Copper T 380a

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For women looking for a long term method of birth control that is not permanent, the Paraguard IUD might be the method that works best. Also known as the Copper T 380a, the Paraguard IUD is an intrauterine method of contraception made of flexible plastic wrapped in copper that is shaped like a T. It contains no hormones and fits comfortably in a woman’s uterus.

When looking at the Copper T 380a it may be hard to understand how insertion of something T shaped into the uterus is possible. When the Copper T 380a is inserted, it is actually folded down like a little umbrella. Once in place, the physician opens it into the T and it sits in the uterus. It is a simple method of contraception for women who have a lifestyle that does not accommodate taking a pill every day, getting a shot every three months, does not want to think about birth control every day, cannot or does not want to use a hormonal method of birth control and is looking for something long term but not permanent. Once inserted, the woman just has to check the string once a month and that is all there is too it.

The Copper T 380a has an effectiveness rate that is equal to a tubal ligation but is 100% reversible in case pregnancy is desired at a later date. Once it is removed, fertility usually returns with the next menstrual cycle. It prevents pregnancy by impairing the mobility of the male sperm and by not allowing an egg to implant in the uterus.

Because the Copper T 380a does not protect against sexually transmitted infections or HIV, the best candidate is a woman who is in a monogamous relationship. If she has more than one sexual partner, it is important to use condoms along with the IUD. A woman who has a history of uterine cancer, infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease may not be a candidate for the Copper T 380a.

Insertion is easier if it is done during menstruation and a woman may have heavier periods with cramps for the first couple months after insertion. Insertion is done in the doctor’s office on an outpatient basis.

Any woman who is interested in the Copper T 380a should consult her physician to see if she is a candidate.

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