Is the new intrauterine ball better than similar long-acting contraceptives?
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sexual health questions
Q. I recently heard about a new contraceptive that is placed in the uterus. Please tell me about it.
A. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) options have remained with the same options for many years. However, in the intrauterine device (IUD) field, a recent development has resulted in the availability of the new Intrauterine Ball (IUB).
The IUB is a hormone-free contraceptive in a ball shape and it is inserted into the uterus in the same way as the T-shaped IUD. Once inserted in the uterus, the IUB takes a three-dimensional spherical form.
The contraceptive effect comes from the copper embedded, and is effective for up to five years
The spherical shape was designed with the benefit of reducing the rate of uterine perforation, malposition of the IUB and to reduce the expulsion rate.
The other benefit which it shares with the older IUDs is that it may also reduce menstrual pain and may lead to a decreased period, or no period over time.
The contraceptive effect comes from the copper embedded, and is effective for up to five years.
COPPER LIMITS SPERM MOBILITY
The IUB works by releasing small amounts of copper which makes fertilisation less possible by limiting sperm mobility, preventing sperm from fertilising the egg and by preventing the egg from attaching in the uterus.
Age, lifestyle and presence of other medical conditions are some of the most common factors that people should take into consideration when trying to decide on a contraceptive option.
The IUB can be used from age 15 years to 45 years. Though the IUB does not cause weight gain, because it is hormone-free, it is important that you maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy diet.
Always consult your doctor for a medical examination and assistance with ensuring you are making the best decision for your needs.
• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, Disa Clinic, safersex.co.za. Mofokeng has been named SA's Commissioner of Gender Equality by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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