IUDs… I understand what they’re used for, that there are two kinds, but I want to know how/why they work. What is the mechanism behind them and how do they act as a contraceptive?

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IUDs… I understand what they’re used for, that there are two kinds, but I want to know how/why they work. What is the mechanism behind them and how do they act as a contraceptive?

In:

**Hormonal IUD:** These work by messing with your hormones just enough so that your ovaries don’t release eggs when it’s time to ovulate. Depending on IUD, it may not prevent the ovaries from ovulating. Another way, then, is that the hormonal IUD thickens the mucus in your uterus, thereby slowing down sperm. It’s like asking someone to swim across a pool of water versus a pool of honey. The thickened mucus makes it harder for the sperm to “cross the pool” to the egg.

**Copper IUD:** Sperm don’t like copper and die when there’s too much copper in the uterus. In fact, the copper sort of “decapitates” the sperm. It’s like Gandalf saying, “You shall not pass!” The egg’s still there, but the sperm can’t get to the egg because the copper’s killing them off in their journey.

So one acts on egg-release in the ovaries, and the other acts on sperm that try to swim to those eggs.

Hormonal IUDs release a constant stream of hormones, similar to the pill, but localised, and sort of trick the uterus into thinking it’s pregnant. They are hormone based, so someone sensitive to hormones might experience some sode effects (hormonal acne,…), but make periods lighter and potentialy nonexistent.

Copper IUDs basically kill the sperm, but also irritate the uterine lining, making pregnancy near impossible, come with a high chance of heavier periods and cramps, but are non hormonal and don’t influence anything else.

Both are generaly a reliable contraceptive option, the one who has them doesn’t need to remember to take a pill every day, making less room for human error, but after being inserted might cause cramps and pain, and might need to have the strings shortened (if felt during penetrative sex, for example)