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ParaGard is a hormone-free copper intrauterine device available in Canada 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 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:

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

Why ParaGard?

ParaGard is the only non-hormonal IUD 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 Paragard?

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?

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.

Find out: Do IUDs Make You Gain Weight?

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?

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.

Find out: Is the IUD Procedure Painful?

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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