Protecting Against Cervical Cancer with a Copper IUD!

A research study conducted at New York -Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University by Dr. Westhoff and her collegues there has been a finding that those women who use the Copper IUD for contraception have a lower rate of high grade precancerous change of their cervix, than the users of the levonorgesterel medicated IUDs.

There is no easy explanation. We know that taking a biopsy helps prevent advancing cervical change from the HPV virus, so the thought is that even the minimal amount of manipulation of the cervix by IUD insertion may be protective. In that case either IUD would be better than not using an IUD.

Although the effectiveness of the Copper IUD is very long, it’s not so long that it is a ‘forever’ IUD. The copper wire gradually sheds and thus affects the interior chemistry of the uterus. Specifically there are more prostaglandins released in the interior of the uterus, and perhaps this leads to better clearance or just suppression of HPV infection. HPV infection is what causes the precancerous change of the cervix.

Over 100 million women are using the IUD world wide. We now know that appropriate prevention of HPV by vaccination, treatment of precancerous changes when discovered by getting your prescribed pap smears, and using IUDs are all part of a strategy that can work to eliminate cervical cancer in the world for good.

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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