As providers of family planning services, clients usually relay to us their misconceptions about modern contraceptive methods, namely IUDs (intrauterine devices) and implants. Hence, this time, this particular blog aims to shut down all the misinformation about IUDs and implants and to state the great importance of IUDs and implants. In fact, LARCs (Long-acting reversible contraceptives) are recognized by WHO (World Health Organization) as the most efficient methods to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
What are LARCs (Long-acting reversible contraceptives)?
Just like the name suggests, LARCs are methods of contraception that can be removed and lasts for a long time. They consist of IUDs (Intrauterine devices) and implants. Depending on the brand, IUDs can last up to 10 years and implants usually lasts for 3 to 5 years.
Debunking myths about LARCs
The reality is 12.5% of women in 2012 expressed an unmet need for contraception (CDHS, 2014). Even though modern contraceptive methods have become more widely used in recent years, LARCs remain lower than short-term contraceptive methods such as pills or injectables. On the other hand, women’s access to highly effective LARCs are still limited. A 2015 UNFPA review of sexual reproductive health of young people in Asia and the Pacific mentioned myths and misconception about modern contraceptive methods contribute to the preference of traditional contraceptive over modern contraceptive (UNFPA,2015).
- IUDs do not cause abortion: These small devices do not terminate pregnancy. Their mechanism of action is to prevent a fertilization from happening because copper induce the production of some substances in the body that is toxic to sperm and ova. They DO NOT have the ability to abort a fetus.
- IUDs do not cause infertility: There have been numerous researches done that show that there was no causative correlation between infertility and IUDs. Two studies showed that there were no significant differences in pregnancy rates between women who reported use of IUDS and women who had never had IUDs:
- A 2001 study of women seeking treatment for primary infertility without tubal occlusion, women seeking treatment for primary infertility with tubal occlusion, and primigravida pregnant women.
- Another one is a prospective cohort IUD study in Norway, women who had their copper IUDs removed to become pregnant versus those who had them removed for complications had no difference in pregnancy rates. 
- Pain with LARCs: Contrary to popular beliefs, having an IUDs placed isn’t excruciatingly painful. There’s only a little cramping or low-level pain when the IUD is being put, but the pain/cramping continues to decrease after you put them in and women usually feel fine afterwards. They are not crippling pain that cause any kind of significant discomfort. On the other hand, studies have actually reported Mirena (IUDs) and Implanon (Implants) being an effective management for pain in women with Endometriosis.
- IUDs and Implants do not cause cancer: In fact, studies have suggested that copper and hormone-containing IUDs may have a protective effect against endometrial cancer and cervical cancer.
Why they are the most efficient at preventing pregnancy?
The sexually active population, especially the younger sexually active population are mostly ignorant about the choices that they have in regards to contraception. With over 50 percent of the population being under the age of 24 and the age of sexually active people gets younger and younger, addressing the need for the best contraception methods is vital.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives are important in that regard because they are cost-effective in the long run versus having to buy oral contraceptives or getting injectables every month. They also have a high pregnancy protection rate than any other contraception method and lower risk of discontinuation since they do not have to take pills regularly or remember to get injections.
If you are worried about confidentiality, you can get IUDs and implants at Marie Stopes International Clinics all over Cambodia with an affordable price and comprehensive counselling. If you’re interested, you may try our online counselling service that advises you on the best contraceptive for you right now: http://app.mariestopes.org.kh/en/
Watch this video to know more about implants: https://www.facebook.com/MarieStopesKh/videos/2524475397882152
Watch this video to know more about IUD: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=716250388934314
If you have any questions about LARCs such as implants, IUDs or any other contraception methods, consult with @MarieStopesKH now:
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- Cambodia: identifying actions for scaling up long-acting reversible contraceptives. World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific; 2017. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
- Bajracharya, A., Veasnakiry, L., Rathavy, T., & Bellows, B. (2016). Increasing Uptake of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives in Cambodia Through a Voucher Program: Evidence from a Difference-in-Differences Analysis. Global Health: Science and Practice, 4(Supplement 2), S109-S121. doi: 10.9745/ghsp-d-16-00083
- Russo, J., Miller, E., & Gold, M. (2013). Myths and Misconceptions About Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(4), S14-S21. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.02.003
- Hubacher D, Lara-Ricalde R, Taylor DJ, et al. Use of copper intrauterine devices and the risk of tubal infertility among nulligravid women. New Engl J Med 2001; 345:561e7
- Hov GG, Skjeldestad FE, Hilstad T. Use of IUD and subsequent fertility –Follow-up after participation in a randomized clinical trial. Contraception 2007; 75:88e92