUDs can also prevent ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary), thicken the cervical mucus, and thinning the uterine lining. 

In addition to preventing pregnancies, these hormonal IUDs also reduce cramps and lighten your periods. However, for the first few months, your periods may be unpredictable.

Common Side Effects are for Hormonal IUDs

The most common adverse effects when using IUDs are:

  • Breast tenderness and soreness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Acne

Non-Hormonal Copper IUDs Explained

Non-hormonal IUDs are wrapped in copper and work by altering sperm movement and preventing sperm from meeting up with the egg.

Non-hormonal Copper IUDs can also be used as emergency birth control. If inserted within five days of having unprotected sexual intercourse, non-hormonal IUDs are almost 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Once placed, these non-hormonal IUDs work for ten years.

Non-hormonal Copper Side Effects

The most common side effects when using non-hormonal copper IUDs are:

  • More cramps and heavier bleeding during periods
  • Backaches
  • Anemia
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Spotting between periods

What non-hormonal IUDs brands are available in Canada?

Liberté, FlexiT, Monalisa and NovaT are available in Canada.

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ParaGard is not available in Canada.

PARAGARD is a Non-hormonal Copper IUD

ParaGard is a hormone-free copper intrauterine device and is the most commonly used IUD.  The copper wire is wrapped around the stem of a T shaped IUD. As a highly effective contraceptive, it is found to be 99% effective, and can stay in place anywhere between 3-10 years. This copper IUD serves as an excellent birth control solution for those searching for a maintenance-free contraception.

How Much are Non-hormonal Copper IUDs in Canada?

As mentioned above, ParaGard is the only non-hormonal IUD not available in Canada. The average cost of ParaGard ranges between $80 – $ 200.

So, it is a cheaper option as compared to hormonal IUDs and even lasts for ten years. However, copper IUDs are not suitable for all women.

Liberté, FlexiT, Monalisa and NovaT and their price ranges from $65 – $180.

Some contraindications for its use are heavier periods and copper allergy.

What are the Hormonal IUD brands available in Canada? Mirena and Kyleena

Both Mirena and Kyleena release the hormone progestin levonorgestrel (a type of progesterone) and work by:

  • Thickening mucus in the cervix, preventing sperm from reaching the egg
  • Thinning uterine lining, preventing implantation
  • Suppressing ovulation

The only difference is that Mirena can release hormones for about six years and Kyleena releases hormones for five years.

The cost of both these IUDs may differ for various provinces in Canada and are generally available between $320 – $400.

You can check today’s prices on Mirena or Kyleena by clicking on these links below:

  1. Mirena prices in Canada
  2. Kyleena prices in Canada

How Much are Non-hormonal Copper IUDs in Canada?

As mentioned above, ParaGard the non-hormonal IUD is not available in Canada. The average cost of ParaGard ranges between $80 – $ 200

So, it is a cheaper option as compared to hormonal IUDs and even lasts for ten years. However, copper IUDs are not suitable for all women.

Some contraindications for its use are heavier periods and copper allergy.

How to Get Copper IUDs in Canada?

ParaGard requires a prescription from a doctor. The doctor will ask you about medicine and disease history to understand if copper IUD is a good option. However, it is not available in Canada.

Once you get the prescription, you can get an appointment with the medical professional to insert the IUD.

During insertion, the doctor will explain all the steps and precautions to be followed. This is the best time to clear all doubts if you have any.

Do IUDs Cause Weight Gain?

Both hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs may be unlikely to cause weight gain. The research is not sufficient to prove if these IUDs can cause weight gain. Research involves the use of IUDs and placebo for a longer duration. This is difficult research as women would not like to participate in the long-term studies using a contraceptive that may not protect against pregnancy.

But experts believe that weight gain with either IUD is highly unlikely. Even if there may be some weight gain, it can be due to water retention and not due to the accumulation of fats. The risk of water retention is greater with hormonal IUDs than with non-hormonal IUDs.

What Are he Most Important Pros and Cons of Using Copper IUDs?

Pros: Advantages of IUDs

IUDs can be a great choice for many women. Some common benefits include:

  • Reduced chance of pregnancy due to human error such as forgetting to take a pill or use a condom
  • High effectiveness as the failure rate of IUDs range between 0.9% to 1.5%, which is significantly lower than other forms of contraception
  • Offers long-term contraception between four to ten years
  • Pocket friendly
  • Flexibility of insertion
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Cons: Disadvantages of IUDs

Some common drawbacks and risks of using IUDs include:

  • Insertion pain
  • Increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Risk of coming out of the uterus
  • Increased risk of pregnancy complication if the woman gets pregnant

PARAGARD is a Non-hormonal Copper IUD

ParaGard is a hormone-free copper intrauterine device and is the most commonly used IUD.  The copper wire is wrapped around the stem of a T shaped IUD. As a highly effective contraceptive, it is found to be 99% effective, and can stay in place anywhere between 3-10 years. This copper IUD serves as an excellent birth control solution for those searching for a maintenance-free contraception.

