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How long is copper iud effective?

Mar 2016
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Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 4047 Questions
I had my IUD inserted five and a half years ago. My doctor told me that it is good for five years. Is the IUD still effective against pregnancy (given I was supposed to take it out 6 months ago? It is a copper IUD. I am out of the country and will be able to get it out in two months. I was not worried so far because I was told that there is some wiggle room with the expiration date and that they do not become ineffective on the five year XXXXXXX exactly. However, I am worried since my period should arrive any day now but my regular symptoms are not here.
Posted Fri, 29 Mar 2013 in Birth Control
Answered by Dr. S Patra 56 minutes later

Thanks for writing to us. I am trying to give answer.

There are several types of Cu-T IUD with wide range of effective duration. If you are wearing Multiload-375 Cu-T, then it will be effective XXXXXXX 5 years duration and after that it will be removed or replaced for highest protection. In case of Cu-T 380A, it is effective near about 10 years. It is better to use the Cu-T device within the given time period.

Actually, Cu-T device has anti fertility effect by different mechanism and presence of ionized copper (which release in little amount on daily basis up to the effective duration) itself gives an additional local effect to prevent unwanted pregnancy by interfering implantation through enzymatic activity (mostly cytotoxic).

After expiration of the Cu-T device, effective amount of ionized copper is much reduced and does not give full protection against unwanted pregnancy as earlier (99% protection within effective date). But it can interfere with pregnancy due to presence of the device inside the uterus.

Here, I suggest you to take additional contraceptive method (like OCP or Condom or emergency pill) as back up protection till you are not able to remove it.

With using Cu-T, period may be sometimes irregular and you can wait XXXXXXX 7 days to get it. In the mean time, if you do not get your period, you have to undergo one home pregnancy test or blood test for beta HCG to confirm pregnancy.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help.

Wish your good health and try to be free from stress.

Dr Soumen
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