How was the IUD born?

An early version of the IUD was introduced in 1909, but it often causes inflammation and infection of the uterus in women.

According to medical documents, the first human IUD was invented by Dr. Richard Richter in 1909. He used silk from the intestines of silkworms, rolled them into rings and inserted them into the uterus, adjusting the two ends of the ring. for more efficient sperm removal.

In the mid-1920s, two German experts, Karl Prust and Ernest Graefenberg, introduced a similar version of the IUD, but they did not mention Richter's research. According to two scientists, the principle of operation of the IUD is to insert a foreign object into the uterus, creating an inflammatory response that makes sperm unable to survive.

Dr. Graefenberg later adjusted the size of the bracelet because of concerns about infection. The pregnancy rate using this device is about 3%.

Some time later, he continued to improve this type of IUD by wrapping pure silver around and becoming the first type of IUD used by women. The pregnancy rate now drops to 1.6%. The device was widely sold in England and all British colonies at the time, but did not appear in Europe or the United States.

The outbreak of World War II also brought about a halt in research on contraceptives. In fact, both Germany and Japan banned the use of any contraceptive during wartime. However, in 1949, Dr. Mary Halton, an American pathologist, again introduced a version of the silk IUD. She wrapped the bracelet around her finger, soaked it in gelatin, then slowly inserted the bracelet into the woman's uterus. At this point, the gelatin liquefies and the silk fibers unfurl. The pregnancy rate of the tool was 1.1%, the lowest up to that time.

For many years, doctors around the world researched variations of the contraceptive device. Some people fear the "tail" of the IUD increases a woman's risk of pelvic infection. As a result, most then-made devices were tailless, making it more difficult to remove the IUD from the uterus.

To remedy that, in 1960, Dr. Lazar Margulies developed the IUD in the shape of a coil, made of polyethylene. The end of the device protrudes outward through the cervix. The first person to test this device was his wife.

In 1962, Dr. Jack Lippes helped make the IUD more popular in the United States. He created a flexible polyethylene plastic ring (similar to Dr. Margulies' device), which is easily pushed into a woman's body through a laparoscope. The ring is sized to fit each woman's uterine cavity, depending on how many times she's been pregnant. The device later became the standard for other types of IUDs.

The IUD was created by Dr. Jack Lippes. Photo: Dittrick Medical History Center

1969 was a time when the IUD had many important improvements. In an effort to reduce cramping and bleeding in many women, Dr. Howard Tatum, of Emory University, has attempted to shrink the size of the IUD.

He created a T-shaped IUD, akin to the modern IUD. Dr. Tatum says this shape reduces the rate at which the ring is eliminated from the body. However, the pregnancy rate when using the device is quite high, about 18%.

In 1970, Dr. Antonio Scommegna invented another type of T-shaped IUD, with the addition of a semi-permeable capsule containing the hormone progesterone (the endogenous steroid hormone in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and embryonic development of humans. )i. This device was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and became popular in the market until the 2000s.

One of the most "notorious" IUDs, launched in 1971, was heavily marketed by the manufacturer AH Robins as an affordable, highly effective means of birth control. However, just three years later, it was withdrawn because it allowed bacteria to enter, causing pelvic inflammatory disease, sepsis and infertility. AH Robins faced more than 300,000 lawsuits and filed for bankruptcy.

In 1988, the first copper IUD appeared. This device was founded by the Chilean scientist Jaime Zipper in 1969. At that time, he discovered that copper is an effective spermicide. Putting a copper wire on the rabbit's uterine horn will prevent pregnancy. This is considered the revolution of contraceptive tools. The IUD is called TCu200, an improved version later is TCu308A.

Modern T-shaped IUD. Photo: Alamy

Initially, the FDA approved its use for 4 years. However, due to the large availability of clinical efficacy data, the agency decided to extend the approval period to 10 years.

Currently, there are two main types of IUDs: the copper ring and the hormonal ring. The hormonal IUD releases progestin, a synthetic version of the natural hormone estrogen and the pill, which thickens cervical mucus and forms a barrier against sperm.

Both forms of birth control can cause bleeding and cramping right after the ring is inserted. The copper version of the IUD is thought to cause more severe cramps and increase menstrual bleeding. In rare cases, the IUD can puncture the uterus.

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