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What is Copper T?

The Copper-T IUD, which is often sold under the name 'Multiload' is a non-hormonal birth control device that sits in your uterus or womb. It’s a t-shaped piece of plastic wrapped with a coil of copper-wire. That's why some people call it the 'coil'.

Length of use:

It can be placed for up to 10-12 years. But that does not mean that you cannot use it for a short time ( 1-2 years). You can safely use this method for as many years as you want - longer or short-term and get it removed by a gynaecologist, even after 6 months or a year or when you plan a pregnancy. 

There are other copper IUDs as well, but the Multiload is the most effective and the most common. However, check with your doctor which Copper T-IUD is best for you and ask about its specific characteristics.

The Copper-T IUD is a reversible form of contraception. Once you take it out you can aim to get pregnant. The copper in the IUD works as a natural spermicide- it kills the sperm that come into the vagina. That way, eggs in the fallopian tubes won't get fertilised and you can't get pregnant.

What happens to my period while I use an IUD?

When using the Copper-T IUD, many women have heavier periods and more cramps than they did before. This is usually not a problem, unless you were anaemic even before starting to use the Copper-T.

For many women, their periods go back to the way they were within 3 to 6 months. Other women will always have heavier periods while on an IUD.

Period changes are normal, but if you are worried, talk to your healthcare provider about it.

What are the side-effects of the copper-T IUD?

  • Heavier periods
  • Menstrual cramps

Who shouldn't use the Copper-T IUD?

  • Women with severe anaemia
  • Pregnant women
  • Women at high risk of STDs, unless they also use condoms with all sex partners.
  • Women with undiagnosed, abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Women with uterine or cervical cancer
  • Women with copper allergies

Most women with HIV/AIDS and ovarian cancer can use an IUD, but need to check with a doctor first.

Does the Copper-T work as emergency contraception?

Yes. In fact, the Copper-T IUD is the most effective form of emergency contraception. It works even better than emergency pills. Even if it's inserted five days after intercourse, it's still 99.9% effective.

Pregnancy prevention effectiveness

More than 99% effective, no user failure, so are not less effective with typical use. 

How to check your strings? 

  • Wash your hands.
  • Find a comfortable, private place to sit or squat - like in a bathroom or your headroom.
  • Insert a finger ( index finger/middle finger) into your vagina until you feel the strings coming out of your cervix.
  • If you do not feel the strings, do not panic. It may mean that the strings have drawn back into the cervical canal or uterus. Just book an appointment with your doctor for a check-up.

UpdateThe WHO no longer  recommends checking the strings because there is a risk that women may accidentally  pull the strings and dislodge the IUD.  

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