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Why can an IUD lead to infections?

Intrauterine devices are basically foreign devices inside the body. They are made of inert material, but some people may react badly to it (allergies). Living tissues have various defense mechanisms against infections, so it is far less common for living tissue to get infected than dead inert material. Having such a device inside the body always increases the chance of getting an infection. This is common to all foreign devices.

Prosthetic valves inside the heart can harbor infections, giving rise to endocarditis. Foreign devices are sterile on insertion and in case of an invasive procedure, antibiotic cover is essential. In case of intrauterine devices, which are open to the outside environment, the chance of infection is much higher than it is for stents and valves.

The risk of infection is higher for diabetes patients. Due to high blood sugar levels, tissues become excellent breeding rounds for micro-organisms. Many undiagnosed diabetic patients present with infections. A proper low-sugar diet, regular adequate exercise and regular medication help with blood sugar control.

Immuno-compromised individuals like HIV/AIDS patients are at particular risk of infection. HIV/AIDS affects the T-cells in the body, reducing its ability to mount a defense against any infection. Patients sometimes die of overwhelming opportunistic infections.

Lymphoma and leukemia are two other conditions where body defenses are low. These are white blood cell disorders.

Organ transplantation is a procedure where a compatible organ from a donor is surgically attached to the body of a recipient. Donor and recipient compatibility is essential. Other than in monozygotic identical twins, no two people are exactly alike. To lessen the overwhelming immune response against the transplant, powerful immune-modulating drugs should be administered.

What can you do?

Personal hygiene is vital. Most infections can be prevented in this way. Before you decide on a contraceptive method, you should read up on all methods and and choose the best method for your individual circumstance. Do not go with trends. Do not what your neighbor or friend has done.

Discuss your options with your gynecologist, as not every method is suitable for every situation. Intrauterine devices are ideal for contraception soon after delivery. Lochia washes off the potential bacteria and the risk of infection is actually lower than in other women. So think hard and choose wisely.

There is no clear evidence to suggest that the copper containing IUDs are better than hormone releasing ones with regards to infection rates. IUDs do not protect against STDs.

If you are on an intrauterine device, be mindful of the possibility of an infection. Adhere to a good diet and exercise regimen. Control your blood sugar. If you get symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. You need to be investigated with a high vaginal swab, PAP smear, and ultrasound scan.

You might need your intrauterine device changed, removed and switched to another method. Antibiotics should be taken for the full prescribed duration. The decision on what antibiotic to use depends upon the test results.

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