You may or may not have heard of intrauterine devices.
If you’re a woman who’s discussed contraceptive options with a doctor you should be familiar with them.
But a Bendigo Community Health Service sexual health nurse says that may not be the case.
BCHS has launched a campaign to combat what they say is a low level of community-awareness about the contraceptive option.
BCHS sexual health nurse Mary-Anne McCluskey said there was a lot of misconception in the medical world about which women IUDs were suitable for.
She believes a lot of women in the community are just not aware that the Mirena or Copper IUD might be suitable for them.
“In the past it used to be something that was mainly recommended for women when they’d finished having their children and not many doctors recommended it to women who hadn’t had children,” Ms McCluskey said.
“The research shows there’s no reason why a young women can’t have it put in, or a woman who hasn’t had children can't have it put in.
“Because not many doctors do it, not many doctors promote it. There’s only a small amount of GPs in Bendigo who put Mirenas in.”
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Two types of IUD are available in Australia, a hormonal form called Mirena and a non-hormonal copper device.
The campaign from BCHS comes as part of a push in the past few years to increase access to long acting reversible contraceptives.
Ms McCluskey said a contraceptive such as the Mirena were less likely to trigger depression, as hormones did not have to travel through the bloodstream, as with the pill.
She described the IUD as “set and forget” contraception.
“Less than one person every 100 using LARCs get pregnant [every year], compared to six to nine women using the pill,” Ms McCluskey said.
Bendigo obstetrician gynecologist Doctor Angelika Borozdina said women should chose their contraceptives based on their circumstances.
The reason a contraception consultation takes so long for Dr Borozdina is that – as part of good practise – she has so provide all the options available, and explain the pros, cons and potential complications to patients.
She said women need to make a decision themselves, after being provided with the all the information.
“It’s not about: you’re young, you can’t have it. It’s about what the circumstances should be,” Dr Borozdina said.
“Open disclosure is the most important thing for any medical practitioner when we’re talking about any type of treatment, including contraception.
“If the patient chooses to go ahead with an IUD, the patient needs to be informed what is the benefit, what is the pros and cons, what is the potential complications.”
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