How does ParaGard IUD Work?

The ParaGard is a small, T-shaped plastic device with a copper wire coiled around it. Once inserted by a medical professional, the copper wrapped around this creates an environment that is unfavourable for both sperm and eggs. ParaGard protects against pregnancy in the following way:

ParaGard creates an inflammatory response within the uterus that is toxic to both eggs and sperm, which in turn prevents pregnancy.

Why using ParaGard IUD?

ParaGard the only non-hormonal IUD is not available in Canada. Once in place, ParaGard effectively prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years. This is much longer than Mirena and Kyleena, the two hormonal IUDs currently available in Canada.

Users of ParaGard are protected against pregnancy for an extended period, yet continue to have the flexibility to have the IUD removed if desired.

How Do I Get the Paragard IUD?

ParaGard requires consultation and a prescription from your doctor. During a consultation, ask your doctor any questions you may have about Paragard, and whether this IUD choice is the best one for you.

Once you receive your prescription, you can make an appointment with the appropriate medical professional to have the device inserted.

When you arrive for your appointment, your medical professional will take you through all of the steps and provide you with any additional information that you need to know. You can also use this opportunity to ask any further questions that you may have.

What are the Benefits of ParaGard IUD?

Paragard has a 99% success rate. Once this copper IUD is inserted, the chances of getting pregnant are slim. Those looking for an effective birth control solution can be confident in knowing that they are well protected with Paragard. This IUD permits regular ovulation in women as it doesn’t add any extra hormones into the body.

Much like other IUDs currently offered in Canada, the Paragard requires no maintenance once inserted. Medical professionals recommend a follow-up visit 4 -6 weeks after the procedure so that the positioning of the device can be checked.

After the follow-up appointment, the only maintenance required is a quick monthly check if the two thin strings attached to the end of the IUD.

Since this IUD uses copper and not hormones to prevent pregnancy, the side effects that are commonly associated with hormonal IUDs are non-existent.

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Some individuals may want an IUD, but either cannot use a hormonal one due to other medical problems, or simply prefer not to deal with any potential side effects that are common in IUDs with hormones in them.

With the copper IUD remaining effective for up to 10 years, those who are sexually active need not worry about other methods of protection. No searching for condoms, and no birth control pills to take.

With the Paragard being a reversible birth control option, those who have it and are ready to conceive can have it removed. Once removed, your ability to get pregnant returns immediately.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Paragard is an extremely effective emergency contraceptive. In fact, this IUD is one of the most effective forms of emergency contraceptive methods out there. If the IUD is inserted within five days of having unprotected sex, it is 99% effective.

What are the Disadvantages of Paragard IUD?

While IUDs are effective in preventing pregnancy, they do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Those who are not in a monogamous relationship should use other methods of protection in addition to the IUD.

Some people describe the IUD insertion procedure as being uncomfortable and painful. After the process of having the IUD inserted is complete, your medical professional may suggest that you take the remainder of the day off to rest.

Taking an entire day off for the procedure may be seen as a disadvantage for some individuals — people with responsibilities to tend to, including work, errands, etc. will need to make alternate arrangements.

During the IUD insertion, the uterus can get punctured. While this occurrence is rare, it is worth noting. The incidences of these events increase if the Paragard is inserted during postpartum bleeding.

After the Paragard has been placed, some people report an event referred to as expulsion. Expulsion is when the IUD comes out entirely or partially on its own. This event is more likely to happen if you have heavy or long periods, severe menstrual cramps, have never been pregnant or are under the age of 25.

Copper IUD side effects include spotting between periods, or having irregular, heavier and longer periods. Sometimes women experience more cramping during the periods, however, these side effects lessen after a few months of having the IUD inserted. Other less common side effects include infections in the uterus and fallopian tubes, 20 days after insertion. Some of the other side effects present in hormonal IUDs are not present with the copper IUDs.

Having the Paragard inserted soon after childbirth can also increase the chances of expulsion. If you suspect that your IUD has moved or shifted, please seek the advice of a medical professional, as the IUD may need to be removed.

The Paragard is an excellent choice for those who want a long-term birth control option, but don’t want an IUD that uses hormones. If you think that the Paragard is the most appropriate IUD for you, please discuss with your medical professional.

Learn about the alternatives to IUDs:

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